I still can’t believe that “Corona” thing.

§ March 1st, 2024 § Filed under collecting § 13 Comments

So I was processing some back issues at the shop, and flipping through the pages of Fantastic Four #274 (January 1985):

…and I was reminded of this sequence from the end of the book:

…in which Spider-Man’s sentient and shape-changing black costume escapes from Reed Richards’ lab, which is where it had been kept since being forcibly removed from Peter Parker’s body in Amazing Spider-Man #258 (November 1984). And then eventually the costume, AKA “the symbiote” bonds with Eddie Brock, pushes Peter Parker onto a train track in Web of Spider-Man #18 (September 1986), then makes its on-panel debut as Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988).

And, I don’t know, maybe I’m leaving some post-Peter Parker pre-Venom appearances of that pesky extraterrestrial outfit out of my little overview there, but I’m not really hear to give you an Amazing Heroes-style Hero History of the Alien Symbiote. Mostly the question that came up for me, while I was pricing up a stack of back issues for sale (as you can see what with the price guide visible in the photos above), is why isn’t this comic pricier than it is?

Look, I’m not trying to be the “hot” “key” “investor” guy here, but it struck me as odd that this weirdo appearance of the suit prior to its becoming Venom hasn’t been glommed onto by The Usual Suspects. Even the Hot Comics App just has it at three bucks and doesn’t even mention the symbiote’s appearance in the issue. On eBay I see a couple of folks getting a little more adventurous with their pricing (outside the always-overpriced “slabbed” copies), but by and large most of ’em are pretty cheap. Even when they note this particular cameo, that doesn’t seem to guarantee a sale or even a bid. It just seems like a big, fat “nobody cares.”

It wasn’t that long ago, during that mid-pandemic investment panic when collectors were looking for any reason to make any comic A Hot Commodity, that a comic like this would have been bought by the armful if they could. I mean, speaking of the pandemic, there was a Spider-Man comic that became a sought-after item because it introduced a villain named Corona. Did a feel a burning shame for our industry as a whole as I was typing that? I won’t say “no.”

I also won’t say this behavior has gone away completely, since I still see people with their apps out tracking down that secretly hot comic that’s had a sudden burst in demand that isn’t reflected by the price I put on the book, say, three years ago. But it’s not nearly as prevalent, especially as the prime mover of this form of collecting, the Marvel movies, are currently approaching the nadir of their cultural relevance, making comics with related character appearances to those in the films not quite as attractive.

Anyway, just an interesting trend I’ve noticed in the marketplace lately, at least locally. Your Market May Vary.

13 Responses to “I still can’t believe that “Corona” thing.”

  • adam says:

    I’m trying to remember what the deal was with that little drone thingy that shot the hole in the containment tube…

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    A little odd to me that this appears in the FF and not one of the Spider-titles.

    I missed the costume escaping in real time and thus was kind of confused how it’d gotten out when Web #1 came out. It wasn’t until years later when I was working on my Fantastic Four back issues that I came across this scene and it all made sense. I can’t have been the only Spider-Man fan at the time who was also confused.

  • Chris Gumprich says:

    Post-Xmas 1987, first job for real money, and I decided it was time to start collecting comics again. I remember going to the spinner rack and pulling a copy of every single Marvel comic (because they were the “cool” ones) that I thought I might enjoy. One of these was Amazing Spider-Man #300.

    I didn’t buy #301.

    But now, many years later, I look like an investment genius for picking up the first appearance of Venom.

  • Thom H. says:

    It’s weird to me that FF #274 isn’t described as “First Venom (cameo)” and priced as such. In a world where *Punchline’s* first cameo appearance (slabbed, of course) is still priced at hundreds of dollars on eBay, it seems like an oversight. Remember Punchline?

    On a related note, Avengers, Inc. #1 was recently described to me as a “key issue” that I’d never find at a discounted price. So I guess there are some people out there who think every comic ever published is worth $$$. Just not this FF issue? Investor mentality makes no sense.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if this blog post sparks an investor frenzy for FF #274?

  • Sean Mageean says:

    So, Mike, have you marked the price up to start the feeding frenzy…? (Just kidding!)

  • S says:

    This scene does also appear in the Spider-Man title – in ASM 261 you see the exact same scene (but drawn by Ron Frenz).

    The drone thing I believe was sent by Kristoff Doom as a precursor to him launching the building into space (again).

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    @Thom it’s not considered Venom until Web #18, at the earliest, by anyone. Some Brock purists will still argue for ASM #298, since the shadowy Venom in Web #18 & 24 wasn’t supposed to be Eddie, but a woman whose family was killed in the Revenge of the Living Monolith OGN.

    There was a point, in the mid-aughts to early-2010s, when I thought we should switch from thinking about Brock+Symbiote to Venom to just the Symbiote, but since that point, Eddie’s come back from the dead and the original Symbiote’s died (I think), so any chance of that happening is gone.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Amazing Spider-Man #258 (November 1984), Web of Spider-Man #18 (September 1986), Amazing #300 (May 1988).”

    That took more years than I would have guessed!

    And don’t forget Web #1, where the costume/symbiote gets on Peter AGAIN, and has to be driven off AGAIN, this time by the loud ringing bells of a church, and the costume saves Peter’s life by pulling him away from the bells afterwards.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “but a woman whose family was killed in the Revenge of the Living Monolith OGN.”

    But whomever pushed Pete onto the train tracks didn’t set off his Spider-Sense!

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    That was the woman wearing the symbiote, the original Venom, who officially never existed.

  • Thom H. says:

    “it’s not considered Venom until Web #18, at the earliest, by anyone”

    Well sure, until someone wants to make some money on FF #274. And that someone could be any one of us!

  • Bryan says:

    “ then makes its on-panel debut as Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988)”

    I’m too lazy to go look, but doesn’t ASM 299 end with a splash page of Venom?

    As an opposite to Chris G. above, I had purchased ASM and a whole slew of other comics monthly for about a two year period, gradually reducing my intake so that by Christmas 1987 I was down to Daredevil and ASM. I bought the DD Xmas issue, but the only copy of ASM 300 I saw was at the grocery store, laying on the ground covered in dried slush and pavement salt from people walking all over it. At 11 years old, I felt I’d outgrown comics anyway, and stopped there.

    I got dragged back in one day after school when I saw a Todd McFarlane-drawn battle between the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin on a Spider-Man cover in a spinner rack and NEEDED to find out what was happening. I eventually picked up the issues I missed, with my mom’s boyfriend at the time getting me a copy of issue 300 (for what seemed like an astronomical sum of $8 Canadian); in 1990 I found a copy in decent condition for $3, which I bought with the sole intention of selling for big money one day. I still have both copies of ASM 300.

    By the time Erik Larsen finished on ASM, I gave up on comics for good, wishing ASM had ended with issue 300 because I hated Venom so much, and he just kept returning over and over. Oddly, the whole reason I even started buying comic books to begin with was because I’d bought a black costume Spider-Man Secret Wars action figure and wanted to know why his costume had changed.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “That was the woman wearing the symbiote, the original Venom, who officially never existed.”

    Ah! That makes sense!

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