Sub-Mariner on Sonar in the Silver Age

Fantastic Four #4

The Sub-Mariner, a.k.a.Namor first appeared in the silver age in Fantastic Four #4. It was published in 1962 with Stan (Excelsior) Lee on the script and (Giant) Jack Kirby as the artist. Namor has appeared in comics as far back as 1939, in a Motion Picture Funnies Weekly.

Sub-Mariner has been around the Marvel, and Timely universe since before America entered WWII. His first cover appearance was in Marvel Mystery Comics #4, but most of his Golden Age stuff is out of reach of the average investor. Not so for the Silver Age there are still a few nuggets you can pry out. Namor is the Prince of Atlantis, but has also been: an anti-hero, an Avenger, in the Cabal, an original Defender, a derelict, an Illuminati, an Invader, a member of All-Winners Squad, and even a villain. Sub-Mariner has covered a lot of ground since 1939 and been associated with more super groups than he has gills.

This character is not on many speculator's sonars currently; perhaps this is a great time to buy. Fantastic Four #4 has only sold 12 copies in the last three months. These range from very fine (8.0) for $5750 to a poor copy (.5) for $270. The fewer books being sold, the better. The current CGC census shows a 1000 books in inventory for the Silver Age. Why invest in Sub-Mariner right now? Mostly, he is the last big Marvel hero yet to be portrayed in a movie. The hype and media buzz regarding Black Panther, Deadpool, Phoenix, and Venom is sucking up all the oxygen from the comic speculator environs. This book is relatively cheap and a Silver Age key. But the smart speculator could purchase a readable copy slabbed, for just under $500.

Do not underestimate the power of Namor; Fantastic Four #4 has returned significant results, over six years. For instance, near mint minus (9.2) has sold for $19,000 with a return of 72%! This Atlantean ROI recorded just 123 days ago. Recently, a readable copy of FF#4 graded (2.0) sold for $475 returning some lucky speculator about 51% (GoCollect). These are tsunami-like returns, try to get that in the stock market, good luck. The risk is relatively minor as this key is also an early FF book. Join Sub-Mariner's submerged supremacy and buy a copy asap,"Did you suppose that Namor the First Prince of Atlantis was to be long held at bay by naught save an illusion!?"

Choosing Between Two Slabs

Unfortunately, we cannot use the force to determine which comic book to buy of two like grades or cost. If we are buying Star Wars #1 with a (9.0), and the other comic available is also Star Wars #1 with the same (9.0) grade, then which to buy? The knowledgeable investor will know the answer; the speculator would probably guess. I use two aspects of books of the same grade: paper quality, and or cover print skew to determine the best comic.

When a company like CGC, or CBCS grades a raw comic, the paper is given a category. The different degrees of paper are: white, off-white, tan (cream colored), brown, and the worst given a brittle definition. The paper quality is the potential life of the comic. The buyer can consider the reasonable lifetime of the comic based on the quality of paper, or in a nutshell how soon will it turn yellow.

The second element is cover print skew. When comics are first printed not all copies are cut the same. The printer will occasionally shift or off center the print. This can create a skew of the original edition on the cover. It may tilt to one side or the other as much as a quarter inch. It may even chop into the comic grading stamp at the top of older comics. This would decrease its value for the discerning investor. In other words when you put two copies of Star Wars #1 together, which one has the better print cut? The print skew can be hard to visualize but can significantly reduce the value of a comic book.

In conclusion, use the force of your wallet and buy Star Wars #1 without skewed print and with white paper. But what if one has skewed and the other has off-white; which do you buy? That is a topic for another blog, good luck with your purchases.

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