Hot Comics #5:
Incredible Hulk 181, 1st Wolverine
DOWN TWO PLACES FROM LAST YEAR

NOTE: We use eBay to provide references to live prices of comic books. Clicking a text link or image marked ‘Check live prices’ will take you to eBay.

NOTE: We use eBay to provide references to live prices of comic books. Clicking a text link or image marked ‘Check live prices’ will take you to eBay.

Why Incredible Hulk 181 is a Hot Comic

2022 MARKET REPORT: THE MOST POPULAR BOOK IN THE WORLD, MAYBE?

If you ask comic book collectors what's on their Grail list, then many will say they want to own a Hulk #181. The first Wolverine is such an iconic book.

As an investment, how well it's done for you depends on when you bought it. Three years ago, it had softened significantly from the mid-Teens highs. Now it's on the rise again. It can't QUITE outdo the top four Hot 100 books, but you cannot argue with the legacy of this classic 1970s Hulk issue.

CGC 9.8 sales were lagging for a very long time, but not anymore. Six figures is starting to look possible if the market continues like this.

There has been a recent drop in hotness on this book, with VF range books selling for less than before. High grades are still very hot.

Recent sales:

  • 9.8 $87,300
  • 9.6 $36,000
  • 9.4 $22,800
  • 9.2 $13,500
  • 9.0 $11,800
  • 8.5 $8,000
  • 8.0 $7,200
  • 7.5 $7,000
  • 7.0 $5,280
  • 6.5 $5,750
  • 6.0 $5,500
  • 5.5 $5,400
  • 5.0 $4,350
  • 4.5 $3,500
  • 4.0 $4,300(!!!! Idiotic)
  • 3.5 $2,750
  • 3.0 $2,300
  • 2.5 $3,600 (!!! Another one)
  • 2.0 $2,500
  • 1.8 $2,150
  • 1.5 $1,700
  • 1.0 $1,300
  • 0.5 $1,000 (Yes, $1,000 for a 0.5)

2021 MARKET REPORT: WOLVERINE'S FIRST APPEARANCE IS CLOSE TO THE TOP OF THE HOT COMICS LIST, AGAIN!

While Hulk 181 isn't quite as crazy as it has been in 2017 or 2018, keeping it from being #1 this year, it's still a powerful performer, with price increases in most grades.

The biggest change has been seen in high grades, especially CGC 9.4, 9.6 and 9.8, with new record prices being set multiple times since last year. $50,000 is not far away.

  • CGC 9.8: $47,500
  • CGC 9.6 $21,600
  • CGC 9.4 $15,600
  • CGC 9.2 $7,200
  • CGC 9.0 $7,300(!)
  • CGC 8.5 $5,000
  • CGC 8.0 $4,900
  • CGC 7.5 $4,550
  • CGC 7.0 $3,850
  • CGC 6.5 $3,700
  • CGC 6.0 $2,735
  • CGC 5.0 $2,600
  • CGC 4.0 $2,520
  • CGC 3.0 $2,199
  • CGC 2.0 $1,150
  • CGC 1.5 incomplete $1,550 << This year's most idiotic purchase award winner!

IF YOU BOUGHT MY RECOMMENDED GRADE LAST YEAR:

Here's the bottom line.

  • CGC 9.0 2020 $5,733
  • LAST SALE $7,200
  • PERCENT CHANGE +25%

2020 MARKET UPDATE: STRANGE PRICES SEEN AS THE MID-MARKET SETTLES

Nothing goes up and up forever. Incredible Hulk 181 has turned -- at least in some grades. We had seen some pretty spectacular prices for a couple of years.

It's probably a good thing that it's settled down a bit, especially in grades from 6.0 through 8.5, which had been out of control.

Meanwhile, the first brief appearance of Wolverine in Incredible Hulk 180 is doing rather nicely this year also!

We may see more consolidation, as gravity takes hold of the prices for lower-grade books. There is still some pretty gnarly price compression around the $2K mark, which should resolve itself within a few months.

I would not be surprised to see the entry level drop to below $500 again and VG books to be firmly under $1K by the end of 2020. Recent sales:

  • 9.8 $31,560
  • 9.6 $12,000
  • 9.4 $9,025
  • 9.2 $6,700
  • 9.0 $6,200
  • 8.5 $4,202
  • 8.0 $4,133(!)
  • 7.5 $2,640
  • 7.0 $2,602
  • 6.5 $2,300
  • 6.0 $2,426(!)
  • 5.5 $1,925
  • 5.0 $2,100(!!)
  • 4.5 $1,899
  • 4.0 $1,600
  • 3.5 $1,200
  • 3.0 $1,500(!!!)
  • 2.5 $1,099
  • 2.0 $1,095
  • 1.8 $741
  • 1.5 $1,250 (dumbass purchase of the year)
  • 1.0 $825(!!!)
  • 0.5 $850 (close second)

2019 MARKET UPDATE: BREAKOUT YEAR ACROSS THE BOARD

It was the year when Incredible Hulk 181 went completely mad. Just as sanity was beginning to be restored, Stan Lee died, and more people entered the comics market overnight.

We bought and sold this book in all grades from 0.5 through 9.4, all year long, with more copies coming out of the woodwork than ever.

Without question, the book was over-priced in early Fall. Books which would have struggled to reach $800 a year earlier were smashing through the $2K barrier.

Here are the low-grade results. It's gone insane.

  • 0.5 incomplete $625
  • 1.0 $950
  • 1.5 $919
  • 1.8 $1,300
  • 2.0 $1,025
  • 2.5 $1,200
  • 3.0 $1,510

In the mid-grade range, book which were comfortably under $1K in 2017 are double the price now.

  • 3.5 $1,625
  • 4.0 $1,850
  • 4.5 $2,095 (vs. 2017 average of $962!)
  • 5.0 $2,126 (2017 $1,039!)
  • 5.5 $2,165 (half grade not respected, see below)
  • 6.0 $2,275
  • 6.5 $2,740
  • 7.0 $2,943
  • 7.5 $3,300

This mania for a book in any grade led to price compression and weird results for half grades. Collectors don't seem to value the extra half a grade, and I think it might actually lead to confusion in some minds.

Now we enter the upper grades.

  • 8.0 $3,900
  • 8.5 $4,351 (2017 $2,526!)
  • 9.0 $5,901
  • 9.2 $6,802
  • 9.4 $10,000 (2017 $5,125!!)
  • 9.6 $11,399 (this seems cheap vs the 9.4 price)
  • 9.8 $29,100

To put the 9.8 sale into context, you could buy an Incredible Hulk #1 6.0 for $2K less!

Prices have continued to rise. This is, bar none, the world's hottest comic book.

2018 MARKET UPDATE: HOT COMIC IN EVERY GRADE!

The big news this year is that high-grade copies of Incredible Hulk 181 have broken out of their holding patterns. Prices of CGC 9.8s were especially sticky up until the very end of 2016, before gradually moving up.

Now you will see that price resistance, previously established in the $13,000-$14,000 range, has moved up towards $20,000 for CGC 9.8 copies.

The rising tide is lifting all ships, especially in grades above 9.0.

  • 9.2 $4,950
  • 9.4 $5,250
  • 9.6 $8,200
  • 9.8 $19,000

At the bottom end of the market, where the really silly trades occur, we continue to see ridiculous decision-making on low-grade copies, as collectors want a copy, ANY copy, of the first appearance of Wolverine:

  • CGC 0.5 INCOMPLETE $550 (!!)
  • CGC 1.0 $450
  • CGC 1.5 $525
  • CGC 1.8 $715
  • CGC 2.0 $770
  • CGC 2.5 $725 (!!)
  • CGC 3.0 $915

2017 MARKET UPDATE:

Prices of this book are hotter than hot, and there is so much turnover in this market that we had to move it up the 100 Hot Comics list. Here are some recent sales:

  • Most recent sale in each grade:0.5 $550 (for an INCOMPLETE copy!)
  • 1.0 $450
  • 1.5 $520
  • 1.8 $500
  • 2.0 $770
  • 2.5 $680
  • 3.0 $760
  • 3.5 $720 (Note the compression of price between 2.0 and 3.5)
  • 4.0 $950
  • 4.5 $1,150
  • 5.0 $1,000
  • 5.5 $1,000 (Note the compression of price between 4.0 and 5.5)
  • 6.0 $1,500
  • 6.5 $1,500
  • 7.0 $1,700
  • 7.5 $2,150
  • 8.0 $2,350
  • 8.5 $2,750
  • 9.0 $3,400
  • 9.2 $4,100
  • 9.4 $5,300
  • 9.6 $8,300
  • 9.8 $14,400
  • 9.9 $150,000 -- only copy to get CGC 9.9, sold years ago and would certainly break that record if it comes back to market.

The poor man's #181 is Incredible Hulk #180. That book is also on the Hot 100 list, and although Wolverine does appear in cameo on the last page, the REAL first appearance is this one.

Prices of this book continue to astound. CGC 9.8s are into the $15,000 territory.

At the other end of the spectrum, an INCOMPLETE 0.5 copy sold for $550!

(I hate to call somebody out, but whoever paid that was a total numbskull. For $100 more, they could have at least bought a complete 2.0 copy. But low-grade examples are common. Avoid this end of the market.)

Wolverine isn't going away anytime soon. More X-Men movies are being made. The franchise shows no sign of slowdown. Nor do prices of Hulk #181.

We recommend a crisp CGC 9.0 with white pages. Buy it now before it gets even more brutally pricey.

What to Invest In

WARNING! Fake Incredible Hulk 181s on the Market

We were just fooled by a fake copy of Hulk #181. Don't be scammed!

Click here to read how to spot the bad ones.

Have this book? Click to appraise its value NOW!