The Infamous "Angry Girlfriend" ASM #14

The Infamous

BY MATT TUCK

It’s a comic that has reached mythical status. Many have claimed to own it, but Shane Hester is here to hand out the truth about the most famous copy of Amazing Spider-Man #14 in the world, the “Angry Girlfriend” variant.

THE MOST INFAMOUS COMIC IN THE WORLD

Variants, variants, and more variants. In today’s comic market, virtually every published issue gets a variant. In a market brimming with variants, I guarantee you haven’t seen one quite like this.

“Chance, Go to Hell,” is emblazoned across the cover with the ominous instruction, “Turn over.” From there, a legend was made. “I never thought I’d be able to destroy something that meant so much to me,” the scornful note continues. “As far as I’m concerned, your [sic] dead.” Scrolling along the side, it reads, “In no way am I trying to be noble or anything like that.” Well, at least there’s that.

HELL HATH NO FURY...

This comic has reached legendary status among collectors. Every three or six months, the legend will resurface in a social media group with a new verse added to the tale. Despite numerous claims of ownership, the comic has actually only been sold two times, according to Hester.

How did it come into his possession?

The infamous Chance sold it to Titan Comics sometime in the early 1990s, and Hester bought it for $40 at the Atlanta Comic Convention between 1992-1993. “Every dealer, every customer, everybody picked that book up and looked at it, and they’re all talking about it, and then they hand it back. [...] I whipped my wallet out. [...] I bought it, and everybody else was like, ‘Dude, I would’ve gave $40 bucks for it,’ And I’m like, ‘It sucks to be you. It’s mine now.’”

When not making the convention rounds, Hester keeps the comic on display at Battleground Comics in Dalton, Georgia, and he has been just the second owner of the Angry Girlfriend variant. After owning it for the past 29 years, it’s become the centerpiece of the Battleground display. Why? “Because the reaction it gets from people,” Hester said.

“I used to own an Albedo #2, but I traded it for a brand new van. I’ve got an Iron Fist #14 35-cent variant that we’re pretty sure is counterfeit. Man, I’ve got all kinds of [rarities].” Compared to the other items in his collection, where would he rank the “Angry Girlfriend” ASM #14? “Tip top. Tippy top. I probably own about $100,000 worth of E.C. horror comics, but still though, I put it above them.”

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

This comic has become folklore among collectors. In 2019, Newsweek did a feature story on the comic, quoting podcast host Aaron Meyer, who said that it “passed from dealer to dealer, and finally one dealer got it graded.” Hester disagrees, saying that he is only the third owner after Chance himself sold his entire collection to a comic shop, who then sold it to Hester. “Titan didn’t own it a week. I bought it as soon as I saw it,” Hester said. “I bought it in ‘92. I was still in high school.”

THE LEGEND GROWS

Hester estimates that the issue would be graded between a 7.5-8.0 without the writing. Any copy of ASM #14 is highly coveted thanks to Green Goblin’s first appearance. At the moment, the fair market value would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $6,000 and $7,000. Under normal circumstances, a comic that has been marred by black Sharpie would be rendered near worthless unless there was a famous name attached to the story. In this case, Chance’s misfortune has created a market all its own for “Angry Girlfriend” ASM #14. At this point, even the outer bag is valuable after being signed by the likes of Jim Shooter and other creators.

To add to the legend, some famous names within the comic industry are said to have offered five figures to own this infamous piece of comic collecting history. Hester claims that Donny Cates offered $25,000 for it, and that Jim Lee was willing to drop $50,000 on the “Angry Girlfriend.” Yet Hester turned them both down. Why?

Most of us would jump at the chance to turn a $40 investment into a $50,000 profit, but Hester says the novelty and sideshow of the comic itself makes it worth even more to his business. “We were at a con in Kansas City, Missouri, and everybody there came and touched that book. [...] That book generates us $50,000 every six to eight months with people coming to see it and buying stuff. 

BEING PART OF THE LEGEND

Why is it so valuable? It comes down to the legend itself.

I’m certain that if I buy a low-grade ASM #14 and write, “Go to Hell” across the cover, it’s going to lose value. Why is the “Angry Girlfriend” collector’s gold? Maybe it’s because it’s so odd. Maybe it’s because it’s strangely funny. What is for sure is that the more the legend grows, the more collectors want it.

“I think a lot of collectors can relate to this ‘outburst’ because many of us have experienced resentment from significant others, friends, and family members towards our hobby,” said Regie Simmons, the host of the Regie Collects YouTube channel. “This is basically the ultimate manifestation of those feelings. Plus, who doesn’t slow down to look at an accident?”

In the world of comics, it is all about being unique and being rare. It also helps that so many collectors tell the tale and spread the tale of the “Angry Girlfriend.” The more people talk and the more stories are told, the more this comic will be worth. It’s the ultimate conversation piece, and having it in your collection makes you part of the legend. In the end, that is where the true value lies - in the legend. 

Here’s to you, scorned lover and Spider-Man hater, for securing your legacy and making this ASM #14 something to remember for years to come.

Will Hester ever part with it? That would be a tall order. “I kind of think I will go out of this world owning this book,” Hester proclaimed. “But $100,000? [...] It would be hard to turn down.” So if you’ve got six figures lying around collecting dust, give him a call.

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.


1 comment

  • DAVID CONINE

    Great article! Keep up the excellent work!


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