Lobo may be stealing the headlines lately, but Doctor Aphra’s first appearance made the biggest waves in this week’s Hottest Comics.

Before we dive into the numbers, don’t forget what the Hottest Comics index is all about. These are the 100 best-selling single issues being sold on eBay. Based on both raw and graded sales, the rankings are not about the fair market values. Instead, the standings come from the total sales volume. While an issue may be blowing away the competition in terms of FMVs, that doesn’t make it the best-selling comic in the land. Take a look.

33. DARTH VADER #3 (+41)

Why were buyers taking aim at Darth Vader #3 in such high numbers? Perhaps it’s Andor restoring faith in the land of Star Wars streaming series. Maybe it’s the prospect of a new trilogy of movies set in the post-J.J. Abrams galaxy far, far away. Then again, it could be connected to the new season of The Mandalorian. For whatever reason, collectors and investors were making Darth Vader #3 a priority this week, putting it high atop the Hottest Comics’ movers and shakers. 

For the uninitiated, this issue has been a favorite among speculators for years. It boils down to the first appearance of Doctor Aphra. She is the Star Wars equivalent of Indiana Jones in that she’s an explorer and archaeologist.  Once The Book of Boba Fett introduced her cohort, Black Krrsantan, fans were certain she would soon follow him to Disney Plus. Aphra has long been rumored to appear in live-action, and her timeline would lend to her inclusion in The Mandalorian or the next season of Andor.

Since we haven’t seen her in live-action just yet, the values for Darth Vader #3 aren’t sky-high, which is great news for buyers. Over the past year, the 9.8 has sold for as much as $1,127 and averaged $400. However, the prices have consistently hovered under the $300 mark as of late, making this an opportune moment to invest.

62. GHOST RIDER #15 (+31)

When it comes to gimmick covers, hobbyists point to the 1990s as starting the craze. It can be argued that the newsstand and direct editions were the first variant comics, and the 1980s had gimmicks of their own (anyone remember the paper 3D glasses?). By the ‘90s, Marvel and DC in particular went fully into the world of variants with practically every gimmick under the sun.

Despite all the disdain collectors and investors may have for the era of comics excess, it hasn’t spurred them away from Ghost Rider #15. From a story standpoint, there’s nothing significant happening here. This 1991 issue is part of the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider run with Johnny Blaze playing a supporting role. There are no first appearances or milestones in GR #15, so it would appear to be an average comic at first glance. What makes this one worth owning? It holds the distinction of being the first glow-in-the-dark cover ever printed. 

This is not a hard issue to find despite being a first. Plus, not everyone wants a glow-in-the-dark comic. That helps keep the prices down. For the past 30 days, it’s averaged $66 whereas it sold for as much as $240 over the last 12 months.

4. OMEGA MEN #3 (+38)

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Lobo’s first appearance has been a rocket through the rankings this week. Up to this point, it had been the consolation prize for many collectors and speculators. The writing was on the wall for him to make a mainstream debut, but the state of the DCU kept everything in the air. Then James Gunn and Peter Safrin took the reins at DC Studios, and now the Main Man looks like a shoo-in for the world of live-action.

It started with Gunn joining Mastodon Social, where his first post was a picture of Lobo. That got the wheels turning by itself, but then Jason Momoa joined the party. In interviews for his latest movie, he repeatedly mentioned a dream project that could be a reality in DC’s Gunn era. Put it all together, and it would seem that Lobo’s time has finally arrived.

For those who frequent the Hottest Comics blog, today is a minor milestone. To this point, Omega Men #3 had been one of the cornerstones of the Usual Suspects. These are the issues that bounce all across the index and find themselves either on the Hottest or Coldest Comics week after week. Today, Omega Men #3 has officially departed that particular list. From here on, it should stay inside the top 20 best-sellers while we await the news that Lobo is getting his feature film or at least an HBO Max series.

While the sales are definitely on the way up, the prices aren’t too bad just yet, which is good news if you’re still thinking of grabbing a copy. The graded 9.8 has averaged close to $300 for the past year, and recent sales have remained in that same territory as of late.

19. HULK #1 (+24)

I guess you could say this issue is red hot. There have been rumors and speculation that Thunderbolt Ross would take his gamma-powered alter ego into the MCU for years. Once Harrison Ford was announced to take over the role following William Hurt’s death, the theories went through the roof. That has made Red Hulk’s comic debut one of the most popular items on eBay.

Beginning with a tease in the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law finale, the signs were pointing toward Red Hulk. When Ford was confirmed as the new-and-improved Thunderbolt Ross, it sent the speculation into overdrive. The word on the internet is that he will debut in the fourth Captain America film, New World Order, and he likely will play a larger role going forward. Now the wait is on to see when Ross will transition into his CGI glory as Red Hulk. The real question is, will he or won’t have a mustache? Place your bets.

Speaking of taking gambles, the window for getting a decent price on Hulk #1 is closing. The values are pushing closer to the $400 point. In fact, a 9.8 sold for $380 on November 9, and it should eclipse that mark soon. At the moment, the 30-day average remains at $318.

73. YOUNG AVENGERS #1 (+23)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has arrived, and it brought plenty of future MCU speculation along with it. Besides Riri Williams/Ironheart making her mark, the film also introduced the Midnight Angels and T’Challa’s son. Both Riri and Prince T’Challa could be candidates for the long-awaited next-generation superheroes, the Young Avengers.

Since last year, the signs have all pointed to the YA’s coming to the MCU via Disney Plus. We’ve seen Young Avengers Kate Bishop, Patriot, Billy and Tommy Maximoff, and Ms. Marvel all introduced on the small screen. Let’s not forget that an aged-up Cassie Lang and America Chavez have arrived as well. Now that Riri is firmly cemented in the world of live action, we have the team’s foundation. Whether or not Prince T’Challa will join the fray remains unknown, but I would suspect he is a good candidate, especially if he is aged to teenage years.

Many speculators had hopped off the YA bandwagon in recent months, and that helped bring those prices back to reality. A year ago, the standard edition graded at a 9.8 averaged over $900. These days, it mostly stays in the $400-$500 range. 

Are you surprised by any of these jumpers? Let us know in the comments!

*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.