2018 MARKET UPDATE: THE POOR MAN'S HULK #181...
This is a decent book to already own, though we are not super-bullish about buying them at this time. That is, if you're not holding a CGC 9.8 hoping for a miracle. All other grades have seen nice appreciation. 9.8s are DOWN.
We cannot really justify this anomaly, other than saying that maybe people would rather have a CGC 9.4 of Incredible Hulk #181 than a 9.8 of #180...
As the sales above show, the market is driving the price of this book higher. It's definitely a very hot comic book.
2017 MARKET UPDATE:
Surprisingly, there hasn't been a sale in CGC 9.8 for over a year, but all other grades above fine are doing very nicely.
Collectors tired of saying "HOW MUCH?!!" when they see 181s selling have been snapping up desirable examples of this book instead. Prices drop far more rapidly as you move down the grades than 181.
If you cannot afford a decent copy of Incredible Hulk #181 (and let's face it, you probably can't), then the 'poor man's #181' is where your money should go.
Why has this heated up in value? Mainly because Wolverine is still the #1 most popular character to appear in the X-Men comics series, and this is, technically, his actual first appearance. Despite the cameo nature of it.
Let's not delude ourselves, it's still only worth a fraction of the #181 prices, but the gap is slowly closing, especially in higher grades.
For the same price as our recommended 9.2, you would only be able to afford a pretty ragged-looking 4.5 of #181. No contest!