7 Underrated or Lesser-Known Comics Worth a Lot of Money

7 Underrated or Lesser-Known Comics Worth a Lot of Money

The world of comic collecting revolves around the gravitational pull of a handful of extremely valuable books. The first appearance key issues of major characters set records every year with auctions selling for millions of dollars. Any collector who has one of those, of course, knows exactly what they have. More than that, though, they're common knowledge. Everyone knows about the greatest of the keys, after all.

Though the greats in comics are worth immense amounts of money, that doesn't mean all the other comics are worthless. Throughout the last century, there have been a huge array of comics that can still be worth four or five figures, even though they don't make headlines or make the audience pick their jaws up off the floor.

If you're digging through your collection, you might be disappointed that you don't have any of those vintage six-figure comics floating around, but that doesn't mean you can just drop everything in the dollar bin or donate it to a library. There are plenty of lesser-known comics and underrated secondary keys that are still worth thousands to the right buyer. Let's talk about some of them.

Table of Contents

#1: Action Comics #1

Okay, surely we're joking now, right? There's no universe where Action Comics #1 – the single most valuable comic book in the world – is either underrated or lesser-known.

Well, yes, we're joking, but we're also not. Here's the thing: an original printing of Action Comics #1 is going to be worth infinite money, and the comics publishers know that. They've known that for decades. They've tried to recapture that lightning and make the comic more accessible to collectors through a variety of reissues and reprints.

Action Comics 1

Image source: Google Images

None of the variants and reprints of Action Comics #1 are worth a million bucks. But, many of them can be worth hundreds of bucks, or even thousands in great condition or to the right buyer. If you want a copy of the iconic comic, but don't have seven figures to spend, consider:

  • Sleeping Bag/Safeguard Promotional. This copy has a big "reprint" box on the front cover, clearly identifying it as part of a promotion. These two variations, both from the 70s, range in price from around $55 to $500.
  • Peanut Butter Promo. Did you know Superman once had his own brand of peanut butter? This promotional reprint has sold for anywhere between $200 and $1,500.
  • 50th Anniversary Edition. These copies of Action Comics #1 have a big silver 50th-anniversary logo in the corner and come in two versions: the direct mail version and the newsstand version. Both have sold in the $150-$200 range recently.

All of these, and the other reissues and reprints from over the years, have slowly but steadily been growing in price as more and more people become interested in the most valuable comic of all time but know they'll never actually be able to afford a real copy.

#2: Incredible Hulk #377

While this isn't one of the first appearances of the Hulk – and indeed, it's barely even a key – this comic is noteworthy because it shows an interesting trend in comics. Namely, that rarity can make a comic valuable even if the comic itself isn't inherently expensive.

In this case, it's even more interesting. Reprints are usually not very sought-after in the world of comics. People want the first editions, the valuable ones, before reprints drove the price into the ground for it, made it more accessible to the masses, or otherwise altered the cover or contents of the comic. Comic collectors can sometimes be elitist that way, eh?

Incredible Hulk 377

Image source: Google Images

In this case, the script was a little flipped. Hulk #377 isn't all that valuable in its first printing, with listings currently going for somewhere in the $25 to $150 range, depending on the condition and grading of the book. That's not really anything to write home about, though it's certainly more than your average dollar-bin paper you usually find printed in the 90s. 

What's noteworthy here is the third printing of this issue. Rather than a straight one-for-one reprint, this printing changed the colors of the cover. More than that, it was a much more limited print run, meaning far fewer of the third printing exist than the first and second printings. As such, these comics are going for anywhere from $400 to $2,000 today.

It's worth noting, though, that comics like this tend to be valuable only in extremely good condition. The price drop-off between a 9.8 and a 9.6 is pretty steep, and anything under 8.0 is back down to the sub-$100 level.

#3: Harbinger #1

One of the sad details of comic collecting is that popularity is a huge part of the value, which means that even rare indie gems with cult followings aren't going to sell for a whole lot. Of course, that means anyone who loves those lines has a great opportunity to collect it all for a relatively low investment, unlike fans of one of the Big Two headline characters.

Harbinger 1

Image source: Google Images

Harbinger #1 may not be a well-known comic or a well-known issue, though it's thought of as one of the most valuable comics published by Valiant. Values for this book range from just a few dollars up to $300 or so. Why so much variation? It's not just condition, at least not directly.

This is an example of a comic that is fairly common but is much more rare in its full condition. It came with two add-ins; a coupon and a trading card. A comic that lacks both of them is worth under $20; one that has the coupon can be worth $300 or more, and one with both can be even more. Of course, grade and condition matter as well.

#4: Malibu Sun #13

This is another instance of something oh-so-common in comics: a key issue under an unassuming name that nevertheless contains the first real appearance of a character now considered popular or iconic. In this case, this is the first preview appearance of Spawn.

Malibu Sun 13

Image source: Google Images

We've chosen to include this comic on the list for one important reason. See, the normal version of this comic wasn't super highly printed – the late 90s comics crash was devastating to print runs – but it's still only worth in the ballpark of $100. However, there's a rare variant of the comic.

Specifically, this one isn't a variant, but an error. A printing error on the back cover caused a transposition of colors and left Spawn looking bright green rather than his iconic black. It's not actually negative colors, as some claim, and it's not likely as rare as some claim, but it's still worth significantly more. Recent auctions show this comic listed sold for as much as $4,000.

#5: Danger Girl #2

Danger Girl #2 is a fascinating example of what the late 90s did to try to make comics relevant again and to spur collectors into buying more. 

Any time a collectible gets popular and the people making it notice, there's a very good chance the company is going to try to pump the trend for everything it's worth. It happens all the time, and it's why things like original Beanie Babies are worth so much, but everything after they were popularized is only worth a few bucks.

Comics publishers knew comics were powerful collectibles and, by the 90s, had been taking advantage of it for decades. The 90s just ramped it up. But massive print runs and marketing saturation meant that basically all of the comics were themselves valueless. So, publishers started trying to make variations and artificially-limited print runs.

Danger Girl 2

Image source: Google Images

Danger Girl #2 has a variety of different covers, including several different covers that are all limited editions. It's not a popular line, though many people are fans of the artist, but a few covers are worth more than the normal covers. The "smoking gun" and "ruby red" variations are worth around $600 and over $1,000, respectively.

#6: Seven Seas #4

Another example of one of the core principles of comics value: age is (almost) everything. The most valuable comics from the 90s are a drop in the bucket compared to completely average comics from the 40s.

Seven Seas 4

Image source: Google Images

Seven Seas #4 is a nautical comic that doesn't really have any noteworthy characters or heroes, but fans of nautical and jungle-style adventures will still enjoy it if they can get their hands on it. This particular issue is worth an average of around $12,000-$15,000 on Heritage Auctions, and it's pretty much impossible to find on your average eBay search. 

Most of the reason this comic is so valuable is due to its classic cover featuring art by the legendary Matt Baker. Matt Baker was an influential African-American artist during the Golden Age of comics, known for his exceptional skills and distinct style. He was one of the first prominent black artists in the industry and made significant contributions to portraying female characters, excelling at capturing their beauty and grace. The combination of Baker's artistry and the rarity of Seven Seas #4 makes it a highly sought-after collector's item, appreciated by enthusiasts and collectors alike.

#7: Amazing Spider-Man #667 Variant

One of the more successful examples of a variant holding value, this one has a bit of backstory behind it. Specifically, Spider-Man #666 was an extremely hyped issue, with a ton of social media promotion and a lot of sales. The follow-up book didn't get nearly as much promotion, under the assumption that people hooked on the first book would buy the second. Well, they kind of didn't, and the book sold around half of the volume of the previous issue.

This alone isn't terribly noteworthy, and the base version of Spider-Man #667 isn't all that valuable itself. However, there was a variant cover with art by Gabriele Dell'Otto. It wasn't readily available; in fact, in order to get a copy, dealers had to order a set of 100 copies of the base issue. The drop in popularity meant that relatively few dealers ever actually did so, making this variant a surprisingly rare issue.

Amazing Spider-Man 667 Variant

What do you have if you have a copy of this one in hand? A few years ago, this issue sold for over $8,000. These days? Who knows what it could be worth. Just make sure you have the American version; the Spanish and German versions are much more common and only worth around $40.

How to Tell if Your Comic Is Worth Anything

If you're working on appraising a comics collection, you might get discouraged spending time researching each and every issue, looking for variants and oddities, only to find that it's just another book worth a couple of bucks. Looking for that diamond in the rough can be tedious.

The best thing you can do is start by sorting out your comics by their characters and series. Rather than searching for every specific book, you can search for a series and see if there are any noteworthy valuable comics, keys, variants, or rarities that might be worth looking for. Even something as simple as whether or not the comic has a barcode, or has a coupon intact, can be a decent increase in the value of a book.

From there, you just have to do your research. The most valuable comics will be listed on auction sites like Heritage Auctions, though you need an account to see price history. Anything under $10,000 or so can also be found on eBay.

When checking eBay, always make sure to look at Sold Listings. Anything "completed" and anything currently active can be any price, but that price doesn't necessarily reflect the actual value of the book. Find a few points of comparison and see what you might have on your hands.

Various Comic Books

Image Source: Google Images

Alternatively, why not reach out to us? We're comic fans and comic experts, and we love to chat about all things comic books. Send us some pictures and a description of your comics, and we can tell you what we think the collection or the books might be worth, what to look for in terms of variants and unique issues, and other details. Then, we can advise you on what to do with them, be it sell them, hold them, part them out, or whatever else. There's no pressure and no obligation, just a shared love of comics and a deep well of experience.

To get started, just click this "sell your comics" link and fill out the form. We'll be waiting!

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