BY MATT TUCK
Dane Whitman is officially in the MCU, but will we see the Black Knight? That is the indication from The Eternals, and it has made for a hot market for the character’s key issues. Here’s your market update.
The Eternals may have taken over a year to release, but it finally hit theaters this week. Even more exciting is that it introduces characters with the potential for major action in the MCU. At the top of that list is the Black Knight.
On that note, let’s explore the character’s historic key issues as buyers aim for more than just Dane Whitman’s turn with the Ebony Blade.
BLACK KNIGHT #1
The history of the House of Ideas’ Black Knight began in the Golden Age before there was a Marvel Comics. Back in 1955, Stan Lee and Joe Maneely adapted the mythological knight from Arthurian legend for the company’s predecessor, Atlas, which evolved into Marvel Comics.
The original Black Knight, Sir Percy, likely will be relegated to Easter egg status with possibly a direct mention, and we probably won’t see him in the flesh. However, the fact that this issue is the first appearance of Marvel’s Black Knight will make it a prime key issue for collectors.
Another point of interest is that the Ebony Blade first appeared in Black Knight #1 as well. This was a prime Easter egg in The Eternals, and the filmmakers made sure that audiences not only noticed it, but they knew its name (as well as its other name, Excalibur). The sword’s magic was revealed in the end-credits scene, which directly hinted at Dane’s coming transition.
Being a Golden Age key, this comic was already pricey. Add the movie to the equation, and it just upped the ante. Last month, a 4.5 sold for $5,350, setting a new record high in the process. Days later, an October 25 purchase saw a 3.0 sell for $4k, shattering its previous record of $3k from September. Even the lowly 1.8 is knocking on the door of $2k after one copy brought $1,890 on October 4.
TALES TO ASTONISH #52
Before there was Dane Whitman, there was Nathan Garrett. Throughout Eternals, there are numerous allusions to Whitman’s mysterious uncle, with whom Sersi urges Dane to reconcile. Who is this mystery man? In the comics, Nathan is the second Black Knight and wielder of the Ebony Blade. By the end-credits scene, as Dane is tempted to pick up the mythical sword, there is a voice from off screen, which has now been confirmed to belong to Blade.
Even though it wasn’t Nathan speaking to Dane in that scene, it seems logical that the two characters will cross paths in the future. Not only were there mentions of Dane’s uncle in The Eternals, but his undisclosed rift with Nathan could stem straight from the comics. Before Dane became a medieval superhero, Nathan was a member of the Masters of Evil, and that was alluded to in the movie. I will go so far as to predict that if we get a Black Knight movie or Disney+ series, Nathan will be the villain. That should have buyers on the prowl for Tales to Astonish #52.
Already, this issue is seeing action. On November 4, a graded 4.0 sold for $80, which is a low price for a character likely to step into the MCU in the near future. That could be an outlier since the previous sale for that same 4.0 brought a record $215 on October 9.
Ever since Marvel announced that Kit Harrington would bring Dane Whitman to life in Eternals, his first two appearances have been on fire. Although Marvel and the rest of The Eternals’ brass suggested that Dane may never be the Black Knight in the MCU, the post-credits scene suggests otherwise. That will add fuel to what is already a hot market for Dane’s keys, starting with his comic debut sans costume in Avengers #47. It’s been a huge seller for the past couple of months, and that momentum is carrying over into November. Just yesterday, a graded 6.5 sold for $380.
Yes, Dane Whitman first appeared in the previous issue, but it was his turn as the Black Knight that made him famous. Here we have him on the cover sporting the Black Knight suit of armor for the first time.
Again, the end-credits scene of The Eternals implies that Dane will become a superhero in due time. Will he follow his comic roots and join the Avengers? That remains to be seen, but practically everyone is an Avengers these days, so why wouldn’t he be on the team as well? Whether or not he gets an Avengers badge, Marvel clearly has further plans for Dane as the Black Knight, and that will keep this issue on the move for years.
As buyers prepared for The Eternals, they were making moves for this issue. On Monday, an 8.0 sold for $1,436 while a 7.0 earned $861. Wednesday, a 7.5 saw its price drop to $989 after the previous sale from October 27 surpassed the $1,200 mark.
MORE BLACK KNIGHT
Make no mistake, the Black Knight will ride into the MCU. Sure, Dane didn’t take up the Ebony Blade this time around, but Marvel was clearly laying the groundwork in Eternals. Exactly what the future holds for him, only Kevin Feige knows for sure. Still, the signs point to Dane making a larger impact on the MCU, and the post-credits scene hints that he will be tied to Blade, which could also lead Dane into the supernatural side of Marvel.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.