Venom Gets Scarce with Venom: Lethal Protector #1 Black Up for Auction

Debuting from Marvel in late 1992, Venom: Lethal Protector #1 was the beginning of Venom as a solo character in his own title after a wildly successful introduction in Amazing Spider-Man. It was the 3rd biggest comic book launch of 1992 among some incredibly stiff competition that year (Superman #75, the Death of Superman, was the top book of the year, while the launch of WildC.A.T.S came in 2nd). Like many Marvel and DC Comics special event books of the era, Venom: Lethal Protector #1 utilized a "cover enhancement" — in this case, a cover with a red foil background.  And while there are a lot of the regular edition of this comic, there were only a very few of this printing error variant (copies where the red foil didn't stick to the cover) that made it out of the printing plant and into the hands of comic book retailers. There's a copy of Venom: Lethal Protector #1 Black Cover/Printing Error CGC VF/NM 9.0 available in this week's 2021 May 16-17 Sunday & Monday Comics, Animation & Art Weekly Online Auction #122120 from Heritage Auctions.

Venom: Lethal Protector #1 Black Cover, artwork by Mark Bagley and Sam de la Rosa, Marvel 1993.
Venom: Lethal Protector #1 Black Cover, artwork by Mark Bagley and Sam de la Rosa, Marvel 1993.

I first heard about this black cover variant when the comic shop I worked in at the time received one in its normal Diamond shipment on the week of release. The next week, the store's Diamond delivery driver told us that he'd heard from retailers that the few copies of this printing error variant that were out there had become a hot item. I was a contributor to Wizard: The Guide to Comics at the time and wrote up the situation surrounding Venom: Lethal Protector #1 black printing error variant for the magazine.  By that summer, I'd heard of a copy selling for $500 at Chicago Comicon.

Venom: Lethal Protector #1 Black Cover, artwork by Mark Bagley and Sam de la Rosa, Marvel 1993.
Venom: Lethal Protector #1 Black Cover, artwork by Mark Bagley and Sam de la Rosa, Marvel 1993.

As of this writing, there are only 197 listings for this item on the CGC Census. There's a copy of Venom: Lethal Protector #1 Black Cover/Printing Error CGC VF/NM 9.0 available in this week's 2021 May 16-17 Sunday & Monday Comics, Animation & Art Weekly Online Auction #122120 from Heritage Auctions.

Venom: Lethal Protector #1 Black Cover/Printing Error Variant (Marvel, 1993) CGC VF/NM 9.0 White pages. This issue was supposed to have a red foil cover background, but a few copies were printed with a black background! Overstreet notes that 146 copies have been certified by CGC to date, and since counterfeits of this book do exist, a CGC-graded copy is important. This is just the third black cover variant that we have ever offered and the first we have seen in three years. Currently #3 on Overstreet's Top 20 Modern Age Comics list. Overstreet 2020 VF/NM 9.0 value = $324; NM- 9.2 value = $500. CGC census 4/21: 13 in 9.0, 155 higher.

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 2123985005 and purchase grader's notes if available.

About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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