My dream-casting for the part of Cable in an X-Men movie is Rob Liefeld himself, in case anyone’s wondering.
So Mike L. asked about Uncanny X-Men #201, a comic for which there was a brief flurry of demand during the high-flyin’ Wizard Magazine-fueled comics market times of the early 1990s. For folks who may need a brief reminder…in 1990, New Mutants #87 was released, featuring a new character called Cable, co-created by rising star Rob Liefeld. As both Cable and Liefeld grew in popularity, demand for and prices of New Mutants #87 began to rise.
Now, Cable’s deal was that he was the son of a couple of members of the X-Men, Cyclops and…um, is it still Madelyne Pryor or has that been retconned away? Anyway, he was from the future, and still only a child in present times, and then someone had the evil thought “hey, wait, that means the baby born to Cyclops and Madelyne in Uncanny X-Men #201 back in 1986 is technically Cable’s first appearance!” So, in the rush to create yet another “rare” collectible UX201 was pushed as the New Big Thing, and, like Mike L. said, sold for about $30 (or more!). And it did sell.
Cut to a couple of decades later. The most recent price guide still lists that issue for $30 in near mint condition, but let me tell you, it ain’t selling for that anymore. I can’t remember the last time anyone asked for “that comic with Baby Cable,” and a quick glance at online sources show copies selling as low as 99 cents, and some allegedly high grade copies going for as much as about $15 (not completely unreasonable for an actual mint copy of a 27 year old X-Men book). The $30 guide price may be the result of simple inertia…people pricing their copies at thirty bucks because they’ve always priced their copies at thirty bucks, and hey, it’s a “key issue” even though realistically nobody cares any more. Maybe if Cable pops up in an X-Men movie someday, there will be some demand for it.
I’m still trying to come up with an answer to pal Dave‘s question from the end of yesterday’s post, about which pricy comic took the biggest dive. I’m still thinking about it, though I believe it’s more a matter of “shifting demands” than “huge price drops.” There was certainly many comics that sold well in the ’90s which don’t any more, though few of them really got that expensive in the first place. There are even a few items that retained some value: New Mutants #87 still guides at $45 in high grade, which, if the book actually is in high grade, isn’t too far out there of a price, in my opinion, and in fact still sells for us, when we can get them. However, it’s greatly overshadowed by an issue later in the run, #98, which features the debut of current flavor-of-the-month Deadpool. That guides at $100, but I’ve seen sales well in excess of that price.
One thing I was reminded of, thinking about ’90s back issue sales, was the Punisher. Boy oh boy, was that character popular. Multiple titles, all sold great, and then suddenly the market crashed and / or people burnt out on the character, and the sales on, and titles for, the Punisher dried up. I remember being stuck with a pile, a literal pile, of Amazing Spider-Man #129, featuring the Punisher’s first appearance. We had loads of them, in a variety of conditions, priced at the then-inflated-by-Punisher’s-popularity values we had been selling them fairly regularly for. Once we realized we were in for some rough times after the collapse of the comics market, we slash-priced those books and moved ’em out best we could.
Kinda wished I had them now, as the market has recovered somewhat and people are looking for the book again and the current guide has near mint copies at nearly a grand, even though we could probably sell them in any condition. But if we could see the future, we probably wouldn’t have sold all those New Mutants #98s for about five bucks a pop all those years ago. Or put all those DC Comics 100-Page Giants in the 50-cent bins way back when…I mean, those are mostly just reprints, who’d want those? Anyway, that kind of backwards-glancing and second guessing can drive you crazy, so we just price ’em, file ’em, show ’em to customers, and hope for the best.