BY MATT TUCK
Those Hawkeye keys have set the secondary market on fire, and there are several worthy options for your collection. Venture down the rabbit hole with the top-10 Clint Barton and Kate Bishop keys before the Disney+ series launches.
10. FALLEN SON: DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA #3
This issue is not necessarily going to break the bank when it comes to Hawkeye keys, but that is actually a good thing. As fast as the prices are rising for all things connected to Kate Bishop, having an affordable issue with a significant moment is getting hard to find.
Here you have the perfect key issue for the cover hunters prowling the secondary market. As far as key status, there is nothing especially significant happening in the story itself. What will have collectors intrigued is the cover, which is the first time both Hawkeyes were featured together on the front page artwork. There hasn’t been a graded 9.8 sold online since April when one brought a record $110.
9. HAWKEYE #9 SECOND PRINT
Today’s list has plenty of action for the cover hunters out there. Given the whimsical nature of the Hawkeye trailer, I predict that we will see a variation of this cover play out on the screen. It would not surprise me if Kate wears the “I heart Hawkeye” t-shirt under her costume, and it becomes a running gag throughout the series. That will make an already-elusive comic even harder to find.
What makes the second print of Hawkeye #9 so collectible is its rarity. According to Key Collector Comics, retailers ordered just 2,500 copies when it was first printed. The site also reports that CGC has fewer than 10 copies listed in its census. Because of that rarity, this is already a ridiculously expensive comic, and it’s only going to get worse after the show debuts.
The last graded 9.8 to trade hands online brought $1,160 on August 12. If you are willing to roll the dice on a raw copy, those tend to stay in the $200 range.
8. YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS #6
This particular issue is the first official meeting between the stars of Hawkeye, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop, and that should have it on your collecting radar. The graded 9.8s have been breaking records since the trailer dropped. For two years, 2019’s high of $250 set the standard, but it has been shattered multiple times this year. The new record of $550 was set last week on September 13 followed by a $500 sale on September 19. The better deals are with the raw copies, and those have been bringing less than $100 as of late.
7. YOUNG AVENGERS #9
What makes this issue special is that it is Kate Bishop’s first cover appearance wearing the Hawkeye costume. We have already seen her sporting the suit in the Hawkeye trailer, so it would appear this will deviate from the norm with her being in the costume from the beginning rather than having a slow build a la Sam’s transition into Captain America. That will have collectors leaning toward this issue as part of the list of Kate’s keys.
The good part is that, since it isn’t her first appearance nor her first cover, the prices for YA #9 have not gotten too far out of hand just yet. After a 9.8 reached $133 in March, the two most recent sales were for $90 this month.
6. YOUNG AVENGERS #5
Cover collectors will flock to this issue because it is the first time Kate was featured on the cover art. Although she is not in full costume (that would come in the next issue), it is still a milestone moment for a character poised to gain a large following in the coming months and years. September 1 saw this issue reach a record-high $175 for a 9.8.
5. AVENGERS #16
Over the years, Hawkeye’s identity has been tied to the Avengers. Whether he is part of the Silver Age lineup or the West Coast Avengers, Clint Barton is a core member of the team both in the comics and on screen. That is why Avengers #16, in which he officially joined the team, is such a worthy addition to your collections.
Earlier this month, a 9.4 sold for $2,280, but if you opt for a lower grade, the 4.5 brought a more reasonable $150 on September 16.
4. NEW AVENGERS #27
Judging by the Hawkeye trailer, his time as Ronin during the course of Endgame will be a major plot point, at least in the initial episodes. While the fair market values for New Avengers #27 peaked prior to Endgame’s theatrical release, the new attention should create a spike in the market for Clint’s first appearance as the ninja, Ronin. There is speculation that Echo will become Ronin for a time, and if she keeps the moniker alive, that will inflate values. At the moment, these are affordable. On September 18, a 9.8 earned $158, its highest mark since 2019.
3. HAWKEYE #1 (2017)
Four years ago, Kate was given her first starring role in a comic series. The first issue has been red hot as of late mainly because of the awesome cover art. Going forward, this is likely to become the iconic Kate artwork, and that will put it on the radar for cover hunters everywhere.
Since one buyer paid a record $385 for a graded 9.8 earlier this year, this issue has consistently stayed in the $200-$300 range. There were three sales on September 21 alone; two sold for $225 and one brought $230.
2. TALES OF SUSPENSE #57
At the top of the Hawkeye list, by far, is the first appearance of Clint Barton. Not only does he appear as Hawkeye in the issue, but we even get to see him wearing his purple Robin Hood attire on the cover as well. That makes this issue twice as good to have. With Barton passing the torch (or bow and arrow, in this case) to Kate, you might think this issue is approaching its ceiling. However, look at other characters who have handed over their mantles, and you will see that the overall first appearance of a classic hero stays popular as long as the moniker stays popular.
TOS #57 has been breaking records all year, even down to the lower grades. The 3.0 tells the story of this issue’s popularity. Up to this year, it had never sold for more than $325. This year, that same 3.0 hasn’t sold for less than $400 in eight sales. May 31 saw it shatter records with a $900 sale. More recently, one brought $750 on September 16.
1. YOUNG AVENGERS #1
There are so many reasons to advise getting your hands on Young Avengers #1. Marvel Studios has yet to directly say it, but Kevin Feige and company are putting much of their stock in what is essentially Marvel’s Teen Titans. The Young Avengers are the future of the Avengers franchise, and we will be seeing plenty of them in the near future. Kate Bishop’s rise to stardom in the Disney+ series is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Kate and several other characters made their comic debuts in Young Avengers #1. That is why it has quickly risen to elite status among modern comics, and it has the potential to be the next-gen Hulk #181.
The standard cover at a 9.8 has already broken records with a $1,595 sale this year, though September has seen it consistently sell for about $1,100. A raw copy advertised as in fine/very fine condition was purchased for $250, which is not bad for a book with so much potential.