*DC: Having recently whetted your appetites with our most important Batman update ever, we’re starting this week a new round of Batmania, featuring tales of Batman and his chums throughout their history. The flowing and dynamic art of Neal Adams graced many a cover of Batman and other DC series in the 60s and 70s, but his interior illustrations are less commonplace and much in demand, particularly his renditions of Batman, which helped re-define the public’s perception of the Gotham Guardian after the influence of the Batman TV show faded. New in this week are two of Adams’ best-regarded Batman issues: #234, which features the first appearance of the classic villain Two-Face since the 1940s, reintroducing him to a new generation and #237, in which the trail of a war criminal leads Batman & Robin to a quaint Halloween parade in Rutland, Vermont, kicking of a series of ‘Rutland specials’ which became an in-joke at both DC and Marvel for years. Both of these issues are not only high in creative quality, but in physical quality, being superior examples; Batman #234 is VF- p at £150; #237 is FN+ p £50. More Batmania next week!
*Marvel: A conflation of our current two Marvel events! After #1, possibly the single most sought-after issue of Spider-Man is #14, which featured the debut of his definitive nemesis (sorry, Doc Ock) the Green Goblin. Steve Ditko’s illustrations turning the seemingly whimsical into the positively eerie, the Goblin caught the imagination of the public from day one, and has featured in most of the major story arcs of Peter Parker’s alter ego. This copy of Spider-Man #14 is graded FN, but appears better than the stated grade; many dealers would have graded it higher, but as you all know by now, we’re really picky. This superior cents copy, no UK price or stamp, has extensive cover gloss, deep, unbroken cover colour, and only light wear at upper and lower left corners. There’s one light diagonal cover crease, approximately 3.75″, at the lower right cover, bisecting the Hulk’s fist; staples firm at cover and centrefold. Great copy with considerable eye appeal. FN at £775.
*Marvel: With Jolly Jack Kirby leaving the art chores of the X-Men after issue #11, Stan Lee realised he had to crank up the excitement to keep readers’ attention, and he certainly achieved it with this dynamic two-parter which not only introduced one of the X-Men’s (and the broader Marvel Universe’s) most powerful opponents, the Juggernaut! Cain Marko, the hitherto unsuspected step-brother of the X-Men’s mentor Professor Xavier, dabbled with arcane forces and was transformed into the embodiment of an irresistible force – giving him the power to crush his hated step-sibling, and his super-powered students! This two-parter reveals the origins of Professor X and the Juggernaut, and reveals some of the reasons why Xavier set about training the new generation of mutants. #12 is GD/VG p £55; #13 is VG- p £38.
*Marvel: Marvel Feature (1st series), one of the multitudinous ‘spotlight’ titles of the 70s, introduced the world to the Defenders, an amalgam of loners – the Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Doctor Strange and sometimes the Silver Surfer – who didn’t belong on any team temperamentally, but circumstances kept forcing them to combine forces. This odd ‘hook’ so intrigued the readership that shortly afterward, the Defenders gained their own title, which in its first series achieved a respectable 150+ run and has been periodically revived ever since. This is the very first Defenders #1, VG- (would grade higher but for moderate wear at upper cover edge and lower left corner) on sale at £40.
*Marvel: Following extensive sales on Marvel US’s original Star Wars comic, we are delighted to welcome back into stock a selection of issues between #2 and #49, including #39, the first issue of the adaptation of “The Empire Strikes Back”.
*Marvel: Following recent high sales turnover for the Armoured Avenger, we’re delighted to have a further selection of Iron Man issues, ranging between numbers #17 to #93, in mid to high grades. Highlights include the debut of the rabble-rousing ruffian Firebrand, clashes with the Red Ghost, Lucifer, Kraken, the malevolent Madame Masque, and additional chapters in the Battle of the Super-Villains, with guest-appearances by, among others, the Mighty Avengers and the Incredible Hulk! (Also the debuts of Val-Larr and Rokk, but you can’t have everything…)
*Dell: From that most esoteric of publishers comes a variety of material this week: the humour of Little Iodine, the equine thrills of National Velvet, the theatrics of On Stage, a couple of Movie Classics – Operation Bikini and Two On A Guillotine, TV sci-fi with Outer Limits, TV mystery with Room 222, The Story of Ruth, another movie adaptation with a glorious cover and jungle thrills with Toka Jungle King. Something for everyone?
*Gold Key/Whitman: A scintillating sci-fi selection from Gold Key/Whitman this week, starring Magnus Robot Figher inc. #1 (debut and origin VG+ £85 as pictured, with gorgeous Russ Manning art), Mighty Samson (#1), Star Trek & UFO Flying Saucers/UFO & Outer Space.
*Mad & Other Parody: Quite a coup in this truly transatlantic update, with not only the US first two magazine-sized hardcover collections of Mad, published in 1958/59 by Crown (presenting the best of the early years), but also the UK first hardcover (virtually identical to the US first and published in the same year by Arco, predating the UK version of the magazine. Not at all common, these nice copies come with dust jackets protected in removeable archival film. As pictured below, left to right, US first VG in VG DJ £80, US second VG in GD DJ £100, UK first FN in VG DJ £75.
*Marvel UK: Following his successful revival in other Marvel UK anthologies, and rave reviews for the daring and innovative Alan Moore/Alan Davis storylines, the ‘new’ Captain Britain was given his second solo series in 1985, and although Moore had jumped ship, the quality of the scripts continued for the monthly magazine, with Jamie Delano’s scripts and Alan Davis’ artwork presenting an enticing saga of multiversal conflict. The Crazy Gang, Gatecrasher’s TechNet, Slaymaster and Mastermind all made popular returns, and briefly, Brian Braddock’s sister, Betsy (later Psylocke of the X-Men) made her costumed debut as the second Captain Britain. We have a complete 14-issue run of this keenly-collected series, mostly in high grades, back in stock, with several duplicated issues, so if you haven’t sampled it before, here’s your chance! Issue #1 (pictured) is FN/VF £15; prices for the rest of the series are available on our website.
*Marvel UK: Every single issue of Dracula Lives from first (#1, without poster) to last (#87) fresh into stock (except #12) plus the 1976 World Distributors Special. This popular series reprinted Marvel’s Tomb Of Dracula and Werewol By Night, acquiring along its way the Frankenstein Monster, Brother Voodoo, the Living Mummy, the Legion Of Monsters, Man-Thing, Ghost Rider and just about every recurring character from Marvel 1970s horror boom!
*TV & Film Related Comics: In 1967, Mick Anglo (formerly the brains behind Marvelman), who had made his name in faux-American comic books, drew inspiration from the success of TV Century 21, and launched a weekly comic starring other characters from TV and movies: Batman, Superman, Tarzan, the Green Hornet, Bonanza, the Phantom and the Man From UNCLE, a mixture of new stories, reprints, and text, which had a respectable two-year run, and is still well-remembered today. This new copy of the debut issue is a very respectable VG, with minimal staple stress and corner wear and clean, unmarred interiors; on sale for £50.
*Humour Comics: Surprisingly – given that the weekly comic launched in 1956 – the Beezer didn’t gain the traditional Summer Special until 1973, over a decade after its senior siblings had launched the form with the joint Dandy-Beano Summer Special. Oddly, given the Beezer weekly’s A3 dimensions, the Summer Specials were actually slightly smaller all around than the regular comic – but made up for it with lots more colour and extra pages, as Ginger, Pop Dick and Harry, Colonel Blink, the Numskulls, Baby Crockett, the Badd Lads and more entertained readers old and new. We have a nice sequence of the Beezer Summer Specials – less common than their Beano and Dandy stablemates, owing, we suspect, to shorter print runs – from the very first in 1973 consecutively through to 1980, then 1982. The 1973 Special, pictured, is VG £20; prices of the others, as always, to be found in our online catalogue.
We’ve been out of stock for a few weeks of the large bags and boards to fit Eagle/TV21/Treasury sized comics, but are pleased to say they’re now back in! Please note that like most of our other bags and boards, these are only avalaible now in packs of 100. 100 bags are £20, 100 boards £50.
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 British section:
*Vintage UK/Australian Reprints of US Material
*Younger Readers’ Comics
*Magazines/Books About Vintage UK Comics
As of the time of writing, these categories are bang up to date, with every item listed available.
*DC: Following the continuity-shattering events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the DC Universe was without a Wonder Woman, Princess Diana’s heroic history having been erased. Superstar artist George Perez, fresh from his popular run on the New Teen Titans, was the man selected to restore Wonder Woman to her legendary status, by revisiting and updating her origins as coined by her creators, William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter. This premier issue of the relaunch is a beautiful NM/M pence copy on sale at £25. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: Among the most sought-after comics of the 1970s, Hulk #180-182 featured the first appearances of Wolverine, the Canadian super-hero who, outstripping everyone’s expectations, became the most popular Marvel character since the dawn of the Marvel Age. Created by Len Wein and Herb Trimpe (from a John Romita design), Wolvy was revived by Wein when he put together the “New” X-Men who debuted in Giant-Size X-Men #1, and since then, Wolverine became the star of the X-Men, and a media darling in his own right. We have acquired these three issues in… interesting grades. Issue #180 is technically Wolverine’s debut, though he only appears in a couple of panels toward the end. We have two copies of #180 available, one of which has an unfortunately sun-bleached cover, but would otherwise be VG+ or better. This has the Marvel Value Stamp (that pernicious cut-out which blights collectors of 1970s Marvels) present and intact. Our second copy is an apparent FN, clean with good cover presentation, but the Marvel Value Stamp has been removed from a non-story page. Less scrupulous dealers than ourselves might well try and ‘Frankenstein’ the copies together, given that an intact copy in high grade can be a four-figure book; we, however, decline such jiggery-pokery, and offer then to you as they came to us. Issue #181 is The Big One for the Little Guy: the first ‘Full Wolvy’, in which he battles both beside and with the Hulk against the menace of the Wendigo. Our copy is coverless, but with Marvel Value Stamp in situ. The cover has been neatly detached, with no visible stress or tearing to the staple area, and the general condition is otherwise Fine. Wrapping up the trilogy, we have a relatively uncomplicated #182, in which Wolverine says a fond farewell in a few panels. This is VF/NM. None of these issues were ever distributed in the United Kingdom – thanks once again, Marvel UK – so while they’re not commonplace anywhere, they’re especially scarce in our green and pleasant land. To sum up: Hulk #180 GD, cover sun-bleached but otherwise FN, MV Stamp in place £35; Hulk #180 App. FN but MV Stamp out of non-story page £100; Hulk #181 coverless but MV Stamp in place £300 and Hulk #182 VF/NM £125. SORRY, THESE HAVE NOW SOLD
*Marvel: In 1964, Peter Parker’s arachnid alter-ego was rewarded with his own Annual, and a thing of beauty it was; an all-new Lee & Ditko extravaganza, with a 41-page feature length lead story introducing the Sinister Six, an alliance of Spidey’s deadliest enemies; the Sandman, Mysterio, Electro, the Vulture, Doctor Octopus and Kraven the Hunter. As if that wasn’t enough, this massive tome also featured a plethora of pin-ups, a 9-page “Secrets of Spider-Man” feature, and the startling secrets of “How Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Create Spider-Man” – the latter presented with tongue firmly in cheek. Not a single reprint in the issue, folks! Ditko’s art is at its finest here, as he breaks free of the constraints of the standard comic format to indulge in full-page panels and epic action galore. This is a GD+ pence copy of this highly-sought item, on sale at £120. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: Another of our hugely popular Marvel #1 updates! No fewer than seventeen #1 issues from Marvel’s Bronze Age (with a couple of early Modern Age), with debut numbers for Black Goliath, Black Panther, Champions, Inhumans, Marvel Two-In-One, Micronauts, Ms. Marvel, New Mutants, Nova, Rom, Savage She-Hulk, Son of Stan, Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Star Trek, Wolverine (1st ongoing, 1988), and X-Factor! Many of these were low or non-distributed in the UK, and featured early appearances by characters who have since gone on to greater things, both in the comic book Marvel Universe and its multi-media incarnations! Pictured for your delectation are Black Panther #1 VF £50, with its patented Kirby Kraziness and She-Hulk #1, in which Bruce Banner’s smarter cousin made her debut, VF/NM £50; for the others, please see details in our online catalogue.
*Marvel: Just short of 100 issues of Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian, from issue #26 through to #115, newly added to our lists. This range of Robert E. Howard’s mighty-thewed warrior includes team-up’s with the savage Red Sonja, the debut of the pirate queen Belit, and the non-distributed Annuals and Giant-Size editions! With only a very few exceptions, this range is averaging FN+ or better, so an opportunity for gap-filling and upgrades in your collection of Cimmeria’s favourite son!
*Marvel: The 1970s cult ‘non-team’, most popular under the authorship of Steve Gerber, consisted of a bunch of people who were born loners, forced to cooperate, and that ‘hook’, plus Gerber’s off-the-wall scripts, gave the original series a loyal following which its successors have largely failed to incite. At its peak, like other prime titles, it was awarded a ‘Giant-Size’ spin-off, in which feature-length new lead stories were teamed with selected reprints. Never distributed in the UK, these Giant-Size series are enthusiastically pursued, and we are pleased to have all five issues of Giant-Size Defenders back in stock, with, among other attractions, early appearances by the nigh-omnipotent villain Korvac and the Guardians of the Galaxy! SORRY, THESE HAVE NOW SOLD
*Charlton: A chunky and somewhat overdue update to this most esoteric of publishers. Titles added to this update comprise: Abbott & Costello (#1), Doomsday +1, E-Man, Fightin’ 5, Jetsons (#1), Konga, Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds, Outer Space, Peacemaker, Six Million Dollar Man (#1 & #2), Space Adventures (inc Ditko), Space 1999, Space War, Top Cat (#1) & Unusual Tales.
*Horror/Mystery 1960s-1980s: Both series of Charlton’s Ghost Manor (1968 & 1971) recharged in our boxes with dozens of issues new in. Like most Charlton horror from this period, these have a distinct feel; many are graced with Ditko art, but other fine artists such as Tom Sutton, Don Newton, Pat Boyette etc are also represented in their wierd and off-beat pages.
*Romance: One thing we’ve learned over the years is not to leave everything till the last minute, so we’re presenting a new selection of Romance issues in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day. Titles include (from Comic Media) Dear Lonely Hearts, (from Charlton) I Love You, Just Married, Sweethearts and Teen-Age Love, (from Ajax-Farrell) Lonely Heart & My Personal Problem, (From Ziff Davis/St John) Perfect Love, (from Gilmor) Radiant Love, (from Story) Romantic Hearts, and finally (from Fawcett) Romantic Secrets.
*Tarzan/E R Burroughs: Despite improving our knowledge on a daily basis, the largely unchronicled history of British comics still contains certain pitfalls for us, among them the Tarzan comics published by the linked (in some mysterious way) companies of Top Sellers, World Distributors and Williams. We were recently surprised by a small batch of ‘albums’ related to this series: Tarzan of the Apes Superadventure from 1972, with issues #2, #3 and #4 new to our listing, and Tarzan of the Apes Deluxe Album Series from the same publisher(s) in 1973 – issue #1 new in. These full-colour magazine-sized cardcover album contain about three times the usual jungle shenanigans. The mystery continues to unravel…
Marvel UK: From 1979 and 1980, years when the good Captain’s solo career was in a bit of a slump, these extra-thick Summer Specials were released collecting some of his greatest hits. 1979’s Captain Britain Summer Special re-presented from Marvel Team-Up his first US appearance, a two-parter with Spider-Man, and some of the Black Knight serial from Hulk Weekly, in which the Captain co-starred, rather beautifully illustrated by John Stokes. 1980’s Summer Special should more properly have been called ‘Captain Britain and the Black Knight’, as in addition to CB strips it features a Black Knight/Dr. Strange team-up and a 1950s BK tale from Joe Maneely. We have the 1979 Special in two grades, VF £15 and FN £12 and the 1980 Special is GD £8.
*Power Comics: Although Alan Class had been reprinting Marvel super-hero tales in his various titles from the early 1960s – and Len Miller presented some in his anthologies ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Mystic’ – it took until 1967 before a concerted attempt was made to reprint Marvel superheroes in sequential order. That was in the Power Comics weeklies, and after trials in Smash! Wham! and Pow!, they released Fantastic, a weekly devoted entirely to super-heroes, with Thor, Iron Man and the X-Men from the beginning, in glorious black & white and oddly re-edited for the UK market (such as changing American idioms for more intelligible jargon). We may mock – in fact, those of us who’d been reading the originals all along did – but for those benighted parts of the country where the American editions weren’t imported, this was a gift much appreciated, and many people’s first exposure to the Marvel Universe was in these pages. This copy of Fantastic #1 is a remarkable FN/VF, with gorgeous white pages, tight edges and corners, and only staple discoloration precluding a still higher grade. On sale at £55. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: Not to be confused with the with the Polystyle comic by the same name which came a few years later, the 1972 Target was a glossy weekly from New English Library. Aimed at late teen/young adult males, Target’s averred intention was to “incorporate all the facets of popular reading into one magazine”. The presumed logic being that instead of buying separate mags on sport, music, film etc., they’d go for the one-stop option, with two comic strips parodying then-popular tropes – “Bovver Boy” and “L’s Angels” – thrown into the mix. We don’t have any firm data on Target’s demise, though we’re pretty sure it was gone by the end of 1973, the all-in-one audience having failed to materialise. This copy of the premier issue is a FN copy at £12, with the free gift “Powder of Life” – i.e. a sachet of brine shrimp eggs, better known to our Colonial chums as ‘Sea Monkeys’ – in NM – though we probably wouldn’t recommend trying to activate the brine shrimp after all these decades. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*TV & Film Related Comics: A small addition to the hugely popular Fanderson stock: new issues in of TV Century 21 from #183 to #214, the period when the indestructible Captain Scarlet was the headline feature and a dash of Countdown, the inheritor of TV 21’s mantle, which later mutated into TV Action, of which there are also a couple. Quality stuff all around!
What a year 2017 was here at 30th Century! Record sales, comics turning up we thought we’d never see and lots of lovely experiences helping people build their collections. Rob’s written an illustrated review of the year which you can find at this link 2017 Our Year In Review, also accessible from our Extras page.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: A small update of 1960s editions that introduces two new authors to our shelves, in addition to some old favourites. New to our listings are Behold Here’s Poison (Georgette Heyer) and Above Suspicion (Helen MacInnes). We’ve also added John Buchan’s classic The Thirty-Nine Steps, Death In The Clouds by Agatha Christie and Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey – all entertaining reads in great vintage editions.
We’ve enhanced our feature on ‘Storing and Preserving Your Comic Collection’, which you can find on our Comic & Book Storage page, to vividly illustrate the effect on your comics of being exposed to too much light. Let that be a lesson to you!
*DC: We’ve had many rare and distinctive items through our hands in our 25 years’ trading, but this selection is probably our most significant, comprising some of the earliest adventures of arguably the most popular comics character of all. We have acquired issues #2, #3, #4, #5 and #7 of the Batman’s original series from 1940 and 1941, including early appearances by the Dynamic Duo’s greatest nemeses.
Batman #2 presents not only the second-ever appearances of the Joker and the Catwoman, but features both of them in the same story, thereby becoming DC’s first in-universe villain cross-over. This is also the first use of the Catwoman (or as they style it here, ‘Cat-Woman’) as Selina Kyle’s alias, whereas in her previous appearance, she was simply called ‘The Cat’. The central two centrefolds are off staple, but present; some weakness and stress at cover staple area, minor corner & edge wear. The page condition is decent, light tanning at margins, but no brittleness. There are small ‘puncture’ marks on the front cover. These do not actually impinge upon the cover scene, but do leave marks throughout most of the first half of the book, which diminish towards the centre pages. There is erased pencil residue on the cover, around Batman’s lower torso and legs. Graded GD-, this historic item is on sale for £3000.
Batman #3 features the third Catwoman appearance, and her first in costume – previously she was just a slinky jewel thief in couture clothing, but this, although not her classic ‘look’, was the premiere of her succession of outfits. This has a trimmed right edge, which does not impinge upon the story pages. Staples firm at centrefold, coming loose at lower cover. One small corner off the final page margin, again not affecting any story content. Otherwise, no significant flaws other than general wear owing to its vintage. App. GD+ (because of the edge trim) on sale at £1350.
Batman #4 is the fourth appearance of the Joker, and the first recorded use of the Gotham City name. The centrefold is missing, with 2 pages of one Batman story gone as a result. The other three Batman stories are intact, including the Joker tale. The cover is off the lower staple. Two small corners are off the lower cover edge, not impeding the cover scene. One small corner is off the final interior ad page. App. GD/VG owing to the missing centrefold; on sale at £1000.
Batman #5, with an eye-catching ‘Scales of Justice’ cover, features another Joker story, and is the first appearance of the ‘classic’ Batmobile with the bat head/shield design. (Previously, Batman had driven a succession of cars referred to as ‘the Bat-Mobile’, but they lacked this distinctive configuration). The staples are firm at cover and centrefold, and the interior page quality excellent. A 5mm tear is throughout the lower level of the book, radiating in from the spine. (Approximately at level of Batman’s right bicep on cover image) This does not encroach upon the interior stories. This remains an extremely attractive copy, which would, without the last flaw described, grade significantly higher. VG+ at £1500.
Batman #7 features the Joker again, and a classic ‘bullseye’ cover. This is an extremely attractive copy, with flexible off-white interiors, staples firm at cover and centrefold, and a light dustshadow at the right cover edge. VG+ at £1500.
More description than we normally try your patience with, but we’re sure you’ll appreciate that with items of this importance and rarity, the extra verbiage is justified. Shown below are cover images of all five in sequence left to right. Our catalogue listing also has images for the back covers and splash pages; high resolution images are available on request. Truly historical items, and ones we’re proud to have in our possession. NB We do not keep these issues on our premises; viewing is STRICTLY by appointment only.
BATMAN #2 & #7 NOW SOLD
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 American/British section:
*Mad & Other Parody
and in our British section:
As of the time of writing, these categories are bang up to date, with every item listed available.
*Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror: The Horror level has just gone up several notches as five more titles lurch into the category. This time we’ve added a rarity, Dark Menace by Charles Birkin, three classics – The King In Yellow (Robert W Chambers), Frankenstein (Mary Shelley) and The (original) Pan Book Of Horror Stories (ed. Herbert Van Thal) – and a not so fantastic voyage on The Uncharted Seas (Dennis Wheatley).
*DC: Dozens of additions to our DC catalogue this week, featuring the following titles from the first half of the alphabet: Action Comics, Adventure Comics (inc. many Legion of Super-Heroes issues), Atom, Black Lightning (from #1), Brave & Bold (inc Joker issues #111 & #118), Crisis On Infinite Earths (inc death of Barry Allen Flash in #8), DC Special Series (inc #1 and Superman & Flash spectaculars in #5 & #11), 80 Page Giant (#3 Lois Lane), Flash, Green Lantern, Jimmy Olsen, Justice Leaguie of America (lots of these) and Lois Lane (lots of these inc. 1st Rose & Thorn in #105 and ‘I Am Curious Black’ in #106, in which Lois changes her skin colour). Look out for another sweep through the second half of the alphabet soon!
*Marvel: The popularity of Marvel’s God of Thunder is riding higher than ever with several smash movies in his wake, so early appearances by Thor are keenly sought; we have a selection beginning with his second-ever appearance, in Journey Into Mystery #84, where he faces the menace of – The Executioner! (Stan & Jack clearly liked the name enough to recycle it shortly thereafter for the Asgardian assassin we all know and love.) We also have #100 – an epic clash with the diabolical Mr. Hyde – in two grades, and a few more J.I.M.’s up to #123, then a handful of issues from when the title renamed itself for Thor, up to #161. Pictured are #84 VG/FN p £425; 100 FN p £75 and 123 VF p £53, with details of the others in our online catalogue.
*Marvel: We turn to an old favourite for this week’s dose of Spider-Mania. Amazing Spider-Man #252, like many Secret Wars ‘epilogue’ issues, featured a major ‘twist’ only explained retroactively. In Spidey’s case, it was a dramatic black & white costume which would eventually be revealed as an alien symbiote, which in turn would evolve into Venom, who eclipsed most longer-established villains to become Spidey’s crucial nemesis for more than a decade. Although the first appearance of the symbiote in internal continuity was Secret Wars #8, its debut in real time was this very issue. This is a highly collectable VF+ grade pence copy at £60.
*Marvel: The 1970s were a confusing time for Captain America, and his creators. As the years moved away from World War II, the Star-Spangled Sentinel’s established persona seemed almost quaint, and the Marvel Bullpen threw him into a lot of unusual scenarios to try to integrate him with the ‘relevant’ world. Some of them stuck – his long-term partnership with the Falcon – and some of them didn’t (anyone remember his short-lived career as a police officer?). Nevertheless, top-notch creators kept trying, and the results are an interesting switchback read. We have new stock for Cap from issue #121 through to #200, highlights along the way including clashes with Modok, the Grey Gargoyle, and the debuts of the nifty but nefarious Nightshade and the scintillating Serpent Squad, as well as a cross-over with Spider-Man and Jack Kirby’s pledge that “America Will Die!” – just in time for the Bicentennial!
*Marvel: Following formidable sales, we are pleased to restock the Wein/Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne ‘New’ X-Men with issues from #104 (ND UK, team’s first clash with Magneto) to #139 (wherein Kitty Pryde first joins the team). ushering in a new cover blurb – “Hope You Survive The Experience” – which has been frequently revisited since. Other highlights along the way include the debuts of Weapon Alpha – later Alpha Flight’s Vindicator – and the malevolent Proteus, during a period which we curmudgeons regard as the height of the New X-Men’s run, in terms of vivid characterisation and creative ingenuity. Your opinions may differ…
*Archie: While Archie Comics is of course best known for their plethora of teen-comedy titles focused on their titular star, the publishers also have a stable of super-heroes whose history dates back as far as 1940. In the late Fifties, the company made their first serious attempt at a revival (the original runs having petered out more than a decade previously) with two characters created by the legendary Joe Simon and Jack Kirby: The Double Life of Private Strong and The Fly. The former was a meek private who was scientifically empowered into a star-spangled crusader. Sound familiar? The fledgling Marvel Comics (who weren’t even publishing Captain America at the time!) thought so too, and after two issues Private Strong was abruptly demobbed following a heartfelt ‘cease and desist’ order. His companion title, the Fly, fared better; initially reminiscent of the original Captain Marvel (plucky orphan gains magical artefact enabling him to become a super-adult), after the first few issues Simon & Kirby jumped ship, and he was retooled into an adult attorney, who, with his distaff counterpart Fly-Girl, had adventures very reminiscent of the Silver Age Superman. A further title, the Jaguar, joined the franchise, and they pottered along happily until the mid-Sixties, when the Batman TV show and Marvel’s success caused the entire line to mutate into an infinitely inept pastiche of Marvel’s ‘bickering heroes’ style. Fly became Fly Man, and a super-team (The Mighty Crusaders) and a ‘showcase’ title (Mighty Comics Presents) followed. We have both issues of Private Strong, a dash of Jaguar, and most issues of the Fly from the first wave, and substantial runs of Fly-Man, Mighty Comics Presents and the Mighty Crusaders from the second wave, as well as the one-off Super-Heroes Vs. Super-Villains. Buy the first wave, and be charmed and gently entertained; buy the second, and listen to the sound of your brains dribbling out of your ears. You have been warned…
*War: Our event spotlighting significant Marvel debuts continues in our war category. Following their success at revamping the superhero genre, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby turned their hand to the war comic, transplanting their bravura, over-the-top style to the WWII arena by creating Sergeant Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos, seven larger-then-life personalities, who, given their phenomenal combat skills and resistance to massive amounts of gunfire, were super-heroes in all but name. Sgt. Fury was one of Marvel’s earliest characters to star in two separate franchises – in World War II, and in the ‘present day’ as head of SHIELD. Sgt. Fury #1 had, we suspect, a significantly smaller print run than its stablemates – certainly, while no early Marvel Universe #1 is in plentiful supply, we see this one much less frequently than most of its superhero brethren. This is a very desirable copy, with only a tiny chip in the upper left corner and a small scuff on the ‘A’ of the logo precluding a higher grade. GD/VG p £425. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Vintage Magazine-Sized Comics: One of Marvel’s earlier experiments in the Graphic Novel format involved a numbered series of Magazine-Sized softcovers, imaginatively entitled Marvel Graphic Novel, featuring all-new epic-length stories of some of Marvel’s top characters. Several of these are added to our lists: New Mutants (#4), by Claremont and McLeod, which featured not only the debut of the eponymous team, but of four out of five of its membership – Cannonball, Moonstar, Wolfsbane, and Sunspot; the highly-acclaimed X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills (#5) by Claremont and Anderson, expanding on the comparison between mutants and other persecuted minorities in a way which couldn’t then be done in a Code-Approved comic; The Aladdin Effect by Shooter, Michelinie and LaRoque, a team-up between Marvel’s fighting females – Storm, Tigra, She-Hulk and the Wasp and two later unnumbered entries in the series: Daredevil by Miller and Sienkiewicz, contemporary with Miller’s popular run on DD’s series and Spider-Man: Hooky by Putney and Wrightson. New Mutants is available in first (VG £15) and 2nd (VF- £7) printings; X-Men (pictured) is VF/NM 1st print £25; Aladdin Effect is VF £7, Daredevil VF/NM £12.25 and Spider-Man VF/NM £13.75.
*Undergrounds: After his reputation was established, Robert Crumb used his notoriety to leverage a regular publication from Last Gasp to showcase his and other underground cartoonists’ works. Weirdo launched in 1981 as Crumb’s answer to Spiegelman’s Raw, which had attracted controversy because of its non-linear storytelling and (some said) pretentious attitude. Introducing Peter Bagge and Dori Seda, amongst others, to professional publication, Weirdo continued to have substantial input from Crumb, even when he relinquished editorship first to Bagge and then to Aline Kominsky. The series ended in 1993, having presented a cavalcade of underground stars on its pages. We have issues back in stock from #4 to #27.
*Marvel UK: The latter wave of Marvel UK saw a lot of short-run titles being launched as the company sought to broaden its audience. One such was a solo reprint title for the God of Thunder in 1983, with ‘Every Page In Great Marvel Colour!’. Issue #1 of this series is now back in stock in Fine, with the Free Gift – a ‘Super Spinner’ – in VF. On sale at £15. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel UK: Filling many gaps from #6 to #66, more vintage inventory of Marvel UK’s premier weekly, featuring the Hulk, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four in their earliest adventures, cut & repasted with (very often) brand-new covers and splash pages by Jim Starlin and other Marvel ‘noobs’ at the beginning of their careers! These re-packagings of the early Marvel Universe (stories which, to be fair, were barely a decade old when Marvel UK started) are increasingly popular as ‘variants’ by our American chums – yes, we know – and once 10p box fodder everywhere, are now keenly sought collectables in their own right!
*Marvel UK: A full run – 34 issues – of Rampage Weekly, a 1977 launch which reprinted the Defenders (with Nova as back-up). Rampage proved popular enough as a weekly to be relaunched as a monthly magazine, but this is the entire first run, in affordable mid-grades. Catch the adventures of Doctor Strange, the Hulk, Sub-Mariner and their chums from the peak of the Steve Gerber-scripted strangeness!
*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: You might think that the long hot summer is far away, but we’re still basking in the glow here at 30th C. After graduating from Tiger to his own eponymous weekly in 1976, it was a dead cert that he’d soon get his own series of Holiday Specials, and that prophecy was fulfilled the next year, with the release of the first extra-thick Roy Of The Rovers Special, destined to be lost/left behind at seasides nationwide. The implausibly-coiffured star of Melchester Rovers was joined by other soccer stars such as ‘Mighty Mouse’, ‘The Hard Man’, ‘The Footballer Who Wouldn’t Stay Dead’, and, erm, Gary Lineker. The first Special from 1977 is pictured here FN £25, as well as the 1978 and 1979 Specials FN £15 each. For prices on the other new additions (up to 1991), see our catalogue listing.
*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: 1979’s Crunch – a kind of belated response by DC Thomson to IPC/Fleetway’s hard-hitting weeklies 2000 AD and Action – promised much to the readers with its stories of tough guys in the harsh environs of crime, war and the dystopian future, but what sealed the deal for many vacillating customers was the ‘Black Band’ (actually a plastic bracelet, but they couldn’t call it that – this wasn’t Bunty, after all!) with ‘Super Crunch Stickers’ advertising the owner’s bona fides as an NYPD Crimebuster, Space Commando or other implausible claims. This Crunch #1 is an attractive FN/VF copy, with the gifts an immaculate NM; the black band is still sealed in its original envelope, and the stickers unused on their backing sheet. Comic and Gift yours for £35. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: Two short bursts of the popular adventure weekly Lion added to our stocks: a range from 1954 to 1955, when Captain Condor and the Amazing Mr. X held sway, and a smaller selection from 1973 (including the Christmas issue) and 1974, when the Spellbinder, Steel Commando and Adam Eterno ruled the roost.