Amazing prices.

§ August 14th, 2023 § Filed under zines § 13 Comments

So last time, I mentioned that Amazing Heroes #45 (1984) was the first issue of that news/interviews/reviews mag I’d ever read. In chatting over on Bluesky with Johanna from Comics Worth Reading, she mentioned that was the only issue of the ‘zine she purchased read from her husband’s collection (for the “Sherlock Holmes in Comics” article).

She also noted that it apparently contained the first published artwork for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a comic book of some note. I was aware folks desperate to make anything collectible and, hopefully, expensive, were moving into things like ‘zines and distributor catalogs and house organs like Marvel Age to try to establish supposed “early” or “first” appearances of various characters. I’ve said in the past that I was lucky I bought all the ‘zines I did back when they were cheap, like getting a dozen Comic Readers for ten bucks, when now you’re lucky if you can get one issue of Comic Reader for less than that.

And that was just the result of people realizing “hey, some of these ‘zines are hard to get now,” with the attendant boost in secondary market prices. But this new wave of forced collectibles, pushing things like a solicit in Previews as a hot item (Spawn’s appearance apparently garnering $400+) are bumping up prices above and beyond what you’d think normal supply and demand would cause.

But, it’s still supply and demand…I don’t know how many copies of Amazing Heroes #45 are out there, but I’m guessing there aren’t a lot, and according to this entry on the Hot Comics App, there are a couple of reasons why it would command demand:

That…is absolutely buck wild. Note it doesn’t say “first” TMNT, but this is definitely an early appearance, with this illo (and accompanying patented editorial comment from our Fantagraphics pals) showing up in the news section:

The actual news blurb is headed, in bold capital letters “JUST WHAT WE NEED” before giving a basically straight description of the comic. It’s funny to see that the reaction, at least from this mag, to the advent of Turtledom was in effect a rolling of the eyes at this nonsense.

The Spider-Man black costume illo appears in the “Comics in Review” column, accompanying the critique of Amazing Spider-Man #252 where said costume first appeared in a narrative.

Again, I’m pretty sure this is just an early appearance of the costume, as I’m sure sketches and promo illos have popped up elsewhere prior to this Amazing Heroes…I think an issue of Marvel Age is considered its in-print debut, maybe? Though honestly I think it’s this Marvel Previews catalog sent to retailers for product appearing in 1992, when the line was still “2093” and he only creative team member they had listed was Stan Lee on Ravage.

Oh, I should note that the review for Amazing Spider-Man #252 is a positive one. As well it should be…beyond all the hype and “collectaqbility,” it’s actually a pretty good issue as I recall.

Anyway, I’m not selling my copy of Amazing Heroes #45 and breaking up my run. Also, like I said, this was the first issue of the run I’d ever bought, so it has some sentimental value to me. But I’m certainly glad that was the issue I’d started with, because I’d hate to be looking for a copy of it now.

13 Responses to “Amazing prices.”

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    A lot of issues of AH carry some value now. Aside from the previews, there are several issues with unique Adam Hughes (funny, since the book is AH) covers or pinups, and we’re a fanatical bunch! That’s basically why I started picking up back issues of the magazine, and found that I really enjoyed the look back at the comics industry from before I really got into comics, or from years into it from a POV other than Wizard’s.

  • I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this, but I had a nearly-complete run of Amazing Heroes which in 2002 I donated to the University of Michigan. I even paid the postage to get them there. I would guess they are somewhere in this collection and I hope they are doing historians and scholars (such as yourself, Mike) some good.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Similarly to Amazing Heroes no. 45 and the TMNT ad, Action Comics no. 12, May 1939, is technically the first appearance of Batman, (or “The Bat-Man” as he was called at first) as it features a house ad for Detective Comics no. 27 with a Bob Kane illustration of Batman’s face. Another point of interest is that Zatara is the main cover star of Action Comics no. 12, although a smaller image of Superman also appears on the cover.

    I can’t agree more with the idea of “a rolling of the eyes at this nonsense” as regards the debut of TMNT. I remember first seeing it at Andromeda in SB (although I don’t recall if it was a first or second printing) and just thinking that it looked goofy and very amateurish, so I didn’t buy it. But then,in 1984 who knew that TMNT would end up becoming a pop culture phenomena? Even so, if I could spare the insane amounts of money TMNT fans throw at copies of TMNT no. 1, I would personally use that towards Golden Age or Silver Age keys, not Turtles.

    I always enjoyed reading Amazing Heroes and Comics Interview much more than Comics Journal, which I think takes its mission a bit too seriously.

  • Snark Shark says:


    Those things I recycled after I was done with `em!

    “I always enjoyed reading Amazing Heroes and Comics Interview much more than Comics Journal.”

    Ironically, the only one left is Comics Journal! Though apparently, they only publish whenever there’s like, A Blood Moon.

  • Thom H. says:

    Looking for “first publication appearances” in fanzines has got to be a sign that this kind of collecting isn’t going to last much longer, right?

    At a certain point everyone’s going to realize that there isn’t enough of an audience (beyond speculators) for $200 issues of Amazing Heroes. And then the whole thing goes bust?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love a good back issue hunt. I just don’t want this speculation to blow out the back issue market when it inevitably implodes.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Looking for “first publication appearances” in fanzines has got to be a sign that this kind of collecting isn’t
    going to last much longer, right?”

    It might be a sign of the apocalypse!

  • LouReedRichards says:

    As someone who generally enjoys a beat up comic with a kid’s name written in marker on the cover to a pristine copy; I’ll never understand the insanity of these types of collectors. Oh well, we all have our kinks I guess.

    I’ve always enjoyed finding back issues of Amazing Heroes in the cheapo bins and took home many a coverless Comics Journal and Comics Interview back when I worked at a B Dalton’s. We didn’t carry comics, but we carried The Comics Journal and Comics Interview, go figure? I became hooked on TCJ after a time and even started buying them(!) While they were smartass, cynical bastards much of the time, they were a lonely, much needed refuge from the early 90’s X-Treme era.
    I learned so much about the larger world of comics from the pages of TCJ – Steadman, Herge, Sacco, Mattotti, and so many more – it was a wonderful resource!

    My introduction to these types of magazines came from a copy of Comics Collector (with that awesome price guide in the back,) and esp. Comic’s Feature. Anybody remember that one? While not as all encompassing as TCJ they opened my eyes to the rich history of comics and comic strips – information that was difficult to come by in the pre-internet world.

  • Oliver says:

    I believe “goofy and very amateurish” was pretty much how DC’s editors described the early Marvel Comics. I’m glad Marvel proved DC wrong just as I’m glad Eastman & Laird proved a whole lot of naysayers wrong.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Oliver

    My apologies if I offended you or any TMNT fans. If was just my subjective take, and it is great that Eastman and Laird proved a whole lot of naysayers wrong. Even still, my personal go to if I want to read about anthropomorphized animals would have to be Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck! Now that was a great, and highly original comic, with some amazing Frank Brunner and Gene Colan art!

  • Thom H. says:

    Oh wow, I’d forgotten about Comics Collector. That was a great magazine. I was obsessed with the New Teen Titans issue when I was like 12 years old. I had to save up my allowance to buy it.

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    “it features a house ad for Detective Comics no. 27 with a Bob Kane illustration of Batman’s face”

    I think you meant “a “Bob Kane” illustration.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Joe Gualtieri

    Good point! However, I do think Bob Kane did draw the first Batman story in Detective Comics no. 27 without Jerry Robinson or other assistants/ghost artists, so, in all likelihood that probably is an actual Bob Kane illustration…but we all know that Bill Finger was the guy who made Batman “Batman”–and Gardner Fox pitched in too!

    I think prior to Batman, Kane had mostly done humor/”big foot” style stuff for DC–like a strip called Ginger Snap.

  • Snark Shark says:

    Since these publications are being mentioned, I’d like to bring up another missed one: Comic Buyers Guide. I read the hell outta a random issue I got for free.

    I imagine there’s not a lot of those still around, as it was a newspaper for most of its run, rather than a magazine.

    ” TMNT”

    I’m in the middle about them- OK/GOOD but not great OR terrible. i had #1 for awhile… the 5th printing, nice n’ affordable!