Disco Lightning

Norman G. Robinson III Jan 28, 2018
Black Lightning #1

One of the things I love about the Bronze Age is the rise of variety in our heroes. The 1970's was a lightning rod for diversity in comics and culture. I am thinking of Luke Cage, and the Black Panther in his comic, Ms. Marvel in her comic, and the rise of anti-heroes like Wolverine and Punisher. One little-known superhero comic book from this era is Black Lightning #1; script by Tony Isabella and pencils by Rich Buckler and Trevor von Eeden (1977).

Black Lightning works in the school system by day and tries to save his neighborhood in Metropolis by night. Don't let the disco costume fool you; he is tough, smart and determined to rid his streets of crime. He crosses paths with all the big league DC heroes: even Batman, and Robin. This comic book only printed for around 11 issues, but its fundamental lack of popularity then is why it has value now. Having become a sought-after collectible with inherently low print runs.

There is currently a series for Black Lightning, and it is getting good reviews. Truth be told; I haven't seen it, but it seems to be catching on. An ongoing series does provide one thing for this comic book; a catalyst you can count on. After all, with small print runs and CGC Census showing only 442 books slabbed, and backed up by a TV series, what is not to like? This combination collectively makes Black Lightning #1 a potential speculative play.

Past results for Black Lightning over the last fours years are high, 60% returns for any very fine book above 8.0 grade. In the previous three months, lower grades have shot up to an astonishing 76%; proving that this book has massive returns. I know, shocking huh! If you hook up to this supercharged investment, it just might make your hair stand on end with these electrifying returns!

Lobotomy

Lobo #1 was a villain from the 1980's who first appeared in Omega Men #3  and went on to reappear in 1990's. This superhero was a DC caricature of Marvel’s anti-hero craze at the time. His first solo comic was Lobo #1, art by Simon (Surrealist) Bisley and script by the team of Giffen and Grant in 1990.

However, as comic speculation, Lobo #1 has very small returns for a franchise that may, or may not be in a movie someday. They have assigned Jason Fuchs to write the script, but not much more than that with a release sometime in the future, which is problematic at best (source: Cinemablend).

This "biker of the apocalypse" appeared in Lobo #1; ushering in the deluge of comics of the 1990's. During this time period, very few titles remained unscathed due to print runs that were enormous. The 1990's almost obliterated retail comic shops by making many comics of that decade worthless; very similar to the baseball cards that even today have little value from that period.

By way of example: Lobo #1 has returned only 6.5% over the last 24 months, and that is for the highest grade near mint. On Dec 24, 2017, one slabbed copy 9.8 sold for $78 (GoCollect); at this price point almost 30 years later you could barely make a profit once you paid for CGC slab and shipping. Don't be a Lobotomized speculator buying everything that is number one; remember print runs matter, source material and efficacy matter, and there is merely no catalyst or movie scheduled on the horizon to make an even short-term speculative play worthwhile.

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