Just recently Deathlok popped back into the popular consciousness thanks to an appearance on Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Before that, Marvel and Netflix announced that they would be producing series featuring characters like Iron Fist and Luke Cage.
Marvel has had so much success on the big and small screens of late, that they’ve started pulling characters from their benches. Each of those media announcements have then created a rush for key issues featuring the first appearances of these characters. I’ve put together a list of other characters who could at some point show up in one of Marvel’s mass market media endeavours.
The thinking here is that the first appearances of these characters can be had for reasonable prices at the moment. If any of these characters appear in a movie or on TV, prices will go up. None of these are sure things, but that’s what makes speculation speculation, am I right?
1. Silver Sable (First Appearance Amazing Spider-Man #265)
Silver Sable has never been a major player – she’s a Deathlok type -but she is a permanent fixture of the Marvel universe. Sable is a sort of mercenary super-spy, kind of like a female Nick Fury. Here’s why her first appearance might be worth owning: Marvel is smartly trying to diversify its universe in order to broaden its appeal. Too many of their characters are white men. (Thus, Nick Fury gets Samuel L. Jacksoned). They want more minority heroes and more female protagonists.
Silver Sable is another female character that Marvel could use to diversify a future Avengers film or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She might also appeal to the company’s baser impulses, because Silver Sable has sex appeal. Think Scarlett Johanson’s Black Widow, except in white. What I really like is that Silver Sable’s first appearance is dirt cheap. You can have one for about $5.00. Sable was also a recurring character in Spider-Man comics, so there are a variety of possible routes for her character to achieve greater notoriety.
2. Black Cat (First Appearance Amazing Spider-Man #194)
It’s kind of a wonder that Black Cat hasn’t yet been featured in a Spider-Man movie. Perhaps Marvel worries that they’ll be charged with copy-cating DC’s Catwoman. And, in fairness, Black Cat is basically just Spider-Man’s Catwoman. However, she’s been a fixture of the Spider-Man universe since the late 70s, and she’s a very popular character. It’s only a matter of time before she shows up somewhere. Love triangles have always been one of the key components of the best Spider-Man comics. I’m betting that dynamic will eventually make itself into the films, though perhaps not the current Andrew Garfield franchise, given that they seem to be intent on letting the whole death of Gwen Stacy thing play out. (Speaking of which, it’s probably worth splurging on key Gwen Stacy issues before the speculation population puts the pieces together, see ASM #31 and ASM #121).
Because she’s a popular supporting character who first appeared almost 40 years ago, you can’t get the first appearance of Black Cat for pennies. However, a recent survey of eBay shows issues of ASM #194 are all over the place. Some people are selling NM copies for $200-$500, but others putting VF/NM copies up for auction are getting $30-$50. Pick your moment with this book. If you’re persistent and patient, you might be able to get a good deal on a key ASM issue that is likely to increase in value with or without a TV/movie announcement.
3. Carnage (First Appearance Amazing Spider-Man #361)
I like Carnage to pick up steam in the mid- to long-term. I picked up ASM 361 a few months ago when Fox announced that it was planning spin-offs of its Spider-Man franchise. I thought for sure the plan was going to be a Spider-Man vs. Venom movie, followed by a Venom stand-alone. I also figured that Carnage would be the obvious choice for a Venom movie villain. But, alas! It looks like the plan is to develop the Sinister Six and see where that goes. Still, odds are good that Venom will have his day in the sun before long.
Think of Transformers, for example, or, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Both of these properties were popular in the 80s. They’ve come back, now that the boys who grew up with those characters are adults with young children of their own. That’s not a coincidence. It’s very strategic marketing. Movie studios and toy manufacturers are betting hundreds of millions that 30-something dads will want to share with their kids the characters and toys that they grew up with. The same principle, I think, can be applied to Venom and Carnage, who were hugely popular in the early 90s. Marvel and Fox will soon realize that the teenagers who thought Venom was supercool are now adults with decent salaries and whiny kids who want stuff.
The first appearance of Venom can’t be had for much less than $300. Carnage’s first appearance is much more affordable. I got a NM copy a few months back for less than $30.00.
Mephisto (First Appearance Silver Surfer #3)
Okay, so last, but not least, a character who didn’t first appear in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man.
Marvel struck gold with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. His performance has breathed cool into a once-lame character and restored Loki to a place of prominence within the Marvel Universe. Marvel now seems to be committed to getting all their most famous bad guys on the screen.
The course of the Avengers movies seems pretty straightforward from here. Thanos is the big bad in Avengers 2. The Ant-Man film will introduce Ultron, who will then be the big bad in Avengers 3, and there we go.
If you’re going to do another Avengers movie after that, well… Mephisto might be your guy. More likely though, Marvel will get a Doctor Strange movie off the ground, and if you’re going to do a movie with an occult superhero, Mephisto is likely to make an appearance. Mephisto, like Silver Sable, is also a “general” Marvel universe villain. So, it wouldn’t be unthinkable that he could show up in, say, a Fantastic Four movie, a Silver Surfer movie, or on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The bad news is, Silver Surfer #3 came out in 1968. It’s a Silver Age book featuring the first appearance of a major Marvel villain. Like the first appearance of Black Cat, however, it’s value is all over the place on eBay. We’re talking $50 to $500, depending on grade. Still, a Silver Age key is a sound investment, as comic books go, and I’m thinking Marvel will be inclined to mobilize Mephisto before too long.