Speculation: Cyborg Superman

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Cyborg Superman a.k.a The Cyborg first appeared in Adventures of Superman #500 as part of a year-long story following the death of Superman. It may be a bit hard to remember now, but for a couple of weeks the writers tried to persuade their audience that the Cyborg was Superman returned from the grave after his fatal battle with Doomsday.

Ultimately, of course, Cyborg Superman was revealed to be a villain. He was defeated, but he earned a place in Superman’s rogues gallery. Since then, he’s sprung up to battle with Superman every now and then. He’s also been a nemesis of the Green Lantern Corps in recent years.

So, is the first appearance of Cyborg Superman worth anything?

No. Not right now. His first appearance in Adventures of Superman #500 can be had for $1 on eBay. But that’s the kind of deal we love in the comic book speculation game.

Cyborg Superman is another one of those gimmick villains whose origin has been tainted by involvement with a giant cross-over money grab event. Worse, he looks like a gimmick character. I imagine the conversations that resulted in his creation went a lot like that episode of the Simpsons in which a committee of marketing executives invents Poochie.

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Why do I think this? In part because Cyborg Superman looks exactly like the skeletal robots from the Terminator movies. Incidentally T2: Judgment Day was a huge hit at the box office in 1991. Cyborg Superman first appears… in 1992. In short, the character was part of a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to make Superman cool to 90s readers.

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To make matters worse, Adventures of Superman #500 is one of those poly-bagged collector’s edition jobs. And lots of comic book fans recoil at the transparent marketing agenda there. Ironically poly-bags have probably hurt the collector’s value of these comics – at least over the short and medium-term.

However, the poly-bagged Superman #75, featuring the death of Superman is no longer a worthless comic. And, a month or so ago, in a post about 90s X-Men villain Onslaught, I made the case that things seem to be turning around for 90s gimmick villains. The first appearance of Bane, for example is currently going for about $50-$60 NM on eBay. Just recently, with the announcement that the character might appear in the upcoming Superman/Batman film, the first appearance of Doomsday has moved into the same territory.

It seems clear that fans who grew up in the 90s are starting to grow nostalgic for the “Death of Superman” story arc. The value of Superman #75 and Superman: The Man of Steel #17 and #18 are starting to increase. Adventures of Superman #500 is arguably the next most important issue in that run.

In time, then, I think the first appearance of Cyborg Superman will increase in value.

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