BY MATT TUCK
Disney+ is coming in hot with its lineup of Marvel shows over the next couple of years. One of the most talked about is the return of WandaVision’s Agatha in House of Harkness, and it is upending the secondary market.
Leave it to Marvel Studios to turn the market on its head. Last week, the company announced 14 new live-action and animated shows coming to Disney+ presumably beginning next year. Although some of the headliners had already been made official, Marvel also confirmed a few rumored projects as well. The one generating the most buzz is Agatha who will star in her own spinoff series, Agatha: House of Harkness.
The gossip sites are generally hit or miss when it comes to Marvel rumors, but they called this one weeks ago. It triggered a renewed interest in those Agatha keys along with her son, Nicholas Scratch. Since House of Harkness is now official, collectors are speculating on what direction the show will take. The safe money is on a Fantastic Four story arc from 1977 that introduced Nicholas and New Salem, and investors are already targeting those key issues.
FANTASTIC FOUR #94
This key caught fire after the initial promotional images of WandaVision surfaced. Comic readers automatically knew that the wacky neighbor, Agnes, was actually the FF nanny and Scarlet Witch’s mystical teacher, Agatha Harkness. When the big reveal came, it was a confirmation rather than a mind-blowing surprise. Thus, FF #94 was one of the first keys to take off, though it cooled by the series’ end. Then came the rumors that Agatha would star in her own show, and that gave the issue a pick up. Now that Disney has confirmed House of Harkness, get ready for FF #94 to spike.
We’re already seeing prices leaping and bounding since the announcement. On November 12, a 9.0 sold for a record-breaking $1,100, which surpassed the previous high of $849 last month. Prior to this year, it had never sold for more than $139. Likewise, an 8.0 sold for $499 a day later. In fact, a 7.5 brought a record $529 also on November 12.
FANTASTIC FOUR #184
Following her comic origins, WandaVision depicted Agatha as having been part of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692-1693. New Salem, however, is a magical city found in Colorado, and I will wager this will be the primary setting of the show, and that will increase the interest in FF #184.
Compared to the first appearance of an actual character, the debut of a setting doesn’t compete. Still, FF #184 will be worth your collecting dollars because it is almost a certainty that New Salem will be featured in Agatha.
While New Salem will quickly become the main selling point for this issue, there is a first appearance in FF #184, albeit a minor one. Think of him as a magic robot. Created by Nicholas Scratch and the New Witches, Eliminator was meant to destroy any evidence of their existence, namely the Fantastic Four via their relationship to Agatha. It would seem logical that Eliminator will be the catalyst of the Disney+ series, and that will give buyers another reason to want this issue.
So far, the graded copies of FF #184 are being passed up in favor of the raw variety. The last time a graded FF #184 swapped owners online, a 9.8 sold for $219 in September. On the other hand, the raw copies have been building momentum, and they typically sell for around $5.
FANTASTIC FOUR #185
Dedicated FF fans caught what could be a major allusion to the House of Harkness plot. After Agatha did her song and dance number reveal as the villain of WandaVision, she introduced her pet rabbit, Scratch. Nothing else came of Scratch in the show, but longtime readers got the reference.
After Eliminator was dispatched to erase any earthly ties to the witches, Agatha’s son, Nicholas Scratch, was revealed as the wicked mastermind. Does that mean Scratch the bunny in WandaVision was actually Nicholas? That seems likely now that Agatha is officially getting her own show.
The comics portray Nicholas Scratch as an accomplished Warlock and leader of New Salem. He is like a mini Satan, and he convinced the magical residents that Agatha’s connection to the modern world betrays their mystical beliefs.
With House of Harkness delving into Agatha’s broader cast of characters, fans are certain Nicholas Scratch will be part of the show, and that has sent collectors to eBay for his first appearance in FF #185. So far, there have not been any graded copies to sell online this month, though October did see a 9.8 earn $399. On the raw front, this has become a popular item, and most copies are staying under $40. That could be a bargain if he is confirmed for House of Harkness.
FANTASTIC FOUR #186
Again, the general consensus is that House of Harkness will revolve around Nicholas Scratch and the Witches of New Salem. That should include the Salem Seven, Nicholas’ personal team of super-witches: Vertigo, Brutacus, Reptilia, Gazelle, Hydron, Volume, Thorn, and Vakume. They are Scratch’s children and Agatha’s grandchildren who also live in the secret magic community of New Salem, Colorado. Gazelle would side with Agatha, the FF, Scarlet Witch, and Vision, and we may see that take place in the series if the Seven are brought to life.
Because of the speculation, this issue is seeing a rise in sales, though the prices are still low. Raw copies are selling for $10-$20. There have not been any graded sales in November, but last month saw a 9.8 bring a record $549.
MARVEL PREMIERE #10
As Marvel prepares to jump into the supernatural side of the MCU, it would seem the studio has big plans for Shuma-Gorath, a monster with ties to Conan’s Hyboria.
Created by Conan's Robert E. Howard for the short story, “The Curse of the Golden Skull,” Shuma-Gorath would make his comic debut for Marvel in the 1970s. The monster is one of the “multi-angled ones” and hails from the Cancerverse. Over the years, he has tried and failed to invade Earth many times, and he is sure to do the same in the MCU.
There are rumors that Shuma-Gorath will be the main antagonist for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, though he could appear as part of House of Harkness. In the comics, Nicholas Scratch summoned the “Lord of Chaos,” though the creature was defeated by Doctor Strange, the FF, the Salem Seven, and Diablo. This seems like a logical plot point for either Multiverse of Madness or House of Harkness.
With more than one avenue for the Lord of Chaos to enter the MCU, it is no wonder Marvel Premiere #10 has suddenly become a hot seller. Earlier this week, a raw copy advertised as a high grade sold for $745. On the graded side, an 8.5 brought a record $749 on November 2. The next day, a 7.0 reached a new high of $379.
SCARLET WITCH #13
No doubt, we will see the Scarlet Witch in House of Harkness. After all, their stories were intertwined during WandaVision, and mainstream MCU fans will be looking for Elizabeth Olsen to at least make a cameo in the series. That should drive collectors to Wanda Maximoff’s solo adventures, specifically 2017’s Scarlet Witch #13.
By and large, this is not a key issue. The selling point here is the impressive Agatha Harkness cover art drawn by David Aja. In fact, SW #13 is already seeing a boost in sales. Since the Disney+ announcement, this issue has been selling for as much as $35 for raw copies. Sooner or later, there will be more graded copies on the market, but for now, the last sale was in May when a 9.8 sold for $80.
THE WITCHES OF NEW SALEM
Being a spin off from WandaVision, House of Harkness will be in the same vein as its predecessor, complete with corny sitcom gags and dance numbers. Whether or not you fancy that, the show has an opportunity to showcase several overlooked characters. As the full cast is announced, it will have a significant impact on the collecting market.