Like it or not, the current speculation market is tied to television shows and big budget movies. Rumours of an Age of Apocalypse movie send the first appearance of Apocalypse through the roof. Rumours that Doomsday is coming to a theatre near you send the prices of Man of Steel #17 and #18 skyrocketing.
After a few years of false starts, DC is finally getting its multimedia act together. I’ve decided to do a bit of speculation based on the DC’s upcoming big and small-screen offerings.
Part One: Gotham
Is Gotham going to make anyone any money? The short answer, I think, is no. The longer answer is more complicated, and more… well… speculative.
Here’s the initial problem. Gotham looks like it’s going to feature characters who are well known and very old. Take Catwoman, for instance. It looks like Selena Kyle is going to feature in the new Gotham series. Doesn’t matter. Catwoman first appeared in 1940 in Batman #1. A Gotham series, hell, a whole 6-chapter Catwoman movie franchise isn’t moving the needle on Batman #1 because that comic is already worth thousands and thousands of dollars.
Catwoman is already a household name. She can’t get more famous, and her first appearance can’t get more valuable.
The Penguin first appeared in 1941, Two-Face in 1942 and The Riddler first appeared in 1948. See where I’m going with this? The Penguin isn’t Deathlok or Luke Cage. Those characters haven’t faded into obscurity and those comics aren’t sitting in a back issue bin somewhere for $3.50.
One possible lead is the character Crispus Allen; he’s listed on the cast of Gotham on imdb. Allen first appeared in Detective Comics #742, which can be had for a few bucks. Now, whether or not Crispus Allen’s first appearance ends up being worth anything depends not just on the popularity of Gotham but on whether or not Allen is a major character or a bit player. Still, the risk is fairly minimal.
Any other money to made from Gotham will involve some seriously long-range speculation. For example, one gets the vibe from the Gotham promo material that we’re going to get more of a film noir Gotham than a comic book Gotham, by which I mean, I don’t think we’re going to see many superpowers.
So, are there other non-superpowered Bat villains that might show up in a second or third season that have more affordable first appearances than Two-Face or Riddler?
Again, not much to see here. A villain like Hugo Strange seems like he might be a good bet to show up on a show like Gotham, but Strange first appeared in Detective Comics #36 (VF, 8.0 $8,000).
Maybe Calendar Man? Probably you could get a good episode of TV out of him. First appeared in Detective Comics #259 (VF, 8.0 $265).
Two possibilities do present themselves, and again we’re talking total shot-in-the-dark speculation here.
First, Carmine Falcone, first appeared in Batman #404, the beginning of Miller’s Year One storyline. (VF, 8.0 $16) My guess is that Gotham will have to have an organized crime angle, and Carmine is a likely addition to the cast if that happens.
Second, Victor Zsasz, first appearance Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1. Available for an affordable price (9.2 NM $4.00). Zsasz is a crazy serial killer type, also a good fit for a dark crime show.
In sum, for the time being, I don’t see much potential for a Gotham series to affect the comic book collecting market, though there may be a couple long-shot books you could lays hands on for a decent price.