For comic book fans, this week is like Christmas in May. On Friday, May 6, Marvel releases the hotly anticipated film “Captain America: Civil War.” Then Saturday, May 7, is Free Comic Book Day, when comic book stores around the country give away complimentary issues.
But, the question is, are you Team Captain America with Ant-Man and Hawkeye or Team Iron Man with Spider-Man and Black Panther? Six serious LI collectors discuss their favorite — as well as some of the most valuable — issues from these superheroes:
Lou Valenti, 49, of Lindenhurst, has been collecting Captain America comics since 1984. Today he has more than 300 featuring the character. “I like that he has strong ideals of right over wrong,” says Valenti.
ICONIC ISSUE Valenti cherishes issue #111 from 1969. “Artist Jim Steranko changed the design of the character and made him more modernized,” says Valenti. “He took what original artist Jack Kirby was doing and amped it up.”
VALUABLE ISSUE Comic experts say Captain America #1 from 1941, which has him punching Adolf Hitler on the cover, fetches $330,000 in today’s market.
Jon Mankuta of Smithtown likes his superheroes small. That’s why he’s fond of Ant-Man. “He’s an underdog,” says Mankuta, who is in his late 30s. “I like that he went from criminal to hero.”
ICONIC ISSUE Mankuta favors a two-part series Marvel Premiere #47-48 from 1979 in which Scott Lang becomes the new Ant-Man. He even owns the original cover art for #48.
VALUABLE ISSUE Tales to Astonish #27 from 1962, containing the first appearance of the original Ant-Man, Dr. Henry Pym, sells for $40,000.
Jim Coyle, 44, of Central Islip, can identify with Hawkeye because he’s a regular guy. “Hawkeye is sort of my way into that world,” says Coyle. “He’s the everyman of the Marvel Universe.”
ICONIC ISSUE Coyle likes the first issue (Vol. 1, #1) of Hawkeye’s limited series from 1983, drawn by Mark Gruenwald, which was the character’s first encounter with Mockingbird, whom he married, and the villain Crossfire.
VALUABLE ISSUE Tales of Suspense #57 from 1964, worth $2,200, is where Hawkeye is first introduced and “fights Iron Man because of a misunderstanding that he’s a criminal,” according to Coyle.
Jeff Moné, 34, of Centereach, doesn’t mind that Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, is not a very likable guy. “Most of his villains are a direct result of something he’s done,” says Moné. “A lot of what makes Tony Stark great is him rising above his own limitations.”
ICONIC ISSUE Moné prefers Iron Man #128, the last book in the 1979 “Demon in the Bottle” series, which dealt with Stark conquering his addiction to alcohol.
VALUABLE ISSUE The first appearance of Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #39 from 1963 runs $42,000 today.
Lou Caravana, 37, who grew up in Port Jefferson, was originally drawn to Spider-Man because of his cool costume but later identified with his alter ego, Peter Parker.
“Peter’s a teenager who was bullied and teased,” says Caravana. “He struggles with typical young person problems like having no money and always being late for class.”
ICONIC ISSUE For Caravana, Spider-Man #121 from 1973 centered on the death of Gwen Stacy is a classic.
“Spider-Man finally gets the girl, and then she’s taken away from him,” says Caravana. “It’s pretty hard core.”
VALUABLE ISSUE Amazing Fantasy #15 from 1962 containing Spider-Man’s first appearance is worth a whopping $240,000.
Mike Kadan, 57, of Nesconset has been following the character since he was 10. “Black Panther is an interesting character who is very smart,” says Kadan. “He’s not Iron Man, Thor or the Hulk — he’s more of a supporting character.”
ICONIC ISSUE Kadan is drawn to the 1973-1974 Jungle Action #6-#18 series, written by Don McGregor, which is a 13-issue story arc that’s one of Marvel’s first graphic novels.
VALUABLE ISSUE Black Panther joined forces with the Fantastic Four in issues #52 (worth $2,000) and #53 (worth $450) in 1966.