A quick note before we continue. As I was editing the next installment I was thinking to myself, waitaminute A&L, anyone reading this who wasn't actively collecting in the 80s may find this very odd. All of these titles that Chuck recommended didnt just get picked up out of the blue (although some, I have to admit, were rather strange picks). They were mostly referenced as potential investment books based on existing current trends. So lets focus a bit on what was ALREADY heating up on the secondary market at that time period;
Punisher - Punisher's limited series took off quickly and with it boosted alot of Bronze appearance by the character including his first appearance of course. In 1986 ASM129 was a $5. By 1988/89 after the success of the LS and the launch of 2 more ongoing titles, it was a 150.00 book. The limited series was getting anywhere from $20-30 for the 1st issue alone. Also, Punisher War Journal #1 was being speculated due to a reported large quantity of the print run being damaged during shipment.
Marvel Masterworks - Hardcovers and TPB were the next big thing in 1988. And Marvel Masterworks were leading the pack with prices soaring between $70-90
Nick Fury vs Shield #1 was a $30 book and was hot hot hottt
Excalibur #1 12.00 and went to 2nd print, DD #254 15.00, all Groo books were scorching hot at $10-20 for #1s all across the board (Marvel, PC etc)
Indies were absolutely KILLING it. Not to suggest that they were outperforming Marvel/DC in sales, heavens no. They were actually selling very poorly by 1988, but some of the titles published in early 80s-1988 carried a hefty price tag, which resulted in a big interest and in my opinion the main reason why Chuck's spec column was even created. They were the fire that sparked interest with comic book collectors again. Lets look at them closely:
The big three - Cerebus - $500. TMNT - $200 Albedo - $350
Although Cerebus was a Bronze age book it heavily influenced the B&W indie market. TMNT - need we say more. Albedo - the minuscule print run on the 1st issue (#0) was enough to make it very sought after by most indie collectors.
Yes these were all B&W books and all featured anthropomorphic characters. But both trends were actually coming to an end by 1988
The 2nd tier - mostly mature underground and some obscure B&W titles like Love & Rockets ($120) Grendel ($30-80) Quadrant ($130) Flaming Carrot ($115) Cherry ($50) Omaha ($25)
Dark Horse was doing well with Concrete ($20) Aliens ($20)
Gladstone were doing tremendously well with most of their Disney titles but mainly with Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck ($15-25). Yes I kid you not, Disney was hot back then.
Recent hot series included - Tick ($15), Speed Racer/Racer X ($15-20) Rock n Roll Comics ($50) Black Kiss #1 ($20) Faust #1 ($30)
Japanese/Manga books included Lone wolf cub, Naausica, Lum, Kamui and also Ben Dunn's Ninja High School's series were doing well (although the latter wasnt manga)
Its clear that Batman was the leader of the pack. Frank Miller's Dark Knight was a $20 book almost overnight, and by the time Batman was adapted to a movie a few more titles generated interest in the secondary market. They were: Cult #1 (anywhere from $10-20) killing joke ($25) and of course bats #426-429 which were moving at $100 per set. As I mentioned earlier, HC and TPB were all the rage and had a huge demand, and that reflected in (mainly) Batman books: Greatest Batman/Joker Stories ($60) Son Of Demon ($55) and the biggest one of them all Dark Knight s&n Hardcover Edition ($600).
Watchmen was extremely popular as well, and on a side note I truly dont remember any book other than Dark Knight maybe, that has never stopped being popular since it first saw print.
Also, a new trend was forming with D&D comics: Dragonlance & AD&D were seeing $10 or higher prices. Insane right?