BLOG of X: Is Giant-Size X-Men 1 The Greatest Bronze Age Grail Comic?
Hello and welcome to the first article in the BLOG of X! This is a new series of articles I will be writing in and around the mutant universe. If you are an X-Fan or simply someone looking to learn more about this immense world, you've come to the right place.
Now, I know what you're thinking.
John, that's quite a click-bait title for your first article. No WAY is Giant-Size X-Men #1 the greatest Bronze Age grail comic book! It's only going for about $16,000 in a 9.8!!!
I can sympathize with that point of view completely (but not the cost, because that’s HUGE money), but I'd like to offer another perspective. Right now, there are a lot of great key books spiking in the Marvel and DC comics worlds. Many of them are from the Bronze Age. It seems like every day a new hot book is shooting to the top of the charts on many different lists. To get a better understanding of this I decided to look at the biggest key books in the Bronze Age (based on value of a 9.8 AND significance of the issue) to see which book I think is the greatest. Let's see if you agree with my logic!
Obviously, if we were simply looking at COST, Giant-Size X-Men #1 wouldn't be 'the greatest'. I don't even think it would be in the top 10! Anyone have a guess which book from the Bronze Age of comics is the most valuable in a 9.8? (according to Fair Market Value on GoCollect)
It's House of Secrets #92! First appearance of Swamp Thing!
I can recognize the inherent value and rarity of this book in a 9.8 but part of me feels like this isn't the biggest grail most of us would hunt for from this era (sorry Swamp Thing fans). But with a Fair Market Value of $45,000 for a 9.8, Swamp Thing is still the reigning king.
The truth is that there are plenty of huge books WAY ahead of Giant-Size X-Men #1 when it comes to their value in a 9.8:
Marvel Spotlight #5 (First appearance of Ghost Rider -- $34,000) .
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (First appearance of Luke Cage -- $28,000) .
Green Lantern #76 (not a key by most standards, but a classic cover and the first Lantern/Arrow combo issue -- $35,000).
Even X-Men #94 (the issue immediately following Giant-Size X-Men #1, which introduces the new team into the X-Men title) is still about even with Giant-Size X-Men #1 in a 9.8 ($15,000 range). And we didn't even mention a few books making a ton of headlines in the last year: Werewolf by Night #32 (First appearance of the Moon Knight) broke a record for a 9.8 last year selling for $50,000 (although other sales since that one were back in the $30,000 range) and Amazing Spider-Man #129 has been hitting all-new highs as well, moving into the $15,000 range.
Therefore, I agree, that if we were simply looking at the value of Bronze Age books, Giant-Size X-Men 1 isn't the greatest grail. But that isn't the only factor in my mind. The truth is I think a bunch of the books I mentioned above are OVER priced. I see no logic in chasing some of them down for the exorbitant prices they are asking. Clearly, the gentleman who paid $50,000 for Werewolf by Night #32 is probably regretting it, since he could've waited a few months and gotten a Giant-Size X-Men #1 thrown in too, for the same price.
So then, what other factors should we weigh? I decided to think about which books are UNDER valued, and which books have increased significance based on the key elements in those books. From THAT perspective, it's easy to see why I am claiming that Giant-Size X-Men #1 is the greatest Bronze Age grail.
If we went with first appearances ALONE, then Giant-Size X-Men #1 destroys all other contenders. Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, John Proudstar (Thunderbird), Illyana Rasputin (before she becomes Magik), and the mutant island of Krakoa all make their first appearances here in this book. Additionally, this is the first time the X-Men as a team are recreated with a new list of team members, all of whom become big fan favorites.
Let's also remember that this is a key book for Wolverine, who had two cameo appearances and one full appearance (Incredible Hulk #181 is another book that crushes Giant-Size X-Men #1 in value, at $34,000 in a 9.8) before this issue, making it his second full appearance, and it's also the first time his claws make their signature 'SNIKT' sound effect. We can debate first appearances versus cameo appearances all day, but that doesn’t dismiss the value of this book to a Wolverine fan or collector.
This book is also a key for Chris Claremont fans who often recognize it as the beginning of his creative control as a writer on this series. He isn’t given writer credit officially, but even writer Len Wein has said that Chris was involved in this issue, as it would set up his impressive, almost 200 issue run on the title (among other mutant titles).
I think if we combine all of this information together (keep in mind also that Giant-Size X-Men #1 is a square bound book which can be even harder to get in a 9.8) we can see how undervalued and significant this book is. For me, someone who has a mid-grade copy that I’ll never sell, I feel strongly that this is the Greatest Bronze Age grail comic out there, and one that will soon become unattainable if it isn’t already.
Even as I was writing this article, Giant-Size X-Men 1 spiked again, appearing for the second straight week on many lists such as the Key Collector Hot 10! A 9.8 just sold for 16, 257 and mid range copies are rising as well. Don't be surprised when this book creeps into that top 5 Bronze Age Keys at some point in the near future because I think people are waking up to all the facts I mentioned here.
If you want to check the eBay universe for copies, you will see what I mean.
I also spoke with my friend Justin, from KnowGood Comics, about this book on YouTube and we dissected the story and value of the book in great detail. Feel free to check out the show and let us know what you think. We will be doing one show a week in the future looking at the epic Claremont run on our two channels, so we hope to see you in the chat for our live streams.
I will be doing a series of articles here on the blog surrounding the X-Universe as well. So this is just the beginning, my mutant-loving friends. Make sure to check back in and find more such content in the future.