BY MATT TUCK, THE BLOGGER SUPREME
It’s official: Kingpin has returned to the MCU. You may think the only Kingpin key worth owning is already out of reach, but there’s more on the list than just ASM #50. Take a look.
By now, you’ve surely seen the latest episode of Hawkeye (or had a spoiler punch you in the face because that’s the true purpose of social media - to crack you right in the face with information you didn’t ask for). One way or another, we’re all aware that Vincent D’Onofrio, despite his insistent denials, has joined the cast of Marvel’s latest family-friendly action-comedy as Wilson Fisk.
The tide is rising for those Kingpin keys. You may think the only one worth having is Amazing Spider-Man #50, but you would be wrong. Check out today’s list for some undervalued Fisk keys worth betraying a fictional mob boss to own, especially one who wears purple pants.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #51
All collecting eyes are on ASM #50, and for good reason. With Wilson Fisk officially part of the non-Netflix neighborhood of the MCU, this is at the top of many wish lists, and it’s going to drive prices through the roof in short order. As those FMVs pick up steam and get completely out of hand, there is a healthy alternative awaiting you: ASM #51.
Not only is this the second appearance of Kingpin, but this is his first cover appearance. For many characters, the initial cover art becomes more popular than the actual first appearance. Look no further than Hulk #180 and #181 for a prime example. In this case, ASM #51 doesn’t compete with ASM #50, but that’s to your advantage as it keeps the prices much easier on your budget. A graded 3.5 last sold for $290, and that may sound like a high price, but compare that with the $900 price tag for a 3.5 ASM #50, and you see my point.
Kingpin didn’t truly become the Kingpin we all know and love (and fear in the depths of our nightmares wondering if there is such a fearsome criminal mastermind lurking just beneath the veneer of society, pulling the strings on everyday life in his purple pants, or maybe that’s just me) until Frank Miller brought him into Hell’s Kitchen. Up to that point, Kingpin had been a Silver Age Spider-Man villain with enough campy ‘60s flare to make you vomit tye-dyed rainbows. Then came Frank Miller, and everything changed.
Back in 1981, Miller was at his best, and he proved it with every issue of his legendary DD run. In DD #170, he brought Fisk into the mix for a legendary rivalry that defined the title. A 9.6 recently sold for $140, which is up from last year’s fair market value of $88.
If you are going to collect DD #170, you will want to pick up a copy of #171 to go along for the ride. Again, this is part of Miller’s amazing take on Matt Murdock’s world, and any fan of gritty anti-superhero stories will want every issue of that fabled stint. After Fisk invaded Hell’s Kitchen in DD #170, the Kingpin met Daredevil face-to-face in DD #171, marking their first throwdown.
The advantage here is that you can have an absolute classic story for little risk. I wholeheartedly advise you skip the slabs and spend $20-$30 on a raw copy here because you will want to read this issue. While you’re at it, read all the Miller DD comics. These are some of the best comics ever written, and they redefined both Daredevil and Kingpin and influenced an entire generation of comic creators.
SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #82
When you’re the homicidal ruler of the criminal underworld, there are lots of people to trample on the way to the top (or bottom, depending on how you look at it). Over the decades, Wilson Fisk has amassed a score of bodies and even more enemies. Kingpin has so many people ready to kill him that Tony Soprano would be jealous. There’s no one who hates him more than Frank Castle.
Daredevil may get the nod as the classic Kingpin adversary, but the Punisher is a close second. Frank and Wilson are naturally enemies. One is an unscrupulous mob boss, the other brutally murders mob bosses. It’s like peanut butter and jelly or blood and guts - they just go together. And the two first met in 1983’s Spectacular Spider-Man #82. You can aim for a graded 9.8 and still come away with an investment under $100. What’s not to love?
Wilson Fisk never looked as good as he did in Esad Ribic’s hands. His pencils for the 2003 Kingpin solo series stole the show, but then again, Ribic is the highlight of basically every comic he draws. The other part of this issue is Fisk’s past. As Daredevil masterfully brought to life, this comic shows Fisk’s childhood and the traumatic experiences that shaped him into the murderous Kingpin.
Prices have been going up this year. In September, a graded 9.8 sold for $190 when it averaged $33 in 2020.
Now that D’Onofrio has joined the cast of Hawkeye, thus destroying our trust in actors’ social media claims that they are not in a Marvel series or movie (looking at you, Andrew Garfield), DD #53 has become the prized possession of many collectors. Since Kingpin has rejoined the MCU, it’s obviously building to a boss battle with Echo in the finale of her first season. Will it top those DD or Punisher battles with Kingpin over on Netflix? That’s a tall order, but at least it appears we’ll get to see the DD cast one last time before Echo basically becomes the MCU Daredevil.
What does this issue have to do with all that? I’m glad you asked. DD #53 features the big moment when Kingpin killed Maya’s father, thus setting her on a bloody path of revenge. Hawkeye is falling in line with Echo’s comic origins, and it’s putting a bullseye on this issue. Over the past week, it has routinely sold in the $15-$20 range for raw copies.
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #32
Whether or not this is a good idea doesn’t really matter because there is a good chance we will see Kingpin’s daughter, Princess Fisk. That’s right - Wilson Fisk, the notorious Kingpin, named his daughter Princess. Will we see her in Echo? That’s a possibility, but there is a growing number of theorists that are curious if she will be featured in the Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur animated series. After all, she did debut in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #32. Last year, the 9.8 averaged $88, but it has recently jumped to a $148 90-day FMV. The most recent sale saw one reach an impressive $175.
I’M BEGGING YOU, MARVEL
The possibilities are endless. Okay, maybe not endless, but there’s plenty to get excited over. It’s not like we didn’t all see this coming 10 miles away; after all, the Kingpin references were pretty heavy handed. Come on, Fat Man Auto Repair? That’s a bit uninspired, especially if you remember the buildup to Wilson Fisk in the first season of Daredevil. Over on Netflix, one dude was willing to impale himself on a spike just because he said Kingpin’s name. He was more afraid of Fisk’s wrath than a violent death, but put Fisk in the hands of the Hawkeye writers, and we get less mystery and more “Fat Man Used Cars.” Yeah, I think the days of Kingpin’s name inspiring fear in the hearts of heroes and villains alike are over. Maybe he’s a little more cuddly now.
That, my friends, is the thing I’m most afraid of. Marvel Studios likes its absurd characters and slapstick comedy. On behalf of all fans of Drew Goddard’s version of Kingpin, I say to Marvel, please lay off the campy comedy schtick when it comes to Fisk. Sadly, we all know they won’t.
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.