*DC: Three stunning Silver Age issues of Detective Comics this update, each a VF+ cents copy with no pence price or overstamp: #332 pits the Dynamic Duo against the Crown Prince of Crime in “The Joker’s Last Laugh!”, #364 features the Riddler in ‘The Curious Case of the Crime-Less Clues!’, and #387 is a special 30th Anniversary issue featuring an all new thriller ‘The Cry of Night Is Sudden Death!’, plus a then-unprecedented reprint of the very first Batman story from 1939’s Detective Comics #27! As previously mentioned, these are all VF+ cents copies, tight, bright and lustrous; #332 is £150, #364 is £64, and #387 is £95.
*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 latest copy of Zatanna’s debut is an attractive VG, with light to moderate wear at spine and corners, but tight staples, unmarred cover scene, and flexible off-white interior pages. VG p £140.
*DC: For many years largely overlooked by collectors, the 1973 Shazam! series – DC’s reboot of the original Captain Marvel, who was put out of business by a protracted lawsuit from DC in the ’50s – is now riding high because of the smash-hit (and hugely fun) film starring Zachary Levi as Billy Batson’s supernaturally-powered alter ego. In 1973 C.C. Beck, co-creator of Fawcett Comics’ Captain Marvel, teamed up with contemporary writers to produce new stories of ‘The Big Red Cheese’. Beck was followed by other distinguished artists such as Kurt Schaffenberger and Bob Oksner, creating lighter, friendlier but imaginative adventures, from which, in large part, the sensibility of the film has been derived. This copy of Shazam! #1 is a lovely VF/NM cents copy, flat, tight & bright, virtually as new, on sale at £100.
*DC: A new selection in of the classic series of Justice League of America, ranging from #58 all the way through to the end of the series #261 plus annuals. Not every issue in that run, but every one of the dozens of issues new in was previously missing from our inventory. Giant issues, anniversary issues and Justice Society crossovers aplenty in this update to DC’s premier team title. As always, see our catalogue for details.
*DC: Originally serialised in the UK’s Warrior comic, DC took up the reins of V For Vendetta and published the full story (Warrior folded before the story was completed) in 1988/89. Subsequently filmed, Alan Moore’s dystopian politcal thriller is a story of facist state vs anarchism, portraying in metaphor the Thatcher government and Guy Fawkes as the antagonists. The imagery (by David Lloyd) of V’s Guy Fawkes mask has subsequently been made even more famous by the Occupy movement. Alan Moore’s harrowing storytelling at its best, combined with the moody art of Lloyd and atmospheric colouring by our old friend Steve Whitaker (among others). Most issues of this classic 10 issues series newly listed in NM grade.
*Marvel: Ghost Rider had been the title of a short-lived Western series of the 1960s, and in 1972, writer Gary Friedrich and artist Mike Ploog reinterpreted the cowboy trope with the nearest modern equivalent – a motorbike rider! In the wake of ‘Easy Rider’ and adding in lashings of the then-popular Satanic-possession movies, they came up with Johnny Blaze, stunt-rider turned emissary of Satan, having sacrificed his soul to save his loved ones. But this being a Code-Approved Marvel comic, Johnny’s battle of wills with his demonic master usually led to his actions coming down on the side of good, despite Old Nick’s best efforts. Ghost Rider went on to 80+ issues of his original series after a successful run in Marvel Spotlight, and despite two truly execrable Nicolas Cage-starring movies, remains a mainstay of the Marvel Universe today. This copy of his first appearance is a CGC Blue Label (unrestored), at 4.0, VG equivalent, on sale at £280.
*Marvel: We’re always happy to welcome new stock from the ‘proper’ Spider-Man artist, Steve Ditko – no disrespect intended to Jazzy Johnny Romita – and this week we have one of the less common issues in #17, the second-ever appearance of perhaps Spidey’s greatest enemy, the Green Goblin – with a decidedly stoned-looking (judging by the cover image) Human Torch thrown into the mix! This classic tale is a less frequent visitor to our display than its contemporaries, and this is a highly attractive VG+ pence copy, with light creasing in the lower right cover corner and minor edge & corner wear, but beautiful lustrous cover colour and an unmarred cover image. On sale at £125.
*Marvel: In the early Marvel Age – when, you must recall, the halcyon days of the Golden Age were a mere 10-15 years in the past – Marvel received a lot of requests to revive their 1940s stars. They tested the waters with the Human Torch’s solo story in Strange Tales #114, wherein Johnny Storm appeared to meet and battle Captain America, legendary hero of World War II! Needless to say – oh, don’t give me ‘Spoilers’, it was more than half a century ago – it turned out to be a villain appropriating Cap’s costume, but the issue sold so well that it triggered the revival of the actual Captain America in Avengers #4, and the rest is history. This is not often seen in any condition, and this copy is an attractive FN cents copy, with only minimal corner and edge wear and bright, lustrous cover colours, on sale at £150.
*Marvel: The popular Marvel series of Star Wars, which had been ticking along nicely with original stories, suddenly upped its game with issues #39 to #44, which presented for the first time a graphic adaptation of the second movie, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. Contrary to the habit of movie adaptations (banged-out cash-cows), this was a quality piece of work by scripter Archie Goodwin, with truly stunning visuals by Al Williamson. In addition, issue #42 featured the first appearance of mercenary Boba Fett, who became a bit of a cult character. All six issues are new in stock: #39 NM £30, #40 VF/NM £20, #41 NM £30, #42 FN/VF £45 (pictured), #43 NM- £15, and #44 NM £30.
*Marvel: Lee & Kirby, in Fantastic Four #66, laid the groundwork for another cult character, though this one turned out to be a bit of a slow burner. In issue #66, scientists calling themselves the Enclave created an artificial, perfect human, who the readers didn’t actually see until #67, when the new-born demigod initially called himself ‘Him’. After rebelling against his creators, ‘Him’ set out to discover the world, and decided to seek a mate – unfortunately, the mate he chose was Thor’s main squeeze Lady Sif! After a two-part confrontation with the Thunder God, ‘Him’ flew off to discover the universe, eventually coming back as Warlock – in which guise he’s had several solo series, and is scheduled to appear in the hit Guardians of the Galaxy movie franchise! His (Him’s?) two-part origin and epic clash with Thor are all newly restocked: Fantastic Four #66 FN/VF £75 and #67 FN/VF £175 (both FFs pictured), and Thor #165 FA £35 and #166 VG- p £35.
*Marvel: A significant latecomer to the Silver Marvel Age, the enigmatic synthezoid, the Vision premiered in Avengers #57 as a villainous pawn of the evil Ultron. Rapidly being discovered to be misguided, he was offered membership the next issue, in one of the most rapid reforms ever, and became a mainstay of the Avengers and the MU in general, particularly through his convoluted relationship with the Scarlet Witch. Based on a Simon & Kirby character from the 1940s, Roy Thomas’ love affair with all things Golden Age stood him in good stead, as the ‘new’ Vision of the Silver Age captured the hearts and minds of readers worldwide… though the exquisite art by John Buscema doubtless didn’t hurt! This copy of Vizh’s first appearance is a GD-; structurally sound, but the cover has been nibbled at by some bygone rodent, leaving a narrow strip on the right edge from the middle to the base gnawed away. Oddly, this doesn’t impinge on the actual cover image at all, and the interiors are sound and unmarred. So, a chance to get a key issue at a reasonably low price: GD- cents £35.
*Marvel: Not quite enough for a proper ‘Return Of…’, but nevertheless we have a few of the pre-hero Marvel series with unfeasibly enlarged antagonists plotting to conquer the world, only to be discouraged by plucky scientists – a trope which made Marvel a mint before the Fantastic Four went up in their rocketship! Tales of Suspense #22 (VG £60 pictured) brings us Bruttu. Tales to Astonish #20 (GD+ £44) offers us X – The Thing That Lived! And Tales to Astonish #33 (VG+ p £56 pictured) varies the theme by having normal-sized and fully-clad alien monsters – but loads of ’em – in ‘Dead Storage!’
*Marvel: From 1977 to 1979, Godzilla, the legendary movie monster created by Toho Studios, was incorporated firmly into the Marvel Universe with a 24 issue series in which the giant dinosaur rampaged across America, courtesy of creators Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe. Along the way, Godzilla encountered the Agents of SHIELD, Ghost Rider, the Champions, the Avengers and Spider-Man, and even after Marvel lost the rights to Godzilla himself, villains and supporting cast from the series have turned up in other Marvel series years later. This complete run averages NM, highly attractive copies with minimal wear and considerable eye appeal – all cents copies, as the series was never distributed here in the Old Country. Depicted is #1 NM £55; details on the others in our catalogue.
*Marvel: Thirty new issues added to the latter years of our Amazing Spider-Man listing, commencing with #141 (first appearance of the second Mysterio), and concluding with #297. Along the way, significant debuts and events include the second appearance of the Black Cat in #195, the second Black Cat storyline, a two-parter in #226 and #227, the debut of the Rose in #253, the Puma’s premiere in #256, the first appearance of the sultry Silver Sable in #265, and the first two chapters of the iconic ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’ storyline in #293 and #294. All that, plus the usual web-swinging, wall-crawling action you’ve come to love!
*Marvel: A small but significant restock to our Hulk inventory, a selection of issues running from #103, his second number, and closing with the extra-large #300, in which Jade-Jaws takes on – well, most of the other Marvel heroes! Along the way, we have the first Shaper of Worlds in #155, the first death of Warlock in #178 (he got better; then he died again; I’ve lost track of where he is now…) the debut of the second Moonstone, later Meteorite of the Thunderbolts, in #228, and the double-sized #250, in which Hulk clashes with the Silver Surfer!
*Marvel: One of the most peculiar corners of the Marvel Universe was inhabited by the Human Fly, a costumed stuntman in the manner of Evel Knievel, who inexplicably became the star of his own comics series in 1977. Although there was briefly a real-life performer of that name, later revealed as stuntman Rick Rojatt, we suspect the comics version’s origin – having 60% of his skeleton replaced by steel after a traumatic accident – was not Mr. Rojatt’s own background. At least we hope not, for his sake. The comics version interacted with Ghost Rider and the White Tiger, among other Marvel luminaries, but owing to the hero’s nomadic activities, the only supporting cast was plucky journalista Harmony Whyte, who Lois Laned our hero across the USA reporting on his activities while trying to reveal the man behind the mask. Like every other Marvel property this side of Willie Lumpkin, the Human Fly is now rumoured to have a movie in production; will it be a hit? Well, another Bill Mantlo creation, Rocket Raccoon, has done unexpectedly well for himself, so you never know! The complete 19-issue series, cents copies, averaging NM, is now available for the relatively bargainaceous price of £40; buy it now before the speculators jump in!
*Miscellaneous 1940-1959: A selection from various publishers and genres from the 1940s and 1950s, including Feature Book #40, starring Chic Young”s Blondie; Boy Comics from Gleason with Chuck Chandler, the former ‘Crimebuster’; Buster Brown Comics, a promotional item with beautifully-illustrated adventure strips; Comedy Comics from Timely, starring Super-Rabbit; Fawcett Movie Comic, starring Anthony Dexter in ‘The Brigand’ (no, blank looks here too); Heroic Comics, with true-life tales of daring and Al williamson art; Major Inapak, another promotional item with rather lovely Bob Powell art on our space-faring hero and finally, Lost Worlds #6 (pictured, FA+ £25), with Alex Toth and others illustrating the advertised ‘Weird Thrills of the Past and Future!’. What more could you ask for?
*Horror/Mystery 1960-1980s: Not long after House of Secrets’ ‘rebranding’ as a horror title (following its decades as a genteel sci-fi series), issue #92 saw a story that transcended the traditional one-off horror genre, and launched a character who became a major star for DC, culminating in his recent TV series. (We won’t talk about the movies. Ever.) In ‘Swamp Thing’, we were introduced to Alex Olsen and Damien Ridge, 19th-century best friends whose love for the same woman led Damien to murder Alex after Alex had married the beautiful Linda. Later, however, when Linda began to suspect the truth, Damien planned to murder her too: but her life was saved by Alex, returned from the swamp as a subhuman plant-creature. Linda fled from the creature in horror, never realizing that the beast who saved her was her beloved Alex. This classic tale of love, betrayal and revenge, masterfully told by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson, struck a powerful chord with the readership, and a 20th-century version of the character was launched in his own series, and has starred in some of the most critically-acclaimed stories in the comics medium. This copy of Swamp Thing’s first appearance is VF+; the distinctive greytone cover skilfully evokes a feeling of imminent menace, and is one of the most consistently ‘homaged’ images in comics. Staples are firm at cover and centrefold, minimal corner and edge wear, off-white interior pages. A VF+ cents copy with no pence price or overstamp, it is on sale for £2,000. Front and back covers and splash page are shown here; high resolution images are available on request.
*Vintage Magazine-Sized Comics: One long-overlooked character in the Marvel pantheon was Star-Lord, the cosmic adventurer who was introduced in a few issues of Marvel Preview and Marvel Comics Super Special in the 1970s, never really went anywhere, and simmered into obscurity – until his revival as a central character in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, accompanied by the sensationally successful films, made him one of the bleated breakout characters of the 21st Century! This update, we present a VF copy of his very first appearance, in 1976’s Marvel Preview issue #4. Steve Englehart and Steve Gan’s presentation of Peter Quill, the not-yet-legendary Starlord, has fewer laughs than the movie version (and definitely a much quieter soundtrack!), but this is where the character got his start, and prices have been going bonkers on early Star-Lord appearances. This sharp VF copy, with tight staples and only minimal corner blunting, is on sale at £175.
*Marvel UK: Marvel UK’s experimental attempt to broaden their readership by generating a new British hero, Captain Britain was the subject of much controversy, not least because he was created by two Americans (Chris Claremont, Herb Trimpe) who, from the evidence presented here, had never met an English person, and whose interpretation of the UK’s manners and mores made the Austin Powers films look like documentaries. Be that as it may, the character endured to become a respected icon of the medium, and early issues are now attracting keen collector attention. We have a new copy in of the good Captain’s first issue, FN with the original Free Gift (a Captain Britain mask) in VF, at £35 for the comic & gift combo.
*Annuals: No relation to the ouvre of the late George Michael, Wham! was a 1964-launched weekly from Odhams’ Power Comics imprint based around the works of legendary cartoonist Leo Baxendale, who had then broken away from the Beano. We list it here in the Boys’ Annuals sub-category because, although Power Comics weeklies have their own separate listing, Power Comics Annuals seldom hang around long enough to be worth listing in their own category! As with our other ‘Immaculate Annuals’ updates, these are uncirculated 1960s and 1970s stock from a newsagent’s inventory, never sold or even displayed, so the only flaws in any of them occur from long-term storage. No prices clipped, no gift dedications, ‘This Book Belongs To’ inscriptions or other interior markings, solid spines, tight corners and bright, vibrant colours, occasionally very slight tanning of interior pages owing to age. We have five Wham! Annuals, featuring the cult characters ‘Georgie’s Germs’, ‘Frankie Stein’, ‘Pest of the West’, ‘Eagle Eye Junior Spy’, ‘Sammy Shrink’ and more. We have 1967 VF, 1971 FN, and Wham & Pow! 1974 VF (though owing to an original printing defect, the latter has pages 24-40 printed upside down!) (prices for these shown in our catalogue) but the jewels of this selection are 1968 and 1969 (pictured) each in a flawless NM, a grade hardly ever awarded to items of this vintage. On sale at £30 each. Snap them up before they go-go!
*Boys’ Adventure & War Picture Libraries: Micron’s Combat Picture Library, despite being overshadowed by its more famous brethren Commando, War, Air Ace and the like, had a very respectable 1,000+ run from 1959 to 1985. The early issues particularly are much less commonly seen than contemporary Air Ace or Battle Picture Libraries, and have quite a bit of visual appeal, with intricate interior art and striking painted covers. This newest selection is consecutive from #101 to #184, then #189-192, and #195-200, missing only a handful of issues. This sequence is in truly remarkable grade, with only a few of them dipping below VF. From an uncirculated newsagent’s inventory, never to our knowledge sold, displayed, or read, these are beautiful copies. Pictured are #101, #150, and #200, all VF at £5 each.
*Humour Comics: Dozens of issues of Buster newly listed for the years 1967-1969 in a variety of grades from Fair to Fine, the vast majority previously missing from our listings, so a chance to fill those gaps! Buster fans don’t need reminding of the quality of the many famous strips that await within these pages, both adventure and comedy; Buster in its 35 year history was arguably the best title to combine those genres. Included here are the Christmas issues for 1967 (FN £10) and 1968 (FN £8), both pictured, as well as the Easter and Fireworks numbers for 1968.
*Clearance Corner: Following on from our Beano clearance last month, it is with regret that we follow up with a huge Dandy clearout, Beano’s ‘older brother’. Just like the Beano, we love the Dandy too — it’s another British comics institution and features classic, immortal characters. But there’s no doubting that with the decline of the UK comics industry in recent decades, later Dandys are less collected than their classic period and the title itself shuffled off a few years back. So the time has come for us to dispense with our 1981 upward stock. Here’s a batch of 97 issues from the years 1981-1983, no duplicates, all in reasonable condition from GD to FN, on offer for just £20 the lot. UK postage (if required) would be an extra £8. SORRY, THIS LOT HAS NOW SOLD
*Clearance Corner: 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 8th May 2019, 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:
’16 issues of the Beano from 1988-1995 inc 8 complete with original Free Gifts and also including the 50th Anniversary issue and a handful of Christmas and New Year issues — all just for £15 (UK postage if required will be an extra £4). ‘ 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 British section:
As of the time of writing, this category is bang up to date, with every item listed available.
*DC: One of the more oddball entries in the DC annals, Showcase #43 began as a projected issue of Classics Illustrated. The story was ultimately rejected by the Classics publishers as ‘too adult’, and its only first printing appeared in the insanely-rare UK Classics Illustrated #158a. This material was re-packaged by DC as issue #43 of its ‘tryout’ series Showcase with a new cover by Bob Brown, but being released before the film, it was a bit of a flop, and DC lost the license which, decades later, several other publishers took up to good effect. Subsequent popularity of the James Bond character in multiple media has made this issue highly sought-after in retrospect. We have a newly-acquired Showcase #43 in FN p (light wear at lower spine, otherwise superior copy) at £120.
*DC: The Black Canary had recently crossed over from Earth-2 to Earth-1 in JLA #75, following an unfortunate sequence of events, and her formidable self-defense and detective skills were augmented by an ‘instant-mutation’ – known then as the ‘Sonic Whammy’, later as the ‘Canary Cry’ – which established her as a true super-being, fit to stand among the metahuman JLAers. (and Batman, ahem ahem). That being said her membership, though debated, wasn’t formally announced for several issues, but this is the one in which she started acting as a member of the JLA. This new copy is a highly attractive FN+, cents copy with no pence overstamp, tight, firm and glossy, and the high grade, plus the iconic cover image (which was regarded as a wee bit saucy back in the day) prices it at £100. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*DC: Launched to cash in on a TV cartoon, Super-Friends was an all-ages version of the Justice League that not only outstripped its leaden and anodyne cartoon inspiration, but, once writer E.Nelson Bridwell and primary artist Ramona Fradon hit their stride, was the best Justice League being published at the time! Granted, since the main JLA was in the hands of Conway and Dillin, that’s not a high bar, but nevertheless, ENB made the book a fun and imaginative read. New in we have #1, with the comic-book debuts of Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog, the crimefighters in training who were rapidly elbowed out of the series by #7, also new in this week, when the extraterrestrial siblings Zan and Jayna, the Wonder Twins, moved in! Our copy of #1 is VF £28; our #7, in the wake of a critically acclaimed recent Wonder Twins series, is VF/NM £50.
*DC: A selection of Batman (from #107 to #113) and Detective Comics (from #239 to #250) in lower grades, battered, creased, and ‘well-read’, official grades ranging from Poor to the dizzying heights of Good, but most previously unrepresented in our stock, and all with all story pages complete and readable. Weird costumes, bodily transformations, aliens and robots galore – give them a good home!
*DC: We’re extending our range of these classic characters this week! Commencing in 1982, the revival of Blackhawk by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle may seem at odds with our classic comics policy, but this run – acknowledged by rueful DC execs as their ‘best-kept secret’ – ignored all the modernisations. Set in the World War II Era where the characters originated, Evanier and Spiegle both filled out and distilled the essences of Blackhawk and his international team of heroic aviators, as they faced an ever more fantastical succession of menaces – with, all the while, the lethal but fascinating femme fatale Domino opposing them. Combining high adventure, wartime drama, and several shoplifted elements of film noir, this series of Blackhawk is a largely undiscovered treat. Dave Cockrum, Howard Chaykin, Joe Kubert and Gil Kane are among the distinguished cover artists on this labour of love. We have this series from the first revival issue, #251, consecutively through to #265, added to our lists.
*Marvel: Lee & Kirby’s Fantastic Four added to its many innovations in 1966’s FF #52, when they introduced the first black super-hero in comics. The Black Panther was the head of a highly sophisticated and technologically advanced African nation, Wakanda, and was in time to become not only one of the FF’s greatest allies, but a mainstay of their fellow heroes, the Avengers. Following his spectacular big-screen success, T’Challa’s earliest appearances have never been in higher demand, and we have a FN copy, cents, with no UK price stamp or overprint, new in stock. Tight at staples, sharp corners, with strong, largely unbroken black cover background, only a few very faint corner creases, and a few light breaks in the spine colour. This FN key debut is on sale at £500. Front and back cover and splash pages shown below; high resolution images are available on request.
*Marvel: One conspicuous exception to our habitual ‘vintage only’ policy are debut issues of significant characters, and there are few more significant debuts, in the latter days of the 20th Century, than everyone’s favourite brain-eating symbiote Venom, who graduated from being a genetically modified costume in a jar to the fully-fledged Emperor of Spidey’s Rogue’s Gallery! Having debuted in Secret Wars #8 as a semi-sentient blob which configured itself into Spider-Man’s new costume, the ‘symbiote’ became a regular feature in Spidey’s own series before being revealed as a malevolent alien parasite which disclosed its true agenda! Now more popular than ever, Venom has starred in his own solo film sans Spider-Man (with a sequel in the works). This copy of the first full appearance of Venom is a sparkling VF/NM, tight corners, sharp edges, and none of the faint ‘corrugation’ effect which sometimes bedevils copies of this issue (we suspect due to an inferior batch of cover stock). VF/NM p £225. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: In 1970, Marvel tried something different from their familiar super-heroics; at the urging of writer Roy Thomas, they put out a sword & sorcery title adapting the Robert E. Howard stories of Conan the Barbarian, and, bucking the trend, it was smash hit – thanks in no small part to the illustration of Barry (not-yet-Windsor) Smith, a talented young British artist who gave Cimmeria’s favourite son grace and feral power, filling Conan’s world with mystery, menace and beauty as monsters and maidens competed for our hero’s attentions. Conan’s first series at Marvel ran 275 issues and multitudinous specials and spin-offs, and after a long sojourn over at Dark Horse, he’s back! To celebrate, we release this CBCS slabbed copy, graded 7.5 (VF- equivalent). This late Silver-Age debut is rarer than most – by this time, print runs were dropping from the 1960s heyday – and this is perhaps the second-nicest we’ve seen in our 25-year trading span. CBCS 7.5 on sale at £200. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*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 transformed her into the entity known as Phoenix – and a major, ultimately tragic, story arc for the X-Men began. Claremont and his new collaborator, John Byrne, developed the theme further when, thanks to Mastermind’s machinations, Jean became corrupted into the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club, beginning a downward spiral that would culminate in her final form of the Dark Phoenix. These remain key and highly sought after issues, whose appeal has been enhanced by the recent release of the X-Men: Dark Phoenix movie. Issue #101 is VF+ p £240; #134 VF/NM cents £90.
*Marvel: In Strange Tales #126, the Torch & Thing team-up still held cover sway, as the ‘hot’ half of the Fantastic Four squared off against the Thinker and the Puppet Master – but let’s be real, the long-term money was always on Doctor Strange, and the Master of the Mystic Arts (capably guided by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko), delivered in abundance this issue, with the first appearances not only of perhaps his greatest nemesis, the deadly Dormammu, but also the mystery woman who would become the love of Strange’s life, Clea. (Who was also Dormammu’s niece. Which would make the atmosphere around the Christmas dinner-table a tad frosty, to say the least.) This copy of the double debut is FN, cents with no UK pricing. There is a very faint shallow diagonal crease on the right side of the cover, from the mid-point to the lower edge, but otherwise the cover colour is unbroken, and unfaded. On sale at £125. SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD
*Marvel: There have been a few to wear the mantle of Spider-Woman, but Jessica Drew was the first, and her spooky, off-kilter original series with a dark edge is well-remembered today. Originating as a copyright-saving place-marker when Marvel heard rumours another publisher was working on a Spider-Woman series, the original one-off in Marvel Spotlight #32 proved an unexpected hit, and her ongoing series ensued, substantially revising her origin to make her more ‘relatable’. Having served a long stint in various Avengers line-ups, Jessica Drew has become a mainstay of Marvel, and with rumours of a Spider-Woman film having reached us… well, could there be a better time to pick up her early appearances, neither of which was UK distributed? Marvel Spotlight # 32 is VF £75: Spider-Woman #1 is VF+ £45. SORRY, THESE HAVE NOW SOLD
*Marvel: When the Ant-Man name was unclaimed in the late 1970s, a brainier-than-average sneak-thief, Scott Lang, stole Hank Pym’s old apparatus and became the second bearer of that title! But it’s okay – he did bad things for good reasons, specifically to find a cure for his dying daughter, as was revealed in Marvel Premiere #47 and #48, the two-part tale which (after a non-costumed cameo in Avengers #181) was Scott’s first full appearance. John Byrne and David Michelinie created this different take on the hero, and since then, Scott has had his ups and downs – been in jail a few times, been dead a few more, been a love-slave of the Purple Man (No, really. Google it. Better yet, don’t) – but he’s fought his way back to respectability, and has achieved cinematic stardom in two eponymous movie hits, plus pivotal roles in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame’. This double-dip debut for our loveable scientist scofflaw consists of a VF+ #47 at £60, and the conclusion in #48 NM will run you a mere £30. Both are cents copies with no UK price overprint.
*Marvel: It’s always a great pleasure to welcome the works of Jim Steranko to our catalogue, and nowhere more so than in the pages of Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD from 1968. He only stayed with the title for a few issues after it launched from Strange Tales, but what issues they were, whether on full cover and interior art duty, as in #2 & #3 here (#3 featuring our favourite Steranko story) or just on covers, as on the iconic outer space cover to #6 and the famous ‘Dali homage’ on #7. If only he’d done more…
*Marvel: We’re too good to you Spiderphiles this week as we present our second Spidey update, featuring high grade issues from the above range, in which our hero tangles with the Scorpion, the Rhino, Sabretooth, the Red Skull, Magneto, Boomerang, Venom and Cardiac, to name but a few, and also featuring many guest stars such as the Hulk, Captain America, Silver Sable and others. Includes #345 (NM p £20), the 1st full appearance of Cletus Kasady, the man who would be Carnage.
*Marvel: Let’s ‘fess up, on the face of it, the She-Hulk sounded like a really lame idea when we first heard of her — what was to follow? Hulk Dog, the Hulkmobile, Hulk Turtle etc? But — amazingly, Jen Walters has gone on to become one of the most enduring and endearing characters in the Marvel Universe (one fondly remembers John Byrne’s charming take on the Sensational She-Hulk, and subsequent series have been full of humour, wit and (mostly) intelligent writing by the likes of Dan Slott etc). There wasn’t too much trace of that in Jen’s first series, the Savage She-Hulk, when it saw the light of day back in 1980 when she was mostly as angry as her cousin, but we’re delighted to have early issues of Jen’s beginnings back in stock: #2-10, cents copies mostly in near mint, and the final issue, #25. Full details in our catalogue.
*Marvel: Another visit to the Marvel Silver & Bronze ages for the following titles: Amazing Adventures (both Inhumans/Black Widow split book and Killraven), Astonishing Tales (Ka-Zar/Dr. Doom split book), Captain America (inc #111 by that man Steranko again), Captain Marvel and Daredevil (inc #11 by Wally Wood and #50 & #52 by Barry Smith). As always, full details in our catalogue.
*Miscellaneous 1940-1959: Concluding the non-genre section of our Atlas Explosion Event, we have a variety of adventure titles from the 1940s and 1950s: Crimefighters launched in 1948 and was relaunched in 1954 as Crime Fighters (clearly a completely new idea); we have issue #2 of the first series and the complete three-issue run of the second series (numbered #11 to #13, to save on Postal Licencing fees) new in. Men’s Adventures was another general-purpose adventure series which later mutated into war and later still horror, but this early issue, #5 (second issue of the series, see above) features one of the first sci-fi/’flying saucer’ stories. Spy Thrillers ran four issues from 1954 to 1955, tapping into the cold war zeitgeist; we have almost the run, lacking only #3, new in. And the Big One for this entry is Man Comics, devoted to all things butch and hairy-chested, with tales of heroic lumberjacks, firefighters, cops, detectives, sportsmen and… child-beating thugs. Oh, well, they count as men too, I guess. Man Comics was another chameleoid title, turning entirely to war with issues #9 to #25, which can be found, you’ll have guessed, in our war section. Here we have the entire run of non-war issues (though #3 is a damaged copy, free with issue #4), including the post-war trio of #26 to #28, which feature ‘Bob Brant and his Trouble-Shooters’, in a blatant rip-off the ‘Wise Guys’ from Gleason’s Daredevil series. Pictured are Crime Fighters #12 VG+ £24, Man Comics 1 GD- £25, Men’s Adventures 5 VG/FN £49 and Spy Thrillers #1 VG £40.
*Horror 1940-1959: We conclude our Atlas Explosion Horror category with one of Atlas’ earliest entries into the horror genre, and one of the most enduring; Uncanny Tales ran from 1952 to 1957, with the first 28 issues being unfettered by the Comics Code authority. We have 18 of those 28 Pre-Code editions new in stock, with some of the most disturbing and imaginative covers by Everett, Heath, Maneely and others really pulling out the stops for lurid, attention-getting images. Contributing artists, in addition to the aforementioned trinity of Everett, Maneely and Heath, include Briefer, Crandall, Sekowsky, Drucker, Colan, Powell, Robinson, Romita, and Wildey, among many others. Illustrated here are #1 FA £89, #5 FA/GD £51; #9 GD- £53; #12 VG+ £115; #13 GD+ £75; #19 GD+ £63; #20 GD £50 and #23 GD+ £57. As always, prices on the others – many very affordable ‘reading copies’ – may be found in our online catalogue. Our Horror Mega-Fest has one more trick up its sleeve which we’ll be playing very soon!
*War: We conclude our Atlas event in the War category! Beginning as a general adventure series, Man Comics, with its 9th issue, mutated into an all-war series, with the lurid violence, ethnic stereotypes, and dark humour that characterised most of Atlas’ Pre-Code War output. We have the entire War phase of Man Comics, issues #9 to #25, newly in stock, with more bloodletting then you can shake a fist at! With artwork by Heath, Robinson, Severin, Maneely, Colan, Everett, and that fun guy Robert Q. Sale, these’ll put hair on your chest! (Caution: not recommended reading for ladies.) Depicted are issue #13 FN £34 and 18 FN+ £41; other issues in a variety of grades and prices listed in our online catalogue.
*Western: We conclude our Atlas event in the Western category, bringing our entire Atlas Explosion to a satisfying conclusion. Unlike many western heroes of the 1950s, Tex Dawson, the Western Kid was neither an outlaw nor seeking revenge; instead, the squeaky-clean adventurer wandered the Old West with his ‘Savage Stallion’ Whirlwind and ‘Miracle Dog’ Lightning, doing good just because…. well, it was the good thing to do. Sounds a bit dull? Not so. Western Kid’s adventures were lively and charming, and beautifully drawn by a young John Romita towards the start of his career, who was the primary artist on all seventeen issues. Maneely, Everett and Shores contributed cover images – and some very striking ones – but the interior art was virtually all Romita, and well worth seeing. We have a complete run of the series, #1-17, new in stock. Pictured are #1 VG+ £40, #3 VG+ £22 and #8 FN £30. Prices and grades on the rest of the series in our online listings. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed bringing you these Atlas titles over the last nine months, and, although there’s sure to be more Atlas in our future, we doubt we’ll ever see the like of the Atlas Explosion again!
*Modern Reprints: In keeping with our Atlas Explosion event, we have additional volumes of the Marvel Masterworks reprinting the classic horror/mystery tales: Journey Into Mystery Volumes 1 & 2, and Strange Tales Volumes 1-3 are newly added this week in NM condition, full-colour hardcover sequential compilations of these well-remembered titles. Everett, Heath, Post, Shores, Severin, Maneely, Benulis, Sinnott and a galaxy of star artists among the contributors.
*Vintage Magazine-Sized Comics: While more famous for its horror titles, Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, Warren did in 1965 attempt to diversify with Blazing Combat, a war-themed anthology mag written (almost entirely) by Archie Goodwin, with the same stellar roster of artists – Toth, Wood, Colan, Severin, and cover artist Frank Frazetta – used in the horror line. But while the work was of superb quality, the politics, representing the human cost of war, were at odds with zeitgeist of the times, and in particular the anti-Vietnam story, “Landscape”, in issue #2, ensured that after #3, PXs across America stopped carrying the series, with a record zero copies of #4 ordered by military bases. With that chunk taken out of circulation – and with threats that PXs would stop stocking the rest of Warren’s line in protest against Blazing Combat – Warren cancelled the series with issue #4 in 1966. Generally acknowledged as the finest war comic since the EC days, we have the entire 4-issue run back in stock. Pictured is #1 (FN- p £55); others in our online catalogue.
*Vintage UK/Australian Reprints of US Material: This week’s selection of second-hand love (UK repackaging of American originals) spans several publishers. From World Distributors, we have Exciting Romances from #1, reprinting primarily Fawcett material with photo-covers. From Trent – a publisher we’ve not heard of before – Falling In Love, 68-page collections of the top-line DC romance title. Miller is represented this update by two ongoing series: I Love You, primarily reprinting the Charlton series of the same name, and Love Affair, reprinting – no, this one’s stumped the panel; we have no clue! And finally, a succession of Streamline one-offs: Foolish Bride, Frightened Bride, He Scorned Her (all three with early Wally Wood art, and the latter a 68-page giant with a delightfully pulpy cover), His Love, Long Distance Wife, and Love Locked Me Out. The Streamline one-offs are mostly from the notoriously cheapjack Fox Comics line, so while they’re interesting historical artefacts, expectations… should be managed, let’s say. Illustrated: Falling In Love #9 (FN £15), Frightened Bride (FN £10), and He Scorned Her (FN £15).
*Annuals: Continuing our pedigree collection of ‘Immaculate Annuals’, this week, we join the ladies – and the first ladies of the British comics world were Bunty and her younger sister Judy, the backbone of D.C. Thomson’s girls’ weeklies. As with other ‘Immaculate Annuals’ updates, these are uncirculated 1960s and 1970s stock from a newsagent’s inventory, never sold or even displayed, so the only flaws in any of them occur from long-term storage. No prices clipped, no gift dedications, ‘This Book Belongs To’ inscriptions or other interior markings, solid spines, tight corners and generally bright colours. However, the format of Bunty and Judy Annuals – non-slick hardcovers with slick dustjackets – has meant that a very small amount of dustshadow and edge grubbiness, particularly on lower edges, has occurred over the years, meaning that these Annuals – while still superior to the general run of second-hand items – are perhaps not quite as shiny as other entries in this collection. Nevertheless, as remarked, much better than the average, with no interior flaws. We have Bunty from 1965 to 1970 (Missing only ’67), and Judy from 1965 to 1969. Illustrated are Bunty Annual 1970 (VF DJ FN, £13.50) and Judy 1965 (FN DJ FN, £12).