BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
Who’s ready for Kenobi? Collectors and investors are sinking their teeth into the Jedi Master’s key issues now that the trailer has lit a fire under all things Obi-Wan.
THERE'S A NAME I HAVEN'T HEARD IN A LONG TIME
The face that launched a thousand memes is about to return to the Star Wars universe. Ewan McGregor will reprise his most famous role and explore the missing years between Revenge of the Sith and New Hope. Whether he’s a cunning old man, a friendly ghost, or Space Jesus, Obi-Wan has been embraced by the Star Wars fandom like no one else. As corny as the prequel trilogy was, McGregor’s young Obi-Wan was one of the highlights of the three movies. For all the fun that was Obi-Wan’s duel with Anakin, we didn’t get the one fight we all wanted: a young Kenobi versus a suited-up Darth Vader. The rumor is that we will see just that in the new show, since Vader is part of the mix. The only thing that could top that is if Darth Maul makes his triumphant return.
Before we get carried away and decry that Star Wars has returned to its glory days, remember this: fans have begged for more McGregor as Obi-Wan almost as long as they begged for more Boba Fett, and we saw how The Book of Boba Fett turned out. With our expectations firmly planted in the cautiously optimistic range, let’s explore those Kenobi keys. No surprise, they have been spiking as of late. The good part is that not all of them will need you to take out a small loan.
STAR WARS #1
We can hardly discuss any classic Star Wars characters without mentioning the original key issue, Star Wars #1.
Technically, Obi-Wan didn’t appear in this issue. He’s prominently displayed on the cover art, but he isn’t revealed in the actual story until the following comic. As collectors well know, cover hunting is a big part of the hobby, and having a character as famous as Obi-Wan on the front artwork remains a valid selling point. There’s no question that his first cover appearance is one of many factors that has made this one of the elite keys in all of Star Wars. Of course, having the distinction as the first Star Wars comics does help fuel those high prices.
In recent years, the prices for Star Wars #1 have been astronomical, but it wasn’t always the case. As recently as 2014, the mighty 9.8 averaged somewhere in the $400-$600 range before the prices exploded by the end of that year and reached $1k+ territory in 2015. Then came The Last Jedi, a movie so universally hated that it nearly killed the entire Star Wars franchise, and what had been a $1,500 comic saw its fair market values cut in half.
These days, Disney+ has rejuvenated all the Star Wars keys on the back of The Mandalorian. Although BOBF was largely disappointing, the Obi-Wan trailer has energized the market, especially for prequel fans. There haven’t been many 9.8s trading hands this year, but those slabs that found new owners have mostly sold for $5k-$6k. The better deal is the 9.6. These two grades are virtually identical to the naked eye, and for a 0.2 difference in quality, you can keep your investment to a shade over $1k. Not a bad price for a hallmark issue like SW #1.
If you are looking to keep the investment below four figures, you only have to lower the grade to a 9.4, which last sold for $840 on March 10. For those more interested in having a part of Star Wars history and less concerned about a near-mint slab, aim for an 8.5. Anything up to that grade will cost you less than $300 on average.
STAR WARS #2
While Star Wars #2 will never rival the FMVs of its predecessor, Obi-Wan collectors recognize this as a must-have issue. After the previous cover tease, old Ben Kenobi graced us with his first in-story appearance in the pages of SW #2, forever cementing his place in comic book history.
Thanks to Kenobi, this issue has taken on new life in the collecting world. The best part is that you can own SW #2 for a fraction of the cost of an SW #1 of the same grade. However, don’t confuse that with cheap prices. Since last year, the values for Star Wars #2 have hit the afterburners. Consider that in 2020, the record high sale for a 9.8 was $520. Beginning last March, the prices ballooned to $3K before reaching a new record of $4,500 on October 15. There haven’t been any 9.8s to sell online in 2022, but that will change between now and Kenobi’s release date.
If those insane prices for 9.8s have you down, don’t worry; you can always opt for the 9.6. Last year, one sold for a record $1,300, but the 90-day average has remained at $651. The most recent sale saw a 9.6 earn $561 on March 13. Anything outside the 9.6 range drops the price by a considerable amount. The 9.4, for one, sold for $275 earlier this month.
STAR WARS #24
Compared to the previously mentioned issues, Star Wars #24 is a hidden gem. Although there are no first appearances in this issue, the significance is that SW #24 marked Obi-Wan’s first solo adventure. With the new show focusing on Kenobi’s time on Tatooine as he watched over Luke from afar, it should put a spotlight on this issue. With the high prices of the other Kenobi keys, it should push more buyers in this direction.
The best part about investing in SW #24 is that it is a relatively affordable Obi-Wan key. These days, practically everything with the Star Wars logo has hit the ridiculous FMV level. It is nice to find a near-mint key issue for under $500. In this case, the 9.8 has a 90-day average of $308, and the last copy to swap owners online went for $382 only days ago. That is a sharp rise from 2020’s FMV of $131, though not unaffordable. Downgrade that to a 9.6, and the price dips to $245. Go a step further to the 9.2, and you can walk away with a beautiful copy that will set you back around $80
STAR WARS: OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN #1
Next to Ewan McGregor’s casting in Kenobi, the talk of the internet has been Hayden Christensen’s return to Star Wars. He is all set to reprise his role as Anakin Skywalker and, even better, Darth Vader for the Disney+ series. That should propel one of the first comics with Obi-Wan’s name on the title to new heights. Of course, he shared the marquee with his former apprentice. Since the two will reunite in Kenobi, it will likely have collectors putting Obi-Wan and Anakin #1 on their wish lists.
By far, this is the most affordable issue on today’s list. The last time a graded 9.8 traded hands online, it came with a sticker price of $160 on March 10. That is a steal when you put it alongside the price tags of the previously mentioned comics. Still, Obi-Wan and Anakin #1 is a minor key on the rise. Just last year, this was a $70 investment.
STAR WARS EPISODE ONE: OBI-WAN KENOBI #1
Coming in from the Dark Horse days is Obi-Wan’s first self-titled comic from 1999. Despite preceding Obi-Wan and Anakin #1, Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 remains the less popular of the two. With the soaring prices for all the first appearances and debut solo stories, the first solo titles for famous characters have become much more appealing to collectors. That should help Obi-Wan’s first starring role in a one-shot gain some respect. The last time a 9.8 sold online, it brought $144 in May 2021. A month ago, the photo variant sold for $137.
If you have been a longtime Star Wars collector, your loyalty to the brand is paying off. The Kenobi trailer looks to be a solid improvement over BOBF, but there’s no way of knowing until the show premieres. At this point, the prices are elevating thanks to nostalgia. As we discovered with Boba Fett, fond memories don’t outweigh a bad story (and worse acting). At this point, the bar has been lowered, so anything better than BOBF will be a welcome addition to the pantheon. With all the nostalgic Star Wars content, any character from the original trilogy could get a solo series. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru spinoff. Maybe he and Jar Jar could team up as secret Sith lords. Laugh if you want, but that would be better than what we got from BOBF.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.