Undervalued: The Batman Adventures #1!

From Dakoit at http://comicbookspeculation.blogspot.ca/ his review of back issues worth speculation.

Undervalued: The Batman Adventures #1!
There has been a lot of talk about the recent cancellation of ‘Beware The Batman’, I’ve never watched the first (and only) season, but I thought the previews looked really great. Anyway, the reason I’m discussing this latest series of Batman, is because there have been so many before it: New Batman Adventures, Batman Beyond, The Batman Strikes, Batman: Brave and The Bold… to me all of the cartoons mentioned could only be possible to the astounding critical and popular success of the original; Batman The Animated Series.

For my brother and myself, Batman The Animated Series was key moment in our love for Batman. Five years prior, we saw Tim Burtons movie masterpiece ‘BATMAN’ and were completely blown away. As ten year olds, we were both hooked into the whole Batman mythos and the movie served as a precipace for us into collecting comics. When Batman The Animated Series came along in 1992, it again blew us away. We finally saw all our characters so accurately we envisioned them in the comics. The moody two-face two part episode was probably the single greatest cartoon I had ever seen at the time. There was nothing ever like it before, and also unprecedently directed at kids. It made us feel somewhat intelligent; a cartoon actually took a chance at showing pathos, grit and emotion without being at all melodramatically cheezy or patronizing to our young but budding sophisticated tastes.

Batman Adventures #1 came out soon after the success of Batman: The Animated Series. It was the first time a Batman comic was ever adapted from a Batman cartoon series. It also ushered in the ever popular Harley Quinn into DC Comics with Batman Adventures #12 (which is by the way selling for upwards of $250 raw NM, slabbed $1000, just incredible!!!). Yet, this seminal and hugely popular comic directed at kids & adults is now completely ignored in the aftermarket. Let’s take a further look:

Batman Adventures #1 (October 1992)
Current Ebay Price: $0.99-$5.00 range regular edition NM
(Polybagged w/card special edtion “Batman: The Animated Series”- Ebay price $4.99 NM)
Bought For Price (Summer 2012): $1.00 regular edition NM

This is just plain baffling to me. How is the emmy award winning, critically acclaimed, and universally adored comic adaptation of a show adored by fans and non-comic fans alike, selling at less than 5 bucks?

With the demand for certain key issues of this series (ie. BA#12, Harley), you would think a natural trend for the first issue to heat up. I don’t think there are expectations of a serious price jump, but an after market ‘nod’ would be nice to see. And yet, it hasn’t happened with Batman Adventures #1. It still continues to sit in the doldrums of dusty bin oblivion. I have decided not to leave it there, afterall this wouldn’t be much of a post if I had, would it? You demand more from the Dakoit! 😉

SO, let’s compare and take a quick look back in time and see other comics that have been adapted from successful cartoons:

The Simpsons Comics #1 (1993): Ebay price $15-25 range NM
Ren & Stimpy #1 (1992): Ebay price $4-$60 range NM
Adventure Time with Finn and Jake#1 (2012): Ebay price (as of Nov 5th 2013) none for sale (my archives, $60 in June 2013)
Futurama #1 (2000): Ebay price $34-$80 range NM
Sponge Bob Square Pants#1 (2011): Ebay $7.77-$20 range NM
Beavis & Butthead #1 (1994): Ebay $1.95-$9.99 range NM

Many of these other comics had come out around the same time as BA#1, and yet retained an after market demand throughout the years as reflected on their current prices on Ebay. Sure there is a huge range, and yes you can get some cheap…but it’s not universal. Some sellers still value the desiribility of many of the comics mentioned, and thus have kept their prices high. However, such is not the case with BA#1 as we can clearly see.

To further analyze, let’s take a look at circulation at the popular CGC website (as of, November 8th 2013):

Batman Adventures #1: Total CGC Graded: 38, Total CGC Graded NM- to NM+: 29
The Simpsons Comics #1:Total CGC Graded: 417, Total CGC Graded NM- to NM+: 398
Ren & Stimpy #1: Total CGC Graded: 43, Total CGC Graded NM- to NM+: 29
Adventure Time with Finn & Jake #1:Total CGC Graded : 38 Total CGC NM- to NM+: 36
Futurama #1: Total CGC Graded: 119, Total CGC NM- to NM+: 113
Sponge Bob Square Pants#1: Total CGC Graded: 30 Total CGC NM- to NM+: 30
Beavis & Butthead #1: Total CGC Graded: 80 Total CGC NM- to NM+: 72

As I write this, I wasn’t expecting the above stats at all. Batman Adventures#1 is not only tied for the lowest in numbers graded (with Adventure Time), but is also tied for the lowest numbers in high grade (Ren & Stimpy). This makes it the lowest in CGC census among the comics I have listed. So there stands another reason for my case of this comic being undervalued, it’s evidently low circulation.

Why Should You Get Batman Adventures #1

1. A Batman #1 issue of an ongoing series ( BA lasted 36 issues, then changed name)
2. First of all Batman cartoons adapted into comic form, has historical comic significance (> 20 years since it was released!)
3. Low relative CGC circulation
4. Insanely inexpensive

In closing,

Batman Adventures #1 should be part of any Batman comic collection. Although it’s totally overlooked among collectors and fanboys, it has special significance within the vast history of the caped crusader. I really believe this is a comic that will gain more respect as the years add a nostalgic patina and bring back fond memories of the animated masterpiece. And therefore, it’s adapted comic should be looked upon with more interest as well. The Batman Adventures did something unique, it set up all new stories so fans could enjoy beyond the show, it brought in new characters (Harley Quin) into print form, and it had the sophistication to be read by both kids and adults.

Only time will tell if this gains any heat at all, but please do your inner ‘bat-fan’ a huge favor and pick this one up if you see it for a buck (or less). While you’re at it, why not try and get all 36 issues? The higher you go, the print run gets lower and lower with the increasing issues nearly inpossible to find (did I mention two decades has passed since this comic series released? Crap I’m old)! If you can find all of them in bargain bins, you got yourself a deal indeed! Let me know how you all do!

Until next time…keep hunting my pannapictagraphists!

D-

8 thoughts on “Undervalued: The Batman Adventures #1!”

  1. Great article as always. Using my Styx data from 1992 you will see that Issue #2 ranked #78 best seller of the month. #1 for some reason did not make the top 100 so its possible that stores underordered #1 and then quickly upped their orders for #2. If thats the case than #1 truly had a smaller print run. Drop me a line lets discuss this further at hoknes@hotmail.com OR check out my data at http://hoknescomics.com/comicstats.htm

  2. the reason why there are fewer graded books may not be due to a lower print run, but could very well be, and more probably due to, no one wanting to waste money on slabbing a worthless book. Why go thru that effort and money if there’s no secondary market?

  3. Mr.Troller, I had the same argument and had totally agreed with you about this important and logical idea until a counter argument was presented. The reason I’m using CGC is because, unfortunately there are no valid sources anywhere where we can actually retrieve an accurate account of the comic’s real print run. Therefore we as speculators have no other source other than to look at CGC to make an estimation on how many comics are out there. Look at it this way, if you live in a city with only a few apples, and no connection to any other cities or countries you will make an reasonable assumption that there is scarce supply of apples because that is what IS PRESENTED to you. It doesn’t matter that other countries or cities have an abundance of apples, because you and your city have no idea of the quantity or readily available amount thats out there, SO therefore the amount that’s really outside of your knowledge base is really redundant because it will NEVER be presented to you. We as speculators, are presented the CGC data and we interpret it, we cannot estimate how many are really out there because frankly, no one knows. Other respected speculators such as Walter Durajlija and Terry Hoknes, do support this idea and also make use of the CGC census to determine the scarcity of a book. Until there is a source that gives us an accurate account of actual print numbers we all have only the CGC to make an estimate of the books availaibility. Whether you agree or not is totally up to you. After all, this whole business (and therefore my blog) is just that, speculative. Until we have a better source to estimate the current print runs, this is the only way I can compile an analysis. It’s not great, but this is what we have to work with. I hope you can understand that. Mr.Troller,
    I just stumbled upon this at the collectorssociety.com, some posters gauge Batman Adventures around the the 50 K mark, with higher issues at lower print runs.
    http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=7076971

    D-
    wheeeeew sorry so long!

  4. As I stated #1 did not make the Styx top 100 in August 1992 so even though I dont know the exact print run it would appear to have been under-ordered by retailers as later issues climbed the list. Issues #2-6 barely made the top 100 and then the title fell out so copies of #12 definitely were under-ordered making it a scarcer key issue for sure in comparison to New Mutants #98. A book averaging out at about #110 each month obviously did not have large sales but still would have been decent at that time. 50,000 of each would likely still be the minimum it could be and I would bet it was still quite a bit more than that for #1. I do believe CGC census should be used to help pull out high grade copies. But I will state the CGC census is not as useful for newer comics as its true that if a book is not hot then collectors are way way less likely to have copies graded.

  5. My own thoughts are, this wasn’t hugely popular since it was based off the animated series and likely wasn’t and still isn’t taken seriously. It was directed likely towards the younger audiences, not the older collectors.

  6. Drew – you are correct on that. But since the series did give us HARLEY QUINN and its now over 20 years old this should start to make this series quite collectible and potentially more valuable than the regular Batman series as the print run is much smaller

    1. Dakoit – I hear that argument, but if you were to use the CGC census and compare, say NM #98 and NM #99, I would venture that one would argue that the print run for #99 was significantly lower since there are fewer CGC copies out there – but that argument would be totally false as the print runs for both those books would’ve been about the same. My point is that while I understand the usage of the CGC census, you’re comparing apples to oranges when comparing BA #1 to hotter books of that day – people just don’t slab their crap – and basing your analysis on such a comparison would be more than just speculative, it would be borderline misleading.

      Drew – I agree 100% – the only reason why people care about this series is b/c of HQ, otherwise this series seemed to have little to no redeeming value as people didn’t care much for it. ANd a print run of 40-50K would mean that it’s not a scarce series by any means.

    2. Harley Quinn made it more worthwhile, other than that, I don’t see the actual series gaining too much demand because of the smaller print run. Honestly I have no desire to pick these up myself, even the Harley Quinn, it’s jumped in price but will also likely come back down as well eventually.

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