Let's Talk Comics

Let's Talk Comics
With Rob Lamberti
Movie mania in the comic world has gone wild and it is experimenting more often with the restricted rating. It is not new ground for comics.
It's just with Deadpool, it is more successful than in the recent past.
An X-Men comic character has, for the first time, delved into the world of the restricted movie rating and because of Deadpool’s success during the winter, moviegoers should expect more superhero characters being filmed in that world in the future.
Comic characters that have crossed into the R-rated market over the decades include Fritz the Cat, The Crow, Judge Dredd, Frank Miller’s 300 and Sin City, DC’s Watchmen and Marvel’s Punisher and Blade.
Not all of the R-rated films involve muscle-bound caped and costumed heroes and villains. Two grand examples are Road to Perdition, based on a series launched in 1998, and A History of Violence, based on a 1997 graphic novel.
Nevertheless, the success of both Blade and Deadpool certainly guarantees more forays into the R-zone by Marvel, most likely the next Wolverine movie, Wolverine 3, now in production.
It will affect the X-Men and related comics collectable markets, particularly the books from the Bronze (1970 to about 1984 or 1985), Copper (about 1985 or 1986 to 1991) and Current eras.
The Deadpool movie likely leads to a Cable movie and that leads to… well, who knows? Maybe all the other X-Men characters currently not in films?
The X-Men franchise is pretty vast and Disney doesn't own the movie rights to all of the characters it owns since buying Marvel Comics in 2009. So movie companies will most likely be scrambling to make a film and try to cash in on the popularity of superheroes. Let's hope they don't destroy that popularity by saturating the market.
Deadpool comics certainly enjoyed a boost by the success of the film.
Artist Rob Liefield introduced Deadpool, along with two other characters, Gideon and Domino, in New Mutants 98 in 1991. It was Liefield’s second character hit in that series. In New Mutants 87, he introduced the popular Cable.
The two books were instantly collectable. They were hot and so were prices, for the time, with New Mutants 87 peaking around the $25 mark in Near Mint and New Mutants 98 slightly less.
They are not rare, scarce or hard-to-find, but in a market governed by supply and demand and, in this case, with an obvious dash of hype (maybe a huge dollop of hype), prices have zoomed and vary wildly.
New Mutants 98 has broken the $300 mark in Near Mint. One American dealer is offering a second-print New Mutants 87 for around $50 in Near Mint, so one can expect at least about $100 for a first-print edition. If one is keen on getting a copy, shop around and don't be afraid to haggle.
Nevertheless, the lesson here is if there's a hit comic-based movie, expect prices on certain issues and series to rise, or fly.
There is the Batman-Superman movie, so it may affect earlier editions of World’s Finest Comics that starred the two characters. The same with Suicide Squad, as its Silver Age books - six issues of Brave and the Bold starting at #25 - in particular will certainly rise in value and demand. The original squad is a non-powered group, which highly contrasts the crazies making up the modern Suicide Squad.
It is difficult to speculate if what seems to be the millionth reboot of Tarzan, released in late June, will do the same for the numerous comic series that starred the jungle hero.
Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, may revive the moribund comic title and it should stimulate interest in the character that starred in Strange Tales in the Silver Age, followed by his self-titled series in subsequent eras.
Top artists who worked on Doctor Strange include Steve Ditko, the character’s creator, Bill Everett, Gene Colan and Frank Brunner.
1 - Brave and the Bold 25 marked the debut of the Suicide Squad
2 - New Mutants 87, with Cable
3 - Tarzan lives in the comics and movies
Previous column: The Greatest boxed in comics
Let's Talk Comics with Rob Lamberti, who started collecting comics when the going price was 12 cents an issue and Peter Parker really was a teenager. He dabbled in the comic convention circuit in the Toronto area for a while, but stopped to concentrate on his career as a not-so-mild- mannered crime reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, where he hoped he managed to record a little bit of history the past three decades.
You can reach Rob at lamberti@cogeco.ca
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