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The Top 10 Most Valuable Modern Age Key Issue Comics to Date

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Avid comic collector & fan for nearly twenty years, Vic started collecting comics around eight years old. Comic investing since the 2000s.

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Love them or hate them, some Modern Age comics can be quite valuable. The recent onslaught of comic book-based movies and television shows has caused the value of quite a few (some of which were previously thought to be worthless) to skyrocket.

This is especially true for Modern Age titles that had low first print runs like the Walking Dead #1. This article will list a few of the most valuable Modern Age comics. Some of the more recent entries made the list due to the hype surrounding the announcements of new shows based on their stories.

Oh, yes, and for the purpose of this list, we will define the Modern Age as the era from 1992 until the present. Sorry, I won't include Copper Age books (1984-1991), and this will not deal with the CGC Signature Series. Only CGC Universal will be the basis of value and why these comics are on this list.

It will also exclude variant covers with over-inflated prices upon initial release that quickly go down in value. The comics listed are from various publishers. They are issues that could've once been acquired relatively cheaply and have steadily increased in value.

10 Modern Age Comics With High Value to Collectors

  1. The Walking Dead #1
  2. The Walking Dead #2
  3. Batman Adventures #12
  4. Preacher #1
  5. Chew #1
  6. The Amazing Spider-Man #300 Chromium
  7. Spawn #1 Black and White Reprint
  8. NYX #3
  9. Harley Quinn #1 Adam Hughes Variant
  10. Walking Dead #100 Skybound Red Foil Edition
The Walking Dead #1

The Walking Dead #1

1. The Walking Dead #1

No doubt The Walking Dead is hot! The popular television adaptation has created a very high demand for the comics by writer and creator Robert Kirkman. Issue #1 is a limited print run, and this has added even more value for those trying to hunt down a copy. The Walking Dead #1 had a print run of only 7,300 copies and came out in 2003.

This issue sold for a whopping $10,000 on eBay back in 2012, and it was a CGC graded 9.9. More recently, a CGC 9.9 sold on eBay for probably a little more than $10,000 in May 2014. It was listed for $15,000 and had a Best Offer accepted, so we are not entirely sure just how much it really sold for.

CGC 9.8s are already selling near or a little above $2,000 for 1st printings. The Walking Dead comics are still hot, and collectors are still gunning for various key issues within the series. The Walking Dead #1 has been labeled "the most valuable Modern Age comic," and so far that title still rings true.

Issue number #1 holds the first appearance of Rick Grimes, the comic book's main character, as well as a few other characters. Beware of all the recent reprints for issue #1. There are quite a few of them!

The Walking Dead #2 - First appearance of Lori Grimes, Carl Grimes, and Glenn

The Walking Dead #2 - First appearance of Lori Grimes, Carl Grimes, and Glenn

2. The Walking Dead #2

Is it a surprise that another Walking Dead comic made this list? In the modern world of comic collecting and investing, it's not much of a surprise at all.

So why is this one so valuable? Well, of course, the popularity of the television show has a lot to do with it. However, this issue also has quite a few important first appearances, including Lori Grimes, Rick's wife, and Carl Grimes, Rick's son. We also meet Glenn for the first time.

In May of 2014, a CGC 9.8 sold on eBay for $1,000! There aren't too many Modern Age comics at that grade going for that much, let alone second issues. Therefore, Walking Dead #2 is one of the top key issue comic investments to date and, much like #1, this issue is still going strong with little-to-no signs of slowing down.

The real question is whether The Walking Dead will remain in such high demand after the television show ends. Only time will tell.

Who're you? Batman's squeeze?

— Harley Quinn

Batman Adventures #12 - First appearance of Harley Quinn

Batman Adventures #12 - First appearance of Harley Quinn

3. Batman Adventures #12

Batman Adventures #12 also makes this list and is a welcome change of pace from our previous entries. Why is this comic, based on the Batman cartoon series, so popular and sought out?

Well, it's because of a popular, whacky female character that comic fans absolutely love, and her name is Harley Quinn. The female counterpart to the Joker, (the top villain ever in comics according to most comic fans) Harley Quinn, was first introduced on the cartoon show. Batman Adventures #12 is her first-ever comic book appearance.

CGC 9.8s for this issue are starting to sell around the $600 mark, but are quickly moving upward toward $700. For a comic that came out in 1993, this is such a great investment, wouldn't you say?

This comic is in high demand and has been for quite a while. It looks like it won't be losing momentum anytime soon, either. Neither will Harley Quinn's popularity in the world of geekdom.

Preacher #1 - First full appearance of Jesse Custer, Tulip O'Hara, Cassidy, and the Saint of Killers

Preacher #1 - First full appearance of Jesse Custer, Tulip O'Hara, Cassidy, and the Saint of Killers

4. Preacher #1

Preacher #1 is a more recent example of a comic that has been greatly affected by news of a show. When AMC announced the Preacher television series, demand for this key issue shot through the roof.

CGC 9.8s for this comic are selling on eBay for around $500 to $600! Preacher #1 is also a subject of debate amongst comic fans. Although the industry totes this issue as the first full appearance of Jesse Custer, Tulip O'Hara, Cassidy, and the Saint of Killers, some are saying that's wrong, and their first appearances are actually in a comic called Absolute Vertigo #1, which had a preview of the upcoming Preacher comic title.

Regardless of this debate, Preacher #1 was still highly sought-out before the show had even aired. This comic has become even more in-demand and valuable since the show premiered.

Chew #1

Chew #1

5. Chew #1

Chew #1 was a surprise hit! It is one of the more valuable Modern Age comics out there on the market. Published by Image Comics in June of 2009, issue #1 first prints had a low print run of about 5,246 copies, making it more scarce than The Walking Dead #1.

The series, created by John Layman and Rob Guillory, won an Eisner Award. The last CGC 9.8 of Chew #1 sold on eBay for $462.

This issue sees the first full appearance of Tony Chu, the main protagonist, and Agent Mason Savoy. Definitely a Modern Age comic investment that was a huge surprise for collectors.

Welcome to my neighborhood, Spider-Man! Would you be my... could you be my... neighbor?

— Venom

Marvel Collectibles Classic Amazing Spider-Man #300 Chromium reprint

Marvel Collectibles Classic Amazing Spider-Man #300 Chromium reprint

6. Amazing Spider-Man #300 Chromium

Finally, a Marvel Modern Age comic makes this list. In 1998, Marvel decided to add The Amazing Spider-Man #300 to its Marvel Collectible Classics series and reprint the issue with a gimmicky chromium variant cover so typical of the 90s and even today.

Who knew that it would become so valuable that it would even rival the first printings of ASM #300? Well, it's not that surprising since only an estimated 3,300 copies were printed.

As we all know, Amazing Spider-Man #300 marks the first full appearance of Venom and the story of how the symbiote merges with Eddie Brock. Issue #300 is perhaps one of the most favored and popular comics from the Copper Age—Venom likely had a hand in that.

Bids for regular Universal CGC 9.8s went up to $560 in 2014, making this quite a valuable and rare Modern Age comic.

Spawn #1 B&W reprint

Spawn #1 B&W reprint

7. Spawn #1 Black & White Reprint

Back in 1997, Image Comics published this B&W reprint cover for Spawn #1, almost five years after the first printing of the same comic was published. An estimated 3,100 copies were printed.

Throughout the years, this comic has proven to be a good investment. Today CGC 9.8s are selling for around $400 to $500. That's not bad at all. It's worth a lot more than the actual first printing of Spawn #1. This is a gem to have for any Todd McFarlane, Spawn, or comic investing enthusiast.

It definitely deserves to be on this list.

NYX #3 1st appearance of X-23 (Laura Kinney)

NYX #3 1st appearance of X-23 (Laura Kinney)

8. NYX #3

For a comic that wasn't published that long ago, NYX #3's value has surprisingly skyrocketed. However, its popularity is not without reason. Laura Kinney X-23 makes her first appearance in this issue, and she has become quite the fan favorite.

Wolverine's female clone, she started off in the limited NYX series and eventually became the new Wolverine. Laura Kinney and her first appearance in NYX #3 is nearing the $1,000 mark for CGC 9.8s on ole eBay. Crazy!

Rumor has it that this character just may be hitting the big screen in the 3rd Wolverine movie. If not, it's only a matter of time before this character gets her live action debut.

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9. Harley Quinn #1 (2013) Adam Hughes Variant

With the Suicide Squad movie and Margot Robbie finally bringing the character to live action, it's no surprise that almost every Harley Quinn-related comic is in demand. None more so than this one with a variant cover created by the popular, fan-favorite artist, Adam Hughes.

This Adam Hughes variant reportedly only had a print run of around 9,000 copies. CGC 9.8s of this variant sold for almost $1,000 back in 2015 and an average of $800 from late April to mid-September of 2016.

Since then it has cooled off some, but for a Modern Age comic, it's pretty up there in terms of value. Of course, this is not surprising considering that Harley Quinn is the current Queen of DC Comics. It was recently reported that Harley Quinn would star in her own spin-off film, Gotham City Sirens, with Catwoman and Poison Ivy.

Casting for those two other femme fatales has yet to be announced.

Walking Dead #100 Red Foil Skybound Edition

Walking Dead #100 Red Foil Skybound Edition

10. Walking Dead #100 Skybound Red Foil Edition

The Walking Dead is hot for sure, and the TV show just keeps adding characters plucked directly from the comics. This issue has the debut of the menacing Negan and his barb-wire bat, Lucille.

This issue also sees the death of fan-favorite Glen. While CGC 9.9 and 10 grades are no slouches in terms of value, the Red Foil Skybound edition is perhaps the most valuable when it comes to the 100th issue of The Walking Dead.

The cover came in two editions. Prints of the "Lucille" edition were all signed by creator Robert Kirkman, and the Skybound Red Foil edition had red foil covering the logo. There are only an estimated 250 copies of the Skybound edition. The "Lucile" edition only has an estimated 500 copies.

For CGC 9.8s, the Skybound Red Foil editions are going for a whopping $1,902.35 and even hit $2,050.00 back in June of 2016. Rare and definitely sought-out, Walking Dead #100 has quite a few variants other than these two, but this one seems to be one of the most popular besides the Hero Initiative blank sketch covers that include unique artwork from around 105 different artists.

On the show, Negan is played by actor Jeffery Dean Morgan, who also played the Comedian in the movie Watchmen.

2021 Results of Top 10 Valuable Modern Comics

As with the stock market and most things in life, things change. Comic values and comic investing aren't any different. The above portion of this article dealing with the Top Most Valuable Modern Age comics was written in 2014m and it somewhat excluded a bunch of criteria like variants. Yeah, back in the day. It's almost been a decade since then, and for sure, some of these have risen or dropped in value since then. Also, some comics on this list have probably broken through and dethroned some comics on the previous 2014 Top 10.

Criteria will be mostly non-variant unless the regular cover is also highly sought out or has also made this list, because it's a significant key issue and not just some retailer incentive or error copy. Also, evaluations are based on CGC 9.8 values. I am excluding 9.9 and 10s values. As with retailer incentive variants and error copies, many of the regular editions may not even be sought out, and I believe error editions are a gross absurdity in a hobby that has grading standards based on defects. Last I checked, errors are defects.

Anyway, let's see which valuable Modern Age comics made the cut this time around.

Ultimate Fallout #4 Djurdjevic Variant

Ultimate Fallout #4 Djurdjevic Variant

Ultimate Fallout #4 Marko Djurdjevic Variant

Yes, this is the Djurdjevic 1:25 Retailer Incentive variant, but as mentioned before, the regular cover to Ultimate Fallout #4 is also an in-demand, hot comic that has actually made this list as well. If you don't know what a 1:25 Retailer Incentive is, it is when a retailer has to buy 25 copies of the regular covers to the issue in order to get one copy of a retailer incentive variant. I say regular covers, because there may be variant B and C and onward covers that aren't Retailer Incentives of a particular issue. Perhaps, I should say, retailers need to buy a certain amount of copies of a certain issue that aren't Retailer Incentive variants in order to get one Retailer Incentive variant. That means these RI variants are distributed less and less abundant than regular cover and non-RI variants

Anyway, Ultimate Fallout #4 is the debut of Miles Morales Spider-Man, and the character is a pretty popular one. Besides speculators anticipating the character joining the MCU eventually, the 2018 animated movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, was a smash hit among both critics and fans. This success only added to the popularity of Miles Morales Spider-Man, and a sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has already been confirmed and scheduled to be released in October of 2022. It is no surprise that the 1st appearance of Miles Morales and this particular 1:25 RI variant makes the top of this list with recent sales looking like this for graded 9.8s:

  • 02/22/2021: $12,297
  • 02/22/2021: $12,700
  • 02/16/2021: $14,999.95

Wowza! For a Modern comic too. Who says you shouldn't invest in comics?

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Edge of Spider-Verse #2 (Land Variant)

The debut of Spider-Gwen is hot, and the Greg Land variant cover is a 1:25 Retailer Incentive. The regular cover by Robbi Rodriguez is also a hot comic and 9.8s are selling in the $1,200 range on average. That average is at the time of this writing for the regular cover. As for recent sales of the Greg Land variant for Edge of Spider-Verse #2, here are a few:

  • 09/18/2021: $5,900
  • 08/26/2021: $9,000
  • 05/29/2021: $6,000

Not bad for a Modern Comic 1st appearance, even though it is another Retailer Incentive, but rarity still counts in this hobby. And rightly so! Edge of Spider-Verse #2 - 1st appearance of Spider-Gwen.

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Captain Marvel #17 2nd Print

A comic that technically isn't a variant. It's a 2nd print with a different cover, but this comic does have the 1st cover of Kamala Kahn as Ms. Marvel. Of course, this 2nd print comic is hyped with a lower print run, but that's because it is a 2nd print after all. This 2nd print came out around 2 months after the regular 1st prints of Captain Marvel #17, so it's basically a reprint with a different cover. Regardless, collectors or speculators are buying into this one. Here's how some recent sales look:

04/26/2021: $5,700.12

03/29/2021: $5,000

03/15/2021: $2,999.99

The age where 2nd print reprints are being bought up for crazy prices and probably the most valuable modern 1st cover of any character to date. I could be wrong though.

Invincible #1 cover by Cory Walker and Bill Crabtree.

Invincible #1 cover by Cory Walker and Bill Crabtree.

Invincible #1

Another new Modern comic has made this list and it is Robert Kirkman's Invincible, so 2 comics by Kirkman are the most valuable Modern comics now. Wow, this comic has even beat Walking Dead #1s at 9.8s? That's pretty amazingly hard to believe but here we are. This comic has even dethroned the famous Spawn B&W Edition. Amazon had an animated show and hype for this comic hit the stratosphere. Check out some recent sales this year for 9.8s:

08/26/2021: $4080

07/29/2021: $4500

07/19/2021: $4050

Yikes, definitely one of the more valuable of Modern comic books out there, and this comic has a lower print run estimated at only around 10,751 copies. Once again, note "estimated" print run. Take from that what you will, but this comic by Robert Kirkman has made it into the top five on this list.

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Walking Dead #1

Once again, this Modern heavy weight makes it on this list in 2021. This is due to graded 9.8s. Not 9.9s or higher graded slabs now. Even at CGC or CBCS 9.8s, The Walking Dead #1 is still a very valuable comic, and rightly so.

  • 09/12/2021: $3,360
  • 09/11/2021: $3,599
  • 09/01/2021: $3.850
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The Batman Adventures #12

No doubt that Harley Quinn is a queen when it comes to popular DC Comics characters other than Wonder Woman. She is definitely the most notable Modern Age female comic character from DC Comics. Margo Robbie has already played the character in several films, the latest being 2021's The Suicide Squad.

Batman Adventures #12 and the first "comic" appearance of Harley Quinn is still a Modern Age comic to get. It keeps getting up there in price for high grade copies, and should be no surprise it still makes the cut on this list. On that note, I am not distinguishing between newsstand and direct market editions either. Both are valuable, although newssies might command a premium in higher grades.

  • 10/03/2021: $2,900
  • 09/29/2021: $3,500
  • 09/282021: $3,600

Because this had 2 recent sales higher than the All-New Marvel Now Point One #1 McNiven variant, I put Batman Adventures #12 above it.

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All-New Marvel Now: Point One #1 (Steve McNiven Variant Cover)

Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel has been spec'ed on a while now. Her first full appearance and as Ms. Marvel in this comic did cool off for a few years. I should know, since I got a nice high-grade copy for around $20 bucks. It was raw, and I recently got it back from CBCS. With the Disney Plus show almost ready to drop and news trickling out over time, this debut of Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel absolutely has heated up again.

However, while the regular cover is going above 1k for 9.8s, the McNiven variant is a 1:75 Retailer Incentive. Here's some recent sales for slabbed 9.8s of this McNiven Retailer Incentive.

09/07/2020: $2600

09/02/2020: $2800

08/07/2020: $4999.99

Not bad for a Modern comic. Not bad at all!

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Spawn #1 B&W Edition

Surprised this one made the list again? You should and shouldn't be. Yes, this is a reprint. However, it's McFarlane goodness. Also, despite what I think, new collectors are giving quite a bit of love to later printing variants. This Spawn #1 was one of the first to break the mold.

$3,500 09/26.2021

$2500 06/08/2021

$2500 03/13,2021

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Ultimate Fallout #4 Regular Cover

Here we are with the regular Ultimate Fallout #4 cover by Mark Bagley. As mentioned before, some Retailer Incentives will be on this list if the regular cover is also in demand and somewhat pricey. I'd say that these recent sales of graded 9.8s for this book are pretty impressive:

  • 09/29/2021: $2600
  • 09/28/2021: $2499.99
  • 09/25/2021: $2,500

1st appearance of Miles Morales is a hot book regardless, and the regular cover definitely deserves to be on this list again.

In Conclusion!

So far, these are some of the highest selling comics from the Modern Age, 1992 to present. Also, the comics listed here are based on high-grade CGC 9.8 Universal copies. No Signature Series is taken into account here.

Modern Age comics can be a great investment for sure, depending on the demand and print run. If you love comic collecting or comic investing, please share this article.

Thank you for your support, and happy hunting out there!

© 2014 Vic

Comments

Vic (author) on August 19, 2018:

No clue about the 10th Anniversary exclusive given to the Hyundai Tucson owners back in 2013.

Jules8812 on February 25, 2017:

Do you know anything about the walking dead 10th anniversary edition comic that was given to owners of the walking dead Hyundai Tucson in 2013?

Vic (author) on July 17, 2014:

I have yet to read the Walking Dead also.

Geekdom on July 15, 2014:

I still need to read the Walking Dead comic. I just never get around to it.

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