CGC Registry

Keys to the Kingdom


Set Type: Adam Warlock Keys Set
Owner: SW3D
Last Modified: 11/7/2019
Views: 936

Rank: 6
Score: 4105
Leading by: 1307
Points to Higher Rank: 521

Set Description:

Set Description: Updated March 28, 2018

Recently, the CGC has modified the Adam Warlock Keys Set by adding a number of titles where Adam Warlock has made an appearance (comic books which are mostly concentrated in the Bronze Age). Personally, I do not agree with these new additions, since the theme of the set is Adam Warlock Keys, meaning only those comic books which have key significance related to Adam Warlock should be included in this set. Which comic books you may ask? Well, although I am no comic book historian, nonetheless, I will offer my opinion about the keys which I feel have historical and canonical significance not only to Adam Warlock but to the greater Marvel Universe at large.

But the first question should be, "What defines a comic book key issue?"

Here is my definition:

Comic Book Key Issue: a Comic Book Key Issue is a comic book which has historical significance and marks a special event in the canon of a Character, a Title, a Publisher, or even a Genre. Such keys include but are not exclusive to: 1st Appearance(s); Origin(s), Death(s); the Return; 1st Costume; New or Altered Costume; Altered Physical Appearance; New or Altered Powers and Abilities; New Secret Identity or Alter-ego; Secret Identity or Alter-ego Revealed; Revelations, the 1st Professional Work of a Writer or Artist; Premiere Issue or 1st Issue of a Title Run, the Last Issue of a Title Run, Anniversary Issue; etc.

So, if I follow my definition, what are the comic books that should be included in the Adam Warlock Keys set? In order to determine this, I decided to research and reread all the comics which the CGC has included in Adam Warlock Keys set and some others that were not in the set (Thor 163 and 164 where the Cocoon makes a cameo appearance). I read not from the original sources, but from various reprints collecting many of Adam Warlock appearances in the Silver and Bronze Ages. I believe these reprints to be faithful to the source material. The books I've consulted are:

Essential Fantastic Four Volume 4
*Reprints Fantastic Four 66 and 67

Marvel Masterworks The Mighty Thor Volume 8:
*Reprints The Mighty Thor 163, 164, 165, and 166

Marvel Masterworks Warlock Volume 1: Reprints:
*Marvel Premiere Volume 1, Numbers 1 and 2
*Warlock Volume 1, Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8
*The Incredible Hulk Volume 1, Numbers 176, 177, and 178

Marvel Masterworks Warlock Volume 2: Reprints:
*Strange Tales Volume 1, Numbers: 178, 179, 180, and 181
*Warlock Volume 1, Numbers: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15
*Marvel Team-Up Volume 1, Number 55
*Avengers Annual Volume 1, Number 7
*Marvel Two-In-One Annual Volume 1, Number 2

And after re-reading these collected editions, I also decided to include my own key comments which I believe merit inclusion and may have been overlooked by CGC graders and comic book historians. These additional key comments, denoted by me as "overlooked key comments", will follow the CGC key comments quoted from the CGC graded labels of the key issues listed. Other "overlooked key comments" will appear for issues which previously had no key comments; these examples can be considered overlooked keys. Please let me know if you agree or disagree, and preferably, with an explanation as to your opinion.

So here it its...

...The following is my list of those comic book keys which I believe should be included in the Adam Warlock Keys set, with a brief explanation of why they are comic book keys issues:

Fantastic Four Volume 1, Number 66
CGC Key Comments:
2 part Origin of HIM (Warlock).
HIM does not appear.
Overlooked Key Comments:
1st Appearance of the Enclave.

Fantastic Four Volume 1, Number 67
CGC Key Comments:
Origin and 1st Appearance of HIM (Warlock) in Cameo.

Overlooked Key Comments:
1st Appearance of the Cocoon;
1st Incarnation of Adam Warlock: Officially, it is the first of three (3) Adam Warlock incarnations in the span of a decade. In this initial depiction, HIM is very much an innocent child-like being, pure of heart, with the urge to understand his purpose of creation and to gain knowledge of the universe at large; HIM can be considered neither villain nor hero

Thor Volume 1, Number 165
CGC Key Comments:
1st Full Appearance of HIM;
Watcher appearance;
Last 12 cents issue.

Thor Volume 1, Number 166
CGC Key Comments:
2nd Full Appearance of HIM (Warlock);
Thor vs. HIM.

Marvel Premiere Volume 1, Number 1
CGC Key Comments:
Origin of Warlock;
Thor, Hulk and Fantastic Four appearances in Flashback.

Overlooked Key Comments:
2nd Incarnation of Adam Warlock: HIM is given the name Warlock by the High Evolutionary and becomes a Messiah-like superhero;
1st Costume Incarnation: a playful homage to Fawcett's Shazam which incorporates Captain Marvel's jagged lightning emblem and red and yellow colors;
1st Appearance of the Soul Gem (green colored): this is first of the six (6) colored Soul Gems, aka Infinity Gems or Infinity Stones;
1st Appearance of Counter-Earth;
1st Issue of Marvel Premiere;
Altered Physical Appearance: the first depiction of Adam Warlock without irises; no explanation given (Note: Adam Warlock is frequently illustrated without irises; this can be seen over the course of his appearances throughout various titles including his own, and with no explanation offered).

Marvel Premiere Volume 1, Number 2
CGC Key Comment:
Warlock

Overlooked Key Comments:
Warlock is given the first name Adam by a group of children on Counter-Earth, thus he is now known officially as Adam Warlock;
1st time Adam Warlock uses the Soul Gem;
New or Altered Powers and Abilities: Adam Warlock, through use of the Soul Gem, can devolve a sentient being;
Altered Physical Appearance: Adam Warlock is once again illustrated with irises (Note: Adam Warlock's eye color is undetermined as the colors of his eyes/irises frequently change over the course of his appearances throughout various titles including his own, and with no explanation offered. The colors of his eyes/irises have been depicted as blue, brown, black, white, red, and yellow. I speculate the variance in eye color/irises may represent subtle changes in his energy levels, moods and emotions, or quite simply, for reasons unknown made by the artist or colorist).

The Power of Warlock Volume 1, Number 1:
CGC Key Comments:
Origin of Warlock;
*Letters from J. M. DeMatteis and Richard Pini.

Overlooked Key Comments:
Premiere issue or 1st issue of Warlock's solo title;
Story continuation from Marvel Premiere Volume 1: Numbers 1 and 2.

Strange Tales Volume 1, Number 178
CGC Key Comments:
1st Appearance of Magus;
Warlock begins.

***Clarification is required: Technically, one can argue, this is the first appearance of the Magus (Adam Warlock's future evil self). And although I agree with that statement, however, if you read the story, it is more accurate and definitive to say it is an "Incorporeal Appearance of the Magus". In this issue, the Magus' introduction comes by way of an incorporeal thought projection in the form of a floating, giant, Oz-like, disembodied face, bathed in emerald and golden cosmic energies***

Overlooked Key Comments:
3rd Incarnation of Adam Warlock: Adam Warlock is depicted as a reluctant hero with misgivings about his cosmic role;
The Magus Saga begins;
New or Altered Powers and Abilities: Adam Warlock, through use of the Soul Gem, can raise the dead.

Strange Tales Volume 1, Number 179:
CGC Key Comment:
1st Appearance of Pip the Troll.

Overlooked Key Comments:
1st Appearance of the Matriarch;
*1st Time the Soul Gem claims a soul/victim;
Altered Physical Appearance: the 1st depiction of Adam Warlock with bloodshot irises (symbolic of the spiritual vampire he eventually proclaims to be when he broods over the Soul Gem's soul-stealing nature);
Controversy: the Comics Code Authority Seal on the upper right corner of the front cover was altered to read: "Cosmic Code Authority".

Strange Tales Volume 1, Number 180:
CGC Key Comment:
1st Appearance of Gamora.

***Clarification is Required: It is a Cameo appearance (rendered on 1-page, 5-panels)***

Overlooked Key Comments:
*Gamora's name is not published;
2nd Adam Warlock Costume Incarnation: Clarification: Removed from Costume: the Shazam-like jagged lightning emblem on his chest; Added to Costume: a gold and crimson cloak/cape (a design alteration to give Warlock a more Wizard-like appearance and probably a homage to Dracula: Warlock's bloodshot eyes and soul-stealing vampire qualities); a golden skull brooch; unspecified design modification to his belt;
Revelation: the Matriarch informs Adam Warlock the Magus is his future self;
Revelation: Adam Warlock realizes he cannot live without the Soul Gem since it has stolen his soul/lifeforce.

Strange Tales Volume 1, Number 181:
CGC Key Comment:
Story continued in Warlock #9.

Overlooked Key Comments:
1st Full Appearance of Gamora;
1st Publication of Gamora's name;
*1st Time Gamora is decreed "The Deadliest Woman in the Whole Galaxy!";
1st Appearance of the Magus in Corporeal Form (a full-page 1-panel Cameo).

Warlock Volume 1, Number 9:
CGC Key Comments:
Warlock dons a new costume
Error: This is an error and should be omitted from the key comments; the new costume appears in Strange Tales Volume 1, Number 180;
Story continued from Strange Tales #181;
1st issue since 10/73

Overlooked Key Comments:
1st Full Appearance of the Magus;
Origin of the Magus;
1st Appearance of the In-Betweener (in a 1-panel Cameo).

Warlock Volume 1, Number 10:
CGC Key Comments:
1st Appearance of the In-Betweener.
***Clarification: this comment should be modified to read "1st Full Appearance of the In-Betweener"***
Origin of Thanos and Gamora.

Overlooked Key Comments:
The Death of the Matriarch.

Warlock Volume 1, Number 11:
CGC Key Comments:
Death" of Warlock;
Thanos & In-Betweener appearance.

Overlooked Key Comment:
Death of the Magus.

Warlock Volume 1, Number 15:
CGC Key Comments:
Thanos appearance;
Last issue;
Story continued in Marvel Team-Up #55

Overlooked Key Comments:
1st Time the Soul Gem speaks confirming its sentience;
Revelation: The Soul Gem reveals to Adam Warlock, "I am one of the Six", alluding to the existence of five other Soul Gems/Infinity Gems/Infinity Stones.

Avengers Annual Volume 1, Number 7:
CGC Key Comments:
"Death" of Adam Warlock;
Thanos and Captain Marvel appearance.

Overlooked Key Comments:
1st Appearance of the entire set of all six (6) colored Soul Gems/Infinity Gems/Infinity Stones;
"Death" of Gamora and Pip the Troll;
Origin of Thanos retold.

Marvel Two-In-One Annual Volume 1, Number 2
CGC Key Comments:
Spider-Man, Thanos, Avengers, Captain Marvel and Warlock appearances;
Thanos Saga" ends.

Overlooked Key Comment:
The burial of Adam Warlock, Gamora, and Pip the Troll.

And to add more clarity, the comics which have been added by the CGC to the Adam Warlock Keys Set, which I feel should be removed, since, in my humble opinion, do not represent significant keys are:

*Incredible Hulk Volume 1, Number 176
*Incredible Hulk Volume 1, Number 177
*Incredible Hulk Volume 1, Number 178
*Warlock Volume 1, Number 2
*Warlock Volume 1, Number 3
*Warlock Volume 1, Number 4
*Warlock Volume 1, Number 5
*Warlock Volume 1, Number 6
*Warlock Volume 1, Number 7
*Warlock Volume 1, Number 8
*Warlock Volume 1, Number 12
*Warlock Volume 1, Number 13
*Warlock Volume 1, Number 14

I also believe there is another Adam Warlock key which is missing from this set and merits inclusion: Marvel Team-Up Volume 1, Number 55. In this issue, Adam Warlock teams-up with the Amazing Spider-Man against the Stranger, who possess a Soul Gem of his very own, and means to steal Adam Warlock's.

Marvel Team-Up Volume 1, Number 55:
CGC Key Comments:
Adam Warlock;
1st appearance of the Gardner (Ord Zyonyz);
Stranger appearance, Hulk & Woodgod Cameo.

Overlooked Key Comment:
*1st Appearance of the Reality Gem (Yellow; wielded by the Stranger) and the Power Gem (Red; wielded by the Gardner).

So there you have it... the Adam Warlock Keys set, in what I feel is the ideal representation... for now. But, this set, I admit, is far from complete. There are many other comic books I have yet to explore that are represented in the Copper and Modern Ages that are linked to Adam Warlock and his cosmic odyssey. Undoubtedly, they hold keys and probably merit inclusion into this set. Like many sets represented on the CGC registry, this set is expected to grow.

At the present moment, I have the Number 4, Adam Warlock Keys Set; It is a work in progress far from completion. And since I am a perfectionist, content only with high grades and now pedigrees, those selfish factors will substantially slow the progress of my set, greatly hindered by the fact Adam Warlock has become much more expensive to collect. Which leads me to question, "How long can my set, "Keys to the Kingdom", remain in the top five? I'm hoping for many years to come. And perhaps, like Adam Warlock seeking refuge and rejuvenation in his Cocoon when needed, only to emerge when the time is right, the forces of Life and Death will somehow bestow such mystical and cosmic powers to my set and see it evolve to its fullest potential! Well, that's a bit too much... but here's hoping.

“How Strange My Destiny: The road to building an Adam Warlock set.”

Below is a listing of the many journals I have written regarding my favorite Cosmic Messiah: HIM… aka Adam Warlock. All journals originally appeared on the CGC Journals. These journals act as a chronicle of each comic I’ve purchased related to Adam Warlock. There are some journals which discuss duplicate comics I’ve acquired which are not part of this particular set, and one about my desire to see Warlock and Angela (Odin’s daughter, Thor’s and Loki’s half-sister: see Original Sin and Tenth Realm) in a possible plotline, but nonetheless, I’ve included them to illustrate my fascination and passion for the character as well as for your reading pleasure and enjoyment.

As I continue to add to the set, I will also post journals about those acquisitions. Maybe one day I will have the entire set completed… one day. Although the set is not large in terms of quantity and volume, nonetheless, the challenge has arisen mainly due to speculation and rumor of a potential Adam Warlock movie appearance in a Marvel Studios film. In Thor: The Dark World, Marvel gave us another Easter Egg in a scene that involved Volstagg and Lady Sif meeting The Collector. In the background can be seen an organic-like object that looks very much like Him’s cocoon. It naturally leads comic book fans to speculate that Marvel is clueing us in to a possible Warlock movie debut. AW’s history with the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Soul Gem, the Infinity Gems, and most importantly, Thanos, solidifies the very notion that an appearance is eminent. As a result, Warlock’s key appearances have spiked in demand and price. This has a huge impact on my budget and now I have to be very careful in my selection process based on condition and value.

If you are interested in reading any journal I’ve written about Adam Warlock, simply copy and paste and then launch the URL links I have provided under each journal title. If you want to skip this entirely and view information about the actual collection, just scroll down further below.

Anyway… either course you take, I hope you enjoy my growing collection. SW3D (August 15, 2014)

Jumping on the Movie Bandwagon...
(Posted on December 4, 2012)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=12606

Two of a Perfect Pair: The Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock
(Posted on December 20, 2012)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=12716

Moving up in the Ranks
(Posted on December 25, 2012)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=12739

Keys to the Kingdom!
(Posted on December 30, 2012)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=12763

A 2012 Holdover!
(Posted on January 3, 2013)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=12792

Meet the Wonder Twins!
(Posted on January 15, 2013)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=12875

My first Stan Lee signature! (Posted on January 16, 2013)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=12877

The Origin of Him: What Lurks Behind the Beehive?
(Posted on March 26, 2013)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=13322

What If? Warlock and Angela... (Posted on May 25, 2013)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=13691

Burnt Offerings and The Acquisition of a Holy Grail, Part One
(Posted on November 16, 2013)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=14686

A Marvel Milestone! My 100th Journal: A Holy Grail of a Story!
(Posted on January 15, 2014)
http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=15036

The comics featured in the Keys to the Kingdom set are:

1. Fantastic Four Volume 1, Number 66
Massachusetts Pedigree graded at 9.4 (3rd Highest Grade) with Vintage Blue Label and White Pages.
Story Synopsis: Go to Comic Detail for my interpretation.
Comic Purchase Date: December 21, 2012
Auction Site: eBay
Purchase Price: $575.00

2. Fantastic Four Volume 1, Number 67
Graded 9.6 (2nd Highest Graded) with Vintage Blue Label and White Pages.
Comments: Contrary to popular opinion, HIM’s origin is not discussed. There is an error in the misspelling of the word millennium, written as “millinium”, as spoken by HIM: “So! Tis you who were… my creators! I know the true nature of your evil plans! Therefore, I have no reluctance to do… what must be done! This planet of humans is not for me… not yet… not till another millinium has passed! Thus I shall take my leave.”
Story Title: When Opens the Cocoon!
Story Synopsis: Go to Comic Detail for my interpretation.
Comic Purchase Date: January 5, 2014
Auction Site: ComicLink
Purchase Price: $1,148.00

3. Marvel Premiere Volume 1, Number 1
Pedigree: Suscha News Pedigree Graded at 9.6 (2nd Highest Grade) with White Pages.
Story Title: And Men Shall Call Him... Warlock
Story Synopsis: Coming Soon.
Comic Purchase Date: January 11, 2013
Auction Site: eBay
Purchase Price: $395.00

4. Marvel Premiere Volume 1, Number 2:
Pedigree: Suscha News Pedigree graded 9.8 with White Pages.
Story Title: The Hounds of Helios
Story Synopsis: Coming Soon.
Comic Purchase Date: January 13, 2013
Auction Site: eBay
Purchase Price: $280.44

5. Strange Tales Volume 1, Number 180
Pedigree: Mile High II, graded 9.6 (2nd Highest Graded)
Comic Purchase Date: March 24, 2018
Auction Site: eBay
Purchase Price: $399.99

6. Strange Tales Volume 1, Number 181
Pedigree: Mile High II, graded 9.6 (2nd Highest Graded) with White Pages.
Story Title: 1,000 Clowns.
Comic Purchase Date: March 24, 2018
Auction Site: eBay
Purchase Price: $179.99
comic_category_sm Set Typecomic_category_sm Set Typecomic_category_sm Set Type

Slot DescriptionCert #GradeScore
Avengers Annual 7 No Comic    Shop eBay
Fantastic Four 66 No Comic    Shop eBay
Fantastic Four 67 0024002005 9.62070 Shop eBay
Incredible Hulk 176 No Comic    Shop eBay
Incredible Hulk 177 No Comic    Shop eBay
Incredible Hulk 178 No Comic    Shop eBay
Marvel Premiere 1 1029703007 9.61000 Shop eBay
Marvel Premiere 2 No Comic    Shop eBay
Marvel Team-Up 55 No Comic    Shop eBay
Marvel Two in One Annual 2 No Comic    Shop eBay
Strange Tales 178 No Comic    Shop eBay
Strange Tales 179 No Comic    Shop eBay
Strange Tales 180 0750654014 9.6875 Shop eBay
Strange Tales 181 0068559018 9.6160 Shop eBay
Thor 165 No Comic    Shop eBay
Thor 166 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 1 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 2 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 3 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 4 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 5 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 6 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 7 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 8 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 9 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 10 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 11 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 12 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 13 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 14 No Comic    Shop eBay
Warlock 15 No Comic    Shop eBay

All Set Comics/Scores
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