Collector’s Corner: Top 10 Rarest Harbinger Comics
THE TOP 10 RAREST
“…you are going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view…“
―Obie Wan Kenobi, Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
In 2012 Valiant Entertainment was re-launched by Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari, and is today stronger than ever with a brighter future more promising than its founders might have ever imagined possible. In the Spring of 2015, Valiant partnered with DMG (a Chinese/US film production group / distributor with a hand in such movies as Transformers: Age of Extinction, Iron Man 3, and Looper) and together raised a nine-figure film fund to adapt the Valiant characters to film and TV. In the Summer of 2015, Valiant then announced a partnership with Sony Pictures to bring Bloodshot and Harbinger to the Big Screen in a five picture plan than culminates in a shared universe Harbinger Wars movie.
It is highly appropriate that Valiant would select Harbinger as one of the initial IP’s to launch their cinematic universe.
In March of 2008 it was announced:
“Paramount Pictures has acquired rights to turn the Valiant Comics series “Harbinger” into a live-action feature that will be developed as a potential directing vehicle for Brett Ratner. Alexandra Milchan will produce with Ratner and Jay Stern. The project may be branded under the MTV Films banner.” (source: Variety Magazine: “Ratner eyes Valiant’s ‘Harbinger’”)
The market saw a MASSIVE spike in the price of Harbinger #1 in 2008 as a result of this announcement, and record sales were made at that time (e.g. Harbinger #1 CGC 9.8 sold for $2,550 in 2008, while a CGC 9.8 SS sold for $2,000 that same year). 2009 was another decent year for the Harbinger #1 market with prices averaging between $789 and $1,426.
However, Variety Magazine was wrong; Paramount Pictures had NOT acquired the rights to Harbinger from Valiant at any point. They were negotiating at the time. Brett Ratner was supposed to come on board for the project, if Paramount Pictures had been successful in sealing a deal, which did not occur.
Paramount Pictures was pushing a deal that Dinesh and Valiant did not feel was in the best interest of the publisher, nor was it in the best interest for for Harbinger intellectual property. Dinesh made the decision to NOT close the deal with Paramount, and both he and Valiant took it internal; developing and releasing the comic (which is simply incredible and will translate to film very well), developed the movie script/concept, and then decided to bring Sony Pictures on board (Spider-Man 1 through 3, and Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2). This was a good turn of events, as it will provide fans the Harbinger movie(s) they deserve, while smartly avoiding anything less than optimal.
Valiant secured the five picture deal with Sony Pictures in 2015, and the momentum started. Nearly one year later, during the Valiant Summit 2016 Shamdasani stated:
“The Harbinger script that we have in by a very talented writer, Eric Heisserer, is phenomenal. I will go as far as saying I think it’s the best un-produced screenplay in Hollywood right now; certainly the best un-produced comic book screenplay in Hollywood right now, and Eric has knocked it out of the park. Faith may be the shining star of that script, she is exactly what you want to see; she’s amazing. I’ll tell you one thing, I’ll give you one little thing because I’m so in love with this and Eric is going to kill me for doing this, but it’s worth it. So there is a scene where PRS (Note: Project Rising Spirit) attacks the house, or the force, the bad guys attack the house where the renegades (Note: Renegades are the main characters) are at, and Faith hasn’t joined the Renegades yet, although she’s been activated and she knows the ambush is coming, and it’s all looking really bad, they’ve got a helicopter in the air and it’s got a psiot dampener dampening Pete’s powers; they’re pointing it at Pete. It looks like it’s all going to end, this is 30 minutes into the movie, and all you hear is (John WIlliams’s Superman Theme) and you see this small, white streak fly through the air, whack into the helicopter, knock it out just far enough that Pete can use his powers, and scream “Ouch, that hurt more than I thought it would…” and that’s Faith, that’s her introduction as superhero Faith in the movie, and I think it’s going to be like nothing we have seen before, and that’ what Harbinger is. Both the book, the movie, everything we do is nothing like you’ve ever seen before. It’s a smarter and more sophisticated, more realistic take on superheroes, and humanity, and the human condition really.”
(Note: This video can be viewed HERE)
With all this information, activity, and potential for the Harbinger books, this article is intended to help identify the rarest Harbinger issues released to date, as well as to provide a few honorable mentions for significant issues that cannot be ignored.
There is a good reason that Harbinger #1 (w/ coupon) is the most graded Valiant comic to-date. Harbinger #1 was released in January of 1992 with a low (at the time) print run of 48,000 copies. The book (and series) quickly caught fire with readers and fans who saw it as a refreshing new take on the concept of a team of young superheroes. Wizard Magazine #10 listed Harbinger #1 at No. 9 on their monthly “Top 10” list for May of 1992. The following month in Wizard Magazine #11 (June 1992), Harbinger #1 moved up to the No. 8 spot on that same list, before spending the next four months in the No. 1 spot (Wizard Magazine #12, #13, #14, and #15). Harbinger #1 was listed on the top ten list of Wizard Magazine for at the time) a record eight consecutive months and was eventually named “Collectible of the Decade”.
Harbinger #1 was listed numerous times in other “Top 10” lists as well, includingThe Ten Most Important Comic Books of the 1990s (source: 2006 The Sequart Organization) and “The Top 10 Comic Books of the 1990s” (source: 2014 The Top Lister). Most recently, it was discussed in-depth in my 2015 article A Phoenix Rising from the Ashes: Investing in Harbinger (source: 2015 All-Comic.com).
In addition to all of this, Harbinger #1 featured the first appearance of the Renegades:
Peter Stanchek – AKA Sting, The Visitor
Kris Hathaway –
Faith Herbert – AKA Faith, Zephyr (has stared in her own mini-series, and now a monthly series)
Charlene Dupre – AKA Flamingo
John Torkelson – AKA Torque
Harbinger #1 (w/ coupon) was printed with a thin cover stock, and as a result, the cover is prone to splitting along the spine. Additionally, there was a coupon inside Harbinger #1 through #6 which collectors could cut-out and redeem by mail for a copy of the Harbinger #0 (Pink Variant).
(NOTE: Copies of Harbinger #1 with the coupon cut out are considered “incomplete” and sell for significantly lower prices than complete copies. Often sellers will list a copy for sale stating that it has a coupon, but when it arrives the coupon is missing, or only part of the coupon is inside the comic. Pay attention to raw copies for this, and make sure that you are not being deceived either purposely or by accident. I have owned more than 30 copies of this book over the years, and this exact scenario has happened about 20-25% of the time unfortunately. The struggle is real.)
Additionally, there appear to be copies of Harbinger #1 (w/ coupon) that contain three staples, and others that contain only two staples (with no middle staple). While it is a ridiculous stretch to call it the “Harbinger #1 (Two Staple Variant)” some collectors have found that the two staple copies often grade better than the three staple copies and are less prone to spine splitting (possibly due to less holes in the spine from less staples).
Lastly, there are also copies of Harbinger #1 (w/ coupon) that were printed with “blank coupons” due to a printing and/or production error at the time of publishing.
What made Harbinger different and unique was the fact that it was a story about what a team of young superheroes might really be like in our world. Each character was flawed, and had his/her own motives. Hell, there is a huge debate as to whether or not the villain might not have been the actual hero; it’s all based on blurred lines or morality and what is “right” for humanity. I have ALWAYS considered Harbinger to be “what Marvel’s X-Men should have been” if such a team were to exist.
With three Harbinger-centric movies planned in the near future, in addition to Harbinger (2012), Harbinger: Omegas, Imperium, Faith, Armor Hunters: Harbinger, Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger, Generation Zero, and Harbinger: Renegades, this is a flagship title at the center of the Valiant Universe.
While Harbinger #1 (w/ coupon) featured the first appearance of the Renegades, Harbinger #0 (Pink) had a limited print run of 6,500 copies, which compared to Harbinger #1 (w/ coupon)’s 48,000 printed copies makes Harbinger #0 (Pink) about about seven and a half times more rare. The market has primarily focused on Harbinger #1 (w/ coupon) since the recent movie announcements, and somewhat forgotten this gem.
This is an origin story, that required coupons from the first six issues of Harbinger to be cut-out and redeemed if collectors wanted a copy. This is in-part by many copies of Harbinger #1 through #6 do not have coupon.
Mainstream collectors are usually slow to figure things out, but down the road when they are sitting in a movie theater watching a Harbinger film there will be a percentage of them that say “…I think I’m going to collect all the issues of this series…” at which point the world will quickly discover indeed how few copies there are for this book. Sales have not spiked for this book, and yet the long-term potential is quite strong.
Harbinger #0 (Pink) is a sleeper investment book that hard core Valiant collectors and longtime fans are well aware of.
THE TOP TEN RAREST HARBINGER COMICS
1. Harbinger #1 (DMG Promo Variant): (Unknown number of copies in circulation)
On Mar 9, 2015 Valiant Entertainment announced “a new partnership to span motion pictures, television, publishing, and licensing that will culminate in the big screen debut of Valiant’s universe of characters in theaters around the world” (Source: ValiantUniverse.com).
During the announcement in Beijing, China, promotional comics for both Harbinger and Bloodshot were distributed to members of the Chinese press who attended the press conference. These promotional comics were reprints of Harbinger #1 and Bloodshot #1 written in Mandarin Chinese.
The exact number of printed copies is unknown; as is the number of copies that were actually distributed to the press. Additionally, while seasoned collectors and/or speculators have a proud history of protecting and caring for their comics; non-collectors typically DO NOT and tend to toss such “gems” haphazardly into a bag filled with business cards, company pens, and, business flyers. At the time of this writing, only three sales of these comics (that we are aware of) have occurred, each selling for an unexpectedly significant amount.
A raw ungraded copy of the Harbinger #1 (DMG Promo Variant) was sold via private sale for a reported $1,000+ in Sept, 2015.
In Nov, 2015 a CGC 9.6 Harbinger #1 (DMG Promo Variant) and a CGC 9.6 Bloodshot #1 (DMG Promo Variant) each sold for $510 which is the highest legit selling price for a modern Valiant comic in that grade. Clearly, any NM+ and/or CGC/CBCS 9.8+ copies will sell for a premium (if they are found).
Very few (almost zero) copies have been found in the wild. Valiant Mega-Collector Justin Ehart reportedly contacted a number of sources in mainland China in search of these books with negative results. At-least one or two were signed by Valiant Editor in Chief Warren Simons and provided to “Brigadier” Bruce Hartshorn as a gift for his years of support during and after the 2012 re-launch of Valiant Entertainment.
This books should NOT be treated like the many other foreign language reprints found in comics; this book is #1 on this list for very good reason, and we dare you to find one of these two rare gems.
This is without a doubt the rarest Harbinger book known.
2. Harbinger #25 (Kitson 1:50 Variant): (152 copies calculated)
Harbinger #25 was the final issue for Valiant Entertainment’s 2012 re-launched title. As such, there was much fanfare associated with the issue which was also an anniversary issue. With the original 1992 Harbinger series, many early readers and fans considered issue #25 to be a turning point with the original series with Pete leading the team for Harbinger #0 through #25, and Faith stepping up after with #26.
When it was announced that the 2012 Harbinger chapter would close with Harbinger #25, the parallels were quite apparent. Print runs in the modern age are much lower then they were 25 years ago since kids are more focused on other forms of entertainment (thanks a lot internet and smartphones!).
However, there are advantages to this reality, and with an estimated 150 to 175 printed copies in circulation, this is an amazing book to own if possible. Very few sales exist (or are made public) with most occurring more than two years ago (2014).
This is a book that hard core Harbinger collectors and completionists will always be watching for.
3. Harbinger #15 (Hughes 1:50 Variant): (226 copies calculated)
This is an issue that many collectors simply didn’t pay attention to when they had the chance, and now are scrambling to find. Similar to Harbinger #25 (Kitson 1:50 Variant) it is a book that will command a high market price and is always in demand by Harbinger collectors.
4. Imperium #12 (Palo 1:20 Variant): (226 copies calculated)
Imperium is the third Harbinger title since Valiant’s 2012 re-launch, and despite low print runs and public demand, has a cult-like following and fan-base.
Almost no one who has read the series has had anything negative to say, and some consider Imperium to be among the very best of the past decade.
As is not uncommon, print runs tend to get smaller as a series continues, and it was this issue that was has the smallest numbers in circulation.
5. Imperium #11 (Walsh 1:20 Variant): (235 copies calculated)
Similar to Imperium #12 (Palo 1:20 Variant), this issue is another example of an Imperium variant that almost never comes up for sale.
6. Imperium #9 (Ryp 1:20 Variant): (248 copies calculated)
7. Harbinger Wars #4 (of 4) (Perger 1:50 Variant): (248 copies calculated)
The final issue (and rarest variant) of the 2013 Harbinger Wars crossover event. With a Harbinger Wars movie on the horizon, likely based in some large part to the Harbinger Wars story arc or concept, it’s a good bet that this book is going to be on-fire; if it doesn’t outright explode all together.
8. Imperium #10 (De La Torre 1:20 Variant): (250 copies calculated)
Similar to Imperium #12 (Palo 1:20 Variant), Imperium #11 (Walsh 1:20 Variant), and Imperium #9 (Ryp 1:20 Variant) this issue is another example of an Imperium variant that almost never comes up for sale.
9. Imperium #1 (Braithwaite 1:40 Variant): (256 copies calculated)
Not only does this book have a spot on this list, but it is also the only number one issue on this list which makes it somewhat special and unique.
This book is as desirable, if not more so, than Imperium #1 (Gold) and likely will sell for a larger market value raw than Imperium #1 (Gold) will.
While Imperium #1 (Gold) is most certainly a treasured and rare book, sometimes all that glitters is not gold, but rather the Braithwaite 1:40 variant.
10. Harbinger Wars #3 (of 4) (Zircher 1:50 Variant): (262 copies calculated)
All the factors that make Harbinger Wars #4 (of 4) (Perger 1:50 Variant) a valuable book also apply to the Harbinger Wars #3 (of 4) (Zircher 1:50 Variant), only with the addition of featuring the first modern Valiant appearance of the H.A.R.D. Corps who are major players in the Valiant Universe.
If you don’t believe that they will be part of the Valiant cinematic universe, then you need to re-evaluate that thought. 100% going to happen.
JUST BECAUSE: 11 THROUGH 15
11. Armor Hunters: Harbinger #1 (of 3) (Hairsine 1:25 Variant): (264 copies calculated)
12. Harbinger: Omegas #3 (of 3) (Fabry 1:20 Variant): (286 copies calculated)
13. Imperium #6 (Kano 1:20 Variant): (287 copies calculated)
14. Harbinger Wars #2 (of 4) (Perger 1:50 Variant): (289 copies calculated)
15. Harbinger: Faith #0 (Level 1:20 Variant): (294 copies calculated)
This book was released the following month when Valiant Entertainment launched their second title of their 2012 re-launch.
Released in June of 2012 (nearly 8-9 months before Harbinger #1 (Gold) which ALSO sells quite well…), Harbinger #1 (Djurdjevic 1:50 QR variant) is both rare and condition-sensitive. Estimated quantities in circulation show a likely 640 to 650 printed copies.
While Harbinger #1 (Gold) is a no-joke book by any means, Harbinger #1 (Djurdjevic 1:50 QR Variant), is the original high-end variant for this flagship series and is considered by many to be the most desired Harbinger #1 variant of the 2012 re-launch.
While the original Valiant Harbinger #1 from 1991/1992 featured the 1st appearance of the Harbinger Kids (Peter, Kris, Faith, Charlene and Torque); Harbinger #1 from 2012 featured the first modern appearances of Peter, Harada, Kris, Bleeding Monk, Project Rising Spirit, Tull and Harbinger Foundation. This is basically a who’s who of many key-players in the modern Valiant Universe.
For every 125 copies of Valiant (any) placed, retailers received one of these Line Variants. From all estimates, that means that 538 copies exist.
As one of the hardest to find Variants of the Harbinger series.
The cover art by Jeff Lemire is clearly based on classic high school art that might be found in the notebook of an aspiring artist. in January of 2016, a similar cover was released for Bloodshot: Reborn #10 (Lemire 1:100 Line Variant) which (intentional or not) has created a demand by collectors looking to match as part of a set.
Make no mistake, this is a popular book; that exists in limited quantities, and a strong potential for significantly increased demand in the future as we move closer to the release of the Harbinger films.
NOTE: All of the Harbinger Wars variants listed in this article have CRAZY HIGH investment potential! Valiant Entertainment has already announced that it will create a Harbinger Wars movie in the near future, and it is HIGHLY likely that much of the story will be based on events and/or characters in the Harbinger Wars mini-series crossover books. The print runs were low. Harbinger Wars #1 featured the 1st appearance of the Gen Zero kids. Harbinger Wars #3 featured the 1st modern Valiant appearance of the H.A.R.D. Corps.
Harbinger Wars #1 of 4 (Zircher 1:50 Variant) featured the 1st appearance of the Gen Zero kids,and had a print run of 550 to 600 copies.
In May of 2016 it was announced that Valiant plans to launch a Generation Zero monthly series.
Don’t expect this book to lose value anytime soon. You have been warned. THIS BOOK WILL BE HUGE!
While Harbinger #1 (Djurdjevic 1:50 QR variant) placed higher on this list, in no way should Harbinger #1 (Lozzi Gold) be considered any less. Sales for BOTH books are limited as there simply are not many of them, and fans are only recently taking a second look at the investment potential of these books.
As the market for Valiant (and Harbinger) grows in the near future (it already is) this is a book that simply will not be available for everyone in high grade.
As any comic book collector knows all so well, books that are not available, often later become available at a much higher cost.
Do yourself a favor and be on the “Right Side of History” on this. There is an entire demographic of collectors that are “completionists” who will be looking for this, and many other books on this list very soon.