Pre-hero Atlas comics outlook
5 5

65 posts in this topic

Does anyone else think that the pre-hero Atlas comics are the great underrated comics flying under the radar right now? All the key Marvel superhero issues are red-hot right now with all the superhero movies coming out. But at some point those are going to be priced out of reach of the collectors by the speculators and Wall Street investors, and then I think the pre-hero category will be the next ones to be chased after. And let's face it - they're older comics and not all that easy to find, especially in higher grades. As an example of their rise in popularity, I had a chance to buy a Journey Into Mystery #1 in 1997 for $700 which now sells for $9,000 on eBay (the story of my life).

Once I've completed my acquisition of the Fantastic Four Galactus/Silver Surfer trilogy (#s 48-50), my sole focus will be on the pre-heroes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Getoutandstayout said:

Does anyone else think that the pre-hero Atlas comics are the great underrated comics flying under the radar right now? All the key Marvel superhero issues are red-hot right now with all the superhero movies coming out. But at some point those are going to be priced out of reach of the collectors by the speculators and Wall Street investors, and then I think the pre-hero category will be the next ones to be chased after. And let's face it - they're older comics and not all that easy to find, especially in higher grades. As an example of their rise in popularity, I had a chance to buy a Journey Into Mystery #1 in 1997 for $700 which now sells for $9,000 on eBay (the story of my life).

Once I've completed my acquisition of the Fantastic Four Galactus/Silver Surfer trilogy (#s 48-50), my sole focus will be on the pre-heroes.

Seems like pre-Code comics, regardless of publisher, are already red hot.  Nothing special about Atlas compared to other publishers, as they have no real relationship to the Marvel superhero comics, so I don't see them appreciating faster than some of the other pre-Code publishers. 

The guys driving up the prices of comics, by the way, aren't "Wall Street investors."  The comic market is too small, financially, to make it a target of institutional investors, and it takes too much effort to trade in it intelligently.  While there is always speculation by some collectors, it sure seems the comic market prices are driven by folks who are passionate about comics.  It's just that some of them have a lot of disposable income.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the boards!

As someone who's been focused on Pre-Hero Marvels since 2009, you are correct that they are hard to find in higher grades, but those will also cost you a pretty penny (almost outside the realm of most casual collectors). Most issues can be had in Good for $100 with a little patience & willingness to hunt. The core titles like Strange Tales & Journey into Mystery seem to have the highest demand while the others draw limited interest.

I collect them because I enjoy the art & appreciate their period in comics history (Post Implosion to the rise of the super-heroes). If they happen to gain some value that's great - but most of the big gains for these happened in the last 5-10 years. As someone recently said, they were getting laughed at for buying PHM issues in the 80's & 90's, but probably made a handsome profit with the rise of CGC and online auctions.

And as sfcityduck mentioned, there are a handful of usual suspects who bid on these in auctions, but all in all, think the interest is pretty limited except for the few keys. The old guard is slowly allowing their collections to move to new stewards. Pre-code  has been hot for a while (along with GGA), just check out the quantity of sales threads that highlight those (yes, there is more superhero sales threads but pre-code & GGA seem pretty active).

It's still a fun genre and as always collect what you like!

-bc

ps - hope to see your books in the PHM thread in the Silver Age section!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember when pre-hero was overlooked and undervalued, but that has changed a lot in recent years. I'm no expert but I'm guessing tales to Astonish 13 is probably the top PHM key, or at least one of the tops. Good luck, it's a fun category!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve always loved the Atlas pre-hero monster books, been collecting them since the 70s. My first exposure to them would have been in the reprint titles, Where Monster Dwell, Monsters on the Prowl, etc. My very first actual issue was Strange Tales #91, which my dad found on a construction site he was working at. Back then they were tough for me to find; there was only one dealer at the local monthly show who had them with any regularity.

 

 

strangetales91.jpg

Edited by Dick Pontoon
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Getoutandstayout said:

Does anyone else think that the pre-hero Atlas comics are the great underrated comics flying under the radar right now? 

 

LOTS of underrated books out there right now.

Nobody paying attention

Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Mackenzie999 said:

I remember when pre-hero was overlooked and undervalued, but that has changed a lot in recent years. I'm no expert but I'm guessing tales to Astonish 13 is probably the top PHM key, or at least one of the tops. Good luck, it's a fun category!

Yeah, the one with "Groot." Because of the GOTG movie. Who woulda thought a few years ago? My favorite TTA cover, though, is #7. But it's such an early issue that I think costs more than I can afford right now. I'll have to save up.

Tales-To-Astonish-7.jpg

Edited by Getoutandstayout
correction
Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate the time period they represent as well; not enough has been written about the Atlas/Marvel books of the 50's/early 60's; the obvious "prototypes" that are experimented with is but one of many angles this time period can be appreciated.  What about the artists honing their craft?  What about the social/political statements made in the story lines concerning the threat of nuclear war in the 1950's?  

Edited by BuscemasAvengers
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read and collected PHM since the early 1960's. I actually stopped reading when the superhero genre started. I read a few early issues of FF and thought it was dumb compared to the horror and sci fi. My favorite to this day is Strange Tales 89 with my favorite Kirby monster, Fin Fang Foom. Also the best story IMO. I bought the Bethlehem copy for $120 which was triple guide at the time. Had it graded by CGC as a 8.0. Sold it in 2007 for $1315. The last sale in this grade was $7495 this year. I was able to pick up a 6.5 copy this year as I always regretted selling it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew to love these books but collecting them is tough from price and availability standpoints for me. I didn't realize I was such a fan or even called them PHM -- just sort of referred to them as "monster" books as a kid. Thankfully I collected anything back then and ended up with a whole bunch of BA reprints of these along with some other sci fi/horror stuff.

Looked into collecting them a year or so ago and figured out that was a costly venture. Probably will stick with TPB if I need to read the stories someday. They are awesome and those who have been accumulating them since the jump have some very impressive collections on here. I guess  you could say that about any genre on here actually.

Edited by 01TheDude
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Getoutandstayout said:

Does anyone else think that the pre-hero Atlas comics are the great underrated comics flying under the radar right now? All the key Marvel superhero issues are red-hot right now with all the superhero movies coming out. But at some point those are going to be priced out of reach of the collectors by the speculators and Wall Street investors, and then I think the pre-hero category will be the next ones to be chased after. And let's face it - they're older comics and not all that easy to find, especially in higher grades. As an example of their rise in popularity, I had a chance to buy a Journey Into Mystery #1 in 1997 for $700 which now sells for $9,000 on eBay (the story of my life).

Once I've completed my acquisition of the Fantastic Four Galactus/Silver Surfer trilogy (#s 48-50), my sole focus will be on the pre-heroes.

Cool covers are  the main movers in today's pre-code market. So unfortunately many of the Atlas pre-hero atlas (I'm thinking here of all the super hero tryout issues) are a bit too tame to skyrocket IMO.

That being said there are a bunch of Manley, Everett and Heath covers that are outstanding. But those have already taken off.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
5 5