A Glance at the Gallery by Michael McFadden, CGC Quality Control
Michael McFadden here with a quick look at the latest additions to the CGC DigiGallery. Let’s get right to it.
Early on, Fantastic Four billed itself as “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!” Well, this month we could easily boast “One of the World’s Greatest Copies of the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!” We offer for your approval Fantastic Four #1, the book that inaugurated the Marvel Age of Comics, in a stunning 9.4 with white pages. And this copy also has a clean, white cover. We have only certified one 9.6 copy, so this is truly an elite book. Other noteworthy Number-Ones now featured on the DigiGallery include Avengers #1 (9.4); X-Men #1 (9.0); Amazing Spider-Man #1 (9.4); Crime Does Not Pay #22 (#1) (7.0); Masked Marvel #1 (9.4); Justice League of America #1 (9.6), also #2 (9.6) and #3 (9.4); Superboy #1 (8.0); and Hawkman #1 (9.2).
The valley between Memorial Day and Fourth of July is an appropriate time to check out a dynamite run of Captain America from the Golden Age of Feel Good Patriotic American War Propaganda, and — oh, yeah — comics, too. These extremely attractive issues include #s 21 (8.5), 25 (8.5), 27 (8.0), 28 (7.5), 29 (8.0), 31 (8.5), 34 (9.0), 35 (9.0), and 38 (9.2). Another Timely War book we added is a lovely 8.0 copy of the classic Human Torch #12. Subduing a Japanese executioner, the Torch’s flaming hand burns right through to the dude’s white bone, barbequing the barbarian’s bicep meat. What can I say except … well done!
Among Mile High entries this month are Exciting Comics #9 (8.5), the origin and first appearance of the Black Terror and his Brylcreem-laden pompadour, and more of the seminal Flash Comics run, including #s 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 24. Speaking of Flash, the Silver Age part of the run, we also added superb copies of #s 107, 108, 119, 127, 130, 133, 136, and 138.
A particular fave this session is Little Audrey TV Funtime #23, a 9.6 Harvey File Copy. While the ever precocious Little Audrey is sneaking an illicit peek at a ballgame, her young friend Melvin, though annoyed, is getting an illicit peek at Little Audrey’s panty-clad bottom. Apparently, Melvin is also a pervert. Nobody noticed this stuff much in March of 1969, but if this happened in 2008, Melvin’s next peek would be through a cell door deep inside of Juvenile Hall. “Melvin, my name is Chris Hansen and you’re on Dateline NBC…”
The Bureau of Statistical Inevitability was busier this month than the pimple-pussed popcorn slingers at the Iron Man premiere. Fantastic Four: Atlantis Rising #1 rose to 9.9, as did Batman #661, Batman: Secrets #1, Punisher/Batman: Deadly Knights #nn, Grimm Fairy Tales (aren’t all comics essentially grim fairy tales?) #25 Wizard World Con Edition, Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect #2, porn princess Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter #2 (a lot of Oscar buzz for Jenna for her thespian turn in Zombie Strippers), Metal Gear Solid #1 Retailer, masochistic fun fest Kick Ass #1 Second Print, Death of Superman #nn, Star Trek: Y4 Enterprise Experiment #1 Retailer and Wormwood Gentleman Corpse: Calimari Rising #2 Retailer (how novel, a zombie book… you think they’re on to something here?). Copies of Invincible Iron Man #1 Wizard World Edition and Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1 New York Comic Con Edition might have ascended to the coveted ten, but had a pronounced icing problem at higher altitudes when we tested them. Marvel has Obadiah Stain working on it, we hear. And here’s something unusual, Ultimate X-Men #42, with a double cover, a 9.8 wrapped around a 9.9!
We’ve rounded up many of the usual suspects for our ten-O offering. Angel: After the Fall #6, Angel: Illyria #1, Angel: Masks #nn, all Retailer Editions, all tens; Dark Tower: Long Road Home #1 Sketch and #2; Ghost Whisperer #2 Retailer, Star Trek Alien Spotlight: Romulans #1 Retailer, and Locke & Key #3. Also reaching the exclusive CGC-certified summit were copies of Scarface: Scarred for Life #2, Wormwood Gentleman Corpse: Calimari Rising #1 Retail Edition, and Deathmate Preview #nn Advance Comics Edition.
It may already be a sizzling hot SigSeries season out there, but it’s still a Cool World. Number 4, to be precise, signed by veteran animation director Ralph Bakshi. Tinseltowners Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams are among those who signed Star Wars #107, Marvel’s last issue, along with Marvel’s own lovable Yoda, Smilin’ Stan Lee. Other summer silver screen sensations include an Incredible Hulk #1 — the original — also autographed by Lee. The Joker was imaged originally by Jerry Robinson and defined in the 1970s by Neal Adams, both of whom sign the classic cover of Batman #251. Do drink in Iron Man #128’s famous cover of wild-eyed alcoholic desperation, a frozen moment where Tony Stark realizes his libation once so mellow has fermented to melodrama. This 9.2 copy is signed by John Romita Jr., David Michelinie, Bob Layton, Johnnie Walker Red, and the Grey Goose.
You’ll be decidedly dazzled by Dazzler #1, signed by cover artist Bob Larkin, whose work usually graces magazine covers. Who would have guessed a decade of disco multiplied by excessive fashion accessories could lead to the creation of a new superhero? Oh, wait … this is a Marvel book, right? Also for you True Believers is a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #326 inscribed by writer Michelinie and indie favorite, artist Coleen Doran. A rarely seen promotional oddity, a Marvel Value Stamp Book #nn from 1974 displays signatures from Marvel bullpen members Lee, Darling Dick Ayers, John Romita, Jim Steranko, Frank Brunner, and Joe Sinnott. Too bad all 100 “stamps” were glued inside … somewhere a collector looks through the stamp-sized hole in the interior of his Hulk #181 and cries.
DC devotees will dig the most ripped-off cover this side of Action #1. 1987’s retread Justice League #1 bows with the members posed for their team photo right after their anger management class. This copy features certified signatures of J. M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, and Keith Giffin. A Wizard: The Guide to Comics Special Edition #nn is signed by most of the original Image founders: Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Jim Valentino, Marc Silvestri, and Marat Mychaels.
Summer Cons also star Silver and Golden Age creators. What’s not to love about signed All Star Comics, especially #36, the only Justice Society of America adventure with Superman and Batman as active participants, and #33, the unequivocally classic Solomon Grundy cover. Irwin Hasen drew both and signed both covers, as did Joe Kubert, who drew Hawkman in each issue. Hasen also signed a copy of his cover on the GA Green Lantern #5. An 8.5 Aquaman #1 was personalized by Nick Cardy and a Flash #105 by Carmine Infantino. And while we’d need a medium and an ouija board to certify Jack Kirby’s scrawl on Young Allies #1, we did manage Stan Lee’s and Joe Simon’s autographs. Just as well … Jolly Jack would probably be signing in chalk these days.
DigiGallery’s most popular book, Fallen Son #3 has its blank cover filled this month by Bob Layton’s fully penciled and inked Dr. Doom and Duncan Fegredo’s bold and uncompromising sketch of a shield toting Hellboy. Cap’s shield is as close as we’re getting to any illos of Steve Rogers this month. This bureau expects to receive an avalanche of cloyingly reverential, low camera looking up at a triumphant Captain America cover sketches when Marvel inevitably revives the original Classic flavor of its Star Spangled Product just in time for the heavily invested Avengers movie. Until then, Secret Invasion #1 blank covers offer fresh opportunity to enjoy Marvel’s varied roster visualized by top artists like, this month, Thor by Walt Simonson. But this month’s sketch winner is Dynamite’s Red Sonja #25 blank cover filled in — twice — most admirably by the buxom barbarian herself, as superbly illustrated by Frank Brunner.
My favorite book this month is Doll Man Quarterly #10, only the fourth we’ve certified in more than eight years. It’s lame enough if you’re a super hero named “Doll” Man and between your hot pants and silly red sandals, you show more leg than Barbie does. On this cover, the living action figure is held in humiliating, life-and-death bondage under a bathtub faucet, tethered to the hot and cold controls. Sorry, but I don’t really see this happening to DC’s Atom. I can hear Doll Man’s gloating captor. “Had enough shampoo, Doll Man? Are your eyes stinging enough yet? Nyah hah hah!” If this diminutive cretin is so easily subdued in a bathroom, why go to all this trouble? Simply toss him screaming into the toilet, put a dictionary on the lid, and flush the red-and-blue-garbed crime buster to his so appropriate demise. Man, are you ever gonna look stupid in the morning paper.
Comments and questions regarding the gallery? We’re fans, too. We enjoy hearing from you. You can contact me at email@example.com. Thank you for your time and do remember — be good to yourself. Be CGC-ing you!