As we've mentioned both here and in the pages of Bleeding Cool Magazine, it's no secret that first and key appearances of Guardians of the Galaxy characters have been hot back issue sellers since the Guardians of the Galaxy film was announced last summer.
But this is likely one of the strongest indicators yet of collector interest in the franchise. The census-topping CGC 9.8 copy of the first appearance of Rocket Raccoon in Marvel Preview #7 from Summer 1976 has just been sold for a record $2000 by PNJ Comics.
There are 12 copies of this magazine on the census currently (though that number is likely to rise significantly this year), with none equal to or higher than this freshly-graded CGC 9.8. The second-highest graded CGC 9.6 copy sold for $1009 in February 2013.
This black and white Marvel magazine contains the first appearance of Rocket Raccoon in a backup story written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Keith Giffen. Then called Rocky Raccoon, this initial story ties into the 1985 Rocket Raccoon limited series by Mantlo and artist Mike Mignola. (as another indicator of Rocket Raccoon's rocketing popularity, Bleeding Cool told you about the sale of the issue #1 cover art of that limited series for $7170 back in November 2012).
It's been quite a rise to fame for this and several other Guardians of the Galaxy keys over the past several months. Marvel Preview #7 was sitting around in magazine back issue boxes attracting little interest even for a few dollars barely a year ago. Indeed, the owners of PNJ Comics, excited to have garnered a record sale for this rapidly-rising key, told me that they had this one stored raw in a closet before recently deciding to submit it to CGC for grading. Comic book back issues can have rapidly-changing fortunes based on related movie and television announcements or rumors, and this Marvel Preview #7 sale is just the lastest example of that phenomenon.