BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
The Boys are back with a third season and a spinoff series. With so much attention on the ultra violent superhero comedy, it’s shining a spotlight on their key issues.
Not everything under the superhero banner is warm and fuzzy. Although the Disney era of Marvel Studios has pushed the MCU deeply into family-friendly territory with no signs of turning back, recent years have seen something fresh and original arising. DC introduced more R-rated programming geared for a more mature audience. But before there was The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker, or even Image’s Invincible, there was The Boys.
Of course, I’m referring to the Amazon streaming series, not the comics. Both the Suicide Squad and Peacemaker premiered for DC and Charlton Comics, respectively, in the 1960s. Garth Ennis’ Dynamite series wasn’t published until 2006. However when it comes to expanding the horizons of superhero television, The Boys beat DC to the punch and set the standard for adult’s only superfriends.
What is at the heart of the live-action The Boys is exactly what Ennis intended. It’s a pessimistic view of what life would be like if superpowers were real and how insignificant the rest of us would quickly become. Ennis’ version of the Justice League, the Seven, do whatever they please under the guise of public service. It’s what they do when no one is watching that shows their true natures. What it really boils down to is lifting the rose colored glasses on the 21st Century’s idol worship and imagining the disappointment when we discover what our favorite celebrities do when the cameras aren’t recording. That also breeds intrigue. Just look at the public’s obsession with the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard legal circus. Seeing larger-than-life movie stars brought down to a human level has always been interesting. The Boys showcases that in the shape of superheroes with godlike powers who are all too flawed.
The Amazon series follows a similar precipice, but it focuses more on corporate agendas that slap price tags and focus groups on both idolatry and safety. Still, the show is a fairly true adaptation of Ennis’ original work, especially true when it comes to Billy Butcher.
Granted, Butcher is more villainous in the comic than he is in the series, but the soul of the character is basically the same. His is a revenge story, and it turns the tables on the hero-villain dichotomy. Although the public perception is that Homelander and the Seven are the good guys and defenders of freedom, they’re close to Satan than Jesus. When it comes to evening the odds against superpowered a-holes, a villain is exactly what you need.
As we saw in the conclusion of Season One, the show has taken a turn away from the comics. Billy’s wife was secretly alive and gave birth to Homelander’s son. Meanwhile, Homelander has bordered on becoming a sympathetic figure. As his past is slowly revealed, we learn that he is a product of Vaught’s corporate science experiment. While his public persona comes with a fabricated all-American boy backstory, the reality is that he was treated as a guinea pig. Living his childhood in those conditions traumatized him, and we see him acting out that trauma as an unhinged, psychopathic supervillain.
The new trailer for Season Three teases a changing of the status quo. Butcher will gain superpowers of his own, which essentially turns him into the one thing he hates most in the world. For him, the end could justify the means as he evens the odds in his battle with Vaught and Homelander.
The teaser trailer will cause the inevitable collecting bump. Since these aren’t Marvel keys and The Boys isn’t on Disney+, it won’t have nearly the impact of an MCU-related comic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Those Boys keys are much more affordable than, say, Moon Knight or any other Marvel project in the works. Plus, these are simply great comics that are worth reading before they are encased in a slab.
THE BOYS #1
This is clearly the biggest key in the collection, so we might as well start here. This is the issue that kicked off the entire world of The Boys, though the title began with Wildstorm and later shifted to Dynamite. You get the first appearances of Butcher and Hughie Campbell, not to mention the lovable English bulldog, Terror. There on the cover, we get the entire crew, making this the must-have issue for all Boys fans and investors. Because of those factors, it’s no wonder that the 9.8 has averaged nearly $400 this month alone. It hasn’t reached the 2020 record-setting $600 sale, but it has sold for as much as $576 this year.
THE BOYS #2
Whenever it comes to live-action superheroes, there are plenty of collectors who are only in it for the profits. They haven’t read the comics, and some haven’t watched the movies or shows, either. That is why the first appearance is usually the only one that gets the attention. In this case, you’d be missing out on something special.
As more fans discover Homelander through Amazon, it will lead investors to the second issue of the series, which gave us our first look at Homelander and the rest of the Seven in a cameo appearance. Cameo or not, it’s still the first, so it’s worth having. Plus, it’s just a cool comic to own.
Prices for The Boys #2 got a major boost last month. After averaging $128 in 2021 and not passing the $170 through March, a 9.8 leaped to a record $267 on April 2. There have not been any sales since then, so we shall see if that is the new fair market value trend or if it is an outlier.
THE BOYS #3
After making their cameo debut, Homelander and the Seven arrived in full force in The Boys #3. As they were in the comics, the Seven have been an integral part of The Boys’ plot, and that will continue in the third season. It also keeps this issue fresh with collectors looking to get their hands on those Boys keys. Last year, the graded 9.8 averaged $281 with a high of $388. So far in 2022, prices have dipped, but the 90-day FMV remains solid at $194, though it is a far cry from those ‘21 values. The most recent sale was for $150 on May 23.
What is also worth noting is the Kickstarter virgin variant that is floating around the auction sites. Because of the smaller print run, there are few recorded sales for graded copies. In August, a 9.8 sold for $180, and April saw that same grade reach $150.
THE BOYS: HEROGASM #1
It’s been confirmed that Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles will bring Soldier Boy to life. He is bound to steal the spotlight in what is already a wild, overthetop cast of characters. Just as Homelander is a homicidal Superman, not that there aren’t plenty of those in circulation, Soldier Boy is Ennis’ answer to Captain America. Instead of being frozen in 1945 before being thawed out in the modern world, this is the third character to use the Soldier Boy moniker. Still, he’s meant to echo Captain America with a heaping helping of toxic masculinity, and the result is awkward comedy.
You will want to keep an eye on The Boys: Herogasm #1 from 2009. This issue took off two years ago with a 9.8 selling for $425. A year later, 17 copies were bought and sold online, peaking at a record $435. So far this year, there have been only three recorded sales, the highest of which was for $225.
THE BOYS #52
Depending on which version of Soldier Boy we see in Season Three, this could become a hot issue overnight. Although the modern character debuted in Herogasm #1, the World War II era SB first appeared in The Boys #52. Since this is a spin on Captain America, I wouldn’t be surprised if the show uses elements of both characters to make a more obvious Cap parody. In either case, it would be wise to watch this comic because we’re bound to at least get flashbacks of the WWII Soldier Boy.
Prices for The Boys #52 have been across the board this year. First, there was one that went for $48 in March. A month later, the price jumped to $240, which should raise an eyebrow. Earlier this week, the most recent sale of $76 came back down to Earth.
THE BOYS #24
Amazon announced earlier this year that a spinoff series is in the works, and the word on the internet is that it will be The Boys meets Animal House. Officially, the show will center on Vaught’s superhero college, Godolkin University. Like Animal House, Amazon promises plenty of sex, drugs, violence, and humor.
Naturally, it should have collectors taking a look at The Boys #24 based mostly on the cover art, which is inspired by the classic National Lampoon’s Animal House movie poster from 1978. If the spinoff series is a hit with viewers, then this issue could be elevated to a new level of collecting importance. The other factor is G-Wiz, the tongue-in-cheek name for the superhero team that first appears in this issue. They could be the main characters for the new show, which would make this an important issue to own.
There hasn’t been a graded 9.8 to trade hands online since December when a copy brought $150. A month before, one sold for $250. However, if you head over to eBay, you can find raw copies for closer to $20.
THE BOYS #72
All things must come to an end, and The Boys’ first run with Dynamite closed its first chapter with The Boys #72. Of course, the characters from the series are alive and well. Just last year, Dynamite released Dear Becky, another Boys spinoff title. Still, fans looking to complete the full run will want to own this comic. As far as collecting, the last issue of a series often has a small print run, which makes it a valued addition to their long boxes.
Need one? The sales have been few and far between, at least for graded copies, and the last 9.8 to trade hands went for $105 on December 31.
BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE
The newest season of The Boys should be as bonkers and bloody as seasons one and two. I expect we’ll see a bit more drama as the show delves further into both Butcher and Homelander’s pasts. My prediction is that Soldier Boy will steal the spotlight.
The best part about The Boys is that it shows how adult-themed takes on superheroes can be marketable. I am a Marvel fan, but it is nice to have options when it comes to comic adaptations. Series like The Boys are proof positive that not all costumed, superpowered beings have to be written for elementary kids to be successful.
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.