Gaming Fallout: Venom, Wolverine, and KOTOR

Gaming Fallout: Venom, Wolverine, and KOTOR

BY MATT TUCK

Sony’s PS5 trailers have stolen No Way Home’s online thunder, and the new Marvel and Star Wars games could have a significant impact on the market.

Forget Midnight Suns because Sony just put the gaming and comic world on notice. 

The same company behind the massively successful Spider-Man games for PS4/PS5 announced Thursday its three major titles in development, each of which will have an impact on the comic market: Spider-Man 2, Wolverine, and a Knights of the Old Republic remake for the next-gen consoles. It’s three more reasons why we are living in a new Golden Age of superhero and sci-fi fandom.

THE SPIDER-MILES EFFECT

There will always be doubters when it comes to a game’s influence on the comic market. To that crowd I have two words: Miles Morales. His first appearance in Ultimate Fallout #4 was already popular, but it kicked in the afterburners and soared to new heights as soon as his starring role in a Playstation game was announced. 

Gamers and non-gamers alike will want to keep their ear to the track on these new developments. Where the movie industry was struggling to keep its head above water, pandemic life fueled growth in the gaming community as consumers were forced to stay home. To pass the time and maintain sanity, many people turned to video games. With such a huge gaming market worldwide, a hit game is oftentimes bigger than a summer blockbuster film. That is why it will pay dividends to keep track of these games. 

Let’s break down each title and clue you in on the key issues that should be the first to get a boost from the new trailers and release dates.

SPIDER-MAN 2

This has been a longtime coming for fans of the groundbreaking PS4’s Spider-Man. The massively successful title and its Miles Morales-themed spinoff teased the introduction of the alien symbiote, and indeed we will finally get to see Venom in Spider-Man 2. If the video game gods are fair and just, we will get hours of gameplay as Venom.

For those who have finished both versions of Spider-Man, there are major teases at the ends of the games. These cameos give players a sneak peek of the Venom symbiote, but this version appears to be bonded to Harry Osborn. Straight from Empire Strikes Back, there is a Star Wars-inspired medical pod with Harry and what appears to be the symbiote attached to him. Unless there is a swerve, then Harry will become Venom rather than following his comic roots and inheriting the Green Goblin mantle. That leads to an interesting conundrum for comic collectors because now the search is on for both Venom and Harry Osborn keys. 

I predict Venom and any other symbiote we see in Spider-Man 2 will get their own spinoff game. That will mean an even bigger market for one of Marvel’s cash cows, and it will only add value to those first appearances.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #300

It’s a perfect storm for Venom, and that is likely by design. The trailer times out perfectly with the Venom 2 release, and by far the villain-turned-anti-hero has gotten the biggest reaction. This is never a bad investment and will one day reach holy grail status.

No doubt this will be the first comic to feel the burn from the flames of the new game. Of course, it’s not like prices haven’t already been flying high. For one, ASM #300 is a perennial favorite among collectors. With Let There Be Carnage less than a month away, collectors and investors have had even more reason to jump on the bandwagon, especially for the upper grades. 


The highest prices for those near-mint copies came in May when the first LTBC trailer was dropped online. When values are reaching records of $8,500, it is hard to imagine even the 9.8s keeping that pace. Thus, the FMVs took a backslide throughout the summer. Sony’s Spider-Man 2 trailer will give collectors new reason to buy up this issue, which was already on the mend after September 8 saw a 9.8 crack the $6k mark for the first time since mid-August.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #136

This is where things get interesting. To the best of my knowledge and research, Harry has never bonded with an alien symbiote of any kind, so there are no tie-in comics to mine. However, Harry had a famous turn as a villain, donning the Green Goblin mantle in 1974’s ASM #136. Valuewise, this issue does not stack up against Harry’s first appearance in ASM #31, but that is not a bad thing for buyers as that makes it an easier issue to grab.

Investors are already targeting this one. Since the trailer dropped, sales have been more popular for ASM #136. Raw copies are selling in the $50 range, while a graded 9.0 recently brought $350.

WOLVERINE

Sure, we have had other Wolverine games. The underrated gem X-Men Origins: Wolverine tie-in game comes to mind, and his video game history dates back to the old eight-bit NES. In all that time, he has never had a true hit game. Considering the work Insomniac did with Spider-Man and the epic trailers, it would appear the first great Wolverine game could be on the horizon.

Old school collectors may scoff at the idea, but this will have an impact on those famous Wolvie keys. Without making one announcement, Marvel Studios has Wolverine at the height of his popularity. Fans are thirsty for the X-Men in the MCU, and Logan is by far at the head of that wish list. There have been rumors galore of Canada’s favorite son making his return to live action, from Hugh Jackman reprising the role (which he has since officially shot down) to a Wolverine anthology series on Disney+. Every new rumor spurs prices for his key issues, and enthusiasts are losing their minds over the game trailer. Once the game hits store shelves, the hype should be equal to anything the MCU could throw at us.

INCREDIBLE HULK #181

Did you catch the Hulk #181 Easter egg in the Wolverine trailer? There is a license plate hanging at the bar that reads, “HLK181.” While it may simply be a nice callback to one collecting’s holy grails, many fans are wondering if it is a hint to a crowd-pleasing moment in the game. That’s right; we could get the Incredible Hulk in Wolverine, and that would mean a massive throwdown between the Green Goliath and Logan. 

Even without the Easter egg, this would have been the first comic to get the rub from a Wolverine game. Having the license plate hanging on the wall and the possible tease of a bloody Hulk/Wolverine brawl only sweetens the deal. 

A day before the first trailer was released, a 9.8 sold for a record $84,000. Twenty-four hours later, a 9.6 set a new high of its own when one copy brought $33,600. Although it was not for a record, a 5.0 snagged $4,550 the same day.

INCREDIBLE HULK #340

Not that this Todd McFarlane masterpiece isn’t always a hot seller, but the new Wolverine trailer had many collectors doubling down on Hulk #340. Again, this falls back on that #181 Easter egg and the enticing prospect of an all-out brawl between Wolverine and Hulk. While Hulk #181 may get the edge because it is Logan’s first appearance, their battle in Hulk #340 is arguably more iconic. It’s a bloody, violent clash that McFarlane took to new heights with his distinct art style during his Hulk run. The two characters are as animalistic as ever before, and it doesn’t hurt that Wolverine was sporting his cool yellow and brown costume in 1988. (Want to know how cool Wolverine is? He can pull off a yellow and brown spandex suit with a red leather belt. That takes serious style.)

Buyers are flocking to this iconic cover art. On September 11, a graded 9.4 sold for a record-smashing $359, while raw copies were easily cracking the $100 mark. 

KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC

You don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to fall in love with KOTOR. Long before there were Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, Knights captured the hearts of sci-fi gamers everywhere with one of the best RPG games ever from any franchise. The problem was that it did not age well. Some games, like Final Fantasy VII, have a retro charm with their blocky graphics and turn-based combat, but that has not been the case with KOTOR. The remake for a new generation of consoles is sorely needed, and it should expose the classic RPG to a new generation of gamers.

By default, it’s also going to help an already hot Star Wars market, specifically those KOTOR keys. Collectors have been inflating their values since The Mandalorian’s second season caused an eruption in the Star Wars collectibles market. That already had collectors scavenging for those KOTOR keys since Darth Revan, the star of the game, has direct ties to Mandalor and the planet’s bounty hunters. What will elevate these keys even further is that the game remake should amplify those old rumors of a KOTOR movie or Disney+ series coming to life.

KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC #9

As soon as word spread that a KOTOR remake was officially in the works, buyers hit eBay on the lookout for KOTOR #9. This issue marked the first appearance of Darth Revan, who seems destined for the screen in one fashion or another. It is no wonder that this comic has reached new heights in the past year. On September 11, a raw copy sold for $550. Meanwhile, a graded 9.8 brought $1,125. Although that is far from those $2k prices it was fetching in 2020, Saturday’s price tag marked the second consecutive sale in which a 9.8 brought over $1k. 

KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC #31

Although technically the first appearance of Malak as Squint in KOTOR #0, this is the issue in which he first took up the name Malak. As fans of the original XBox game recall, Malak and Revan were the major characters, and they have gained a massive following since then. With the game remake on the horizon fanning the flames for a KOTOR series, collectors will want this issue.

In recent days, the graded 9.8s have been selling for $275+. Meanwhile, the raw copies are selling for anywhere from $30 and beyond.

THE TIME OF FANS’ LIVES

There has never been a time when comic movies and games have inundated the mainstream picture like now. Between the MCU, the DCEU, Image, and the numerous creator-owned titles, comics are everywhere. No matter where your fandom lies, there are comics, books, movies, series, cartoons, and video games galore. The more the properties grow in pop culture, the more opportunities open for the more obscure characters and titles. As technology improves, the adaptations look better and better. To coin the phrase, the best is yet to come, it would seem.


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