Collector’s Corner: Valiant-Comics Hot-Picks! (The 1990’s)
With the recent news of a MASSIVE MOVIE & TV deal between Valiant & DMG, demand for early key-issues have EXPLODED! NM & 9.8 issues are disappearing at light-speed! Valiant is on FIRE!
This will be the second of 2 COLLECTOR’S CORNER articles covering the HOTTEST BOOKS (or also the potential HOTTEST BOOKS) that VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT has published. This particular article will focus on VALIANT comic books published in the 1990’s; the first article focused on VALIANT comic books published in the since the 2012 re-launch.
TIME IS NOT ABSOLUTE! Nothing is. So feel free to come to your own conclusions about what will potentially happen with sales and/or the future of all things VALIANT. But consider what I write here, and I will do my best to not disappoint. 😉
This article is NOT written in any particular order.
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #0: – Gold Edition.
This was (rumored to be) the earliest Gold variant from Valiant (the other that often is credited with that title is the ETERNAL WARRIOR #1 Gold-Flat. I suspect it was A&A #0).
This was also the first appearances of both Archer and Armstrong. It features one of the most recognizable and iconic 1990’s VALIANT Covers (by the legendary artist BARRY WIDSOR SMITH). Even by today’s standards it still reads well, and both could/should be enjoyed.
Only 5,000 copies were released over 20 years ago. VERY FEW CGC/CBCS 9.8’s exist; or ever will exist. Even at a time when VALIANT books were in low demand, this book STOOD TALL! Can be collected in any grade; HIGH GRADE if you can somehow find one.
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG / ETERNAL WARRIOR #8: – Flipbook
This book features a stunning wraparound cover showing both ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #8, as well as ETERNAL WARRIOR #8. It’s classic art style depicting it’s characters is a pure and true to 1990′ VALIANT as it could possibly be, showing Archer, Armstrong, Gilad The Eternal Warrior, and the first appearance of Ivar, Timewalker.
Ivar later was featured in his own monthly series not long after, and even more recently in 2015, another monthly series.
250,000 were printed, but that does NOT mean 250,000 CGC/CBCS 9.8’s exist! Most copies were NOT treated as well as they could have been, and the demand for this book is starting to really pick-up. This is a Key-Book, and one that can still be found at bargain prices. This book should be collected at 9.8+ level.
BLOODSHOT #6 : –
I have written extensively about this issue (READ HERE: http://valiantcentral.com/collectors-corner-ninjaks-first-appearance/) which features the first appearance of Colin King (AKA Ninjak).
This book dominated the charts in 1993, and was the beginning of Ninjak who would go on to be one of the most recognizable characters in the VALIANT UNIVERSE.
For years you could a CGC/CBCS 9.8 for $30. Those days appear to be gone, and we are seeing this book vanish in high grade. While the print run was quite large (410,000), it is still a Key-Book, and one that is best collected at 9.8+ level.
BLOODSHOT #7: –
Much like BLOODSHOT #6, I have written extensively about this issue (READ HERE: http://valiantcentral.com/collectors-corner-ninjaks-first-appearance/) which features the first appearance of Ninjak in costume.
This book goes hand-in-hand with BLOODSHOT #6, but it should be noted that it is less common. 265,000 copies were printed.
A Key-Book that is best collected at 9.8+ level.
ETERNAL WARRIOR #1: – Gold Embossed and Gold-Flat Variants.
With Frank Millar cover art, this book followed UNITY #0 in the 18 Chapter Mega Crossover, UNITY. BOTH versions command strong sales at the CGC/CBCS 9.8 level, but are NOT common books.
5,000 copies of the Gold-FLAT variant were printed, but 2,500 copies were mistakenly distributed as regular copies; and 1,000 of the 5,000 copies were (allegedly) destroyed by VALIANT during/after the mix-up.
As a result, 5,000 copies of the Gold Embossed variant were distributed to dealers as a replacement for the Gold-flat variant.
What this all means, is that there are NOT very many Gold-flat variants. What’s worse is that the Gold-flat variants are also SUPER RARE in CGC/CBCS 9.8 due to also being HIGHLY CONDITION SENSITIVE. As a result, the ETERNAL WARRIOR #1: – Gold-Flat Variant is one of the most valuable, rare, and in-demand VALIANT books printed in the 1990’s; or to-date really.
ETERNAL WARRIOR #4 –
I have written extensively about this issue (READ HERE: http://valiantcentral.com/collectors-corner-bloodshots-first-appearance/) which features the first appearance of Bloodshot (last page cameo; see RAI #0 for first full appearance).
100,000 copies were printed, which was actually quite low compared to most POST-UNITY VALIANT books. This book as be VANISHING from any and all possible places it can be found!
Graded and HIGH GRADE copies are in serious demand. A Key-Book that is best collected at 9.8+ level, though there may be a market for 9.6’s as well.
HARBINGER #0 – Pink Sendaway Edition
NOT TO BE CONFUSED with the Blue Second Print!
Only about 6,500 copies were printed, and only 3,500 copies were redeemed by mail.
To get this book, you had to cut the coupons out of HARBINGER #1-6 and then mail them to VALIANT for a FREE copy. This books is very rare, and quite possibly will turn out to be one of the “Crown Jewels” for collector once they buy copies of HARBINGER #1 and then start looking for this AWESOME book. This is a classic Key-Book that will be harder to find than ALL other early HARBINGER issues. The world just hasn’t figured it out yet, but they will…
HARBINGER #1 – With Coupon
THIS IS THE BOOK! Seriously, don’t mess around or wait. GET ONE!
This was the first appearance of theHARBINGER KIDS (STING (PETER STANCHEK), KRIS, ZEPHYR, FLAMINGO, and TORQUE), and in 2006 was listed as the NUMBER-ONE MOST IMPORTANT COMIC BOOK of the 1990’s by the SEQUART ORGANIZATION.
Many copies have a split in the cover at the spine, which appears to be a common printing defect. This alone makes it difficult to obtain this book in CGC/CBCS 9.8.
This is the book is a cornerstone for VALIANT Collectors, both in significance and in value. It can be collected in ANY GRADE, and CGC/CBCS 9.8’s can (and have) commanded prices in the $1,000’s! If you have the chance to buy a copy soon, DO IT! 48,000 copies were printed, but most are NOT in HIGH GRADE!
Signed CGC 9.8 copies are listed at #3 on my “Top Ten Most Valuable VALIANT Comics” list (READ HERE: http://valiantcentral.com/collectors-corner-top-10-most-valuable-valiant-comics/).
MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER #5 / RAI #1 – Flipbook (with coupon for MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER #0) With Cards.
The oldest book on this list, this was the first appearance of Rai, the first original character of the VALIANT UNIVERSE.
It was a flipbook with featured both MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER #5 and RAI #1, and you should always check that it has both the coupon for MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER #0 and trading cards or it is viewed as INCOMPLETE by man collectors.
85,000 copies were printed, so a CGC/CBCS 9.8 is still possible to find.
RAI #0 –
This is arguably “the most significant story of early VALIANT”.
It featured the first full appearance of Bloodshot (see ETERNAL WARRIOR #4 for the first appearance of Bloodshot), the first appearance of the *NEW* Rai (who takes over in RAI #9), the first appearance of Solar the Destroyer, and the second appearance of the H.A.R.D. Corps (see HARBINGER #10 for the first appearance of the H.A.R.D. Corps); as well as appearances by pretty much everyone at that point in the VALIANT UNIVERSE!
It has the most visibly iconic and recognizable cover from the early VALIANT era, and is always in demand. Recently, the market for HIGH GRADE raw copies and CGC/CBCS 9.8’s has exploded, with prices commanding TWO, THREE, and even FOUR times what they did not long ago.
RAI #1-4 –
I have combined these four books because they are similar in many ways in terms of collectibility, and (with exception to RAI #1) these were some of the lowest print-runs for regular issues of all early VALIANT. I’ll try to break it down:
MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER #5-7 were the RAI mini-series.
RAI #1 was the first issue in the regular series with 120,000 copies printed.
RAI #2 had only 40,000 copies printed.
RAI #3 had only 38,000 copies printed. Many copies were mis-cut at the top of the cover, and those copies that were not often sell for a decent amount.
RAI #4 had only 38,000 copies printed. Many copies have a tilted cover, and those copies that do not often sell for a decent amount.
NOTE: these books are fairly rare, and were listed in WIZARD Magazine’s TOP TEN lists for much of the early 1990’s. The demand diminished after a while, but expect new interest in these books soon.
RAI #5 –
Of all the Rai issues produced, RAI #5 has proven historically to be the most valuable and most in-demand, selling usually for TWICE the value of what other issues of RAI typically do.
The book served as the UNITY PRELUDE, and featured the first appearance of Gilad, the Eternal Warrior of 4001.
40,000 copies were printed, and the demand has remained constant over the years.
SHADOWMAN #1 –
With 50,000 copies printed, this featured the first appearance of Jack Bonface as the Shadowman (see X-O MANOWAR #4 for the first appearance of Jack Bonface).
This was the first in the regular series, and it is important to note along with Rai, Shadowman was one of the earliest original VALIANT characters who has since appeared in video games, multiple volumes of SHADOWMAN, and is also expected to be featured in one of the first movie projects VALIANT will develop.
Raw copies have surged recently in demand, commanding higher prices than in the past by a significant margin. This book should be collected at 9.8+ level.
SHADOWMAN #8 –
With 85,000 copies printed, this featured the first appearance of Master Darque. When the Shadowman movie or TV show is developed, there is a 100% chance that Master Darque will be the villain.
When that happens, the world will know the name “Master Darque.”
This is a book that like ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #8 and BLOODSHOT #6, it can still be found at bargain prices. But there are also thousands less of these.
This book should be collected at 9.8+ level.
SOLAR MAN OF THE ATOM #3 –
This book has potential to be one of the most in-demand books on this list. It features the first appearance of Toyo Harada, and the first appearance of the Harbinger Foundation.
Harada is the antagonist of HARBINGER, or he is the hero of HARBINGER, depending on how you see it. This book was largely ignored for the past 20+ years, but it’s value has recently begun to show.
When the HARBINGER MOVIE or TV show is made, this book will rise. It is the birth of the HARBINGERS, and of prehaps the main player of the series; one that continues to this very day. With 65,000 copies printed, this book should be collected at 9.8+ level.
SOLAR MAN OF THE ATOM #10. – First Print
With 55,000 copies printed, this book features the first appearance of Gilad, The Eternal Warrior, and the first appearance of the Geomancer.
SMOTA #10 typically drives collectors CrAzY! HIGHLY condition sensitive and difficult to obtain in 9.8; to date 54 UNSIGNED copies have been graded in 9.8, while HUNDREDS have failed with grades of 9.6 or lower. It features an all-black cover that makes ANY imperfection or flaw easily apparent.
The history is that legendary artist BARRY WINDSOR SMITH faxed JIM SHOOTER a black page when asked for the cover art for this issue; and to one-up BWS, SHOOTER actually published it.
Signed CGC 9.8 copies are listed at #2 on my “Top Ten Most Valuable VALIANT Comics” list (READ HERE: http://valiantcentral.com/collectors-corner-top-10-most-valuable-valiant-comics/).
X-O MANOWAR #1 –
Without question, X-O Manowar is one of VALIANT’s most well known characters, having existed for more than 20 years and three volumes of monthly series. This was the first appearance of X-O Manowar (Aric); one of the most important cornerstones of the VALIANT UNIVERSE.
He has appeared in video games, pulp fiction, fan fiction, and soon enough will have his shot on the silver screen with movies.
When that time comes, THE WORLD WILL KNOW ABOUT X-O MANOWAR! K-Mart will sell X-O underwear for kids, Toys R Us will sell X-O Lego set, and THIS BOOK will be expensive! You have been warned.
X-O MANOWAR #4: –
Awesome way to make an entrance! The first appearance of Jack Bonface, who makes a cameo playing safe saxophone in a bar that Aric and Harada are having a meeting in. Then a few weeks later, SHADOWMAN #1 appears, where we learn that Jack Bonface is the Shadowman.
Not many of these were printed (42,000) as it was a pre-unity book. but it’s golden when you can get it in CGC/CBCS 9.8, and it is a must for any serious Shadowman collector. Demand for it has taken off recently.
UNITY #0: – Red Incentive Edition
One of Barry Windsor Smith most iconic covers of the early VALIANT era, the Red logo version of the regular cover had only 5,000 copies printed (while the Blue Logo had 250,000 copies printed, so think of it as 2% of the print run, or in other words a 1:50 incentive variant). However, the original distribution methods are unknown.
We suspect that is was intended to be a dealer incentive, likely for re-orders of the Unity crossover books. What we do know, is that it is a sought after book by collectors, and that there are not very many in CGC/CBCS 9.8+; though there is one UNITY #0: – Red Incentive Edition CGC 9.9 listed at #7 on my “Top Ten Most Valuable VALIANT Comics” list (READ HERE: http://valiantcentral.com/collectors-corner-top-10-most-valuable-valiant-comics/).
CHEESASAURUS REX – In the late early 1990’s kids could collect enough “points” (1,000 I believe) to mail in and score this beauty! Somehow created in a partnership between KRAFT FOODS and VALIANT COMICS if you can believe it! It is rumored that in 2013 a VALIANT FAN attended Florida SuperCon and asked former VALIANT Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Legendary Artist BOB LAYTON to sign a copy, which supposedly received a humorous reaction.
Regardless, these still sell from from time to time for higher than you might expect.