*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: A complete run of Eagle Volume 17 (1966) has flown in and they’re now happily nesting in the basement with their fellow Eagles. In grades GD or VG, these include the Christmas issue (#53) and cover the end of the Dan Dare story of The Singing Scourge, the whole of Give Me The Moon and all but the final part of The Menace From Jupiter.
*TV & Film Related Comics: After the demise of TV Century 21, Polystyle took over with the new series Countdown, inspired by the space race, which starred all of the old Gerry Anderson strips, plus Doctor Who and the eponymous ‘Countdown’, a brand-new space opera stylishly illustrated by John M. Burns. Highly collectible at a confluence of two major fandoms (Fanderson and Whovians), the series’ appeal is enhanced by its high production standards: glossy paper, more interior colour than was customary for the time, and script and art by some of the top talents in the field. The series shifted emphasis mid-path, becoming ‘TV Action’, with the focus switching from sci-fi to crime, but we have all 58 of the ‘pure’ Countdown issues, pre-changeover, back in stock. As a bonus, we also have the one and only Countdown Special from 1971 GD £20. This update, we offer two #1 issues with Free Gifts: one in VF- with the original Free Gifts of Wallchart and four stickers VF/NM (stickers uncut and unstuck) at £140 for the comic and gifts; the other #1 in FN+ has the wallchart in FN with the stickers from #1 stuck on it, therefore the gift is graded FN – comic/gift combo on sale for £110. Our newest #3 is VG with Free Gift (four more stickers) at VF; comic/gift on sale at £35. For everything else, please see our online catalogue listings.
It appears that our telephone difficulties are now resolved. If you have trouble getting through to us by phone now, it’s because we’re exceptionally busy!
Please note that, as usual, we are closed on the coming Bank Holiday Monday.
*Clearance Corner: The latest bargain basement batch consists of 35 issues of the picture library sized Blue Jeans Photo Novel (inc. 3 duplicates) from the 1980s. Issues range from #54 to #469 and grades from GD to VF, mostly FN. Featuring fumetti photo love stories, often unintentionally hilarious and great for 80s fashions and reminding yourself how ridiculous they were. All yours for just £10. UK postage if required would be an extra £3.50 (small parcel).
On a regular cycle, we sweep through our entire stock to delete sold items and keep our listing as up to date as possible. We’ve just finished deleting sold items from the following files in our American section:
As of the time of writing, these categories are bang up to date, with every item listed available.
Most if not all of this week’s newsletters sent to email addresses that are obviously part of BT have been rejected by BT servers as spam. This happened once before several months ago and has not recurred again until today. We suspect this is a problem at the BT end, but if you’re reading this, you can see What’s New this week as below. If you wish to avoid this happening again, you might try marking our email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) as a safe sender on your email system.
*DC: While all early issues of Hawkman are superb, with high-flying sci-fi stories by Gardner Fox and luminous Murphy Anderson artwork (not that we’re prejudiced witnesses or anything… ), the most sought-after in recent years is issue #4, featuring the debut of the Princess of Prestidigitation – Zatanna! Zee (as she’s familiarly known), a personal favourite here at 30th Century, is the daughter of DC’s Golden Age magician Zatara, and took her quest for her missing father through the pages of Green Lantern, Atom, Detective Comics and the Justice League of America in one of DC’s earliest ‘story arcs’, but this issue is where her illustrious career began. (And yes, they did miss a bet by not having her featured on the cover. Foolish mortals!). This VG+ pence copy is available at £175. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*DC: In 1986, post Crisis On Infinite Earths, DC entrusted the future of Superman to the hands of John Byrne, who commenced his time on the character with a defining 6 issue mini-series, Man of Steel, which established the origins of Superman and his place in the DCU with a changed post-Crisis continuity (whoever could have imagined such a thing would be possible?). Be that as it may, this mini was a high quality series in terms of story and art, reintroducing all the main players in Superman’s story for the first time (yes, we know that doesn’t make sense!). All six issues, pence copies, now available as a set, averaging NM condition, for £30.
*Marvel: Following the relaxation of draconian distribution regulations in 1968 (long story, Google it if you’re bothered), Marvel expanded by cancelling its double-featured ‘split’ titles Strange Tales, Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish, and giving each series space to breathe in its own solo feature. Three, however, continued the numbering of their parent titles, and one such was Doctor Strange, former star of Strange Tales, whose first solo issue was numbered #169. This opening issue of Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme was a book-length retelling of his origins, scripted by Roy Thomas and lavishly illustrated by Dan Adkins, normally regarded only as an inker but here supplying full artwork. This lovely relaunch is a highly desirable FN/VF, cents copy with no UK overstamp, high gloss, vibrant colour and gorgeous interiors. On sale at £100. Over the coming weeks, we shall be featuring many more series debuts from 1968 — stay tuned! SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: Following the success of Tony Stark’s armoured alter-ego, it was inevitable, given the Cold War tensions of the time, that his opposite number from beyond the Iron Curtain should surface, and in Tales of Suspense #46, for the first time, Iron Man faced an armoured juggernaut whose might may equal or even surpass his own! There have been several holders of the Crimson Dynamo identity, both heroic and villainous, over the ensuing decades, as well as several other contenders for the post of ‘evil Iron Man’, but this is where it all started! This copy of a key villain debut is GD+, pence copy, vivid cover colour and unimpeded cover scene, minor corner creasing and slight pressure damage at top left edge. On sale at £50.
*Marvel: Originally published in 1994, the series Marvels ran over four books running over the 1939 to 1974 time period, examining the development of the Marvel Universe from the perspective of an Everyman character, news photographer Phil Sheldon. The street-level series portrayed ordinary life in a world full of costumed supermen, with each issue featuring events well known to readers of Marvel comics, as well as a variety of minute details and a retelling of the most famous events in Marvel history. Lovingly scripted by Kurt Busiek and lavishly painted by Alex Ross, this series transcended the vintage/modern divide and provided an experience both generations could appreciate. Various hardcover and paperback collections have remained steadily in print since the series concluded, but these are the originals. Issues #1 to #4, plus the subsequent ‘coda’ #0, are available for sale as a set, averaging VF/NM, at £25.
*Marvel: Spider-Woman, like She-Hulk, was created as a last-minute copyright defence by Marvel when a TV company planned a “Spiderwoman” TV series. Rushed into production, the origin of the arachnid avenger was intended as a one-off to ‘guard’ the name, and it was to everyone’s astonishment when sales spiked to the extent that a rapid return for Spider-Woman – first in a Marvel Two-In-One story arc, then in her own series, with a more ‘sympathetic’ origin rewrite – was required. Jessica Drew (as she eventually became) lasted 50 issues in her first run, and remains prominent in the MU today – not bad for a bodged-together legal ploy! This copy of Marvel Spotlight #32 is a desirable VF, obviously cents as it was never distributed in the UK, and on sale at £40. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: 1976’s Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1 marked the second ongoing Spider-Man title published by Marvel, in what people feared might dilute the franchise – if only they knew! Intended originally to focus more on Spidey’s civilian alter ego, it rapidly evolved into an adjunct to and frequent crossover with Amazing Spider-Man, founding the practise which was to become industry standard in later decades. This copy of PPSM #1 is FN/VF, cents copy with no UK price or overstamp, at £20. Listed in our catalogue under ‘Spectacular Spider-Man’.
*Marvel: Transformers, the battling shape-shifting robots who fought a covert war to save Earth while disguising themselves as common vehicles, are back in stock! The series, based on the insanely popular line of Hasbro toys, originally launched in 1984 as a four-issue mini, but response and sales were so huge that with #5, it became an ongoing title, eventually racking up 80 issues plus a number of spin-offs before the wheels fell off in 1991. We have second printings of the original mini-series (aka #1-3 of the ongoing) back in stock, plus a further 12 issues between numbers #18 and #60. Pictured is #1 (2nd print) VF p £10. For details of the others, please see our online catalogue.
*Western: When the Western craze hit America in the late 1940s and early 1950s, several DC series such as All-Star Comics and (briefly) All-American simply flipped over their superhero content to Westerns, but to meet the demand, DC launched another series. Western Comics, while unimaginatively titled, certainly did ‘what it says on the tin’, with Wyoming Kid, Rodeo Rick, Cowboy Marshal, Pow-Wow Smith, Matt Savage Trail Boss and other series feeding the seemingly insatiable thirst for a simpler time. The stable of DC artists – Mort Meskin, Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, George Papp and more – turned out beautifully-crafted work in a largely underappreciated field. Issue #59, FN/VF £39, is pictured; other issues, from 1948’s #6 to 1960’s #79, are detailed in our online catalogue.
*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: More Valiants have been added to our listing, ranging from 1972 right up to the final year, 1976. Many gaps have now been filled, and highlights include 1/1/72: 1st appearance of Yellowknife of The Yard, Christmas and New Year issues and the piece de resistance, the final issue (16/10/76FN £15). In various grades from FA to FN, something for every Valiant collector here.
*Boys’ Adventure & War Picture Libraries: The ever-popular, evergreen Commando has been extensively restocked with many high grade (mainly FN) issues from #182 up to #695, with a smattering of later issues right up to #1125. This most famous of all picture libraries endues still and we’re glad to have so many nice copies helping to fill our boxes!
*TV & Film Related Comics: TV Action, the successor to and continuation of Countdown is fully recharged in our stock this week with a complete run from 1972/73, first issue #59 (continuing the Countdown numbering) to final issue #132. Dr Who, UFO, the Persuaders, the Protectors and many other TV favourites appeared in its pages. Issues from #101 onwards are considerably scarcer in supply and featured one big story on a rotating basis as well as several shorter ones. Our incomings are nice copies, mostly FN or better, with many VF graded copies.
We’re experiencing an intermittent fault with our phone system and you may have trouble getting through to us by phone. We’re due a telephone engineer visit next week, which we hope will address and resolve the problem. In the meantime, you may find it quicker and easier to communicate with us by email. Many apologies for any inconvenience caused.
On a regular cycle, we sweep through our entire stock to delete sold items and keep our listing as up to date as possible. We’ve just finished deleting sold items from the following files in our American section:
*Vintage Magazine-Sized Comics
As of the time of writing, these categories are bang up to date, with every item listed available.
*Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror: One of our larger book updates, with publications mainly from the 1960s and 1970s. With a nice mix of well-known and more obscure authors and many 1st PBs, there’s sure to be something here to tempt you:
Kenneth Bulmer – Defiance
Curtis W Casewit – The Peacemakers
Edmund Cooper – Deadly Image
Christopher Hodder-Williams – Chain Reaction
J Hunter Holly – The Grey Aliens
Henry Kuttner – Fury
R A Lafferty – Past Master
John Lymington – A Sword Above The Night
Sam Moskowitz (Ed) – Microcosmic God
Frederik Pohl – Gateway and Homegoing
Mack Reynolds – Galactic Medal Of Honour
A E Van Vogt – Masters Of Time
Stanley G Weinbaum – A Martian Odyssey
H G Wells – In The Days Of The Comet and The Invisible Man.
*Clearance Corner: This week’s bargain lot features Viz, the ‘adult comic’ that shamelessly exploits classic tropes of traditional humour weeklies with a scatological twist. Home of ‘Johnny Fartpants’, ‘The Fat Slags’, ‘The Pathetic Sharks’, ‘Millie Tant’, ‘Sid the Sexist’ and a personal fave here at 30th Century, ‘Meddlesome Ratbag’. This infamous parody mag was once the best-selling magazine in the UK, and is still going strong today every other month, but we feel it sits ill with our more conventional funnies, so we’re waving bye-bye to this torrent of toilet humour. Forty issues: 19, 21-25, 27, 34-49, 51-55, 58, 59, 61, 62, 67, 70, 71, 90, 91, 93, 97 and 98, averaging FN, originally on sale for a cumulative price of £142.50, now yours for £25! UK Postage (3.7 kg parcel) if required will be a further £14 for hours of sweary fun!
*DC: Five of the earliest issues of Barry Allen’s Silver Age adventures (his title having begun, alert readers will remember, with #105, having taken over the numbering from the Golden Age Flash Comics). We open with #106 (pictured left), Barry’s second issue, with the debut of the Pied Piper, one of Barry’s longest-running classic foes (currently an occasional anti-hero in the Flash TV show), GD at £230. Issues #108 and #109 are Fair at £40 and £35 respectively, but #111 (pictured right) raises the bar with a VG- copy at £80 featuring one of the Flash’s more bonkers scenes – be fair though, you can’t go far wrong with ‘tough clouds spitting lightning’ to make you wonder what happens next! Finally, we wrap up this ‘Fab Flash Five’ with #116 in FA/GD p at £21.
*DC: “Stop! This is the new Green Lantern co-starring Green Arrow!” So proclaimed the 76th issue of what was the Emerald Gladiator’s Silver Age series. With sales falling as GL’s traditional sci-fi adventures began to look a bit dated, editor Julius Schwartz turned to the creative team of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams to add Green Arrow to the title and re-invigorate the series. And that’s just what they did, bringing in contemporary ‘relevant’ storylines dealing in issues such as drugs, racism, pollution, and modern life in 1970s USA of the day etc. The fame of their run extends to this day and it is avidly collected. It all kicked off here in #76, as Social Justice Warrior Green Arrow (himself only newly made over by O’Neil and Adams in Brave & Bold #85) confronts GL with the issues arising on Earth while Green Lantern’s off among the stars. This copy of GL/GA #76 is a very appealing cents copy, no pence price or overstamp, with unimpaired cover scene and only light corner and spine wear. VG+ at £160.
*DC: Not commonplace anywhere, and very seldom seen in the UK, are variant covers of a number of DC comics from the late 1970s to the 1980s, known as ‘Whitman variants’. These are alternate printings, contemporary with the originals, of selected DC titles with the issue number, cover month and DC logo overprinted with Whitman’s insignia. Whitman Comics was known as Western Comics, who used to publish their own comics under the Gold Key imprint (a gross oversimplification of a very tangled business relationship, but don’t worry about it), and had a distribution deal with supermarkets and chain stores. DC licensed some of their titles through Whitman so that they could have their books sold in department stores in the three-in-a-bag format as novelties for children. These were not returnable, unlike newsstand copies, and were intended to remain on sale indefinitely, hence the elimination of the number & date info. Once disregarded as reprints, these are now acquiring some interest as ‘variant editions’. We have a selection of these curiosities on offer: Batman #314, DC Comics Presents #1,#2, & #3 (Issues #1 & #2 are the 4th Superman/Flash race, obsessive chums!) Superboy and the LSH #251, #252, #253 and Wonder Woman #264 listed under their parent titles in our DC section.
*Marvel: Although Marvel’s Master of the Mystic Arts had premiered some issues earlier, it was Strange Tales #115 which explained how dissolute and egotistical surgeon Stephen Strange had sought help from mystical sources and been drawn on to the path of heroism following a life-altering accident. This, however, was a secret well-kept by Marvel, who were still plugging the Human Torch as a solo star at this point, and as such gave his match-up with Spidey foe the Sandman all the cover space, without even mentioning the Doctor was In! Nevertheless, this is the first telling of Strange’s origin, as greatly expanded upon in the recent Bandersnatch Cummerbund-helmed cinematic blockbuster. This is a VG pence copy. The price stamp itself is not terribly intrusive, covering a small part of the logo, but oddly this copy seems also to have been pence-printed, and that price obscured by magic marker. This defect is what primarily mitigates against an otherwise VG+ or better copy. Official verdict: VG p £105.
*Marvel: … And a generation of lame jokes about television reception was launched. Issue #87 of the ‘junior X-Men’ series, New Mutants, saw the first full appearance (he’d stuck his face in for a foreboding panel or two the issue previously) of Cable, the time-travelling man of mystery. Who was he, really? What was his agenda? What the hell were his powers, again? Some of these questions would be answered more promptly than others (apart from the Big Gun & Mullet ensemble, I still to this day don’t know what his powers are…), but he stuck around to become the leader of the New Mutants, then, after that series’ cancellation, honcho of X-Force and star of several solo series. A co-star of the imminent Deadpool 2 movie, Cable’s earlier appearances are undergoing a meteoric rise in value. This is a very affordable FN p copy, with minimal corner wear and a tiny notch in the upper right cover edge preventing a higher grade. On sale at £50. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: While ordinarily we don’t emphasise modern comics much, we have acquired a number of more recent variant copies, primarily of the Amazing Spider-Man. These are all NM, and we open with issue #600, signed by artist John Romita Jr., at £15. #606 is a Jay Scott Campbell Black & White variant, Black Cat ‘liplock’ cover, at £30. #666 is represented by two exclusive variant covers for our distinguished competition, Forbidden Planet; the ‘headline’ variant is £20, the Lizard battle variant is £25. And we wrap up this venture into modern mayhem with a guest appearance by the Uncanny X-Men – issue #500, the Terry Dodson Black & White ‘X-Women’ cover, at £15.
*Marvel: A reasonably sized update to our stocks of the Golden Avenger, starting with the very first issue from 1968 (unfortunately an almost coverless copy at £11.25) then #2, #3 & #5, following up with a lengthy run between #47 (Barry Smith art) and #71, including along the way #54 with the first Moondragon and a nice #68 with a Certificate of Authenticity from the Don Rosa collection; we finish off with a few issues in the early hundreds leading up to #139 from 1980.
*Vintage Magazine-Sized Comics: Because you can’t get enough of these, we have a further huge batch of Marvel’s Savage Sword Of Conan fresh in between #14 & #219 in a variety of grades and prices. Somehow the Cimmerian Barbarian suits the stlish black and white mood of these prized magazines, where the comic code restrictions did not apply. Our recent hauls of these have moved very quickly, so slip on your sandals, and rush to our emporium quicker than you can say Crom!
*Alan Class Reprints: Dozens more certificated Alan Class Reprints from the publisher’s archives now fresh into stock, each with a certificate signed by Alan Class himself. This new selection includes Sinister Tales, Uncanny Tales and Weird Planets; Uncanny Tales in particular with most of the first 80 issues and beyond, and Weird Planets has almost all issues of this short run. Marvel reprints abound in all three titles: X-Men, Hulk, Dr. Strange, Watcher, Wasp, Avengers, Human Torch, Silver Surfer, Daredevil and Ant-Man may all be found within these pages and often on the covers. All are referenced in our catalogue listings, alongside grades and prices of course; look for the green listings in this category.
*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: These three years of Valiant are depleted no longer, with many missing issues replenished, including those with Promotional Flyers for Whizzer & Chips, Scorcher, Score’n’Roar and Jet, and to round it off the 1971 Christmas issue. With most issues being FA or GD this is the perfect time to extend your Valiant collection.
*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: Continuing our extensive restock of Eagle, we’ve now added more issues from Volume 16 (1965), filling all the gaps previously present. The latest issues include #1 with a free supplement, #15, the 15th anniversary issue, #27 with a guide to the New Europe and, as usual, the Christmas issue, #52.
*Boys’ Adventure & War Picture Libraries: Although Commando became the juggernaut of the Picture Library genre, still running today after close to 60 years, it should be remembered that on its 1961 debut, it was D.C. Thomson’s imitation of other, earlier battle-themed Picture Library series, prominent among which was Fleetway/AP’s War Picture Library, which premiered in 1958. We have the first eight of this long-running and well-remembered series back in stock, in respectable but affordable low to mid-grades. Issue #1, “Fight Back To Dunkirk”, is FA £30. Prices on the rest may be found in our online catalogue. SORRY, THESE HAVE NOW SOLD
*TV & Film Related Comics: We conclude our extensive listings for TV Century 21 with its last two years (1968 and 1969 or 2068/69 as they had it!) with most issues from #155 to the final issue #242 (pictured GD £20). Although favourites such as Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet were ever present, it finished out a very different comic to the one that started in 1965. With issue #225, for example, readers were possibly baffled that their favourite photo or art covers from Gerry Anderson shows were replaced by footballers, as the emphasis of the comic changed, and the final issues decreased in popularity and print run sizes are now much scarcer. But Fandersons don’t despair — we have even more in this vein coming soon!
*Girls’ Comics: Following our recent Bunty Bonanza, we have a – Judy Jamboree? – for Bunty’s stablemate who debuted in 1960. This selection begins with issue #4, and lasts until the close of 1967. While not a complete run by any means, it is a substantial one, and incorporates three first appearances of key, long-running characters (plus one oddball novelty). Issue #164 in 1963 sees the debut of ‘First-Aid Fay’, a young girl determined to become a nurse against her wealthy parents’ wishes; after her first story, Fay reappeared many times up to the 1980s as ‘Fay Farrell, (fillintheblank) Nurse’, her subtitle changing with each adventure – Student, District, Army, Island, what have you. (Oddly, ‘Flying Squad Nurse’, a Judy strip which was right in the middle of Fay’s era, was another young lady entirely – to mis-quote Shaggy: ‘It wasn’t Fay!’ Issue #249 in 1964 brought us ‘Wee Slavey, a.k.a. Nellie Perks, maid-of-all work to the pretentious but good-hearted Shelby-Smythe family. Although the title promised drudgery and gloom, Nellie’s quick wits and ready humour meant that the series was a light-hearted read, even when the Shelby-Smythes lost their fortune and were playing a desperate game of Keeping Up Appearances, with Nellie as their only servant! ‘Wee Slavey’ ran intermittently until Judy’s demise in the 1990s, as did the other Judy juggernaut, ‘Bobby Dazzler’, which premiered in 1965’s #263. Roberta ‘Bobby’ Dazzler was the only girl at Westbury Boarding School For Boys, owing to her mother being the Matron-In-Residence. The other third-formers, particularly Mike Norton, believed boys were superior to girls, and Bobby inevitably proved them wrong. This slender concept, with the lively art of Giorgio Lettari, kept proto-feminist Bobby going strong for decades. The final debut didn’t last long, but it’s a wierdie: 1967, at the height of the spy craze, brought us, in Judy #398, ‘The Girl From DORSET’, as Maid Marian, a junior Emma Peel, crushes adult villains and international agents with somewhat startling levels of violence (for a girls’ comic) before reporting back to her department head, ‘Mother’. What did D.O.R.S.E.T. stand for? Buy the comic and find out! This massive update of Judy also includes Christmas, Easter and other ‘special’ issues galore, as well as several with promotional flyers for other publications. Pictured are issue #4 FA/GD £7; #164 VG £18; #249 FN £30 and #263 GD £30. For prices and conditions on the literally hundreds of other issues new in, including the previously entirely unrepresented 1966, see our online catalogue. And join us again soon as we move on up from 1968 into the 1970s!
On a regular cycle, we sweep through our entire stock to delete sold items and keep our listing as up to date as possible. We’ve just finished deleting sold items from the following file in our Books Section:
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze
As of the time of writing, this category is bang up to date, with every item listed available.
*Clearance Corner: Artist and writer Jack Katz, despite a career dating back to the 1940s, felt unfulfilled by the art form to which he had devoted his professional life, and in 1974, he took inspiration from the underground commix movement, and the move towards black & white magazine comics by publishers such as Warren and Skywald, to create his own graphic opus, the First Kingdom, in which he saw the potential to create his own story without editorial interference. The First Kingdom is a 24-issue, 768-page series which took Katz twelve years to complete, from 1974 to 1986. The twice-yearly publication and adult content meant that First Kingdom never found broad commercial success, but this story of a post-nuclear civilization rebuilding itself with help from gods and aliens, inhabited by a plethora of characters, is generally regarded as a forerunner of today’s independent comics movement. We have 22 of the 24-issue run, in VF average condition (some second printings) lacking only issues 14 and 21 for the complete set. Average retail was £3-£4 per issue, 22 issues now available for £12. Weight 1.5 kg. UK postage, if required, will be an additional £3.50 as a small parcel.
*Collected Editions: Long out of print in its original collected editions, we are delighted to welcome back to our shelves Volume 1 of a new printing (‘The Definitive Collection’) of Charley’s War, one of the most famous works in the history of British comics. Originally appearing in Battle, this World War 1 saga follows a working class lad on the Western front in 1916. Written by Pat Mills and sumptuously illustrated by Joe Colquhoun, this features the first 300 psages of the story, plus a colour cover gallery. As reviewed by Alan Moore on the back cover: ‘None have even come close to matching the depiction of inhumanity and misery conjured up the masterful Charley’s War’.
*Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror: This update is brimming over with terrifying tales. Shiver with Lovecraft’s Library double Sinister House/Cold Harbour (Leland Hall and Francis Brett Young), while from Lovecraft himself there’s The Dunwich Horror And Others (in a prestigious Arkham House HC edition) and from Lovecraft and August Derleth there’s The Lurker At The Threshold. Tremble as you read The Horror Stories Of Robert E Howard, a collection of tales by Jerome K Jerome, City Of The Sea And Other Ghost Stories (a special limited edition), or Lair Of The Dreamer: A Cthulhu Mythos Omnibus by Franklin Searight. Finally, if your nerves are up to it there are two novels by Ira Levin, Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives, The Novel of the Black Seal by Arthur Machen and a perennial favourite, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
*DC: One of Jack Kirby’s last projects at DC before absconding to Marvel in the early 1960s was to co-create the Challengers of the Unknown, the tale of daring adventurers who, having survived a disaster in common, were ‘Living on Borrowed Time’, and decided to devote that time to the betterment of others. After several appearances in Showcase, Prof, Ace, Red and Rocky (and June, who at that time had to be an ‘honorary’ Challenger because, you know, ovaries) graduated to their own series. This issue of Showcase, #7, is the second-ever appearance of the team, and our Fantastic Five (hmmm…) fight the menace of automation when they come up against the diabolical man-machine Ultivac in a book-length thriller! This pre-UK distribution issue is in a remarkable state of preservation, VG- (obviously a cents copy), with only a little bit of wear and creasing in the lower right-hand cover corner, and small spine splits at top at bottom, but nevertheless a sound and appealing copy. On sale at £195. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*DC: After the precedent-shattering events of Superman #199, in which the Man of Steel and the Vizier of Velocity squared off for the title of Fastest Man Alive, ecstatic fans craved a rematch and in Flash #175, the two raced again – with the entire Justice League of America as cheerleaders! But who won? Hey – buy the book, urchins! This copy of the historic issue is an appealing FN+ p copy, with tight corners, firm staples, excellent cover colour and very good interior page quality. There is light, barely perceptible edge & corner wear, but overall a great-looking copy, on sale at £50.
*DC: A personal favourite here at 30th C – and the series which triggered one of our founders into the world of comics – the Metal Men, humanoid robots created by inventor Will Magnus, debuted in Showcase #37 as a last-minute fill-in, whipped up by writer Bob Khaniger and artists Andru & Esposito when the originally-scheduled story fell through. An unexpected hit, the robots – Gold, Lead, Tin, Mercury, Iron and Platinum (Tina) came back again and again, their eccentricities and quirks (from faulty ‘responsometers’) making them ironically more ‘human’ than the flesh & blood heroes of the day. We have all four of their Showcase ‘tryouts’, in issues #37-40, and a wide selection of their ongoing series from #6 to #54, all in affordable low to mid grades, ready to be plucked for your reading enjoyment! Birthday Cake For A Cannibal Robot, anyone?
*Marvel: Two of the most popular villains-turned heroes debut within a few issues of each other in early 1960’s Tales of Suspense. Issue #52 saw the debut of the deadly-but-delicious Black Widow, virtually unrecognisable to contemporary audiences, in her original guise as a slinky Dragon-Lady style femme fatale who was the puppet mistress of her cybernetic ‘muscle’, the Crimson Dynamo, who premiered beside her. Madame Natasha soon abandoned the power-behind-the throne routine and started taking a more proactive role when, having lost the Crimson Dynamo, she acquired a slab of malleable beefcake in the shape of Hawkeye, latching on to toxophilic carnie Clint Barton in his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #57! Originally doing bad things for good reasons, it was comparatively easy for both Natasha and Clint to slide over to the right side of the law, and they quickly became the Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin of the super-hero set, their original romantic attraction simmering into a deep friendship during their long association with the Avengers. Both the Black Widow and Hawkeye are key components of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of course, which has driven their first appearances up in price markedly over the last five years. We have Tales of Suspense #52 VG p at £200; a beautiful copy with unfaded deep purple background and only the faintest of horizontal lines/creases towards the cover, just bisecting the ‘S’ of the logo. The Tales of Suspense #57 is even nicer – FN- cents copy, lovely white background, no pence price or overstamp, on sale at £250. But buy them both – it’d be cruel to separate them… SORRY, THESE HAVE NOW SOLD
*Marvel: In the early 1970s, with the supernatural craze at its height, Marvel sought ever-more ingenious ways to produce horror/mystery series which got around the then-Draconian censorship of the Comics Code Authority. One such was Ghost Rider, a retooling of a former Western hero as a stunt-riding Satanic minion (obviously). After a short but successful run in Marvel Spotlight, Ghost Rider moved to his own series under the aegis of Gary Friedrich, Tom Sutton and Syd Shores, and achieved a very respectable 80+ run, and despite two disastrous movies starring Nicolas Cage, has continued to appear regularly ever after. This Ghost Rider #1 is a very attractive pence copy, with light spine and corner wear, but deep unbroken cover colour and tight corners, a copy with great eye appeal. VG+ p £75.
*Marvel: This week’s foray in our Spider-Mania event: 1992’s one-off, Spider-Man Special Edition: The Trial of Venom. This was an extremely limited issue which could only be obtained, at the time, by making a $5 charitable donation to UNICEF. By Peter David and Jim Craig, the one-shot co-stars Daredevil (hence the legal framework for the plot), and comes with a poster bound in. Although the print run is uncertain, very few copies are in circulation, and this one comes with – in addition to the still-firmly-secured poster – the postcard from UNICEF acknowledging the original purchaser’s donation. This NM/M edition with provenance is on sale at £50. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: ‘A Special Once-In-A-Lifetime Issue’, the cover of this one-shot boasted, and its unique position is simply a result of a scheduling tangle which arose when Marvel was finally allowed by its distributors to increase its range of titles. The Hulk took over the numbering of Tales to Astonish and Captain America the numbering of Tales of Suspense, but that left ‘orphaned’ chapters of the Iron Man and Sub-Mariner serials languishing, so they were used in this oddball one-off so that both Iron Man and the Sub-Mariner could start off their #1’s with clear storylines. This new addition is a cents copy, with no UK stamp or overprint, clean & bright, sound staples, good cover colour and minimal edge & corner wear. One of the easiest Silver Age Marvel titles to complete – buy one and you’ve bought them all! VG/FN at £35. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: One of the phenomena of the last decades of the 20th Century was Jim Starlin’s Infinity Gauntlet, in which Thanos, the megavillain Starlin had been building up for nearly twenty years, was unleashed against the massed forces of the Marvel Universe, armed with the reality-altering Infinity Gauntlet, in a struggle for the sake of the universe itself! Hugely popular ever since its inception, but with Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet at the centre of the forthcoming Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy cinematic crossover, demand for this issue is at its height. Infinity Gauntlet #1 is VF/NM p £30.
*Marvel: “This Female Fights Back!” was the tagline of Ms Marvel, Marvel Comics’ attempt to publish a solo heroine with a bit more longevity than 1972’s Claws of the Cat. Spinning out of Captain Marvel, former background character Carol Danvers got her own set of super-powers and a whole new supporting cast (including new boss J. Jonah Jameson) as she attempted to discover the mystery behind her own origins. Although moderately successful, the series was attacked by critics who derided Carol’s derivative costume, which made her look like Captain Marvel’s sidekick, and the fact that Marvel were offering a ‘powerful, confident’ heroine who suffered from blackouts and amnesia. Despite these jibes, Ms Marvel has been a prominent member of the Marvel Universe for nearly forty years in one guise or another – whether as Ms Marvel, Binary, Warbird, or most recently the latest Captain Marvel, her chequered history has provided many intriguing plotlines. Soon to star in a major film as Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers’s super-heroic career started here, with her first issue in an attractive VF- pence copy at £60.