*DC: In the wake of the successful Silver Age revivals of Flash and Green Lantern, DC decided to try one of their most popular Golden Age characters, Hawkman, recast in a ‘Space-Age’ mode. This version was Katar Hol, police officer sent from Thanagar to study Earth law-enforcement customs, and his helpmate Hawkgirl was no silly debutante as in the original, but both his colleague in policing and his wife. A husband-and-wife superhero team was virtually unheard-of at that time, and Gardner Fox’s scripting presented the Hawks as a true partnership of equals, with derring-do all over Earth and on other worlds. After two successful runs in Brave & Bold, and a short series in Mystery In Space, Hawkman was awarded his own series, superbly illustrated by Murphy Anderson, and we have the first issue of that ongoing back in stock. This is a cents copy, with no UK price marking, sound and attractive, with good colour, decent interiors and an unmarred cover image, but the cover is detached from the bottom staple, and there is a small lower spine split. GD/VG at £60. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*DC: The Phantom Stranger was a short-lived 1950s concept re-introduced by Bob Kanigher in Showcase #80, and promptly spun off into his own series in the wake of DC’s successful revamp of their long-running thriller titles, House of Secrets and House of Mystery. An enigmatic wanderer with unspecified supernatural abilities, he fought otherworldly incursions into the terrestrial realm. His primary writer was Len Wein, and Jim Aparo produced daring and imaginative artwork, which, combined with stunning Neal Adams covers on the early issues, gave the series the distinct impression of being set on the mystical borders of the DC Universe, a far cry from the sanitised world of the Justice League. We have a selection of issues from #10 to #24 newly in stock, and if you haven’t tried the Stranger yet, we can recommend you pick up this under-estimated series – before someone goes and makes a TV show of it, and the prices skyrocket!
*DC: The crusading aquanauts, the Sea Devils, created by Bob Kanigher and Russ Heath, were one of DC’s more ‘out there’ properties – clearly inspired by the TV show Sea Hunt, then still in syndication, the exploits of four diverse divers – a brain, a brawn, a babe, and a brat – seems like an unlikely hit, but the series embraced the phantasmagorical, with hidden undersea realms, fantastic creatures and mythical figures stalking a surprisingly busy and congested ocean. We have new copies of issues between #8 and #29 of the first series, all previously unrepresented in our inventory, and all in mid to high grades, the lowest being a VG+ and the highest a sparkling VF+. Dive! Dive! Dive!
*Marvel: Following his debut in Fantastic Four, Norrin Radd, Herald of Galactus, gained popularity as a recurring guest-star, and his status was confirmed when Marvel launched the Silver Surfer’s own series in 1968. The first seven issues of his ongoing were double-sized Giants, with John Buscema’s illustrations on the Surfer, a body of work generally acknowledged to be among his finest, and, in the back, all-new Tales of the Watcher, by various artists. (The first issue, in fact, gave the never-before revealed reasons for the Watcher’s oath of non-interference.) The first run of the Surfer’s solo series has achieved cult status, with the first seven double-sized issues in particular being keenly sought out. We are delighted to have almost the complete series (1-17 of 18) back in stock. The covers of the first four (with duplicates of #1 and #3 available) are shown here: #1 VG £135, #1 GD £115 (Spine split from lower staple down), 2 VF+ p £100 (First Badoon), 3 FN/VF p £180 (1st Mephisto), 3 VG- p £75 (small lower spine split; still first Mephisto) and 4 (FN+ p £275 (Thor/Silver Surfer crossover; extremely low distribution, rare issue).
*Marvel: While early issues of the Amazing Spider-Man are always popular, the debuts of his major villains are the hot-button items, and this is one of the hottest. Issue #3 of Spider-Man’s series saw the first appearance of Doctor Otto Octavius, a.k.a. Doctor Octopus, the villain who, perhaps jointly with the Green Goblin, is regarded as our hero’s definitive nemesis. Doc Ock (as he’s familiarly known) has been the bête noire of Spidey for decades, but this is where the vendetta began. This copy of #3 is GD-. Sound, but a little tired, moderate spine wear and a small nondescript cover scribble beneath Doc Ock’s lower left tentacle which, if you weren’t paying attention, could be taken for part of the cover background. There are similar light pen markings on the back cover and on the lower splash page, but the story itself is unmarred. There is also a small (approx 1.5″) tear on the upper back cover edge. Nevertheless, nice unspoilt cover image, and decent page quality. GD- p £400. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: One of our favourite Marvel anti-heroes here at 30th Century is the Sub-Mariner, aka Prince Namor the First, Monarch of Atlantis, whose heroism is outstripped only by his arrogance and his eye for the laydees! Following the breakage of the distribution embargo in ’68, Namor, who had been rooming with the Hulk in Tales to Astonish, got his own solo series for the first time since 1955, and the grandeur and pageantry of his undersea adventures was aptly depicted by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, who also threw in a few hitherto unrevealed titbits about Namor’s ancestry. This copy of Sub-Mariner #1 is GD/VG, cents with no UK stamp or overprint, sound with off-white flexible interior pages, some browning at spine and cover edges. On sale at £50. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Horror/Mystery 1960-1980s: By its tenth issue, Wolfman and Colan’s highly-acclaimed run on Tomb of Dracula was in full swing, racking up plaudits from critics and fans alike, when suddenly there came a character who was to outstrip even the success of his comic-book ‘parent’. Blade the Vampire Slayer debuted in issue #10, and, numerous comic-book appearances and a highly successful movie trilogy (Marvel’s first such, in fact) behind him, remains one of the more enduring breakthrough characters of the 1970s. This is a Pence copy, in superior FN/VF condition, excellent cover colour and gloss, firm staples at spine and centrefold, only very faint wear at lower cover edge precluding higher grade. FN/VF p £250. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: For a copyright-saving last-minute bodge-job (a TV company had announced an intention to create a Spider-Woman TV series), Jessica Drew, the Spider-Woman, had a surprisingly long and significant impact on the Marvel Universe – heck, despite having died, been erased from having existed (not quite the same thing in the MU) and having been replaced by two other title-holders, she’s still kicking! The early days of her series were characterised by an eerie atmosphere, equal parts horror and fairytale, with offbeat villains like the Needle, Gypsy Moth and the Brothers Grimm, and unusual guest-appearances by characters like the Shroud and Werewolf By Night; the latter part of her run, from #34 to #46, featured stunning art by Steve Leialoha, an ongoing ‘are you my mother?’ subplot with the Viper (formerly Madame Hydra) and many cross-overs with the X-Men universe, including the debut of Banshee’s daughter Siryn in #37. We have completely restocked Spider-Woman from issue#5 through to the final issue of her first series, #50, in attractive high grades, averaging FN/VF.
*Miscellaneous 1940-1959: Our Atlas Explosion mega event turns to crime this week. The crime genre mushroomed in the mid-to-late 1940s, with gats, gunsels and dangerous dames abounding from every publisher, inspired largely by the success of Gleason’s Crime Does Not Pay, the series most famously condemned for its excessive violence. Ever vigilant for a new trend, Timely/Atlas was an early adopter, with All-True Crime taking over the numbering of the sadly defunct Sub-Mariner series in 1948. For 24 issues, until 1952, All-True Crime hypocritically lectured the youth of America on the delinquent practices that they should avoid – while showing them, often in great detail, how to pull of the heists and con tricks! We have 12 issues between #31 (pictured GD £12) to the final issue #52, newly arrived; grades ranging from FA to VG.
*Horror 1940-1959: We switch our attention to the Atlas post code era this week. Following the introduction of the censorship board, the Comics Code Authority, all established horror/mystery titles had to take a sharp turn away from gore or cease publication, and three series which sprang up to fill the gaps, all launched in 1956, were the companion titles Worlds of Fantasy, Worlds of Mystery and Worlds of Suspense, all of which featured ingenious twist-ending tales, evocative rather than explicit, to circumvent the Code, teamed with some dazzling artwork. World of Fantasy lasted 19 issues, while Mystery and Suspense clocked up merely 7 and 8 each respectively, but in those short runs they featured a plethora of A-list artists – Williamson, Orlando, Colan, Torres, Severin, Davis, Pakula, Maneely, Everett, Powell and Kirby, to name a few – and some truly startling and imaginative covers. Illustrated here are Worlds of Fantasy #2 GD/VG £53, #4 VG £61, #11 VG+ £61, #13 VG £54 and #15 VG+ £61, as well as Worlds of Mystery #3 VG £50 and Worlds of Suspense #6 VG/FN £50. As with most of our recent Atlas torrent, conditions vary, so while these higher-grade items, lovely though they are, may not tickle your budget, we have a number of cheaper options available in our catalogue!
*Western: The long-running series Gunsmoke Western ran from 1955 to 1963, commencing with #32, taking over the numbering from the defunct Tales of the Black Rider series. It is of course entirely coincidental that a popular and long-running TV show, Gunsmoke, debuted earlier in the same year, 1955, as this sound-alike title, ahem ahem. Gunsmoke Western relied on the established star power of Kid Colt, paired at first with Billy Buckskin, who swiftly made way for Wyatt Earp as Colt’s long-term stablemate, with occasional later visits from Two-Gun Kid Mk I. In addition to Maneely and Severin as the mainstays, other prominent artists were ‘Mad’ alumnus Jack Davis, and Jack Kirby towards the end of the run. We have 28 of the 46 issues, ranging from the premier issue, #32, through to 1960’s #61, in a wide variety of grades. Illustrated are issues #46 (VF £56) and #47 (VF £60). The remainder can be rounded up in our online catalogue.
*Annuals: A quartet of new additions to the Boys’ Adventure sub-section of our Annuals stock: Marvel Annuals from 1974 and 1977, with the adventures of Spider-Man, iron Man, the Hulk and company; Vulcan Annual from 1977, a softcover compilation of classic adventure strips including Trigan Empire, the Spider, Robot Archie and more and star of the update, the rare 1976 Valiant Book of Mystery and Magic, a one-off which, for all intents and purposes, was an annual of the highly-popular ‘Spellbinder’ strip (which actually appeared in Lion, not Valiant, harrumph) with some guest-features, behind a rather splendid new cover by Spellbinder’s co-creator, Geoff Campion. This attractive and scarce item is FN/VF at £35 (pictured).
*Collected Editions: Two more much-anticipated entries in Rebellion Publishing’s Treasury of British Comics Series. Black Max, originally seen in Thunder weekly, was a German pilot of World War II, Maximillien Von Klorr, who is not only the scourge of the Tommies in his own right, but also commands a squadron of deadly, giant bats who fight at his side! Well, obviously. Frank Pepper and Ken Mennell created the strip, with Pepper scripting. Eric Bradbury and Alfonso Font are the artists in this volume, which also encompasses the strip’s leap-over to Lion after Thunder’s cancellation. From the 1980s we welcome volume 1 of The Thirteenth Floor, revolving around a housing estate called Maxwell Towers, and the AI who runs it, a computer named Max, who’s very good to his tenants… unless they start behaving badly, in which case Max’s punishments for delinquent behaviour beat the heck out of ASBOs! This slender concept proved hugely popular with the readers of Scream! and Eagle Mk. II and John Wagner, Alan Grant and Jose Ortiz (with occasional guests) provide ironic twist-ending comeuppances a’plenty for various malfeasants. Both these compilations are brand new paperbacks: Black Max at £11, Thirteenth Floor at £15.
*Boys’ Adventure & War Comics: A quartet of Christmas issues from two of the most popular Fleetway/IPC weeklies – Lion (from 1969 and 1972) and Valiant (from 1964 and 1969). Often bought by folks who don’t purchase regular issues, the Christmas issues are always popular, so now’s a good chance to get a head start on the festive fun! SORRY, THESE HAVE NOW SOLD
*TV & Film Related Comics: Almost thirty new issues from these years, previously almost unrepresented in our stock. Primarily sought after by Doctor Who completists, as by this time the Time Lord’s comic-strip adventures had rejoined TV Comic after their sojourn in Countdown/TV Action, but the popular franchises Star Trek and Tarzan also had all-new adventures in every issue, as well as old reliables Tom & Jerry, Pink Panther, Basil Brush, Popeye, Mighty Moth and the TV Terrors!
*Humour Comics: The veteran DC Thomson humour weekly, Beano, is the focus of our Long Hot Summer event this week, with a spectacular array of oversized Specials dating from 1965 onwards. Following the success of 1963’s Dandy-Beano Summer Special, it was decided to give both titles their solo Specials, launching what became a British institution for generations. We open our Beano selection with 1965’s Summer Special, the second Beano solo, in a very attractive VG condition; minor spine and corner wear, but sound and clean pages with no creasing, stains, scribbles or discolouration. We then have a consecutive run from 1966 to 1977, in affordable grades ranging from FA to VG/FN, a shorter consecutive run from 1979 to 1982, and a final selection from the turn of the century, 1998 through to 2002, in higher grades averaging VF. Depicted is the star of this update, Beano Summer Special 1965, VG £65, but rest assured, there’s affordable Summer fun and frolics with Little Plum, the Three Bears, Billy Whizz and all the gang in our online catalogue listings!
*Humour Comics: Home of Mickey the Monkey, Foxy, Beryl the Peril, Figaro and the Whizzers From Oz, among myriad others, the over-sized tabloid Topper delighted generations from its inception in 1953 to its closure in 1990. Here we have a new selection of mostly previously-unlisted issues from 1968, 1969 and 1971, almost forty numbers in all, in very affordable mid-grades.
*Girls’ Comics: The distaff version of Eagle, Girl echoed the themes of adventure and patriotism, albeit in a slightly fluffier way: Wendy and Jinx led the inevitable boarding school stories, while Jacky visited various stars for gushing interviews. Most issues included a royal portrait of some sort, or failing that, fluffy kittens. We’ve just added many issues from Volume 2 and Volume 3 to our stock, which previously consisted of just two issues from that period. Volume 2 extended to more than 60 issues to bring the volume numbering into line with years, so it includes two Christmas issues (1952 and 1953). There are also two Coronation issues (pictured is the second one).
*Undergrounds: Something uniquely quirky this update. In 1973, Bruce Hershenson published Steve Ditko’s Avenging World, an underground comic which followed on from Ditko’s earlier Mr. A (himself an extreme version of the Question, whom Ditko created for Charlton Comics). While Mr. A had a titular hero and a narrative, while still presenting extreme and uncompromising viewpoints, Avenging World is Ditko’s excoriation of all that was wrong in the world in 1973 – and, given that the work has been subsequently reprinted many times, the challenges, whether one agrees with Ditko’s assessment of them or not, are still faced by the world today.
In 1984, Ditko, in conjunction with Robin Snyder, released a limited number of the first printings of Avenging World with Ditko’s signature. This signed copy is one of a handful such gifted to the late Martin Skidmore, via Snyder, in acknowledgment of the contributors to a Ditko feature in Martin Skidmore’s fanzine Fantasy Advertiser. This specific copy belonged to the artist/colourist Steve Whitaker, who passed away in 2008, and was recently sent to us by a member of his family. While, I emphasise, we have no physical evidence of provenance, Robin Snyder, when contacted, was gracious enough to confirm that the Ditko signature is genuine.
In our twenty-five years of trading, we have not previously encountered another signed Steve Ditko comic – in fact, he was notorious for refusing to sign comics he had worked on, when requested – so we believe this to be a rare item indeed. The condition of the comic itself is VG+ (Steve Whitaker, bless him, was not meticulous with his collection, which he used as working reference) and, while sound, shows wear at the edges, particularly at the top and bottom spine. Interior pages are clean and unmarred. We are offering this virtually unique item at £300. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Children’s Books: A Bunter-sized number of HC books about the Fat Owl of the Remove (and his sister) have just been added to our section, including several first editions (Billy Bunter’s Bodyguard, Big Chief Bunter and Bunter The Stowaway). Later editions, published in the 1950s and 1960s feature Billy Bunter’s Benefit, Billy Bunter’s First Case, Bunter Comes For Christmas, Lord Billy Bunter and Billy Bunter’s Double. On the distaff side we’ve added Bessie Bunter Of Cliff House School, in first edition HC. All books have dust jackets, with all but one (a former library book) protected by removable archival film.
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:
*Magazines/Books About Vintage US Comics
and in our American/British section:
*Tarzan/E R Burroughs
and in our British section:
*Vintage UK/Australian Reprints of US Material
and in our Books Section:
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze
As of the time of writing, these categories are bang up to date, with every item listed available.
*DC: Having quite startlingly revitalised the moribund Jimmy Olsen title with #133, writer/artist Jack Kirby took it up a notch by introducing Darkseid, the fiendish ruler of the hell-world Apokolips, in the very next issue. It was only a fleeting cameo – Darkseid’s image flashes up on a monitor screen while Facetiming with Morgan Edge – but it’s nevertheless the first appearance of the villainous fulcrum of the entire Fourth World Saga, and as such is commanding insane prices right now. Our new copy of Jimmy #134 has minor spine creasing, multiple light pressure marks which do not impair the Neal Adams cover image, and a small diagonal crease in the lower right cover corner. Tight staples, and interior pages which, while clean and flexible, are just a tiny bit beige. Nevertheless, clean and sound and a relatively affordable copy of a zooming-up key debut. VG/FN p £85. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*DC: One of DC’s longest-running and best-remembered series, Adventure Comics is now replenished with 20+ issues from #266 through to #495. At various times this starred not only the Boy of Steel, but also Aquaman, Green Arrow, Tales of the Bizarro World, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Supergirl, Zatanna and more. Highlights of the run include an Aquagirl prototype in #266, #267 with the second-ever appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes as Superboy’s guests, #300 with the first of the Legion’s own ongoing series, and #403, a Giant issue reprinting the entire ‘Death of Lightning Lad’ saga, one of DC’s earliest ‘story arcs’, though they hadn’t coined the term then. What, you’re detecting a Legion bias here? Don’t look so surprised, bearing in mind the name of our business…
*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 story introducing 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 FN- p copy of a major character’s debut has extremely faint breaks in the cover edge & spine colour, but the cover scene is entirely unimpeded, with the vivid red background entirely unfaded. Juggernaut’s re-entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with ‘Deadpool 2’ has once again piqued interest in this character. X-Men #12 FN- p £265. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: Following the relaxation of distribution regulations in 1968, Marvel expanded by cancelling its double-featured books Strange Tales, Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense, giving each hero space to breathe in his own comic. 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 an attractive VG, pence copy, sound at staples, high gloss, vibrant colour and only two diagonal upper cover creases preventing a higher grade. On sale at £65. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: The seventeenth issue of Marvel’s First Family saw our heroes waving goodbye to Ant-Man before being embroiled in another revenge scheme of their arch-enemy Victor Von Doom, involving Alicia’s walking in the air, individually-tailored sinister death-traps and… goofy inflatable balloons? Fast-paced action and adventure all the way in this Lee/Kirby classic, with each of the team getting a chance to show off their individual prowess. This is a VG p copy, very minor wear and slight diagonal creases at the lower right cover corner, available for £75. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: Everyone’s favourite Son of Odin (though we’re well aware Loki has his devoted fans too…), the Mighty Thor, has been a mainstay of Marvel since his inception, and we have more than 50 new issues added to our back catalogue of Asgardian Adventures, from #126 to #213 of the God of Thunder’s Four-colour sagas!
*Miscellaneous 1940-1959: Atlas, and its predecessor Timely, was well known for having an eye on popular trends, and being the first not only to bandwagon-jump but also unafraid to try every off-beat genre they could think of. This week, we pay tribute to that diligence with a quartet of miscellaneous – some of them very miscellaneous – oddball titles, three of whom began as Timely rather than Atlas series. 1953’s Bible Tales For Young Folk was an attempt at a ‘worthy’ comic to counter prevailing criticism of the medium, retelling Christian myths – sorry, fables – with often quite beautiful illustrations. During the 5-issue run, Jerry Robinson, Joe Maneely, Fred Kida, Syd Shores, Sid Greene and Bill Everett were all contributors to this advertisement-free anomaly. Girl Comics was a counterpart to Man Comics, tales of true-to-life adventure and daring with female central characters. It began in 1948 as a straight romance series, but from #5 to #12 tried to tap into the ‘Nancy Drew’ demographic, before falling back into the safe love route with #13 and a title change to Girl Confessions. 1949’s Little Lenny was one of a multitude of ‘mischievous kid’ strips, and… no, that’s all I got. Moving on, our final entry here is the 1949-launched Sport Stars, which changed its title to Sports Action from #2, originally real-life biographies of contemporary (then) and historical sporting figures and their achievements, which later branched out into sport-themed thriller fiction. Illustrated are Bible Tales for Young Folk #2 VG £27, and Sports Action #14 FN £49.
*Horror 1940-1959: Turning the spotlight for a week away from Atlas Horror/Mystery series, we’ve added in several low to mid-grade classic terror tomes from other publishers: ACG’s Adventures Into The Unknown and Forbidden Worlds, Harvey’s Chamber of Chills, Ace’s Web of Mystery, Gillmor’s Weird Mysteries and Ajax Farrell’s Fantastic Fears and Voodoo. Pictured are Adventures Into The Unknown #51, with it’s faux-3D cover (FA/GD £37), and Chamber of Chills #25, with a positively cuddly rampaging robot (GD+ £30). All of these are worn, but complete and very affordable for Pre-Code punters. Check ’em out in the catalogue!
*War: While many of the Atlas war titles focused on gore and violence – understandably, given the subject matter – there was often an undertone of sarcasm and black humour in series like Combat Casey and post-Code, when excesses of violence were prohibited, the editors creatively tried to parley this into a sub-genre which might be termed ‘funny war’ – stories set in the wartime milieu, but focusing on humour. An early experiment was Devil-Dog Dugan – primarily all-action, but with a comedic twist – while others were basically military sitcoms such as Sailor Sweeney and Sergeant Barney Baxter – the latter of whom was blatantly TV’s Sgt. Bilko with the serial numbers filed off! Our new war selection showcases the softer, chucklesome side of bloody combat, with Devil-Dog Dugan #1-3, Sailor Sweeney #14, Sergeant Barney Baxter #1-3, and Tales of the Marines #4, which is basically leftovers from what would have been Devil-Dog’s fourth issue. John Severin brought the humorous style he used to good effect in Cracked magazine to the covers and occasional interiors of these series. Illustrated here are Devil-Dog Dugan #1 VG £30, Sailor Sweeney #14 VG £33 and Sergeant Barney Baxter #3 VG £26. You know where to find details of the rest.
*Western: Kid Colt made his debut in the premier issue of his own magazine and holds the distinction of being the longest consecutively-published Western Hero, not only at Atlas/Marvel, but in all of comics, running from 1948 to 1979, though from the mid-Sixties his title was mostly reprints of his earlier stories. This selection, however, is from his prime, beginning with #15 and running selectively through to 1959’s #85, just before the dawn of the Marvel Universe. Blaine Colt, wrongly accused of murder, went on the run, doing good deeds to try and win back his good name and… well, that’s pretty much the entire concept right there, but it sustained him for decades in his own series, as well as several later crossovers where he was integrated into the Marvel Universe proper. Unlike his famous contemporaries, Rawhide Kid and Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt didn’t ever get cancelled and relaunched as a substantially different character with the same name, but remained ‘himself’ throughout his long career. Illustrated in the early days by the underestimated Pete Tumlinson, other contributors to this selection of issues include Severin, Maneely, Heath, Post, Berg, Ayers, and towards the latter part of the run, a new kid named Kirby who we think may have potential. Illustrated are #20 FN £61 and #84 FN £23, but prices and grades of all the others may be found in our online catalogue.
*Marvel UK: For this week’s Spider-Mania update, we jump back across the Atlantic for a UK update! In the 1980s, with circulation a bit shaky, Spider-Man Comics Weekly went through a surprising range of metamorphoses in style and content, but also started adding in a lot more Free Gift issues to lure readers back. Most of these freebies, of course, failed to survive the hands of the original readership, but we have acquired several ‘gifted’ issues between #438 and #635, plus Spider-Man and Zoids (aka Spider-Man Series II) #1. Highlights include #438 FN with Free Gift – Spider-Man Mask FN £15, #450 VF with Free Gift (Spider-Boomerang (?)) VF £20 and #554 FN with Free Gift (Magic Flyer) VF at £15. All of those trophies are depicted below, but for the remaining plethora of badges, stickers and transfers, check out our catalogue listings!
*Collected Editions: Following the success of last year’s Scream & Misty Halloween Special, the publishers have treated us to another all-new one-off starring IPC/Fleetway’s favourite horror-hosts of yesteryear, bringing us stories of the strange and supernatural from vintage and modern talents; contributors include John Stokes, Fraser Irving, Simon Bowland, Rich McAuliffe, Guy Adams, Simon Coleby, Lizzie Boyle, Jordi Badia Romero and more! This brand-new item is £5. And as a special bonus, we have the 2017 special back in stock, in both the regular version and the alternate cover, which reversed the title to ‘Misty & Scream’, putting Our Friend of the Mists back on top billing!
*Boys’ Adventure & War Picture Libraries: The various Pearson’s Picture Libraries of the 1950s are popular and fast-selling whenever we get them, keenly-sought despite their eclectic and baffling numbering system, and the Western Picture Library is no exception, each issue starring one of a rotating series of protagonists in a complete 64-page comics adventure. We have a small number of issues new in, beginning with #1 (Mustang Gray and the Texas Rangers, GD £25 pictured) and a smattering of other numbers to #24, variously featuring Jim Bridger Mountain Man, Jim Bowie, Buffalo Bill and that Mustang Gray man again!
*Humour Comics: 1967’s Giggle was an odd launch for Fleetway, primarily translated European reprints with only a smattering of new material, the slightly-taller size was an odd format, and the whole exercise seemed to be a test run – possibly a cost-cutting measure – to see if Euro-reprints (which Fleetway had been partially using for many years) could sustain their own weekly. If so, then the answer was ‘no’ – or possibly ‘Non’ – as after a couple of months it settled down to the more conventional size, and after 38 issues was absorbed into Buster, leaving Giggle as an odd cul-de-sac in the promenade of British comics history. By contrast, Chips (formerly Illustrated Chips) had launched in 1890 and achieved an impressive 2,997 weekly issues – you’d have thought they could have squeezed out another three, wouldn’t you? – before throwing in the towel. While the ‘Editor’s Important Message For You’ touted Chips’ replacement, TV Fun, this wasn’t a traditional merger, as none of the Chips features migrated to the new title, leaving ‘Weary Willie and Tired Tim’, ‘Dane, Dog Detective’, ‘Casey Court’, ‘Dickie Duffer’ and company homeless – an ignominious end to lengthy careers. Giggle #1 is GD/VG £22.50; Chips #2,997 is GD £7.50.
*Humour Comics: New stock for the two pillars of DC Thomson’s humour empire, Beano and Dandy from the 1970s. Beano from 1974 (the year in which Dennis the Menace finally ousted Biffo the Bear from the cover spot) and 1976, and Dandy from 1976. Biffo, Dennis, Korky, Minnie, Dan, Little Plum and all the gang await!
*Younger Readers’ Comics: Running 920 issues between 1936 and 1957, Mickey Mouse Weekly was part of the landscape of a generation of British children, who followed not only the adventures of Mickey, Donald, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Alice In Wonderland and many more Disney characters, but other humour and adventure strips like ‘Billy Brave’, ‘Davy Crockett’, junior Robinson Crusoe ‘Robin Alone’, and ‘Strongbow the Brave’. We have just over 100 issues in stock, from October 28th 1950 to December 25th 1954, including two Christmas issues and the 1953 issue in which the Disney cartoon gang, rather oddly, celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. (Don’t remember seeing them in the newsreel footage…) The Coronation issue (May 30th 1953, VG £10) is illustrated.
When the venerable story paper Wizard was laid to rest in 1962, publishers DC Thomson let the title lie fallow for several years before relaunching the title in 1970, with a new #1 and a higher comic-strip content. Among the newer features were ‘Soldiers of the Jet Age’, ‘Scrappy – A Boy All Alone’, ‘Trooper Bo-Peep, He’s After A Sheep’ (file under the heading: ‘You’d never get away with that these days’), ‘Cool Kragg the Team Maker’, ‘The Voice That Ran The Rangers’, ‘Out of the Ice He Came’, ‘Slave of the Ring (Boxing ring, in case you thought that sounded a bit girly), and a comic-strip biography of George Best, which we suspect even then would have had to be quite severely bowdlerised for junior consumption. This is a decent copy of the debut issue, graded VG, minor cover wrinkling but no creasing, clean interiors, on sale at £25. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Childrens’ Books: Somewhat confusingly we ‘ve just added five titles from Enid Blyton’s Five Finder-Outer series to our Childrens’ Books section, comprising of #1, #3, #6, # 7 and #13. Larry, Fatty, Daisy, Pip and Bets, aided and abetted by Buster the Scottie dog, pit themselves against various nefarious characters and ‘Clear-Orf’, the local constable, to solve a range of mysteries: to wit The Mysteries Of The Burnt Cottage, The Hidden House, The Missing Man, The Pantomime Cat and The Secret Room. We’ve also added Ring O’Bells Mystery, in which Roger, Diana, Snubby, Barney and Miranda (a monkey), aided and abetted by Loony the mad black spaniel, pit themselves against various nefarious characters to solve a mystery.
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:
*Magazines/Books About Vintage UK Comics
As of the time of writing, these categories are bang up to date, with every item listed available.
Over in Clearance Corner this week, an uncommon oddity. Approx 70 issues of the 78 issue run of the younger readers’ comic Hey Diddle Diddle, where the stories are based on nursery rhymes and feature the star power of Baby Bunting (!). From 1972/73, this selection features both the first and last issues. We’ve seen this described as ‘increasingly collectable’ and ‘hard to find’, but you can now find it and collect it in Putney! All 70 issues for an amazing £20 (UK postage if required – in two packages to keep postage costs down – would be an additional £8).
We’re relieved to announce that we have at last received new stock of the archival quality Mylite 2 Silver/Gold size bags/sleeves, which have been out of stock for over two months. These best-selling storage/protection options for your valuable Silver/Gold comics are now available from us again at £16.50 per pack of 50.
*DC: We conclude this round of our Batmania event with a modern classic: One of the seminal works, together with Watchmen and V For Vendetta, which redefined the public perception of comics in the 1980s, Frank Miller’s dystopian opus Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is back in stock, in NM 1st printings. This near-future story of a retired Batman, cynical and jaded, and the events which caused him to return to the fray has been constantly in print in myriad formats since its publication – but these are the very first editions, all four Prestige Format volumes. We are selling this as a complete four-issue set. All first printings, all NM, on sale at £190. Issue #1 illustrated here.
*DC: Shrinking super-heroes have always been popular in the medium and a particular favourite here is DC’s Atom (the Silver Age version helmed by Julie Schwartz and beautifully crafted by Gardner Fox and (mostly) Gil Kane and Sid Greene.) Ray Palmer was a scientist who used matter from a white dwarf star to shrink down to microscopic size (as you do) and all sorts of vividly imagined adventures ensued. Schwartz was famous for thinking up covers that the writer had to fit the story around and it’s clear that with the Atom, his imagination ran riot. In this (appropriately) small selection between #9 and #40 (by which time Hawkman had joined the title), we see the Atom clamped to a hand-grenade, inside a futuristic gun, flattened out by an iron and as an exhibit in a butterfly case, amongst many other fates. Issue #19 features a chapter of the famous ‘Zatanna’s Quest’ storyline.
*Marvel: Another overlap in our event features as we present the first appearance of another major member of Spidey’s Rogues’ Gallery. In the appropriately-numbered thirteenth issue, Peter Parker’s costumed alter ego faced one of his most baffling foes: Mysterio, whose inexplicable feats bordered more on the supernatural than the super-powered, and brought Spidey close to the edge of insanity. Steve Ditko’s artwork here transplanted a touch of his imagination from Doctor Strange to Spidey’s more urban environment, and from the visual evidence, Sturdy Steve was having great fun making both worlds collide! Mysterio is shortly to appear on the silver screen in the new movie, ‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal, and predictably, this announcement of a media cross-over has caused an upswing in interest in this issue. This debut of one of Spider-Man’s greatest villains is a beautiful VF- copy, the nicest early Ditko Spider-Man we’ve had through our hands in recent years. It has a printed Pence price. The white-background cover image has no smears, shadows or smudges, vivid colour, good cover gloss, and beautiful, flexible, cream-coloured interior pages. Tight edges and corners, firm staples at cover and centrefold, only the very faintest ‘ticks’ in the black of the cover nearest spine, but truly exceptional grade for its vintage. High resolution images are available on request. VF- pence £1,000.
*Marvel: The short-lived ‘showcase’ phase of Marvel Super-Heroes saw the debuts of several interesting ‘pilots’, most of which went nowhere, being a bit too experimental for the period. Among these unadopted concepts was the Guardians of the Galaxy, set in the future of an Earth under the scaly thumb of vicious Badoon invaders, and a rag-tag band of heroes from various planets who formed a resistance movement to liberate the solar system. Created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, it was stylish and fast-paced, but didn’t ‘take’, and languished for half a decade until fan-turned pro Steve Gerber revived the heroes as supporting characters in Defenders and elsewhere. Since then, they’ve had several successful series with various rosters, as well as a lucrative movie franchise enhanced most recently by their co-starring role in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. Character turnover means that these Guardians are not the same as the movie version (they’re not Groot!), but this is the debut of the team and the concept. With minimum corner wear and only slight spine ’rounding’, this is a superior upper-mid grade copy for collectors or investors. Buy it now before the next movie causes prices to spike again! MSH #18, in VG+, pence copy, at £75. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: After a long run as the co-star of Tales of Suspense, Iron Man was given his own title in 1968, when the ‘Berlin Wall’ of Marvel’s distribution was broken down, and they were allowed to expand their range of titles. New in this week, a VG+ copy of Iron Man’s first stunning solo issue, continuing from where his strip in Tales of Suspense left off, with Gene Colan’s hyperkinetic art driving the drama onward! A key item for collectors and investors alike, this is a pence copy, with mostly unblemished deep purple cover background, only minimal wear at edges, and a few light diagonal creases in the lower right corner, well away from the ‘manspreading’ central figure! Iron Man’s pivotal status in the Marvel Universe, both Comic and Cinematic, means that demand for this issue is only going to increase as the years go by. #1 VG+ p £180. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: A two-fisted helping of Gamma-infused goodness this week! The first issue of the Hulk’s own title, eccentrically numbered #102, as he assumed the numbering of Tales to Astonish, this was Brucie’s big break, his comeback in his own title after his early-60s 6-issue flop, and the start of the long-running series most associated with him. Mirthful Marie Severin illustrated not only a recap of Bruce Banner’s irradiated origin, but also a new story thread with the Hulk frolicking with some of Thor’s Asgardian chums. (Bonus points for the appearance of guest-villainess the Enchantress (obviously)). The same year, 1968, saw Jade-Jaws’ first Annual, a 50-page extravaganza by Gary Friedrich and that Severin gal again, in which our not-so-jolly green giant travelled to Attilan and fell out with Black Bolt, leader of the reclusive race of super-beings known as the Inhumans. Needless to say – spoiler alert – wannabe usurper Maximus is behind the hostilities, and assembled his own band of rebel Inhumans to further bedevil our hero, all behind an iconic Steranko cover. Our Hulk #102 is a gorgeous FN grade, pence copy, with only the very faintest creasing around the right and upper edges preventing a still higher grade, on sale at £90. Hulk Annual #1 FN+, pence, with again only very light corner and edge creasing not detracting from the impact of the gorgeous cover image is on sale at £50. SORRY, THESE HAVE NOW SOLD
*Marvel: Another sweep through the Marvel universe from the Silver & Bronze Ages, featuring in this update: Avengers (between #53 & #67 plus Annual #1), Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Nick Fury, Not Brand Ecch, Power Man & Iron Fist, Secret Wars, Spectacular Spider-Man, Tales Of Suspense (inc 1st whiplash in #97), Tales To Astonish (Ant-Man/Giant-Man issues), Wolverine, X-Force and X-Men (inc Ann #1).
*Miscellaneous 1940-1959: Of Atlas’ short-lived 1950s revival of their Golden Age Heroes, Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, was the longest survivor, not necessarily because of sales figures, but because the character had been optioned for a TV series, a potential rival to the hit ‘Sea Hunt’, so Namor’s revival was kept running for ten issues, longer than Cap’s or the Torch’s, to keep the character in the public eye. Ultimately the TV series was never made, but we readers can be grateful, as it meant more stories, beautifully illustrated by Namor’s creator, Bill Everett, than we would otherwise have had. Behind a cover by Joe Maneely, issue #39 brings us have three Sub-Mariner tales – the cover-promised ‘Commie Frogmen’, livened up by a shapely blonde lady as the story’s catalyst, an encounter with an evil hypnotist, and a flashback to Namor’s youth detailing his first meeting with his cousin Namora – in which our male chauvinist hero gets a lesson on who’s the weaker sex! All three Namor stories are superbly illustrated by Everett. This copy has nice interiors, flexible and very presentable, but the cover has several minor flaws. The cover is detached from the lower staple, and adherence to the upper staple is quite frail; there is moderate creasing and wear, and while the cover image is largely unmarked, there are two light long diagonal creases which slightly break the cover colour. In addition, there is a shallow crescent tear missing from the top cover edge. Nevertheless, a clean, respectable copy of one of the iconic heroes, by his original creator at the peak of his artistic prowess. Atlas super-hero issues (of which there aren’t many) are scarce anywhere in any grade, and extremely uncommon here in the UK. We have graded this copy as GD-, and it’s priced at £90. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD