Undervalued & Overlooked Comics - Copper Age 6/15Hello, and welcome back to our weekly column where we take a look at a few undervalued or overlooked comics from one of each of four comic book eras – Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, and Copper Age – all in an attempt to find value for you, the comic book investor and collector.  Whether you’re a high roller or a bargain shopper, there will be something in here for everyone.  This week, it’s the Copper Age, with a focus on Copper Age super-hero teams.  Let’s get started.

Bagley’s First Break

Undervalued & Overlooked Comics - Copper Age 6/15When Mark Bagley submitted his entry for the Official Marvel Comics Try-Out Book in 1983, little did he know that it would be another three years until he was announced as the penciling winner, and another four years after that before he would receive his first regular Marvel assignment.

That first assignment as penciller on an ongoing series was The New Warriors #1.  Bagley would pencil the first 25 issues of the series before moving on to Amazing Spider-Man, where he memorably co-created Carnage.  Published in 1990, New Warriors focused on a number of teen heroes, including Nova, Namorita, Firestar, Speedball, Marvel Boy, and Night Thrasher, and would last for 75 issues.  The series was initially a hit for Marvel but would eventually cease publication in 1996, along with a number of Marvel titles, due to flagging sales.

So, what do collectors think of this issue?  There’s a modest number of copies in the CGC census – 518 to be precise – but much lower than other key titles from the same time period.  The New Warriors have been a regular source of MCU rumors, and the first issue’s status as a collectible has waxed and waned with these rumors.  In the 9.8 grade, the book reached its peak with a January 10 sale for $203 on eBay.  It has since fallen to $183 in a March 22 sale on eBay.

This is an incredibly affordable comic, undervalued by many collectors and overlooked by most.  It’s also a fun comic to read and is an important first for a very popular artist.  It’s definitely worth seeking this title out as a cheap example of some of the better work Marvel published in the early 90s.

McFarlane’s First Cover

Undervalued & Overlooked Comics - Copper Age 6/15The hottest artist to get his start during the Copper Age is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, Todd McFarlane.  His covers are wildly popular with collectors, particularly Incredible Hulk #340, Amazing Spider-Man #300, and Batman #423.  McFarlane’s first full cover was for DC’s Infinity Inc. #14.  Published in 1985, it was only the second series to showcase McFarlane’s art, the first being Marvel’s Coyote.  The artist would last on Infinity Inc. for two years before sliding over to Marvel to start a memorable run with writer Peter David on Incredible Hulk.

Knowing the popularity of McFarlane and the big numbers we see from sales of his many key issues, you would think that his first cover would go for a ton.  Fortunately, if you’re a McFarlane collector, that’s not the case.  With only 158 graded copies in the CGC census, Infinity Inc. #14 is a surprisingly overlooked comic.

The top 9.8 graded sale was for $500 in August 2021, and the last sale was for a slashed $400 on June 2.  That’s Todd McFarlane’s first full cover for less than $500!  I can’t think of a comparable artist whose first cover art goes for so little, making this a very undervalued comic.

Willingham’s First Creation

You’ve probably heard of Bill Willingham before.  His creation, Fables, was one of Vertigo’s more popular series, lasting 150 issues and winning a number of awards.  However, long before Fables, Willingham created a team of superheroes for Comico in 1983.

The Elementals first appeared in Justice Machine Annual #1 in a backup story written and penciled by Willingham.  Elementals #1 appeared shortly thereafter and became one of Comico’s best-selling books, riding the new wave of independent comics being published at the time to counter the marketplace duopoly of Marvel and DC.

Collectors have pretty much ignored this comic, as evidenced by the scant 64 graded copies in the CGC census, which is a shame.  Elementals #1 is a fun read, and different enough from the output of Marvel and DC at the time to merit some attention.  Collectors haven’t valued the book much either, with its top sales price coming in December 2021 for a 9.8 graded fixed price sale on eBay for $250.

This is actually a tough book to find in a 9.8 grade. The white cover is often in need of a clean before being submitted for grading.  The series isn’t a well-known enough property to garner the attention of studios;  don’t expect a TV series or movie any time soon.  What this comic does offer, however, is the earliest creation of a writer who would go on to have an exceptional career in the comic book field with an incredibly well-liked comic from the Vertigo line.  It’s also a fine example of the burgeoning independent movement that began in the 1980s and would eventually explode in the 1990s.

Next Week: Golden Age Undervalued & Overlooked

Well, that’s all we have time for this week.  Join us next week as we take a look at some undervalued and overlooked Golden Age comics.

Want more Undervalued & Overlooked coverage?

Do you think The New Warriors #1, Infinity Inc. #14, and Elementals #1 are undervalued, overlooked, or both?  Let us know below.

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