When black superheroes arise… the comic book industry sees a serious spike in sales
With Marvel Comic’s Black Panther — the first black comic book superhero, born in the 1960s — to appear on the big screen and Captain America: Civil War following, comic book collectors stand to cash in big.
Blame the boom on the growing interest in black superheroes.
“When interest in a character rises, comic book values do, too,” said Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of Metropolis Collectibles, the world’s largest vintage comic book dealership and ComicConnect.com, its online auction site.
The Black Panther first appeared in “Fantastic Four #52” in 1966. First appearances are typically the most valuable comics in a series. In 2012, a 9.8 graded copy of “Fantastic Four #52” sold for $19,200. In 2016, a similar copy sold for $83,650 — a 435 percent increase in value.
Luke Cage, a favorite of actor Nicholas Cage, is a black superhero who first appeared in Marvel’s “Hero for Hire #1” in 1972. Luke boasts superhuman strength and unbreakable skin. Last year, he was featured on the Netflix series “Jessica Jones.”
This fall, he’ll headline his own series. In 2011, a 9.8 graded copy of “Hero for Hire #1” sold for $2,766. In 2014, one sold for $6,100. Earlier this year, a similarly graded copy sold for $24,000, a whopping 867 percent increase in five years.
“The interest is industrywide,” noted Stephen Fishler, co-owner of Metropolis/ComicConnect, pointing out the upcoming reboot of Milestone Comics, a DC imprint created by African-American artists and writers in 1993. The best known characters are Hardware, Icon and Static.
Even hip-hop icon Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run DMC is in on the industry. He launched his own comic book imprint, Darryl Makes Comics (http://www.dmc-comics.com), in 2014. His graphic novel series, DMC, features McDaniels as a contemporary superhero — complete with trademark Adidas and fedora — confronting evil in 1985 New York City.