Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Books to Watch: Green Lantern #29 (1964)

Green Lantern #29 (1964).  First appearance of Black Hand (William Hand)

Last week I was telling a friend how I thought Green Lantern #29 was undervalued.  He had never heard of the Black Hand.  This is one of the problems many of us vintage comic collectors run into: we don't read new comics anymore.  When a character's profile grows in modern story lines, we are the last to hear about it.  The rise in value puts us off, or we end up paying more for the "new key".  If you have been reading DC comics the past five or six years (Green Lantern in particular), you'll know how important Black Hand has become in the DC Universe.  I see his star rising the same way as Black Adam and Black Manta, but so far the market value of his first appearance has not changed.  My one hesitation is that his portrayal won't engender the kind of fandom these other two characters enjoy.  In short, he is not quite bad-ass enough.  His first appearance is one to watch.

Comparisons must be made to Sinestro, who is still Hal Jordan's #1 adversary.  We've seen his star rise in the past twenty years.  He has evolved into a character of shifting allegiances rather than a pure mustache-twirling villain.  He is sometimes at odds with the Green Lanterns, sometimes an ally.  Black Hand on the other hand (pun not intended), is just plain badThis list from 2011 ranks Black Hand at number 4 amongst Green Lantern villains behind Sinestro, the Manhunters and Krona.

In the 2015 Overstreet guide, I see that Green Lantern #7 (1st Sinestro) is valued 6.5 times more than #29 ($2000 vs $310).  A CGC 9.4 #7 recently sold for $10,755 while a CGC 9.6 #29 recently sold for $657).  The 10 least valuable of the first 30 issues of the Silver Age GL series are each worth $270.  The first appearance of Black Hand is only worth $40 more than that.  According to ComicVine, Black Hand has appeared in more issues than Sonar (a minor, perhaps irrelevant GL character?), yet #29 is only 3/4 the value of #14.  It is worth less than half the first appearance of Carol Ferris as the (Silver Age) Star Sapphire.

Black Hand has been a near-constant foil in the current Green Lantern series (he appears on the cover of the December 2015 issue).  I think some market correction is in order.

Warner Brothers has already used Parallax, Hector Hammond and Sinestro as big screen adversaries.  Considering the disappointing results of the 2011 GL film with Ryan Reynolds, they are likely to go for a different direction in the do-over that is five years away.  I can't think of many more important story lines as Blackest Night.

Another thing this book has going for it is that Black Hand actually appears on the cover, something that can't be said for Hector Hammond or Sinestro's debuts. Finally, this book was published in June of 1964, right in the sweet spot of where I like to look for undervalued Silver Age material.

As a treat, check out the original cover art for this comic, which just sold at auction on Heritage two weeks ago 

Enjoy this video of Black Hand's history...

... and gallery of Black Hand covers.

Flash (Vol. 1) #258 (1978)

Flash (Vol. 1) #259 (1978)

Green Lantern (Vol. 2) #147 (1981)

Green Lantern (Vol. 2) #206 (1986)
Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #6 (2005): "Mutilated by the events of REBIRTH, Black Hand returns to wreak horrifying vengeance..."

Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #43 (2009).  There is also a second printing.
Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #43 1:25 Variant (2009)

Blackest Night #3 (2009)

Green Lantern (Vol. 5) #9 (2012)

Green Lantern #11 (2012)

Green Lantern #12 (2012)

Green Lantern #23.3 (2013)

Green Lantern #37 (2015)

Green Lantern #45 (2015)