CGC Registry

DBS's Divinity Set

Set Type: Divinity (2015)
Owner: DirtbagSailor
Last Modified: 1/14/2020
Views: 2615

Rank: 1
Score: 1229
Leading by: 177
Points to Higher Rank: N/A

Set Description:


"At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union – determined to win the Space Race at any cost – green lit a dangerously advanced mission. They sent a man farther into the cosmos than anyone has gone before or since. Lost in the stars, he encountered something unknown. Something that… ...changed him..."

- Valiant Entertainment, 2014

Divinity #2 (Djurdjevic Art)

"Aram had a hunger for discovery... ...a hunger to reveal the secrets of the unknown..."

Divinity Front

During the second half of 2014, former Valiant Entertainment (VEI) Editor-in-Chief Warren Simons spoke with fan-favorite artist Lewis LaRosa and presented him with the task of creating a new and original character. Simons provided the rough concept for the character who would be called Divinity (aka Abram Adams) and sent LaRosa the plot outline to work with. The plan for Divinity was that of a Communist Russian character of African ethnicity, who excelled physically; as well as academically in both science and arithmetic which would later secure his selection for a classified Soviet Space Program that existed in the 1950s and 1960s. To create an authentic and/or believable look, LaRosa patterned Divinity's costume and appearance using reference material and/or photo's of vintage cosmonauts from the same time-period. LaRosa's original character designs for Divinity are presently owned by "Sonic" Dan Moler and can be viewed HERE.

(NOTE: LaRosa also designed Divinity's space ship, which was never used in the final published story. However, it is interesting to see the creative-process that ultimately resulted in the books readers and/or fans of the series were able to collect and/or enjoy. The un-published original artwork for that design can be seen HERE.)

Both Simons and LaRosa should be credited as "co-creators" for Divinity for the character's unique concept and/or early visual design. LaRosa's variant cover for Divinity #1 (Design Variant Cover) features his original character design sketch which can also be see HERE (as well as embedded throughout my “Set Listing” which you are currently reading).

The concept, development, and publishing of Divinity was somewhat of an experiment. As long as comic books have been published, creators have consistently tried to create the next big thing, with most attempts failing. The history of comic books is full of "new" characters that fell into obscurity, as is to be expected. Divinity was to be part of (at the time) a new "Valiant Next" initiative which would lead fans and/or readers into 2015 with the release of five new titles; Ivar, Timewalker, Divinity, Imperium, Ninjak, and Bloodshot: Reborn. Ivar, Timewalker, Ninjak, and Bloodshot: Reborn were familiar territory; however, Divinity and Imperium were new titles that (at the time) fans and/or readers were unfamiliar with. LaRosa (who I consider a friend) contacted me and offered to sell his original cover art for Divinity #1 (LaRosa 1:40 Variant), Divinity #2 (LaRosa 1:30 Variant), Bloodshot: Reborn #1 (LaRosa 1:100 Sketch Variant), Ninjak #1 (LaRosa Regular), Unity #17 (LaRosa Regular), and Imperium #2 (LaRosa 1:25). While LaRosa offered a compelling and/or fair price, I was unable to financially justify buying all of his covers (at that time) and made the decision to NOT purchase the original cover art for Divinity #1 (LaRosa 1:40 Variant) and Divinity #2 (LaRosa 1:30 Variant).

Not long after, Valiant Entertainment (VEI) CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani purchased the original cover art for Divinity #1 (LaRosa 1:40 Variant) which is (allegedly) now framed and hanging on the wall in the Valiant Entertainment home office (which can be seen in Shamdasani's Comic Art Fans collection HERE). A number of collectors (myself included) often kick themselves for NOT purchasing this cover when it was available.

Divinity Side

A number of retailers who (uncertain about the investment potential of Divinity) under-ordered could have made good money had they gambled a bit more on their order. Divinity sold out almost immediately, and a second printing was soon released; and a third, fourth, and fifth! But it was Divinity #1 (LaRosa 1:40 Variant) that exploded with collectors and/or speculators, when on May 17th, 2015 Shamdasani wrote the following on Valiant Fans:

“Based on the demand for the 1st print, I’m not surprised to see the 1:40 hit the $140+ range. The print run on the 1:40 is just 350 copies. One of our lowest runs ever (possibly our lowest). We’ve got big plans for Divinity going forward (his quick app in Book of Death #1 was beautifully rendered by Doug this week) and will be announcing several new printings for the current mini soon.”

The market price for Divinity #1 (LaRosa 1:40 Variant) continued to increase, and eventually, the "Highest-Grade in Census" CGC 9.9 Universal Grade was discovered. After patiently waiting for several years, I was able to work a fair deal with the owner (a colleague of mine and respected collector) to add this magnificent slab to this registry set and collection.

Prior to the addition of competitive Divinity sets in the Registry, I had already set my sights on building the World's Best Divinity competitive set in the Registry. To accomplish this goal, I understood that due to the "High-Quality" cover stock used in production for this series by Valiant Entertainment (which is known as "Prestige Format "), an above average number of submissions to CGC would grade 9.8 or higher, which basically meant that my set would require a significant number of of CGC 9.8 Signature Series if it was to be remotely competitive. Presently 41% of the books in my Competitive Registry Set are "Signature Series", which will (in due time) become 100% "Signature Series" as the series creators become available at Comic Conventions in the near future.

Divinity FrontIn September/October of 2015, several months after Divinity concluded, I was (as I often do) conducting art research on Comic Art Fans when I noticed that Shamdasani had purchased and displayed one of artist Trevor Hairsine's original art pages from Divinity #3 which featured the "1st Appearance" of two additional cosmonauts; one male (later identified to be Kazmir) and one female (later identified to be Myshka). This page can be seen HERE. Simons had posted a "Sneak Peak" of Divinity II on his Twitter Page (image seen HERE) which stated:

“Here’s a sneak peak of the first page from Divinity II! Scripted by @mattkindt with lovely pencils by @despotting.” (Note that "@mattkindt" is the Twitter handle for writer Matt Kindt and "@despotting" is the Twitter handle for artist Trevor Hairsine).

As both Shamdasani AND Simons's pages clearly depicted (what I at the time (correctly) speculated to be) the same female cosmonaut (Myshka), I wrote the article Investing in Divinity: Devine Speculation which was read by thousands of collectors (NOTE: that article is now ancient and much has since occured). Overnight, the market value for Divinity #3 (LaRosa 1:20 Variant) increased significantly, and it subsequently became the second most desired book of the Divinity series -- and continues to be to this very day.

On a hunch, I reached out to "Sonic" Dan to see if perhaps LaRosa's original cover art for Divinity #3 (LaRosa 1:20 Variant) was still available. Of all the artwork for the series, this cover was the only one that I (and many others) had not seen the original uncolored art for. "Sonic" Dan confirmed that color artist Brian Reber (who colored the published cover) owned the original cover art, so I contacted Reber directly to inquire. As it turned out, Reber still had the cover in his home (about an hour away from LaRosa's home). What had happened (as confirmed by a discussion I had with LaRosa) was that LaRosa's scanner was broken, with (of course) the publishing deadline for Divinity #3 (LaRosa 1:20 Variant) quickly approaching. Reber still had to color the cover digitally before sending to Valiant Entertainment. Reber drove across town (in the rain) and picked-up the cover from LaRosa's home. Due to the rain, LaRosa placed the cover art into a large garbage bag (so that it would not get wet), and Reber returned home where he scanned and colored it (that same night) to make the publishing deadline. LaRosa did not return to pick up the original cover art (it remained in a garbage bag on Reber's drafting table for nearly 8 months) until I asked about it in December of 2015. LaRosa and Reber spoke, and a deal was offered to me for the cover for an "undisclosed" amount. Along with the original cover art, LaRosa also provided a hand-written letter outlining the creative-process for his Divinity #3 (LaRosa 1:20 Variant) cover (complete with preliminary sketches for the four covers that proposed to Valiant Entertainment). That letter stated;

“I can't remember where the final layout came from - me or Warren Simons. Thinking about it now, though, I believe Warren brought up 2001 back when we were creating the character. Looking at 2001 imagery, I thought paying homage to the posters with the fetus would work well as a cover. I also proposed Divinity in "The Thinker" position on an asteroid, but that was never used. The cover is a little more bare bones for me than usual. I'd only been using Copics for a month or two and was still learning, but I was still using micron pens to help with separation, definition, clarity, and aggressiveness. I opted not to use microns for this cover, however, as I wanted a softer look and feel. I remember being torn on whether or not to add stars. It looked plain without them but I also thought if we're going to pay homage to Kubrick then we had to go starless."

- Lewis LaRosa
12 - 28 - 15

LaRosa's original cover art can be viewed HERE.

There are two significant parts to what makes Divinity special. First, the character Divinity is highly unique in an industry that only recently has pushed to create character diversity in its heroes (examples can be seen by numerous publishers and/or film production studios who have changed gender, race, sexual orientation, etc of traditional characters to create a more diverse and/or unique character line-up in their books). Divinity is not only as diverse as it gets, but he was created that way from the very start by a publisher that has one of the most diverse casts of characters in comics today; a creative risk that historically has not been taken by most publishers. Second, is the concept of the character Divinity himself who is basically a God who is able to do whatever he desires. However, at no point has Divinity engaged physically; rather he has chosen to alter time, reality, and space during those encounters to create distance in time, reality, and space from potential adversaries. He has given those who oppose him EXACTLY what their heart desires, which creates plot element potential that is unique to Divinity. While NOT part of the Divinity series, the battle between Toyo Harada and Divinity (which occurs in Imperium #7 and #8) remain possibly the greatest examples of Divinity in action to-date; as well as one of the best written story arcs of 2015.

Over time, the Divinity story expanded significantly, introducing multiple characters titles, and alternate timelines along the way.

Divinity II #1-4 was released in April of 2016

Divinity III: The Stalinverse #1-4 was released in December of 2016

Divinity #0 was released in August of 2017

Eternity #1-4 (which was basically Divinity IV) was released in October of 2017

Divinity #0 is also now included as part of this Competitive Registry Set, and has proven most difficult to obtain in 9.8+ condition due to a number of handling and/or production flaws. Perhaps the most difficult challenge was finding a solid 9.8 submission candidate for the Divinity #0 (Warped Tour Edition) which was only available at the Valiant Entertainment Booth during the Los Angeles date of Warped Tour music festival on 8/6/2017. As concerts in general are not the best environment for "mint condition" comic books, and the probability of most copies either being thrown away, abandoned, bent, damaged, or possibly even smoked(?) by those who attended the music festival is quite high. Fortunately, Ed Greenberg (who owns and runs Collector's Paradise in the Greater Los Angeles area) was also a vendor at the tour, and had a booth right next to Valiant's booth. This enabled Ed to obtain a few copies, which were subsequently made available to collectors such as myself. I submitted my only copy, and received one of the few 9.8s in the census!

I have greatly enjoyed building this Divinity set, as much as I have enjoyed reading it and sharing it with others in discussion. While my Competitive Registry Set states that it is 100%, it will continue to grow and/or evolve as new artwork, signatures, and (potentially) higher graded copies become available.

It should be noted that this set was both started and completed by myself while serving on a two year military assignment in the Middle East, which complicated the process quite a bit. A significant amount of networking was required to obtain these books at all, in addition to reaching out to creator for their schedules to gather signatures and sketches for this set. There are at-least a dozen collectors who were involved to support this effort, and there can be no doubt that it otherwise would not have been possible without their assistance. There was also much communication with Crystal at CGC to ship to a military base on the other side of the world. CGC went out of their way to make it happen, and for this I am most grateful.

As for this set, well, the best is yet to come.

Divinity #1 (LaRosa)Divinity #2 (LaRosa)Divinity #3 (LaRosa)Divinity #4 (Guice)Divinity #0 (Kano)

Divinity #3 (LaRosa 1:20)

Significant, iconic, and visually stunning; Lewis LaRosa's framed original cover art and creator notes for Divinity #3.
comic_category_sm Set Typecomic_category_sm Set Typecomic_category_sm Set Typecomic_category_sm Set Typecomic_category_sm Set Typecomic_presented_sm Best Presented

Slot DescriptionCert #GradeScore
Divinity 1 1330834002 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 1 Design Variant Cover 1344104002 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 1 Hairsine Variant Cover 1315565016 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 1 LaRosa Variant Cover 0260609003 9.9313 Shop eBay
Divinity 1 Sketch Edition 1286690001 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 1 Variant Cover 1315565018 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 1 Second Printing 0270360005 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 1 Third Printing 0261703024 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 1 Fourth Printing 1321469012 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 1 Fifth Printing 1321469010 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 2 0261624011 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 2 Bernard Variant Cover 0264209004 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 2 LaRosa Variant Cover 1321469014 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 2 Sandoval Variant Cover 1321469013 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 2 Variant Cover 1373781017 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 2 Second Printing 0261545003 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 2 Third Printing 0271211005 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 3 1373781019 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 3 Gill Variant Cover 1321469001 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 3 LaRosa Variant Cover 0266096004 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 3 Variant Cover 1373781018 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 3 Second Printing 0270781028 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 4 0261624035 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 4 Allen Variant Cover 1321469009 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity 4 Guice Variant Cover 0270781030 9.824 Shop eBay
Divinity 4 Variant Cover 1373781021 9.826 Shop eBay
Divinity One Dollar Debut (2016) #1 1209227002 9.832 Shop eBay
Divinity One Dollar Debut (2019) #1 2039317001 9.832 Shop eBay
Divinity (2017) 0 1239561002 9.832 Shop eBay
Divinity (2017) 0 Bagge Variant Cover 2021933004 9.832 Shop eBay
Divinity (2017) 0 Henry Variant Cover 2021933003 9.832 Shop eBay
Divinity (2017) 0 Kano Variant Cover 2039317006 9.832 Shop eBay
Divinity (2017) 0 Photo Variant Cover 1256529005 9.832 Shop eBay
Divinity (2017) 0 Variant Cover 2021933005 9.832 Shop eBay
Divinity (2017) 0 Warped Tour Edition 1254562006 9.832 Shop eBay

All Set Comics/Scores
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