(Black PR Wire) Marvel Comic’s Black Panther—the first Black comic book superhero, born in the 1960s—is poised to make his big screen debut in the much-anticipated movie, Captain America: Civil War. It’s culturally significant, yes, but for comic book collectors, the growing interest in Black superheroes opens doors for investors, too.
“When interest in a character rises, comic book values do, too,” says Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of Metropolis Collectibles, the world’s largest vintage comic book dealership, and ComicConnect.com, its online auction site.
Take the Black Panther’s first appearance 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.
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Black Panther character was born as T’Challa, the prince of Wakanda, a technologically-advanced country. He takes on the hero role when his father, the king, is killed.
Then there’s Luke Cage, a favorite of actor Nicholas Cage, who adopted his surname. This Black superhero, who first appeared in Marvel’s Hero for Hire #1 in 1972, 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. But earlier this year, a similarly graded copy sold for $24,000, a whopping 867 percent increase in five years.
“The interest is industry wide,” notes 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 are Hardware, Icon and Static.