COMIC BOOK COLLECTING: Mighty Thor 337, Walt Simonson and the first Beta Ray Bill appearance

By Dan O’Brien / @vedafy1 / Published September 16, 2021

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A note on comic book grading; terms and acronyms to know:

“Grading Scale”: Comic books are graded on a sliding scale starting at a perfect ‘Gem Mint’ grade of 10, all the way down to it’s lowest acceptable rating grade of .05. At this Heritage Auctions link, they provide a comprehensive summary of how the industry typically grades the conditions of a comic book.

“CGC”: This is the acronym for the third party company recognized to be the worldwide benchmark for the professional grading and certification of comic books, trading cards, magazines, and other collectibles.
The CGC comics division will grade each book it receives, encapsulating it in a sturdy plastic container designed to preserve the book in it’s current state, as well as offering a visually appealing case for it’s owner.

“CBCS”:  The acronym for the next most popular grading company, the Comic Book Certification Service, a major competitor to CGC.

 

We all saw what happened when the Disney+ series Wandavision turned the White Vision’s first appearance in West Coast Avengers #42 into an overnight sensation.  A dollar bin book quickly skyrocketed to become a $1000 book.

Let’s turn to The Mighty Thor volume 1, issue #337: The first appearance of Beta Ray Bill.

Can you imagine what will happen when this much-loved character from the legendary Walt Simonson run of Marvel’s The Mighty Thor is officially confirmed to make his appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Ever since Beta Ray Bill was hinted at in the film Thor: Ragnarok, this 1983 issue has become a true collector’s item.

As a collector during the 1980’s, I can confirm this issue was already big news in the comic book world at that time. This may have been the pre-internet era, but everyone knew the great Walter Simonson was taking writing and drawing duties with issue #337. Little did we know that his very first cover, and this now legendary issue, would become one of the most important comic books of the 1980’s.

With his brand new character bursting through the cover, big things were clearly ahead for Thor readers, and this issue held nothing back thanks to Mr. Simonson’s bombastic approach to storytelling and artwork. By the end of Thor #337, Thor loses his hammer and powers, and a strange alien being known as Bill was found worthy enough to hold Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor. Beta Ray Bill was born. What a start this was!

The first of two copies I own of this issue have safely made it’s way home from CGC recently. Let’s take a look at it and think about how best to proceed from here.

Thor Issue #337, graded CGC 9.4
Here is it, at last. Thor 337 has made it home after a long journey through the grading process.

The one major flaw I can see in the encapsulated book is the upper right corner of the front cover. Instead of being a sharp square, a fraction of the cover in this area has been chipped. That’s too bad, as otherwise the only very noticeable problems are some very slight spine ticks visible if looking under the light carefully. Add up all of these flaws and we end up with a great-looking presentation of a 9.4. CGC copy of this significant 1983 comic book.

Selling Strategy:  This is absolutely a hold for right now. So far, there is no official word of any kind that Beta Ray Bill will be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we do have a massive Thor film event taking place in 2022, ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’. At this point, it would be MORE shocking if Beta Ray Bill is NOT name-dropped or is otherwise hinted at in a major way in that movie. 

My plan is to hold onto this gem for sure until news on this character coming to the MCU breaks the internet, and launches this book into the stratosphere.  

In the sections below, I will be posting recent sales history, leading up to the release of the next Thor movie in 2022. Also provided is the September 2021 CGC census for this issue.  Here is the link to get the live census numbers per CGC’s website data.

Screenshot of the CGC census for Thor 337
CGC Census of Thor 337, as of September 2021

RECENT EBAY SALES HISTORY

EBay is certainly not the only place to buy graded comic books, but it does provide a nice barometer of sales history and the on-going market pricing.

Here are five recent sales of 9.4 graded issues. As you can see this book is already trending upwards as the countdown towards the next Thor film continues.

September 15, Newsstand edition: $349.95 (best offer accepted).

September 5, Direct edition: $315.

August 19, Newsstand edition: $370 (best offer accepted).

August 18, Direct edition: $289.99 (best offer accepted).

August 17, Newsstand edition: $289.99, off-white pages (best offer accepted).

Many more graded books will be posted  here as they arrive home from CGC and CBCS. Please follow this site so you see the results as they arrive. One thing is for sure, there will be plenty of “Do I sell now or hold” decisions to be made!

 

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About the writer:

Here’s my back-story describing when my collecting days started years ago at the age of thirteen, and the truly amazing discoveries I found in my collection after taking many years off from this great hobby.

My Ten Year Comic Book Journey: What it was like collecting comics during the great comics era of the 1980’s.

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