*Girls’ Picture Libraries: We have new stock for four series aimed at a slightly older demographic this week, all from 1959. (We think; a couple are actually dated, and the others seem contemporary, so we’re going with that – until someone tells us different!) Famous Romance Library is from Fleetway, featuring often striking painted covers and line-drawn done-in-one long stories with appealing artwork. Similarly, the Australian-produced Silhouette Romance Library features painted covers, book-length stories, and fine interior illustrations. Miller’s Romance Strip Stories presents cheap & cheerful drawn covers and multiple interior stories, with a heavy reliance on US reprints, and Photo-Romance Novels from World Distributors presages the later ‘photo-love’ trend of the 1970s by having badly-staged photos instead of drawings, behind painted covers. Illustrated: Famous Romance Library #145 (VG £15) and a trio of first issues: Photo Romance Novels #1 (FN £10), Romance Strip Stories #1 (VF £15) and Silhouette Romance Library #1 (VG £12).
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: ‘Private eyeful’ was just one of the ways Honey West, one of the first female private detectives in popular fiction, was described – others included ‘sexsational’, ‘sexiest private eye ever to pull a trigger’, ‘hotter than a pistol’ and ‘the best-stacked private eye alive’. Every adventure managed to involve loss of at least some of Honey’s clothing, before order was restored, at least in part due to her long-suffering boyfriend, Johnny, with plenty of jeopardy and thrills along the way. We have five of G G Fickling’s Honey books, all first US PB Pyramid editions (second printing for This Girl For Hire) plus a second copy of Blood And Honey released as a tie-in to the 1960s television show, and with TV covers. This classy dame also has classy covers on the other books, with art by Robert Maguire (Blood And Honey and Kiss For A Killer), Robert Maginnis (Girl On The Prowl), Ronnie Lesser (Bombshell) and Harry Schaare (This Girl For Hire).
*Collected Editions: New in this week, the first volume of the Michael Moorcock Library from Titan books, reprinting the first two books of Michael Moorcock’s Hawkmoon/Runestaff saga, the comic adaptations of which were published by Savoy in the 70s and 80s. Lavishly illustrated in glowing black and white by the stylish James Cawthorn, this handsome hardcover volume presents The Jewel In The Skull and The Crystal And The Amulet, a science fantasy saga set in an eerily familiar post-apocalyptic land of the Dark Empire of Granbretan. With a wealth of extras included, priced at £36. SORRY, THIS HAS 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 British section: *Girls’ Picture Libraries
As of the time of writing, this category is bang up to date, with every item listed available.
*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 is where her illustrious career – which has branched out into both animated and live-action TV – began. (And yes, they did miss a bet by not having her featured on the cover -.foolish mortals!). This VG- pence copy (moderate spine wear and light cover corner creasing, unmarred interiors) is available at £200.
*DC: Our regular Batmania feature ties into our Slab Happy third-party graded event this week. 1970’s Batman #222 tapped into a then-recent real-life rumour that Paul McCartney, of the iconic Beatles, had been killed and replaced by a lookalike to keep the royalties coming. In this issue, Batman & Robin meet ‘Saul Cartwright’ of the super-group ‘The Oliver Twists’, who present a suspiciously similar dilemma to the world! How does it all turn out? Well, you’ll never know, will you – because this copy’s sealed in a plastic slab for your comfort and convenience! This is a CBCS 7.0 FN/VF equivalent, and this slice of psychedelic-era nostalgia can be yours for £150. (PS: ‘Saul’ turns out to be the real deal, but started the rumour himself to divert attention from the fact that the other three ‘Twists’ are literal ‘dead ringers’. There. Don’t say we never do anything for you.) SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: In the fourth issue of Marvel’s Avengers series, the already formidable team of Iron Man, Thor, Giant-Man and the Wasp was augmented by one of the legendary heroes from the past. Captain America returned to action after years in Post-WWII suspended animation, and rapidly became the acknowledged heart and soul of the Avengers, who have never flourished for long without him! This copy of an iconic issue is a very attractive VG+, pence copy, staples tight at centrefold and cover, unmarred cover scene with light corner and edge wear, strong spine, no exterior or internal markings, light diagonal crease in lower right cover corner. On sale at £625. High resolution scans are available on request. SORRY, THIS HAS 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 VG- copy with a UK pence stamp, light wear at the corners, spine complete but starting to detach at the top of the book. Very faint, barely perceptible grey spotting in the centre of the cover, primarily above the Vulture’s right wing, above Spidey’s head, and between Dr. Octopus’ outstretched arms. We suspect this is light ink transfer from pressure during stacking, but it’s so faint as to not impede enjoyment of the cover. VG- p £250. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: Iron Fist’s 1977 title, though critically acclaimed and well-received, failed to catch a mass audience, and was cancelled with its fifteenth issue. But in retrospect, its next-to-last issue, #14, has become hugely sought after as the debut of Sabretooth, one of the X-Men’s most popular enemies, and sometimes related to Wolverine in some sense – depending on whose warped reality it was in a given week. Ironically, it’s only Sabretooth’s premier appearance by accident – he was intended to appear first in Ms. Marvel #24, but that series was cancelled with issue #23, so here he is, in all his feral glory! This issue is doubly desirable here in the UK, as it was never distributed through official channels, and only a relatively tiny amount of the print run made it over. This is a lovely, tight & bright VF+ copy, vivid and glossy, on sale at £170. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: The culmination of Claremont and Byrnes ‘Fate of the Phoenix’ storyline, following the cosmic empowerment of the former Marvel Girl, her gradual temptation to the dark side as Phoenix, and the heinous acts committed by her other persona. Arrested by cosmic peacekeeping force the Imperial Guard and put on trial for her crimes, Jean Grey and her teammates battle for her life – and lose, in a story that was genuinely shocking and epic at the time of its publication, and has lost only a little of its impact with Jean’s subsequent two (to date) resurrections. This square-bound extra-length issue was never distributed in the United Kingdom, as the distributors refused to handle non-standard copies, and has thus constituted an annoying gap for many British fans. This copy is VF/NM, on sale at £50. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: The incomparable Wally Wood drew just seven issues of Daredevil from the Man Without Fear’s earliest adventures, and we have six of them fresh into stock this week (missing just his debut in #5). Pick of the bunch is #7, the first red costume issue for DD and also the epic battle with the Sub-Mariner. Our new copy is VG/FN (cents); a nice mid-grade copy with minor stress at spine and some edge wear, but tight and flat with excellent staples and page quality, priced at £170. Other issues include the debuts of Mr Fear (#6), the Stilt-Man (#8) and the two-part encounter with the Organiser and the Ani-Men (#10-11). For grades and prices on all, consult our catalogue. SORRY #6 & #7 NOW SOLD
*Marvel: In our opinion, Barry Smith’s art on the early issues of Conan remains unsurpassed in the field of sword and sorcery comics, so we’re as pleased as punch to present a small update comprising several of the early issues featuring his art, from #2 upwards and including #14, guest-starring Michael Moorcock’s Elric. For full details, consult our online catalogue.
*Horror 1940-1959: Technically a Timely title when it started, Marvel Tales took over the numbering of the company’s flagship title, Marvel Mystery Comics, when it launched in 1949 with issue #93, and the former home of Captain America, the Sub-Mariner, Human Torch, Miss America and the Blonde Phantom became the dwelling of vampires, monsters, werewolves, ghosts and ghouls – and a howling success they made of it! We have 25 vintage Marvel Tales newly in, commencing with issue #113, and ending with 1957’s final issue, #159. This tasty torrent of terrors includes stellar artwork by Kubert, Krigstein, Ditko, Williamson, Wood, Morrow, Powell, Drucker, Kane, Orlando, Romita and Sinnott, as well as the ever-reliable, always excellent trinity of Maneely, Heath and Everett – the latter of whose ‘End of the World’ story in #153 is regarded as one of his finer works. Over half of this update – 14 out of the 25 – are illustrated here: #113 GD/VG £90, #115 GD/VG £90, #120 FA/GD £53, #136 VG- £64, #137 VG £66, #138 VG £73, #140 VG £66 (two copies, in identical grades and prices), #142 VG+ £74, #144 VG+ £74, #145 FN £98, #146 VG+ £63, #154 VG £56, #157 VG+ £64 and #159 VG+ £64. As always, however, with our recent large Atlas updates, there is a plethora of lower-graded issues at very economical prices, so do remember to check the online listing for more details.
*War: A trinity of short-run titles launched in 1957, as Atlas was struggling to regain its Pre-Code audience. Commando Adventures lasted only two issues despite artwork from Severin (who did both eye-catching covers), Drucker and Romita. G.I. Tales took over the numbering of the defunct Sgt. Barney Baxter from #4, lasting two further issues to #6. Issue #4 was inventory Barney Baxter stories by Severin, the other two were anthology war including work by Powell, Colan and Orlando. And Navy Tales was a stablemate to the previously established Navy Action, but floundered after four issues, the artistic efforts of Powell, Crandall, Williamson and Mayo – among others – notwithstanding. Three complete series available for your attention; illustrated is Commando Adventures #1 VG+ £29.
*Western: Two 1957 entries in the Western field were the Kid From Dodge City and the Kid from Texas, neither of which really got a chance to catch on, as both ended with their respective second issues, despite having the same quality as the rest of the Atlas Western line. The Kid From Dodge City featured early art by Don Heck, an often-underestimated artist because of the high volume of rushed work he did in the 1970s, but back then he was an illustrator more in the Caniffesque tradition. The Kid From Texas was drawn by Bob Powell, with covers by Severin and Heath. Oddly for the frugal publisher, neither title was renamed from or into any other series, so this ‘pair of pairs’ remain odd cut-off trails on the dusty paths of the Western genre. Depicted: Kid From Texas #1 FN+ £38; details on the others in our online catalogue.
*Modern Reprints: Four more complete sets from the EC Complete Library. This time we present Haunt Of Fear, a five volume oversize deluxe black and white set (with colour covers) all in VF condition (but sadly missing the slipcase); the best in Pre-Code Horror in what is widely regarded at the ultimate in quality reproduction. Frontline Combat, EC’s classic war title; 3 volumes VF with FN slipcase. Picto-Fiction, EC’s short-lived but vibrant experiment with illustrated text stories, 4 volumes VF/NM with VF slipcase. Weird Fantasy, superb science-fiction, 4 volumes VF with VG slipcase. Haunt Of Fear £100, Frontline Combat £80, Picto-Fiction £100, Weird Fantasy £75.
*Modern Reprints: A further trio of these phone book like Marvel black and white volumes added to our stock, all volume 1 of their titles in NM: Iron Fist, collecting all the early appearances; Super-Villain Team-Up with Dr. Doom and Sub-Mariner, collecting the entire series plus bonuses; and X-Factor, with all the early issues plus guest shots. Great reading value. Iron Fist is £30, the others are £12 each.
*Vintage Magazine-Sized Comics: This week we totally overhaul our stock of Creepy, Warren’s famous black and white horror magazine of the 1960s-1980s. The roster of artists recruited for this extravaganza reads like a Who’s Who of the best horror artists of the time: Frazetta, Adams, Jones, Brunner, Ploog, Corben, Wrightson etc. Our additional stock this week comprises almost all issues from #1 to #89 plus selected later numbers and the 1969 Yearbook. A mix of grades, but many in superior condition. Pictured are: #1 FN+ £45, #60 VF £20.25.
*Magazines & Books About Vintage US Comics: Following the demise of legendary artist/writer Jack Kirby in 1994, many print tributes were issued to commemorate his life and works. One such was Jack Kirby Collector, which started humbly as a black & white fanzine but was taken up by Twomorrows into a slick ‘prozine’ which continues to this day. Our stock of Jack Kirby Collector has been enhanced by more than 40 issues, in numbers ranging from #6 to #74, all averaging VF/NM. In addition, we have the first paperback volume of the Collected Jack Kirby Collector VF £20, as well as a small selection of the lesser-known companion Jack Kirby Quarterly, which began as a black and white fanzine in the UK, but was taken up by Greg Theakston’s Pure Imagination for US distribution.
*Magazines/Books About Vintage US Comics: A large influx of Comics Journal to refresh this section, running from #37 to #150, with nearly every issue present. The run includes #48, a Summer Special, #61, a Winter Special, the massive #63 and issue #100, a special Anniversary edition. Grades generally range from GD to FN. TCJ prides itself on raising the standards of comics criticism and that comics should be considered a higher level of art form, although it is traditionally very critical of mainstream comics.
*Vintage UK/Australian Reprints of US Material: A whole box-full of goodies freshly added to this category, including Casey Ruggles, Crime Patrol, Donald Duck, Fantastic Tales, a large run of Gold Token Super Mag, Justice Traps The Guilty, Mr District Attorney, Police Comics, Race For The Moon, a New Zealand Rip Kirby, World Distributors’ Movie Classics (Searchers, Sharkfighters, Wings Of Eagles) and WD Western Classic.
*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: The 1978 debut of 2000 AD companion, Starlord, produced a swath of science-fiction series – ‘Timequake’, ‘Planet of the Damned’, ‘Ro-Busters’ and ‘Strontium Dog’ among them – on slick paper with more colour pages than its more famous sibling. However, Starlord was never intended as a long-runner, created as a ‘feeder’ title to hopefully produce a couple of ‘star’ strips and give 2000 AD a quickie circulation boost when it was absorbed by the older title. After only 22 issues, it duly became part of 2000 AD, with ‘Strontium Dog’ and ‘Ro-Busters’ (later rebranded ‘ABC Warriors’) leading much longer lives than they had in their original title. We are delighted to have the first three issues of this short-lived but sought-after series back in stock with their original Free Gifts. Issue #1, FN with VF ‘Starlord Trooper: Time Warden’ badge, is £40; issue #2 FN with VF ‘Space Calculator’ is £30 and issue #3, VF with VF ‘Starblast’ game – it’s ‘Battleship’ in disguise, ssh – at £35. SORRY, #1 & #2 NOW SOLD
*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: In 1976, the staid world of British comics was rocked by the advent of Action, a brutal weekly (by the standards of the day), where villains, including Nazis and man-eating sharks, were the heroes. Hugely popular and hugely controversial, we have the first three issues back in stock: issue #1 is only FA, complete but with a significant lower cover tear, at £20; issue #2 is VG at £20 and issue #3, unlike its chums, comes with the original free gift – 16 Soccer Super Stars of Britain Trading Cards, still in the pack/wallet (pictured)! The comic is Fine, and the Free Gift of packet plus cards, though opened, is also Fine – comic and gift combo on sale at £50. SORRY, THESE HAVE NOW SOLD
*Girls’ Comics: D.C.Thomson’s pioneering romance weekly, Romeo, launched in 1957 to a rapturous reception from the love-starved audience, and spawned scores of imitators aimed at older teen girls and young housewives not yet disillusioned with domestic drudgery. With its stories of bright young career girls in exotic locales, it offered escapism to a generation, but was frequently discarded after reading, meaning that despite its substantial print runs, few copies survive today. Issue #1 set the pattern that would be followed with minor variations for decades: complete ‘done in one’ stories (‘Cruise to Romance’), romantic serials (‘The Innocents In Paris’, ‘Rose the Slave Girl’) and occasional comedy fillers (inexplicably importing Atlas’ Millie the Model by Lee and Goldberg for the latter!). This premiere copy of a long-running and popular series is VG at £50. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Girls’ Picture Libraries: Better remembered for its long line of war-themed picture libraries, Pearson did occasionally venture into the softer side of things, and from 1965, we have an unusual example: Heart Beat #1, an extra-tall romantic picture library, a full 12″ in height, though no wider than the standard PL. This extra height was no doubt intended to make the series stand out at the newsagent’s, but we suspect that in reality, like the Giant War Picture Libraries, it simply meant it was a bugger to display and got mangled and mishandled, if the shops bothered to put it out at all. We suspect few survive, and certainly we had never heard of it until we acquired this copy. We have no idea how many further issues – if any – there were. Interior artwork is the same sophisticated European style seen in many romantic comics of the day, with three separate tales – ‘Guilty Secret’, ‘Front Page Story’ and ‘Love Tangle’ – featured. In excellent shape for its age (VG), this is a very uncommon item, priced at £50. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Clearance Corner: This week’s bargain lot is from the Golden Age of Glamour, the late 1950s, with 6 ‘Film & Show Business’ digest-sized magazines: 4 x ’66’: #27, #28, #33 & #48, Flik #2 and Pick #4. Really these were just excuses to feature many glamour shots of actresses of the day, such as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Jayne Mansfield et al, whose poses filled their pages. All in decent flat condition (the mags, not the actresses!) with a little rustiness at staples. We’re clearing these out as they’re not comics and not our normal sort of thing. We note that they change hands on eBay for around £8-£10 each, so we’re offering the lot for just £30. UK postage if required would be an extra £5.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: The emphasis is firmly on the latter here, with a set of six Midwood books from the 1960s. Midwood were notorious as publishers of ‘tasteful’ sub-erotica, employing some of the most accomplished cover artists of the time, such as Paul Rader, who created the art on all but one of the novels in this update. Hailing from a time when LBGTQQIAAP just meant that a monkey had got to your typewriter, all six of these books are in the sub-genre dealing with the euphemistically described ‘forbidden love that dare not tell its name’. The five with Rader covers are A Twilight Affair (James Harvey), When Lights Are Low (Dallas Mayo), The Beauty Game (Emory Paine), The Blonde (Peggy Swenson) and The Unfortunate Flesh (Randy Salem). The final book is Private Party, written by Kimberly Kemp (who also features in the Midwood Double Pampered/Perfumed, already in stock). All six books are highly collectable 1st US PB, in grades ranging from GD to VG/FN.
We don’t list our American basement stock in our catalogue, but we thought shop visitors might like to know about two titles we’ve just updated: Spawn & Witchblade have had enduring appeal since they were launched and still survive today. We look upon them as modern comics rather than vintage, but it’s worth remembering that they started 27 and 24 years ago respectively! Anyway, a run of Spawn from #1-6 and of Witchblade from #1/2-19 newly added to our boxes.
As you may realise, the purpose of our Clearance Corner lots is to clear space in our shop by discontinuing titles we’re no longer carrying to make way for new and incoming stuff. As such, they will only be offered for a short time. This Clearance Corner lot, listed on 11th December 2018, has not been snapped up and is nearing the end of its time with us. If not purchased by the weekend, we will have to dispose of it. Here are the details from our original listing: ‘A charming bargain lot in Clearance Corner this week. Classics Illustrated Junior, the companion to the famous Classics Illustrated series, commenced in 1953 and ran for 77 issues, featuring many famous (and some not so famous) fairy tales with brightly painted cover illustrations. Included in this lot of 36 different issues are Sleeping Beauty, Jack & the Beanstalk, Puss In Boots, Rumplestiltskin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Rapunzel, Snow White & Rose Red and many more. The UK version of this was called Pixi Tales and there is one issue of that included in this lot of otherwise US versions, making 37 in total, all in a mix of FA to FN grades. We have to clear something to make room for our Atlas Explosion, so these, with regret, have to go. Here’s your chance for a real bargain — just £25 the lot (UK postage if required would be an extra £7).’ SORRY, THIS LOT HAS 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 section: *Magazines/Books About Vintage US Comics
As of the time of writing, this category is bang up to date, with every item listed available.
*TV/Film Tie-Ins: Yus, m’lady! Ten books have been added to this category, all linked to favourite series by Gerry Anderson: Captain Scarlet and the Angels, Thunderbirds and Lady Penelope, and Stingray. Captain Scarlet encounters The Mysterons and The Silent Saboteur, while the Angels do battle with The Creeping Enemy. Stingray is represented by Stingray itself and by Stingray And The Monster, while in the Thunderbird universe Lady Penelope deals with the Albanian Affair and the Tracy family appear in Thunderbirds, Calling Thunderbirds, Ring Of Fire and Thunderbirds Are Go. All ten books are 1st UK PB and guaranteed to let you wallow in nostalgia as you enjoy the adventures.
We’ve been busy moving around some of our stock categories within the shop to better ultilise space to suit changes in stock levels. Changes are as follows:
Ground Floor: Vintage Magazine-Sized Comics have moved and expanded, as have Vintage UK/Australian Reprints of US Material.
Basement: Magazines & Books About Vintage US Comics have moved downstairs to join their UK counterpart in a new basement section. We’ve also relocated Marvel UK, Power Comics & Younger Readers’ Comics.
If you’re visiting and can’t find the category you’re looking for, just ask!
*DC: Following his critically-acclaimed ‘Fourth World’ series of intersecting titles at DC, Jack Kirby branched out into three stand-alone series. One such was Kamandi, a.k.a. ‘The Last Boy On Earth’, doubtless influenced by the then-ongoing Planet of the Apes phenomenon. Kamandi showed a post-apocalyptic future in which all humanity apart from our titular hero had degraded to virtual beasts, oppressed by all manner of super-evolved animals. Later attempts by other, lesser talents have been made to link this in with the greater DC Universe, but most folk prefer to think of the original 59-issue run from 1972 to 1978 as a self-contained odyssey. We have issue #1 of this cult series, a cents copy with no pence price or overstamp; only the very lightest, barely perceptible corner wear on this beautiful copy which we have graded VF+ at £50. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*DC: The ever-popular exploits of the Caped Crusaders are extensively refreshed this update, with 25 new issues to our list from #129 (pictured, VG £100), through to #309, with a scattering of Silver Age Scenarios, but concentrating mostly on the Bronze Age Era of the 1970s, when the ‘Darknight Detective’ was in the ascendant over the family-friendly Dynamic Duo of days agone. During the 1970s, distribution of DC in the UK got a bit dodgy – not as bad as Marvel, admittedly but still irregular – so many of these issues are not common. Battles with the classic villains – Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, Blockbuster – abound!
*Marvel: Among the most sought-after comics of the 1970s, Hulk #180 featured the first appearance 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. Having said that, it wasn’t a lengthy first appearance – in the final panel of #180, Wolverine popped up to make dire threats to both Jade-Jaws and guest-monster the winsome Wendigo – but it’s still the first on-panel appearance of the decade’s mega-hot star. Never distributed in the UK, this gap in your Hulk history can be filled with an attractive FN+ copy, tight & bright with minimal spine and corner wear, flexible off-white interiors, and, most crucially, the Marvel Value stamp firmly in place! FN+ cents (no pence variants on this puppy) at £300. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: Although often touted on his own front cover as ‘Marvel’s First Black Super-Hero’, Luke Cage, later Power Man, was the second such, after the Black Panther. But whereas T’Challa was a sophisticated, urbane monarch of a highly technological society, Luke Cage was All-American, and All-Cliché. Inner city ghetto? Check. Swear words amended to pass the Mother-Freakin’ Comics Code? Check. Unjust jail time? Check. Fat racist corrupt prison guard with a vendetta? Check. Said guard-with-a-grudge sabotaging an experiment so that it unexpectedly gives Luke super-powers? Oops. Liberated from prison, our hero goes ‘underground’, by setting himself up as a highly visible ‘Hero For Hire’, decked out in an attention-getting outfit of leather pants, bracelets, tiara, chain belt and fetching yellow chiffon blouse. (Look, it was the 1970s… ) After a lengthy career solo and in tandem with Iron Fist, Luke languished in limbo for a few years, before being revived in Netflix’s Jessica Jones TV series, then spinning off into his own eponymous show and a co-starring role in the Defenders series. Now riding higher than ever in the public eye, his first appearance in this issue less common than many of its contemporaries, as we suspect Marvel’s experimental #1’s didn’t print high numbers – is in very high demand. This copy is a CGC blue label, denoting no restoration, graded by them as 6.5, an equivalent to FN+, on sale at £200. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: By the time of Spider-Man’s 50th issue, ‘new’ artist John Romita had made the series his own, and this special issue was marked with the debut of a new villain, the Kingpin – so long associated with Daredevil, in the post-Miller years, that many people overlook the fact that he originally belonged to Spider-Man’s Rogues’ Gallery! The cover to #50, with Peter’s temporarily abandoning his Spider-Man identity, has become etched in the minds of a generation, endlessly imitated and ‘homaged’, in comics and other media. Our newest copy of ASM #50 is VG+, a pence copy with strong spine, but very light corner wear. Firmly attached at cover and centrefold, largely unimpaired cover scene, with excellent cover colour and gloss, and only a tiny chip out of the top cover edge. Interiors clean, off-white, flexible, with considerable eye appeal. VG+ p £200. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: A perennial favourite of our clients is the ‘Big Panty Monster’ subgenre, perfected in the late 1950s by the company that would become Marvel. Before Thor, Dr. Strange, Iron Man or Ant-Man, titles like Journey Into Mystery, Strange Tales, Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish were replete with gigantic invading creatures from other worlds or other realms, (but always decently attired in sturdy enormous knickers, courtesy of the Comics Code Authority) who tried to take over the Earth on a weekly basis, but were inevitably thwarted by skinny nerdy guys with pocket-protectors. We have a fresh selection of would-be tyrants for your delectation, including Zog, Gomdulla, the Hulk (not that one), Dragoom, Taboo, Gargantus and many more, illustrated by Jack Kirby, and backed up with twist-ending Lee & Ditko shockers plus sundry stories from Heck, Sinnott, and other Bullpen stalwarts. Depicted here are Journey Into Mystery #56 (FN- £78), Journey Into Mystery #61 (VG, colour touch at spine £57), and Strange Tales Annual #1 (GD glued spine £49), but there’s hordes more looming behemoths waiting to menace you (in a variety of appealing grades) in our online catalogue!
*Marvel: The Claremont & Cockrum New X-Men was already a critical hit when #101 turned up, and in a dramatic turn of events, Jean Grey, former weak sister of the team, was escalated into a powerhouse when a cosmic ray storm seemed to transform her into the entity known as Phoenix – and a major, ultimately tragic, story arc for the X-Men began. The legend was somewhat tarnished in later years by Marvel’s back & forth position on whether Jean actually was the Phoenix, or whether the Phoenix force just manifested itself in her form (with a swingin’ new costume), but nevertheless, this remains a key and highly sought after issue, whose appeal has been enhanced by the announcement of the forthcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix movie. This copy is VG-, light to moderate spine & corner creasing, pence copy, for £100.
*Marvel: In the year 3007, the countries of the world are brought together in the United Lands of Earth, spreading the Terran empire throughout the known galaxy – when interplanetary harmony is disrupted by the arrival of the voracious Badoon, who overcome Earth and her dominions, leaving only a few scattered freedom fighters to battle on – the Guardians of the Galaxy! Such was the premise of the original story created by Arnold Drake (writer of the Doom Patrol, another popular band of outcasts) and Gene Colan in issue #18 of Marvel Super-Heroes, January 1969. A powerful and moving story, it lay dormant for some years, until revived by Steve Gerber in the Seventies, whereupon the Guardians became a regular, if infrequent, part of the Marvel Universe, before the movie versions (featuring, it must be said, an entirely different cast) catapulted the title back into public consciousness. This copy is an attractive VG/FN, cents copy, with only minimal edge & corner wear, but unbroken cover colour and gloss despite a soft vertical crease paralleling the spine; excellent interior page quality. Harder to find in any condition, and sure to become scarcer yet as Avengers: Endgame and Guardians of the Galaxy III (Oh come on, you didn’t really think they all died at the end of the movie?) zoom toward your local multiplex! Priced at £85.
*Marvel: A fabulous fifty issues added to our stock of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes between #10 and #92, including highlights such as (deep breath): the debut of the sinister Immortus (#10); the Swordsman premiere in #19; the heroic Black Knight’s debut in #48; the nefarious Grim Reaper enters in #52; the second X-Men/Avengers battle in #53; the debut of Yellowjacket in #59, and his subsequent wedding to the wonderful Wasp in #60; the Invaders ‘prototype’ in #71; #72 sees the first appearance of the villainous cartel Zodiac; #83 sees the first appearance of the Valkyrie and the Lady Liberators and #87 gives us the awesome origin of the Black Panther! Depicted are #10 (VG+ p £45); #11 App. FN p £49 – one non-story page out and #83 VG+ p £45. Almost all of this new acquisition is characterised by high grades, averaging FN+ or better, and with many, many VF’s in the mix.
*Marvel: In the 1970s, everybody was Kung Fu Fighting – trust us, we were there – and one ingenious response to the martial arts movie craze launched by Bruce Lee and his chums, was Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin in the previously-reprint title, Special Marvel Edition. Given more depth than the average chop-sockey character by being created as the hitherto unsuspected son of classic fictional nemesis Doctor Fu Manchu, Shang-Chi, the half-American scion of one of history’s greatest villains, sought to combat his father’s ongoing evil and attain peace and spiritual enlightenment… while kicking in heads! After two tryouts, the suddenly selling Special Marvel Edition was renamed Master of Kung Fu and ran for more than a hundred issues, its most famous period being under the creative hands of Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy. Around twenty issues of Master of Kung Fu are added to our listings this week, from Special Marvel Edition #16 – Shang-Chi’s second appearance – to #50, a period generally acknowledged to be the series’ peak.
*Marvel: Following the success of 1970’s Conan the Barbarian title, Marvel hoped to expand the fantasy genre in their line-up, and their next target was Kull the Conqueror, another adaptation, like Conan, from the fantasy works of author Robert E. Howard. Although he didn’t achieve the popularity of Conan, lasting 29 issues in his first series, he remained an ongoing part of the Conan continuity, and has undergone sporadic revivals. We have issue #1 (1971) to #9, then #11 (when the title was renamed Kull the Destroyer) to #14, beautifully illustrated by, at various times, the sensational Severin Siblings, John and Marie, and Mike Ploog, among others. Issue #1 (Kull’s second appearance – the Marvel Comics version debuted in Creatures on the Loose #10 – and his origin) is FN+ £20; prices on all other issues in our online catalogue. SORRY, KULL #1 NOW SOLD
*Miscellaneous 1940-1959: One of Atlas’ first ventures into the crime field was Crime Exposed, which launched as a one-shot in 1948 before returning as an ongoing series in 1950. Although Crime Exposed’s run was comparatively short (a mere 14 issues in the second series), it did have several artists of distinction, including Maneely, Sale, Robinson and Krigstein, and not one, but two, of its issues (#10 and #13) were cited in the notorious pro-censorship book ‘Parade of Pleasure’, for excessive violence. Ten of the fourteen second-series issues are now in stock, from #2 to the final #14; issue #9 (FN+ £41) is depicted.
*Horror 1940-1959: Resting our extensive Atlas horror updates for a week – still many more to come, folks! – we turn our attention to one of the 1950s more notorious publishers, Harvey Comics. Although best known today for their barrage of juvenile titles starring Richie Rich and his little chums, Harvey were at one point prominent players in the horror field, with their mystery titles being acknowledged as gorier than Atlas’ and approaching the artistic quality of EC’s. Black Cat Mystery took over the numbering from a defunct super-heroine series, and artist Lee Elias proved as adept at delineating corpses and vengeful ghouls as he was at the Hollywood-based heroics of Linda Turner. Elias was joined on the series by Powell, Nostrand and Fujitani, and the covers are among some of the most iconic of the genre. We have a selection of Black Cat Mystery from #37 to #48 (#48 depicted VG+ £72 with free incomplete #40). Several of them are complete but low-grade copies at very affordable prices.
*War: Launched in 1952, Atlas’ Battlefield’s short run of 11 issues made quite an impact on the readership, with unusual levels of violence and casual racism even by the propaganda-frenzied standards of the time; Pakula, Heath, Maneely, Everett and Colan all contributed, with several memorable and action-packed covers by Heath. A casualty of the advent of the Comics Code Authority, Battlefield was one of many titles which the publishers decided to cancel rather than attempt to rein it in to meet Code standards. We have the complete 11-issue run d (albeit the #6 is incomplete and enclosed as a free bonus with #5). Our illustration is issue #5 FN+ £56, with the rest in a variety of affordable grades – see our catalogue listing for details.
*Western: 1956’s Frontier Western had a smattering of series characters who appeared intermittently – the Pecos Kid and Ringo Kid, for example – but was primarily noteworthy for its outstanding line-up of artistic contributors, including Matt Baker, Reed Crandall, Gene Colan, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Gray Morrow, John Romita, Doug Wildey – it’s a whole passel of talent penned in just ten issues! Striking covers by Heath, Maneely and Severin also characterise this short-run but high-quality anthology. Issue #6 (FN+ £42) is illustrated, but the complete series of ten issues is currently available.
*Magazines/Books About Vintage US Comics: Two different historical tomes for your consideration this week. Comics artist Greg Sadowksi produced ‘B. Krigstein’ in 2002 for Fantagraphics Books, a tribute to, and appreciation of, one of Sadowkski’s own artistic heroes, the iconic Artist Bernie Krigstein, illustrator of ‘Master Race’ for EC as well as many other acclaimed stories. This first volume runs from 1919 to 1955, a handsome and lavishly-illustrated hardcover, VF £25. In 2010, the UK’s ILEX publishers issued ‘Comic Art Propaganda’ by Fredrik Stromburg, a compendium of the way the comics art has been used to inform, and deform, the minds of people over the decades. This full-colour hardcover with dustjacket is VF £20.
*Annuals: Dalek-Mania, whatever you young people may think, isn’t a new phenomenon – in the 1960s the Daleks were almost as big as the Beatles, and such was their popularity that the hard-shelled exterminators from Skaro featured in a shedload of merchandise, including Annuals in which their nemesis, Dr. Who, was nowhere to be found! Beginning with 1964’s Dalek Book, and working through two sequel volumes, the history of the Dalek race was revealed in comic strips, text stories and features, building an entire ancillary mythos including new opponents, primarily Space Security Agent Sara Kingdom, a super-strong super-spy from space! We have all three of the Dalek trilogy in stock: 1964’s Dalek Book is GD £30 – there is a flaw in the laminate producing a ‘wrinkled’ effect, but structurally the book would otherwise be FN; 1965’s Dalek World is also GD, with a piece of the upper spine missing, but otherwise sound. On sale at £30. And finally, 1966’s Dalek Outer Space Book, conspicuously the hardest to find – significantly fewer copies printed than the first two, meaning fewer have survived to the present day – is FN £150. SORRY, THESE HAVE NOW SOLD