There is a pretty well-known secret about comic books. Upcoming movies of television shows drives interest higher. Even some of the less popular characters have seen their prices get a bump ahead of a movie. The Riddler is the villain for the next blockbuster film The Batman set to be released on March 4, 2022. There is a catch on just assuming comic book prices will rise — Batman and some of his villains have already seen multiple reboots.
Robert Pattinson is cast as Batman and Paul Dano as the Riddler. Many readers on here grew up with Jim Carey cast as The Riddler, which looks like we’re all in for a change of tone. A dark look for the new Riddler has critics noting the similarities between the Zodiac killer and the new costume design for him. Can any superhero villain be categorized as pleasant looking?
This is an opportunity for all collectors (and investors) to examine the first appearance issues of these main characters, as well as the iconic Batman #1 from Spring, 1940. Just understand that stocks and bonds come with no guaranteed profits, so speculators who buy collectibles of any kind should expect no guarantees in collectibles either.
There is one consideration about how much “this Batman film” will help comic book sales before and after its release. This is not the first Batman, and it’s not even the first reboot of Batman and the same villain. Will Batman comic book prices be affected by this movie release? That remains to be seen. Another consideration is that the graded population of these key comic books from the Golden Age is just not that large, and that means the number of sales are likely to be low.
Collectors Dashboard evaluates high-end collectibles as an alternative asset class. This means collectibles are attracting the same capital that could have been invested into stocks or bonds. Some of these comic book prices are high enough that the investing theme will be more than obvious.
Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics no. 27 (May, 1939). He is battling The Riddler in the new 2022 movie who first appears in Detective Comics #140 (October, 1948). These two issues are key and here are some recent realized prices for them:
Here are recent Heritage Auctions sales of Detective Comics no. 27 (May, 1939):
- Detective Comics #27 (DC, 1939) CGC VG+ 4.5 Tan to off-white pages sold for $1,140,000 on January 13, 2022 after 26 bids.
- Detective Comics #27 (DC, 1939) CGC Apparent FN/VF 7.0 Extensive (A-5) white pages sold for $336,000.00 on November 18, 2021 after 18 bids.
- Detective Comics #27 (DC, 1939) CGC FN/VF 7.0 off-white pages sold for $1,500,000 on November 19, 2020 after 54 bids.
Here are recent Heritage Auctions sales (Image below by Heritage Auctions) of Detective Comics #140 (October, 1948):
- Detective Comics #140 The Promise Collection Pedigree (DC, 1948) CGC NM+ 9.6 white pages sold for $456,000.00 on June 18, 2021 after 56 bids.
- Detective Comics #140 (DC, 1948) CGC VF 8.0 off-white to white pages sold for $40,800.00 on July 9, 2020 after 24 bids.
- Detective Comics #140 (DC, 1948) CGC VF- 7.5 cream to off-white pages sold for $40,800.00 on April 1, 2021 after 31 bids.
- Detective Comics #140 (DC, 1948) CGC VF 8.0 white pages sold for $38,400.00 on November 19, 2020 after 27 bids.
- Detective Comics #140 (DC, 1948) CGC VG/FN 5.0 off-white to white pages sold for $25,200.00 on November 20, 2021 after 35 bids.
Here are issues of Detective Comics #140 currently available eBay listings of the issue that have not sold:
- Detective Comics #140 CGC 5.0 for $32,750.95 or Best Offer.
- Detective Comics #140 CGC 5.5 for $30,500.00 or Best Offer.
- Detective Comics #140 Ungraded/Damaged for $12,700.00 or Best Offer. [eBay image shows tears and stains to cover]
Here are recent sales of Batman #1 (Spring, 1940):
- Batman #1 (DC, 1940) CGC NM 9.4 white pages sold for $2,220,000 on January 14, 2021 after 44 bids.
- Batman #1 (DC, 1940) CGC FN+ 6.5 off-white pages sold for $576,000.00 on September 8, 2021 after 45 bids.
- Batman #1 (DC, 1940) CGC VG/FN 5.0 off-white to white pages sold for $360,000.00 on April 1, 2021 after 29 bids.
- Batman #1 The Promise Collection Pedigree (DC, 1940) CGC GD 2.0 cream to off-white pages sold for $240,000.00 on November 18, 2021 after 57 bids.
- Batman #1 (DC, 1940) CGC GD 2.0 white pages sold for $222,000.00 on September 9, 2021 after 25 bids.
One issue to consider is that Batman Zero Year comic from 2013 to 2014 features the origins of the Riddler character. As with almost all modern printing runs, these are rather easy to find. And despite some very interesting details of Riddler’s character they just are not sought after based on the prices still being under $20.00.
There are other issues that involve The Riddler and Batman including The War of Jokes and Riddles from the DC Universe Rebirth spanning 8 issues between August 2017 to December 2017. Collectors Dashboard acknowledges the other appearances but is focusing on the high-end aspect of collecting and investing moving forward in 2022. We will reference this article as the movie is released and changes evolve in prices of key issues.