100 of the Most Valuable 1980s Comics in 2023
Updated: Jan 17
In the 1980s comic books saw a massive influx of investors. Those who were new to the hobby would go to their local comic stores in droves. They did this to buy large quantities of new issues in hopes of striking it rich. Excessive buying led print runs to grow and would lead to the 1990s comic book crash, due to demand being much lower than supply. This may sound like bad news if you own comics from the 80s, but if you do, then there's still good news. There are some comics from the 1980s that have value. In fact, due to some comics having significance and recent nostalgia, there are a small number of books from the 80s that are worth thousands and are solid investments (although most comics from the 80s have little to no value).
While a large majority of 1980s comics have almost no value, a very small minority may be worth something. Here we have compiled a guide to the most valuable 1980s comic books. This list is in alphabetical order and is not all-inclusive. It includes over 100 of the most valuable comic books from the 80s. This doesn't include sets, magazines, manga, or trade paperbacks. We do our best to keep this list updated and try not to have anything on the list worth $15 or less.
Note that the comics may sell for higher if they're in better grades (please see our grading guide if you want to learn how to grade), but it's always good to keep your expectations low when selling comics online. Also, note that 1980s comic values are always changing (especially in the current market), so these books might have a different value tomorrow.
Note that due to market volatility, we have decided to remove all prices from our guides. If you see something on our lists, then be sure to check eBay's sold listings to find comparable books to yours. Basically, you can use this guide for entertainment, but don't use it for anything more than that. And if you don't agree with any prices you find online, then you're welcome to sell your comics for whatever you'd like. Also, note that OUR GUIDES/BLOGS SHOULD NOT BE USED AS INVESTMENT ADVICE. DO NOT USE OUR WEBSITE IN YOUR SELLING AND PURCHASING DECISIONS. ALSO DO NOT ASK US FOR INVESTMENT ADVICE. Taking investing advice from a stranger is usually a bad idea anyway.
If you have a collection of 80s books and need to know their value, you should always do more research (our guide is not to be used as a means of buying and selling). If you need any personal opinions or an appraisal (for entertainment purposes only), be sure to call or email us. We can give you a fair, honest, and completely free opinion on what we think your comics are worth.
First Appearance of Usagi Yojimbo.
Usagi Yojimbo would be seen in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV show and would become popular among the indy comic book community. This comic book is extremely difficult to find and rarely goes up for sale.
Second Appearance of Usagi Yojimbo.
This is easier to find than the previous issue but is starting to go up in price as a cheaper alternative to Albedo 2.
Second Usagi Yojimbo Cover.
This comic is starting to go up in price because it features the 2nd Usagi Yojimbo Cover, and pre-dates the first solo issue.
Amazing Spider-Man 210
First Madame Web.
The somewhat forgotten, off-beat character from the Spider-Man series is starting to get noticed due to news of her being in the next movie.
Amazing Spider-Man 212
This comic seemed to be low in value for a while, but recently it has started to pick up in price. Hydro-Man is a well-known Spider-Man villain and this is a must-have if you want to complete your Spider-Man keys.
Amazing Spider-Man 238
First Hobgoblin (w/Tattooz).
This features the first appearance of a popular villain in the comic book community. Note that if you are missing the tattoo inserts, the value will drop considerably.
Amazing Spider-Man 252
First Black Costume Spider-Man.
It's easy to see why this comic is very popular among comic book collectors. This issue features the 1st appearance of the black costume that would eventually become Venom (this issue is tied with Marvel Team-Up 141 as the first appearance of the black costume). This also features a great cover homage to Amazing Fantasy 15.
Amazing Spider-Man 265
First Silver Sable.
This comic just started to go up in value. Silver Sable isn't very popular these days, but this may change with an appearance in a movie.
Amazing Spider-Man 298
First Todd McFarlane on Title.
Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man run is legendary and very popular among comic collectors and this marks the beginning of his work on the character. This issue also has a small cameo from the popular character, Venom.
Amazing Spider-Man 299
First Venom in Cameo.
This features the first appearance of Venom in a full, last-page cameo. A good alternative if Amazing Spider-Man 300 seems too expensive. It also has great art from the fan-favorite, Todd McFarlane.
Amazing Spider-Man 300
First Full Venom, Classic Cover.
One of the most popular 1980s comics and the first full appearance of Venom. This also features one of the most popular covers from the 1980s from the legendary Todd McFarlane. Note that are tons of reprints of this issue, so make sure you have an original.
Amazing Spider-Man 301
Todd McFarlane Cover.
This McFarlane cover has been popular since it takes the cover from the previous issue and has Spider-Man in his classic red and blue costume. The newsstand version of this issue is worth slightly more.
Amazing Spider-Man 316
First Venom Cover.
Here we see a continuation of Todd McFarlane's classic Amazing Spider-Man run. This comic has been going up in value lately as collectors are noticing McFarlane's 1st Venom cover (a classic).
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 16
First Monica Rambeau (Captain Marvel).
This features the first appearance of a character that was overlooked for years but is now gaining popularity. The character was originally Captain Marvel but became Photon and then Spectrum in the Marvel comic books. She is slated for future movie appearances after an appearance in the WandaVision show.
Archie's Girls Betty and Veronica 320
First Cheryl Blossom.
This character would become a staple in Archie Comics, and would also have solo books, and this features her first appearance.
First Full Taskmaster.
A very popular character created by George Perez. He would have a unique power set that would make him a viable threat to the Avengers. He would also be the inspiration for the DC character Deathstroke (also co-created by George Perez).
Avengers Annual 10
A comic that needs no introduction as it features the first appearance of Rogue from the X-Men. The character has been popular since the 1990s and is a regular X-Men team member.
First Jason Todd and Killer Croc.
This features the first appearance of not just one major character, but two. Jason Todd would become the second Robin and eventually return as the Red Hood (following his death in the classic Death in the Family storyline). Killer Croc is a longtime Batman villain who lives up to his name.
First Jason Todd as Robin.
Following our previous entry, this features the first time Jason Todd would don the Robin outfit. This comic also features a great Walt Simonson Joker cover.
First Black Mask.
This features the first appearance of Black Mask. The book was relatively underpriced until the villain appeared in the Batman Arkham Origins video game (and later the Birds of Prey movie).
Batman Year One.
This issue is the beginning of the classic Year One storyline from Frank Miller. We get a retelling of the origin story of the Caped Crusader and this tale has gone on to be the inspiration for many Batman movies.
Classic McFarlane Cover.
This comic was found in most comic dollar bins until recently when many started to take notice of the amazing Todd McFarlane cover. The 2nd and 3rd prints have different art in the bottom left box, and have some value, but aren't as valuable as the 1st print.
Death of Jason Todd.
A personal favorite of ours, this issue features the tragic death of the 2nd Robin, Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker. In the previous issue, we find Todd to be tied up by the Joker while a building he's in blows up. The issue had a phone number fans had to call to vote on whether the character should survive and unfortunately the numbers weren't in his favor.
Batman the Dark Knight Returns 1
Classic Story (1st Print).
This features the classic story from Frank Miller that many consider one of the best Batman stories of all time. It was also the inspiration for the Batman/Superman movie. There are multiple prints for this issue and most don't have much value.
Batman the Killing Joke
First Full Joker Origin (1st Print).
This comic book has the classic Joker origin story from Alan Moore and features the graphic scenes of Joker shooting Barbara Gordon (Batgirl). Please note that later prints aren't worth as much as the first print.
First Mario and Donkey Kong in Comic Books.
Comic book appearances of video game characters have recently started to gain value as there is a good amount of cross-appeal. Mario being the most popular video game character makes this a hot comic book.
Caliber Presents 1
Featuring the first appearance of the Crow from James O'Barr. The Crow mini-series that followed would be an inspiration for the cult classic movie.
Captain America 323
First John Walker.
The first appearance of John Walker who would start as Super-Patriot and then become the new Captain America after Steve Rogers quit a few issues later.
Captain America 354
First John Walker as US Agent.
Steve Rogers would defeat John Walker (who at the time was Captain America) and take back the helm of Captain America. Walker would then take the mantle of the US Agent and become a more unorthodox version of Captain America.
Captain America Annual 8
This comic book has a classic Wolverine vs Captain America cover from Mike Zeck. Anything with a great Wolverine cover seems to go up in value these days.
Comico Primer 2
First Grendel (Hunter Rose).
This difficult-to-find comic features the first appearance of Hunter Rose (Grendel) by Matt Wagner. This comic has always been valuable, but recently it has gone up with the announcement of a new Grendel TV show.
Comico Primer 5
First Maxx the Hare by Sam Keith.
This features the first appearance of the Maxx (early iteration) from Sam Keith. This indy character would have a good following among the comic community.
First Todd McFarlane Art.
This issue has the first professional Todd McFarlane artwork. We don't need to go on about how important Todd McFarlane is to the comic book industry.
This features the classic story of the Crow that would be adapted into a cult classic movie with Brandon Lee. Please note that there are 2nd and 3rd printings of this first issue, but all have value. All prints can be tough to find for this series.
Early Crow. Low Print
Continuing the classic story from James O'Barr, this features a lower print run and is essential for those looking to finish their set. All prints can be tough to find for this series.
Early Crow. Low Print
Continuing the classic story from James O'Barr, this features a lower print run and is essential for those looking to finish their set. All prints can be tough to find for this series.
Early Crow. Low Print
Continuing the classic story from James O'Barr, this features a lower print run and is essential for those looking to finish their set.
DC Comics Presents 26
First Cyborg, Starfire, and Raven (New Teen Titans).
This sometimes underappreciated comic features the first appearances of 3 popular characters (Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire) and the formation of the New Teen Titans.
DC Comics Presents 47
First He-Man Comic Appearance.
This comic has a good amount of cross-appeal for toy collectors as it features the first comic book appearances of He-Man and Skeletor.
DC Spotlight 1
First Comedian, Rorshach, Dr. Manhattan
Here we have a preview of the Watchmen characters and a must-have for fans of the series.
This has the first appearance of a popular Daredevil character. The issue is part of the classic Frank Miller run and a must-have for a Daredevil fan.
Dark Horse Presents 24
First Aliens in Comics.
This has the first appearance of Ridley Scott's Aliens in comics. If you're a fan of the movies, then this comic would be a great addition to your collection.
Dark Horse Presents 36
First Aliens vs Predator
This has the first Aliens vs Predator crossover, which became the inspiration for the movies. The comic is relatively low value but is still a cool book.
First Tank Girl (UK)
This comic has the first appearance of Tank Girl which was the inspiration for the classic movie. Please note that this is the first appearance of the character in the UK. She would not appear in the US until Tank Girl 1 by Dark Horse.
Destroyer Duck 1
First Groo the Wanderer and Destroyer Duck.
Groo has always been a bit of an indy darling character among comic fans and collectors are finally starting to take notice.
This comic from Fantagraphics written by Daniel Clowes features a lower print run, which makes it valuable among indy comic collectors. Note that there are multiple prints of this book and only the 1st print has value.
Fantastic Four 244
First Frankie Raye Nova.
This issue has the first appearance of the new Herald of Galactus, Nova (Frankie Raye). The character seems to be getting noticed among comic collectors lately.
GI Joe 1
First Appearance of GI Joe.
This comic was was an overlooked book for a long time as it features the first appearances of Scarlet, Duke, Falcon, Cobra Commander, and the GI Joe, and Cobra teams. Written by Larry Hama, this comic book was released before the TV show and has a much more adult feel.
GI Joe 21
First Storm Shadow, Silent Issue (1st Print).
This comic has the first appearance of the Cobra ninja, Storm Shadow. It also features the classic cover and silent story (no words are spoken). Be aware that there are 2nd and 3rd prints of this particular issue, which are less valuable.
First Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Ad (Very Rare)
Gobbledygook 1 features an ad for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the back cover before the first issue hit stands. It is extremely rare and only a few hundred were printed. Don't expect to find this comic while searching in your attic. When this goes up for sale collectors will usually take notice. Note that the last CGC 9.0 copy of this comic sold at auction for 71k in 2021.
Graphic Fantasy 1 (Ajax)
First Savage Dragon.
This features the 1st appearance of Savage Dragon by Erik Larsen. Note that this indy publishing is extremely hard to find and had a print run of only 300 copies. Also, note that the original is published by Ajax and is numbered out of 300. There is a reprint from Image Comics which isn't worth much.
Grendel 1 (Comico)
First Solo Grendel
This features the first solo series for Grendel from Comico. It is in black and white and the series can be generally difficult to find. Issues 2 and 3 also have value.
House of Mystery 290
An underappreciated comic that features DC's take on Dracula with their character I'Vampire.
Incredible Hulk 258
First Ursa Major
This features the first appearance of Ursa Major and the Soviet Super Soldiers, who made an appearance in the Black Widow movie. Note that Hulk 254 also has some value.
Incredible Hulk 271
First Rocket Raccoon in Comics
This issue features the first comic book appearance of Rocket Raccoon. Please note that Rocket's first appearance was in the 1970s in the magazine-sized Marvel Preview 7, but he is named Rocky Raccoon and is slightly different.
Incredible Hulk 282
First She-Hulk and Hulk Team Up
This issue features the first time the Hulk and his cousin She-Hulk would work together. The increasing popularity of She-Hulk has caused this book to climb in value.
Incredible Hulk 340
Classic McFarlane Cover
Any fan of Todd McFarlane would put this on their list of favorite covers as this features the classic Wolverine claws cover.
Judge Dredd 1
First USA Appearance of Judge Dredd.
This features the first USA appearance of Judge Dredd by Brian Bolland. Please note that Dredd first appeared in the UK magazine/newspaper-sized comic 2000 AD issue 2.
First Appearance of Longshot and Spiral
This has the first appearances of Longshot and Spiral in Mojoworld. These two would become popular mutant characters in Marvel comics. The villain Mojo would appear first in issue 3 of this series.
Love and Rockets 1
Low Print, Independent Title (1st Print)
This comic features a low print run and is a popular independent title by the Hernandez brothers. Issue 1 of the 2nd series (color cover) also has some value.
Marvel Graphic Novel 4
First New Mutants (1st Print)
This features the first appearance of the New Mutants team from Chris Claremont and Bob McCleod. Please note that are many printings of this, but they aren't worth as much.
Marvel Spotlight (Vol 2) 6
First Star-Lord in Comics
This features the first appearance of Star-Lord (Peter Quill) from the future Guardians of the Galaxy team. Please note that Star-Lord first appears in the magazine-sized comic Marvel Preview 4 a few years before this.
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars 1
First Major Marvel Crossover Event
Most comic fans know this classic cover that is the first time we see a major event in the Marvel Universe (or any comic company).
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars 8
Origin of Spider-Man's Black Costume
Released after Amazing Spider-Man 252, this comic book features the continuation of the Secret Wars storyline and the origin of Spider-Man's black costume, which would later become Venom.
Marvel Super Special 16
First Boba Fett in Comics (Pre-Dates Star Wars 42)
A comic book adaptation of the Star Wars Empire Strikes Back. This comic has the first comic book appearances of many Star Wars characters such as Boba Fett and Yoda. This is a magazine-sized comic, so some do not consider it a true comic.
Marvel Tails Peter Porker Spectacular Spider-Ham 1
The first appearance of the parody comic character Spider-Ham (and others). This comic gained popularity with the release of the Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse movie.
Marvel Team-Up 131
First White Rabbit
This issue has the first appearance of the off-beat villain known as White Rabbit. This issue was another dollar bin comic that has recently gone up in value.
Marvel Team-Up 141
First Black Costume Spider-Man
Released the same month as Amazing Spider-Man 252, this comic ties for the first appearance of the popular black costume that Spider-Man wears. It isn't as valuable as Amazing Spider-Man 252 due to the popularity of the Amazing Fantasy 15 homage.
Masters of the Universe 13
Last Issue, Low Print
This issue is the final issue of the Star/Marvel Comics Masters of the Universe run and has a lower print run.
Mayhem 1 (Dark Horse)
First Appearance of the Mask (Stanley Ipkiss).
This issue has the first appearance of the Mask character, which would be the inspiration for the Jim Carrey movies from the 1990s. Please note that there are a few Dark Horse comics that can be debatable as the first appearance of the Mask.
First Megaton and Vanguard.
This features the first appearance of Megaton and Vanguard, who are popular among the indy comic community.
First Savage Dragon in Cameo.
This features a cameo appearance from Savage Dragon from Erik Larsen.
Early Savage Dragon.
This features an early appearance of Savage Dragon from Erik Larsen. The character would have his ongoing title starting in the early 1990s that would be written and illustrated by Larsen for over 30 years (very rare in the book comic industry).
Megaton Explosion 1
This features the first appearance of Youngblood which would be a 1990s Image Comics team. This comic also features early art from Rob Liefeld.
Men in Black 1
First Men in Black.
This sometimes forgotten indy comic book became the inspiration for the Men in Black series of movies that took the world by storm. While issue 1 has a publication date of 1/90, it technically hit newsstands in late 1989, so we're putting it on our 80s list. Note that issues 2 and 3 also have some value (about $20 each).
Death of Kid Miracleman.
This issue ends the Alan Moore run on the character and features the death of Kid Miracleman. It also has a great cover from John Totleben to match.
Like many final issues, this book has a slightly lower print. It also finishes the run by the great Neil Gaiman.
Moon Knight 1
First Moon Knight Solo Title.
The popular Marvel street-level hero finally gets his solo title with this issue. Many collectors are noticing this issue as the character has been compared many times to DC's Batman. The recent TV show has also caused this to go up in price.
Moon Knight 3
First Midnight Man.
This issue features the 1st appearance of the villain, Midnight Man. There is speculation that the villain will make appearances in future Marvel projects.
New Mutants Annual 2
First US appearance of Psylocke.
This features the first appearance of Betsy Braddock AKA Psylocke in the USA. Please note that Braddock's first appearance in the Marvel UK title Captain Britain issue 8 in the late-1970s.
New Teen Titans 1
First New Teen Titans Solo Title.
Following the preview story in DC Comics Presents 26, this issue features the first solo series for the New Teen Titans. This classic series was written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by George Perez and would be the inspiration for the Teen Titans animated TV shows and movies.
New Teen Titans 2
First Deathstroke the Terminator.
This features the first appearance of Deathstroke the Terminator (a personal favorite comic villain), who becomes the greatest foe of the Teen Titans. He would become the inspiration for the Deadpool character at Marvel.
Omega Men 3
First Full Appearance of Lobo.
This features the first appearance of the intergalactic mercenary Lobo by Keith Giffen. The character would also inspire the Marvel character Deadpool with his fourth-wall-breaking, wisecracks.
Planet Comics 1
Classic Dave Stevens Cover.
Dave Stevens is one of the most popular 1980s pinup artists and this comic book arguably has one of the best covers he has ever illustrated.
First Predator in Comics (1st Print).
Featuring the first appearance of the Predator in comic books. This comic book would lead to many other Dark Horse Predator comics, such as Alien vs Predator. Note that there is a 2nd printing of this book which is not worth as much.
Punisher Limited Series 1
First Solo Punisher Title.
This limited series issue features the Punisher in his first solo title and has a great Mike Zeck cover.
The Saga of Swamp Thing 20
First Alan Moore on Title.
This would be the start of the popular Alan Moore run on Swamp Thing.
The Saga of Swamp Thing 21
New Swamp Thing Origin.
This issue features a new origin of Swamp Thing by Alan Moore.
The Saga of Swamp Thing 25
First John Constantine in Cameo.
A cheaper alternative to Swamp Thing 37, this comic has the first appearance of John Constantine (Hellblazer) in a cameo.
Sandman 1 (1989)
This starts the beginning of the legendary Sandman run by Neil Gaiman and has the first appearance of Morpheus the master of dreams.
First Lucifer Morningstar.
This issue features the first appearance of Lucifer Morningstar by Neil Gaiman. There is a popular TV show featuring Lucifer based on this comic.
First Death the Ever-Living.
This comic book has the first appearance of Death the Ever-Living by Neil Gaiman. This is the DC iteration of Death and the character is popular among the comic community.
Savage She-Hulk 1
First She-Hulk by Stan Lee.
This issue is written by Stan Lee a few years after his major runs at Marvel. This features the first appearance of Jennifer Walters, who is a lawyer in her day job but also fights crime as She-Hulk.
Spectacular Spider-Man 64
First Cloak and Dagger.
Here we have the first appearance of Cloak and Dagger, who are orphans who gain powers through experiments. These characters are not seen much in comics lately, making this book slightly underappreciated.
Star Wars 41
First Comic Appearance of Yoda.
This issue has the first comic book appearance of everyone's favorite Jedi trainer, Yoda. The issue adapts the Empire Strikes Back Star Wars movie.
Star Wars 42
First Comic Appearance of Boba Fett.
This is considered by most to be the first official comic book appearance of Boba Fett, with a great cover to match. This issue adapts the Empire Strikes Back Star Wars movie.
Star Wars 43
First Comic Appearance of Lando Calrissian.
Same as our previous entry, this features the first appearance of Lando Calrissian in comic format. This issue adapts the Empire Strikes Back Star Wars movie.
Star Wars 68
Boba Fett Origin (Mandalorian).
Featuring the first origin story of Boba Fett, this comic book has been gaining popularity over the past few years. The issue has become even more popular with the Mandalorian TV show as it features an origin for the group of bounty hunters.
Star Wars 81
Return of Boba Fett.
Another comic that has gained popularity from the Mandalorian TV show. This comic book features the return of Boba Fett after he is released by the Sarlaac Pit.
Star Wars 107
Last Issue, Low Print.
Like many final issues, this features a lower print run. While not the hardest to find, this comic can be difficult to find in high grades at times.
This comic has the first appearance of the Rocketeer by Dave Stevens. It features a great back cover by Stevens as well. The comic was undervalued for a long time, until recently as there seem to be more Disney projects lined up for the Rocketeer.
Swamp Thing 37
First Full John Constantine (Hellblazer).
This features the first full appearance of John Constantine (Hellblazer) by Alan Moore. The character has always been popular among fans and has made appearances on a few DC TV shows.
Swamp Thing 49, 50
First Justice League Dark (Cameo and Full).
These issues feature the first appearances of the Justice League Dark. An underrated team of the occult that has provided some great comic stories over the past few years.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1
First Appearance of the TMNT and Shredder (1st Print).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 is arguably the most significant comic of the 1980s, as it features the first appearances of huge pop culture icons known around the world. It also features the first appearances of Shredder and Splinter. The comic has always been hard to find, but the prices lately reflect the scarcity. Note that this comic book is the most valuable of the 1980s, especially if it is in high grades. It just keeps breaking all records. Check and make sure you have a 1st print as 2nd, 3rd, and later printings drop in value by an immense amount. The printing can be checked inside the front cover.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
First April O'Neil and Mousers.
A higher print run has kept this comic from being more valuable, but it still features the first appearance of another important TMNT character, April O'Neil. There are multiple printings for this, but not all have value.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3
Similar to the previous issue, this features a higher print run but is still an early issue of TMNT. There exists a difficult-to-find New York Comic Con variant for this comic. There is also a 2nd print which isn't worth as much.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4
Similar to the previous issue, this features a higher print run but is still an early issue of TMNT. Note that there is a 2nd print that has a completely different cover.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4
This issue was printed with the wrong cover and can be pretty tough to find and is desirable among TMNT and error collectors.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures 1
First Rocksteady and Bebop in Comics.
Based on the popular animated TV show, this comic has the first appearances of Rocksteady and Bebop in comics. The characters appeared in the TV show before this comic.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Raphael 1
First Casey Jones.
Similar to the previous issue, this features a higher print run but is still an early issue of TMNT. This also features the first appearance of the popular, hockey mask-wearing, Casey Jones.
Tales of the Teen Titans 44
Part of the classic Judas Contract storyline, by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, this comic features the first time that Richard Grayson would don the Nightwing outfit and name. It also features the first appearance of Deathstroke's son Jericho.
First Beta Ray Bill.
Featuring the first appearance of the alien Beta Ray Bill by Walt Simonson. In issue 339, we would see Bill weld the Stormbreaker hammer.
First Comic Appearance of the Thundercats.
This comic book features the first comic book appearance of Lion-O and the popular 1980s team, the Thundercats, as well as the first comic appearance of Mumm-Ra. Please note that the 2nd and 3rd prints don't have as much value.
Transformers 1 (1st Print)
First Comic Appearance of the Transformers.
Following the previous entry, this features the first appearance of Optimus Prime and the Transformers as well as Megatron and the Decepticons. Note that the 2nd print isn't worth as much as the 1st print.
Turtlemania Special 1
Hard to Find (Multiple Versions).
This is a hard-to-find fan comic that was produced by the creators of TMNT. There exist a few different versions, some of which can be worth thousands.
Uncanny X-Men 129
First Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost.
While this comic isn't hard to find, it does feature the first appearances of two major X-Men characters, Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde. The book would also set up the classic Hellfire Club storyline.
Uncanny X-Men 130
Also a somewhat easy-to-find comic, this features the first appearance of the 1980s, disco-themed superhero, Dazzler.
Uncanny X-Men 133
First Solo Wolverine Cover.
This issue features the first time we see Wolverine go on a solo adventure as he goes against the Hellfire Club. Fans have started to notice, so the book has recently seen price increases.
Uncanny X-Men 134
First Dark Phoenix.
A fan-favorite character, here we see the Phoenix character change into the Dark Phoenix after her time with the Hellfire Club. Another classic from Claremont and Byrne.
Uncanny X-Men 136
Another classic cover from John Byrne, this issue continues the classic storyline and would lead to the death of Jean Grey in the next issue.
Uncanny X-Men 137
Death of Jean Grey (Phoenix).
This issue features the death of Jean Grey and brings an end to the classic story from Chris Claremont and John Byrne.
Uncanny X-Men 141
First Pyro and Avalance, Classic Byrne Cover.
While this comic is very common, it has so much going for it. It features the first appearances of Destiny, Rachel Summers (Phoenix II), Avalanche, and Pyro, and also has a classic cover and storyline by Claremont and Byrne.
Uncanny X-Men 142
Classic Byrne Cover.
This comic is the continuation of the classic storyline from Claremont and Byrne. It also has a classic, popular cover.
Uncanny X-Men 221
First Mr. Sinister.
Featuring the first appearance of the popular X-Men villain, Mr. Sinister (Nathaniel Essex). This comic book is a must-have for any X-Men collector.
Uncanny X-Men 244
The first appearance of the fan-favorite 1990s X-Men character, Jubilee (Jubilation Lee). This comic has started to go up in price over the past few years.
Usagi Yojimbo 1
First Solo Title.
Featuring the first appearance of Usagi Yojimbo in his first solo title by Stan Sakai.
Last Issue, Low Print, 1st Harris Issue.
This magazine-sized comic book features a lower print run and is the last issue of the series. It also marks the end of the Warren run and the beginning of the Harris run on the character.
First USA Appearance of Voltron.
Another popular 1980s character, this book features the first appearance of the transforming, fighting robot in US comic books.
First V for Vendetta and Miracleman.
This UK magazine-sized comic features the first appearance of both Miracleman and V for Vendetta by the great writer, Alan Moore. This comic can be very tough to find in the USA.
First Watchmen (Non-Preview).
This series is said to be one of the best comic book reads of all time. It features a legendary story from Alan Moore, and Dave Gibbons, and issue 1 has the first appearances (non-preview) of many characters such as the Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, Rorshach, Silk Spectre, and more.
West Coast Avengers 45
First White Costume Vision.
Following the success of the character in recent Marvel movies and other media, the appearance of the new Vision is starting to gain steam on the collector's market after the WandaVision TV show.
Wolverine 1 (1988)
First Ongoing Series.
This issue started a long ongoing series for Wolverine. This also features the first appearance of Wolverine as Patch.
Classic Mr. Fixit Cover.
This comic book has the classic Mr. Fixit/Patch cover from the great John Buscema and has recently gone up in price.
Classic Sabretooth Battle.
This issue features a great Sabretooth cover and story from Bill Sienkiewicz. It also continues the long-standing feud between the two characters.
Wolverine Limited Series 1
First Solo Wolverine.
Featuring a classic cover from Frank Miller, this has the first-ever solo story with Wolverine where he travels to Japan.
Wolverine Limited Series Issues 2-4
Early Solo Wolverine.
These continue the story of Wolverine's adventure to Japan with great art from Frank Miller.
First Full Apocalypse.
The first appearance of "En Saber Nur" AKA Apocalypse. This villain would quickly become one of the greatest villains the X-Men would face.
Why Are Most 1980s Comics Worth So Little?
The late 1970s started the age of speculation in the world of comic book collecting. Many started to see that the prices of old comic books were going up so they thought that the new comic books would do the same. This would prove to be a problem within the comic book industry regarding future values. Many would purchase new comics and preserve them to resell them. This led to a massive influx of comic books with not enough collectors. This carried over to the 1990s as well.
Many comic books from the 1980s were kept in bags and preserved well, so finding them in good condition was not hard. There were however some comic books that went unnoticed. Many independent comic books were printed in low amounts and went under the radar of most collectors. This would include titles such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Albedo. TMNT #1 would have a print run of only 3,000 copies in its print and 6,000 in its second print. However, the publishers would notice the popularity of the characters, and almost 2 years later a third edition was printed which had a massive print run of 100,000 copies. The popular animated show would follow soon after.
The comic book industry experienced in the 1980s and 1990s what can be compared to current times. Many were not interested in the stories, art, or characters, but rather the money involved in it. This can lead to problems with any hobby. There needs to be a healthy collector's market, as well as an interest in the characters and stories for the hobby to grow. Monetary investment cannot sustain a hobby by itself. Many investors tried to cash out with their comics in the 1990s, but that led to a major crash (not enough comic book buyers). The hobby would recover over the next 2 decades.
What Makes a 1980s Comic Valuable?
The 1980s was a time when we got movies such as Wall Street, which proclaimed "greed is good". The writers of that movie probably weren't referring to the comic book industry, because greed would make most comics worth little to nothing. That being said, what makes a 1980s comic valuable? Why are some 1980s comic books valuable, while over 99% have little to no value? The answer to that is simple: rarity and significance. You might have noticed something while looking at our list of the 100 most valuable comics from the 1980s. That would be because the list is relatively short when you consider there were tens of thousands of different comics printed in these years. If you have a collection of 80s comic books, then chances are slim that you'll be finding anything worth big money since the odds are that most of the comics that are in the collection are random issues of no importance. That being said, you still might be able to find something that has value. The key is to look for something that has the 1st appearance of a minor or major character. Look through your run of Amazing Spider-Man and find the key issues we have listed, because you'll find that most people who have original runs/sets of Amazing Spider-Man from the 1980s purchased issues 298, 299, and 300 (1st appearances of Venom). While there are some comics from the 1980s worth between $20-300 dollars, there are some (a very small handful) worth thousands (ungraded), and those comics are usually the issues that are important first appearances AND rare. This usually applies to the first appearance of an independent character (non-Marvel/DC), since some indy companies at the time would publish lower runs due to the uncertainty of their comic character(s). An example of this would be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1. The characters were created as a spoof of X-Men, Teen Titans and Frank Miller's Daredevil and the creators didn't expect the title to take off as it did, so the original 1st print had only about 3,000 copies printed. A way to put this into perspective can be to compare it to an average 1980s comic, which had hundreds of thousands of copies of a particular issue printed. Add that to the fact that the TMNT would become household names and you have a comic that's worth tens of thousands of dollars in today's market. Please note that most 1980s comics collections won't have a big issue such as TMNT 1, and don't expect to get a lot for your collection. Keep your expectations low, as most collections from the 1980s have very little value, even if the collection has a couple of significant issues. Let's use an example of a collection of 200 comics from the 1980s. The chances are that you'll find 5-10 comics in the collection worth $20-30, while the rest will be worth little to nothing. The remaining 190 or so issues in the collection will most likely be a waste of space to whoever owns them. We've seen warehouses filled with 1980s dollar bin comics that were sitting unsold for many years.
What's Happening Today with 1980s Comics?
Today many 1980s comic books are starting to go up in price. This is mostly because people who would young during that period have grown up and want to collect the first appearances of their favorite comic book and pop culture characters (call it nostalgia). This explains why Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 is such a tremendous comic book in regard to value.
It's clear that 1980s comics are popular today, but it is hard to say if they will be more or less popular 10 years from now. This will depend on how comic book characters are received in other media. In the end, speculation can become dangerous. If you want to buy comic books to invest in, please exercise caution and research as values can fluctuate. A book from the 80s that's worth $200 today, might be worth half (or double) tomorrow. If you need any opinions on comics (for entertainment purposes only), be sure to give us a call or email. We can provide opinions on comics free of charge (WE DO NOT OFFER INVESTMENT ADVICE). Please note that any opinions on this blog are for entertainment purposes only. You should do your research before buying or selling any comic books or other collectibles. Don't use the opinions of a blog like this to make a financial decision. If you want to skip the hassle that goes with selling comics, then you can just give us a call and we can try our best to make an offer on your collection. We offer fair prices and purchase comic books from all periods, depending on the quantity and quality of the collection.
NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. DO NOT USE OUR WEBSITE WHEN MAKING ANY FINANCIAL DECISIONS.