We’re back with more Undervalued and Overlooked Comics. This is where we identify comics that are either currently lower in value than they could be, aren’t as well known in the collector market, or both. So, let’s get started with a first team-up and a couple first appearances from the Silver Age.

First Spider-Man Human Torch Team-Up

Let’s get started with Strange Tales Annual #2, the first team-up of Spider-Man and the Human Torch. Strange Tales Annual #2 was released in the summer of 1963, roughly six months prior to the publication of Amazing Spider-Man #8 in January 1964, the first meeting of the two within Spidey’s series. It’s in this comparison that Strange Tales Annual #2 should be considered an undervalued and overlooked comic. There are 874 graded copies of Strange Tales Annual #2 in the CGC census. Compare that to the whopping 2,618 graded copies of Amazing Spider-Man #8.

Taking a look at prices shows a difference as well. Fortunately, we have two June sales in the same grade to compare. A 6.5 graded copy of Amazing Spider-Man #8 sold in a June 2 eBay auction for $730, while a Strange Tales Annual #2 sold in the same grade in a June 9 eBay auction for $665. While not a tremendous difference, it still represents a 9% lower price for the annual. Two other factors to consider: 1. Strange Tales Annual #2 is tough to find in decent grades due to the square bound annual format; this is especially true for earlier Marvel annuals. 2. Strange Tales Annual #2 is a much earlier Spider-Man appearance than is typically taken into account by Spider-Man collectors; it’s release date was likely around the same time as Amazing Spider-Man #5 in July 1963, meaning it is, in all likelihood, the sixth or seventh appearance of the wallcrawler overall. Spidey completists should definitely be on the lookout for this book.

First Parasite

Superman’s appearances in his own series and in Action Comics are among the most overlooked and undervalued comics of the Silver Age. Considering the continued importance of the character and his longevity, he definitely takes a back seat to Batman, the Justice League, and just about any Marvel comic of the Silver Age. Just take a look at Action Comics #340, the first appearance of the Parasite. While it’s likely the most valuable issue of Action Comics published in the mid-1960s, it can’t hold a candle to key Batman, Justice League, or Marvel books of the same time period. There are 545 graded copies, a pittance compared to the others, and only that high due to the Parasite’s first appearance. An 8.0 graded copy sold in a June 1 fixed price eBay sale for $330. That’s a pretty low price to pay for a nice looking copy of the first appearance of a villain who, though he may land in the B-tier of Superman villains, is still known to give Supes fits now and again even to this day.

First Mighty Crusaders

This one could be considered a bit of a stretch but hear me out. Part of the purpose of these Undervalued and Overlooked blogs is to bring awareness to comics that others may not be paying attention to or are lagging in value compared to others. If all I did was point out well known comics that you might be able to find cheap here and there, it would make for a very short blog series. Instead, I feel it’s important to showcase the orphans and vagabonds. One such is Fly Man #31. Published by Archie Comics in 1965, the issue marks not only the return of the Fly to publication after an eight-month hiatus, but also the first team appearance of the Mighty Crusaders. The team was comprised of Archie Comics superheroes dating back to the 1940s and was written by Jerry Siegel, one of Superman’s creators. When the team appeared in their own series shortly thereafter, it was known for its campiness and Siegel’s spot-on parody of Stan Lee’s writing style.

Alas, collectors are missing out on this one, with only nine graded copies. The highest price paid was $300 for a 9.2 in 2021, the height of the recent boom. The most recent sale was in an October 2023 Heritage auction in which a 7.5 sold for just $47. You’re probably not going to send your kids to college with this book, but putting up $100 for the first appearance of a team that’s a part of comic book history, albeit in a small role? Why not?

Do you think Strange Tales Annual #2, Action Comics #340, and Fly Man #31 are undervalued, overlooked, or both?  Let us know below.