I've written a few times about the difference between cameo first appearances and first full appearances. As you know, this distinction is important because first full appearances are much more valuable than cameo appearances. In previous blogs, I've argued that the market got The Incredible Hulk #181 and The Amazing Spider-Man #300 right, but got Ms. Marvel #1 and The Amazing Spider-Man #51 wrong. In this blog, I write about a odd situation where the first full appearance of Alpha Flight is worth less than their cameo appearance. 

Because of MCU rumors, UXM #120 and 121 are spiking in prices

As our friends at CBR said about six months ago, Alpha Flight is the latest team rumored to make an MCU appearance. As a result of these rumors, Alpha Flight keys have spiked in price, especially UXM #120 and #121. Two months ago, a CGC 9.8 copy of UXM #120 sold for nearly $3,000; a year earlier, investors purchased the same book sold for about half of that amount. Roughly a year earlier, copies of the same book were selling for about 33% less. As for UXM #121, in late December, a CGC 9.8 copy of UXM #121 sold for nearly $1,200. A year earlier, investors purchased the same book sold for about half of that amount. A CGC 9.8 copy of UXM #120 is considerably rarer than a CGC 9.8 copy of UXM #121; however, even mid-to-high-grade copies of UXM #120 often sell for twice as much as similar copies of UXM #121.

Because UXM #120 is a much more valuable comic book, this strongly implies that investors view UXM #120 as Alpha Flight's first full appearance (even though GoCollect describes UXM #120 -- in my opinion, correctly so -- as the "[f]irst cameo appearance of Alpha Flight)."

UXM #120 teases Alpha Flight's appearance

As a reminder, the Hulk #181 rule is a commonly held belief that a character’s first appearance generally occurs when that character is: (1) a major part of the comic’s story; and (2) featured prominently on the comic’s cover. Hulk #181 establishes this rule. Let's talk about this rule as it relates to UXM #120 and #121.

Even though UXM #120 is much more expensive than #121, UXM #120 should, in my opinion, be considered Alpha Flight's first cameo appearance. Although Vindicator appears throughout the story, this isn't his first full appearance; the Uncanny X-Men #109 is. The other members of Alpha Flight, however, clearly make cameo appearances. We never see any of them fully in costume, though. Rather, we see most team members clearly in just one panel in their civilian clothes. Otherwise, they are obscured by shadows, and/or we only see them in a silhouette.

The covers also suggest UXM #120 is Alpha Flight's first cameo appearance. Just like in the story itself, we see a few members of Alpha Flight on its cover; however, we only see them from the back and in silhouette. Clearly, the cover merely teases their full appearances in the next issue. In contrast, UXM #121's cover prominently features Alpha Flight fighting the X-Men.

Closing thoughts

There are indications that other collectors may agree. As of January 17th, Ultimate X-Men #121 was 53 on GoCollect's Most Popular Bronze Age Comics whereas UXM #120 had fallen 93 spots to 134 on the same list. Also, as discussed above, UXM #121's value is rising faster than UXM #120.  These indicators suggest that investors may have initially got this one wrong, but are currently making a course correction. Check out GoCollect's Analyzer and decide for yourselves!

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