Comics Guaranty, LLCNumismatic Guaranty Corporation
September 2003  
 
Version 2, Issue 7  
   
1. Master Comics
   
2. A Silver Age Review: Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #71
   
3. Missing Page Mystery, The Marvel Masterwork Pin-Ups!
   
4. Don't Work Too Hard
   
5. One Final Flash of Brilliance
   
6. New Comics Subscription Service Guarantees 9.8 CGC Grade on Monthly Issues

 


UPCOMING EVENTS

Oct. 31-Nov. 2
Las Vegas Comic Convention

Mandalay Bay
Las Vegas, NV

Nov. 7-9
Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon
Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place
Toronto, Ontario Canada

Nov. 21-23
Wizard World Dallas

Dallas, TX


Nov. 28-30
National Big Apple Convention

Metropolitan Pavilion
New York City, NY

Nolan's Niche Master Comics
Michelle Nolan

Master Comics SupermanFawcett's long-running Master Comics offers collectors one of the most intriguing anthologies of the Golden Age.

Master featured several distinctions—including one of the first true Superman imitations, a boy hero who may have inspired the creation of Superboy, two of the classic supporting characters of the Golden Age and one of the most memorable villains—not to mention some of the most inspiring art!

It's no wonder any collector with a complete set of Master #1 through #133 (1940-53) would be considered lucky, indeed. That's out of the financial reach of all but a few collectors, but it's still possible to own a representative collection of a couple of dozen nifty issues of Master.

The first six issues of Master (Mar. 1940-Sept./Oct. 1940) are all uncommon, especially since they are oversized, 10- by 14-inch variations. Their primary attraction and cover theme is Master Man, reportedly threatened out of existence by National Comics as too blatant a copy of Superman.

Bulletman, the Flying Detective, debuted in Master #7 (Nov. 1940), after coming over from Nickel Comics, and enjoyed one of the longest backup careers of the Golden Age, especially following the debut of Bulletgirl in Master #13 (April 1941) as one of the first female costume heroes. They ran through #106 (Aug. 1949), missing only #86 and #104.

Minuteman didn't last nearly as long, but he earned distinction as one of the first patriotic heroes. Fawcett's star-spangled hero debuted in Master #11 (Feb. 1941), beating Captain America to the stands by one month. Minuteman ran through #49 (April 1944) before Fawcett replaced him with the unusual cloak-and-dagger hero, Radar the International Policeman in #50.

Master Comics SupermanMaster reached its peak with issues #21, 22 and 23 (Dec. 1941-Feb. 1942) with the creation of Captain Marvel Junior — the best of the boy heroes of the Golden Age — and Captain Nazi, one of the most memorable villains. Mac Raboy's classic, Alex Raymond-inspired illustrations—43 pages worth in the three issues combined!—makes these among the finest comics in history.

In issue #21, Bulletman teamed with Captain Marvel to fight Captain Nazi in his first appearance. Captain Marvel Junior's origin follows in Whiz #25 and Master #22, completing a wonderful trilogy, and Junior's first solo story follows in Master #23.

If you can't afford these comics—and these three issues of Master are valued at a combined $1,235 merely in "good" condition in Overstreet Price Guide!—Master #24-43 are not bad "consolation" prizes. These 68-page gems will set you back at least $50 to $60 in "good," but they all have gorgeous patriotic Raboy covers, not to mention Captain Marvel Junior (with Captain Nazi in many stories), Bulletman and Minuteman (all these characters also are in #44-49). Raboy drew all the covers for #21-49 along with a few later issues, and he also did art on consecutive issues of Captain Marvel Junior through #39.

My favorite issue of Master—aside from #21 and #22—is the uncommon #34, in which Captain Nazi first flies. The cover is breathtaking!

In the 12-page Minuteman story in Master #41 (August 1943), Bulletman, Bulletgirl and Captain Marvel Junior fought together in the only appearance of the Crime Crusaders Club—the only such teamup in Fawcett history. Considering that this issue is valued at only $64 in Overstreet "good," it's one of the most undervalued of all Golden Age comics, along with #34! It's a real oddity, since the CCC wasn't plugged on the cover!

Master #50 (May 1944) is noteworthy for the debuts of Radar the International Policeman and Nyoka the Jungle Girl. Radar ran through #87 and Nyoka through most (but not all) of the issues through #132, replaced by Korean War hero Bill Battle in #133. Bernard Krigstein drew a few of the post-war stories of Nyoka, who first appeared in the 1942 "Jungle Girl" one-shot based on a Republic serial. A 13-page Mary Marvel story popped up in Master #118 (Oct. 1950)—her last Golden Age appearance except for her appearances in Marvel Family.

Kurt Schaffenberger did numerous beautiful, underrated symbolic covers for the later issues of Master. He emphasized the "spitcurl" on Captain Marvel Junior's forehead, purportedly inspiring Elvis Presley, who loved the character. In fact, it's not difficult imagining the young Elvis, who was born in 1935, enjoying Captain Marvel Junior at the peak of the character's popularity.

The ideal small collection of Master would include at least one of the first six issues; # 21, 22 and 23; #34; #41 and #50, plus a couple of symbolic Schaffenberger covers and one or two other patriotic covers.

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A Silver Age Review:
Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #71
Joanna Sandsmark

"Hush Money, Sweet Lois — Or Else!" Part 2

 

Lois Lane Comic
Despite the illustration on the cover, Superman is not Lois's blackmailer. He was only pretending so that he could find out Lois's dirty little secret. Still, makes for an intriguing cover, doesn't it?
 

First, a quick review of what's happened so far in "Hush Money, Sweet Lois—Or Else" from Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #71: In the first part of the story, we discover that Lois Lane is being blackmailed. She has given the hooded, lowlife criminal every penny she has, and is close to destitution, but there's no guarantee he won't soon be asking for more. Superman finds out she's being blackmailed, and traps her into another payment, so that he can find out what she's hiding. Lois refuses to spill the beans. This must be a terrible secret! Unable to persuade Lois to confide in him, he, as Clark Kent, travels to Lois's hometown of Pittsdale to see if he can dig up any dirt. After striking out with her teachers and the police, where he finds Lois lauded as an exemplary citizen, he tries one more option...

"Hush Money, Sweet Lois - Or Else" Part 2


Clark decides to visit Lois's parents, to pump them for information on their daughter's hidden, criminal past. On the plus side, he does feel guilty about his incredibly intrusive new hobby. However, it doesn't stop him from grilling them over a meatloaf dinner. When he asks if Lois ever had any trouble, her dad says, "It's her romance with Superman! Isn't he ever going to marry the girl? Maybe you could talk to him." (Okay, raise your hand if you think Clark is going to have a thought balloon that essentially explains that he is Superman in disguise? Lemme see... 1, 2, 3... all of you? You've read Silver Age Superman comics before, haven't you?) "If he only knew—He's doing just that!" thinks the ever-predictable Clark.

Dad quickly denies any hidden scandals and Clark uses his super-hearing to give him a lie detector test. The 'thump thumpety thump' of Dad's heart tells no lies. Clark is overjoyed when they ask him to stay the night, especially when they put him in Lois's old room. This way he gets to toss the room, looking for clues.

Clark is jealous
Clark is jealous because no one ever voted him Queen of Perfection.
 
To his dismay, he finds scrapbooks full of newspaper clippings talking about how great Lois is, and a recreation of the float she rode on when she was crowned "Queen of Perfection." (Queen of Perfection? Laying it on a little thick, aren't we? I can't believe we just spent 3 solid pages proving Lois was an all right gal, but we still needed the Queen of Perfection float to really sell it. Yet does that stop Clark? Oh no, being Queen of Perfection means nothing to him! He's gonna find him some dirt!)

Clark is immediately suspicious when he finds a pewter box because he can't X-ray it (the only reason someone would own a pewter box, it appears, is to fool Superman). But inside is Lois's dowry. (I'm uncertain how much money it is, but there is a small stack of bills and a lot of change. "Oh, honey! I've been going over the budget and noticed there's an extra 11¢ this month. What should we do with it?" "Put it in Lois's pewter dowry box, dear! Her future will be secure!")

Guy named Roger
With all the money he's stolen from Lois, he can afford to look good, that lousy, malicious, creepy, rotten scoundrel! Nice tux, though.
 
Meanwhile, back in Metropolis (finally!) Lois is told to meet her blackmailer at the Skyview Restaurant. She comes dressed to the nines, expecting to see a hideous monster, but is instead greeted by a "handsome, debonair and gentlemanly" guy named Roger, wearing a white tux. He asks her to marry him!

Lois vehemently refuses but Roger informs her she has "no choice!" He takes her to his 'pad' to show her a movie (Lois what are you doing? Don't go to the blackmailer's pad! Call for Superman! Oh, that's right. He's in Pittsdale looking through your stuff).

And now we get a flashback telling us the source of the blackmail! Phew! Apparently, Roger has a film of Superman destroying a mysterious weapon whose fallout killed 40 people on a boat below. It was an agonizing death, and nothing short of murder! Sobbing, Lois fears that the film would ruin Superman's reputation if it ever got out.

Crash!!
Remember, kids: Don't think and drive!
 

So all this time, it wasn't Lois's deep, dark secret at all! It was Superman's! As a kid, I thought that was the most noble, unbelievably wonderful act of true loyalty I'd ever seen. It instantly endeared me to Lois Lane. No matter what shenanigans she got into in other stories, I knew that at the core, she would give everything she had to protect the Man of Steel. ::choke:: It's got me all choked up just thinking about it! Okay, back to the story.

Roger offers to burn the film if she'll marry him. He lets her think it over, and even lends her his snazzy red sports car so she can get home. "As Lois drives home, her troubled thoughts cloud her mind." In fact, those thoughts are so troubling, they're not even in a thought balloon! They're just floating all around her. I think one of the sentences blocked her view because suddenly, she careens off the side of the road and over a cliff. Yowza!

When Lois comes to, she's in a hospital bed, and the Daily Planet's headline reads "Blackmailer of Girl Reporter Jailed By Superman!" At that moment Superman comes to visit and tells her that he tracked down Roger through the car's license plate. Then he sets up a projector (I think he had it in the secret pouch in his cape because one second he's holding a bouquet of flowers, and the next he's got a home theatre going) to show her what Roger had edited out.

Apparently, the secret weapon was sent by aliens, who were trying to kill a bunch of escaped, convicted criminals from their world. When Superman exploded the weapon, it fell on the ship below—a ship whose crew were the bad aliens wearing human disguises. The good aliens were so happy with Superman, they gave him honorary citizenship. The bad aliens had destroyed an entire planet, so it's okay for Superman to have killed them (I guess the combo of being extra bad plus alien means that Superman's code against killing doesn't count). There is quite a lot of detail about this whole alien-killing episode, but that's the gist of it. It was mostly about establishing that these were bad, bad, bad aliens and that no non-killable humans were accidentally offed by the Boy Scout in blue. Phew!

Sob...Sob
::sob!:: I-I'm too choked up to write a caption. Ask me later. ::sniff:: ::choke::
 

Lois, lying broken and battered in her hospital bed, regrets having doubted Superman. He then yells at her for dealing with a blackmailer. (C'mon, man, give the girl a break! She did it for you, ya big lug! And if this was really just a lesson for the kids to say no to this sort of thing, I have to ask: what 8 year-old is a victim of blackmail? At that age, I didn't even know what the word meant, and I certainly wasn't being shaken down for lunch money over some hush-hush cootie scandal.)

Needing to balance out his scolding with some sweet-talk, Superman tells Lois she's "the most loyal friend a man could have! (Here, Rover!) You gave every cent you had to protect me from ruin! Thanks a lot!" (Use your heat vision to burn that in a plaque because I'm sure Lois will always want to remember this touching moment.)

Lois sobs again, thinking, "I...don't want thanks! Just a little gold wedding ring! I'll probably never get one from Superman! Sob!" (No, baby, not in the Silver Age. You may be the Queen of Perfection, but Superman is the King of Bachelors. Dang it, now I'm misting up again!)

After a week in the hospital, Lois returns to find that Superman got back all her money and her Superman souvenirs. He also included a heart-shaped wreath with a sash that says, "To 'Queen Bigheart', Superman". (That's two queen titles in one story. Lois rules!) But Lois sighs, thinking, "If only it said, 'To the queen of my heart!"

Despite the required sobbing over not getting a proposal at the end, this story showed that Lois wasn't just about being 'a pest,' or nosy, or scheming, or all those other negatives that people often ascribe to her. Lois put herself on the line for Superman. She gave away every cent she owned, and nearly married a crook—all to save Superman's reputation. That truly was an enormous display of love and loyalty on her part. And when I read Lois Lane stories as a kid, that stayed with me as a truer portrait of the 'Girl Reporter', than some of her wilder, crazier antics. In Lois, Superman really had found his queen.

Some parts of this article are copyrighted.
© 1966 DC Comics

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Missing Page Mystery, The Marvel Masterwork Pin-Ups!
Ken Kwilinski a.k.a. Mister Comics on the CGC Boards

 

Guest Writer
Hulk Comic

Ever notice that some of the old MARVELS you buy are missing a page or two? Ever wonder what was on that page? Why would someone cut a page out of a book—or worse yet, carefully remove the whole page so that you couldn't detect its removal? Well, after noticing this MISSING PAGE problem for some time, I decided to look into it. What I have found out most of the time about these missing pages is that they were PIN-UP pages. Specifically, MARVEL MASTERWORK PIN-UP pages. What MARVEL would do sometimes was add a pin-up page of a character from that comics story. It could be the hero or the villain.

Kang Comic
There was a time during the 60's when these pin-up pages popped up regularly. They kind of died out, but every once in a while one would show up in one of the MARVEL mags. Below is a list of most of the MARVEL MASTERWORK PIN-UP pages and the comics they were shown in. Hopefully this list will help you know firsthand if a pin-up page should be in a comic. Feel free to add to the list. These were all that I could find. Good luck in your comic purchases.

THE MARVEL MASTERWORK PIN-UP LIST


Comic Pin-up
Amazing Spider-Man #3 Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #20 Peter Parker & Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #21 Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #23 Spider-Man
Avengers #10 Captain America
Avengers #11 Kang
Daredevil #5 Daredevil (yellow costume)
Daredevil #7 Sub-Mariner & Daredevil
  (red costume)
Fantastic Four #2 Thing
Fantastic Four #3 Human Torch
Fantastic Four #4 Mister Fantastic
Fantastic Four #10 Invisible Girl
Fantastic Four #11 Sub-Mariner
Fantastic Four #15 Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four #33 Sub-Mariner
Fantastic Four #34 Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four #250 Fantastic Four
Marvel Collectors
  Item Classics #10
Dr. Strange
Marvel Collectors
  Item Classics #21
Thing, Medusa
Marvel Collectors
  Item Classics #22
Mister Fantastic, Iron Man
Marvels Greatest Comics #23 Hawkeye, Iron Man, Black Widow
Marvel Tales #7 Spider-Man, Thor
Marvel Tales #21 Spider-Man, Dr. Strange,
  Human Torch
Marvel Tales #30 Peter Parker & Spider-Man
Tales To Astonish #62 HULK
Tales To Astonish #63 Giant Man & Wasp
Tales Of Suspense #61 Iron Man
X-Men #6 Cyclops
X-Men #8 Beast
X-Men #9 Marvel Girl

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cgc registry
Don't Work Too Hard
Shawn Caffrey
Caffrey Chronicles

Continuing last month’s topic of comic magazines, I would like to jump from the previously mentioned Eerie #62 and discuss another personal favorite of mine. I know that there were many other magazine companies that put out monthly titles, but Warren Publishing was a great place to find an ever-growing accumulation of talent, which is why I chose to discuss Creepy #9 from June of 1966. Excellent artists, including Steve Ditko, Al Williamson, John Severin and Frank Frazetta, filled this issue with classic tales of horror and suspense.

The issue starts off with a beautiful painted cover by Frank Frazetta. It was this cover that made me a fan of his and inspired me to purchase this book. Plus, as an added bonus to any Frazetta fan, the interior back cover features an anti-smoking ad illustrated by Frank himself. To top that off, there is a hidden surprise found in the letters page for collectors to discover, for among the many letters admiring Jim Warren and his staff lies a fan drawing by a young Bernie Wrightson, which turns out to be noted as his first published work. As big a fan of Wrightson as I am, in case you haven’t already figured that out, the above-mentioned illustration isn’t the main reason why I chose Creepy #9. For me, what makes this issue a great addition to any collection, or a definite good read for any non-collector, is a story titled "Overworked," drawn by the incredible Wally Wood and Dan Adkins.

In this story, a popular illustrative artist named Allan Wallace becomes "too involved" in his own work. As it begins, our main character is being chased by an angry mob, having been accused of being a vampire, and the moment before he has a stake driven through his heart, he wakes up and realizes he dozed off at his drawing table. This wasn’t the first time that this had happened, and as Allen’s popularity as an artist grows, so does his workload, and along with that comes a lack of sleep. After consulting his psychiatrist, he realizes he has to cut back his workload, but to no avail. His bosses pile on the work and he accepts, and after drawing one scene of horror and sci-fi after another, he begins to doze off only to find himself in a world surrounded by his illustrations come to life. In the end, Allen never does wake up, for he becomes a permanent figure in the pages of the last tale he’ll ever draw. As Uncle Creepy says in the end, "I guess he won’t be around for any ‘panel’ discussions."

It’s a really simple tale, but Wally Wood brings it to life with his amazing abilities. His line work reminds me of the days when he worked for EC Comics, with his illustrations of rocket ships and slithering aliens. So, for any Wally Wood fans out there, or fans of any of the other artists I have previously mentioned, Creepy #9 is a great buy.

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Phil's Corner One Final Flash of Brilliance
Phil Kaltenbach

As I recounted last month, I felt cheated when I subscribed to my favorite comic book, Mystery in Space, only to find that my favorite character, Adam Strange, would share top billing with Hawkman, a hero I did not care much for, though Murphy Anderson's beautiful artwork would soon win me over. Nothing could prepare me for the dismal material that would begin to show up in my mailbox in less than a year, but just before that catastrophe I did receive an exquisite comic that remains one of my very favorites to this day: Mystery in Space #90 (Mar. 1964).

The moment I laid eyes on the terrific Infantino and Anderson cover I knew I held something special in my hands. The determined figure of Adam Strange gracefully bridges the gap between his home planet and his adopted one, with the classic Infantino cityscape of Rann dominating the lower half of the cover. The illustration reminds me of #82, which also involves both planets, but the composition and dramatic effect of the later book appeal to me more.

In the first pages of the story I got my first glimpse of Alanna in her new costume as rendered by the Infantino and Anderson team. Introduced two issues earlier, the costume showed off our heroine's sexy charms more than her blue and yellow togs, and my infatuation with her deepened as I watched her and Adam settle down to a romantic dinner. Suddenly, an announcement from the tele-viewer interrupts this peaceful moment: a new planet has materialized in an orbit identical to Rann's, opposite to that planet but gradually picking up speed.

The rogue planet turns out to be Earth, transported via zeta-beam by the evil Oran Dargg, who plans to use the impending destruction of both planets to defeat Adam and establish himself as absolute ruler of Rann. To thwart Adam's efforts to find and stop him, Dargg transports three items from Earth—the Sphinx, the Roman Colosseum and the statue from Iwo Jima—and hurtles them at him and Alanna. Adam destroys two of the objects, and just as the third is about to smash him his zeta radiation wears off and he instantly returns to his point of origin on Earth. In a nice touch, writer Gardner Fox chooses three objects that symbolize world-dominating forces, Egypt, Rome and the United States, which reflect Dargg's own grandiose ambitions. The fact that Dargg is a ruthless tyrant, and that Egypt and Rome were guilty of considerable excesses, makes one wonder if Fox had reservations about the growing influence of the U.S. across the globe.

Adam and Alanna, and Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who have traveled by rocket to the now nearby Rann, find themselves in deadly traps prepared by the wicked antagonist, from which each couple escapes using an ingenious stratagem. In the end they capture the villain, but not before he destroys his zeta-ray machine, which could have transported Earth back to its original position. Luckily, Alanna's father, Sardath, has been experimenting with a means of neutralizing zeta radiation, and he provides Adam with a device that will return Earth if he can fly close enough to deliver the beam. This brings us back to the cover, which shows our hero soaring toward the approaching Earth to send it back where it belongs.

On the last page Adam proposes to Alanna and suggests that they return to Earth with the Hawkcouple, since he cannot remain on Rann for longer than a year. She accepts, and the future looks bright for the happy couple. After an unexpected return to Rann, however, and one more excellent adventure, DC would deliver to this wonderful title a death blow to which it would succumb in just over two years.

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New Comics Subscription Service Guarantees 9.8 CGC Grade on Monthly Issues

Colossus Comics, Inc. Helps Collectors Secure Pre-Graded NM/MT Copies of Any Ongoing Series

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. (September 15, 2003) Now collectors of new comics can receive their monthly issues already graded by Comics Guaranty, LLC (CGC), with a guaranteed NM/MT grade of 9.8, when they purchase a subscription through www.colossuscomics.com.

The subscription service, offered by collectible comic book seller Colossus Comics, Inc., is a simple way for collectors to receive the issues and grading they want without the hassle, cost and unpredictability of sending in books themselves.

"Colossus Comics' service is a great way for collectors to acquire certified 9.8-grade new comics, and to archive them in CGC's state-of-the-art tamper-evident holder," said Steve Borock, CGC vice president and primary grader. "This is the only service I know of guaranteeing near mint/mint CGC grades on an ongoing subscription basis."

CGC 9.8 Subscription Service Details
Colossus Comics' guaranteed 9.8 CGC-grade subscription is good for any ongoing comic series in print, from Batman to Ultimate Spider-Man. Subscribers receive the CGC-graded and archived 9.8 copy along with an ungraded reading copy. These arrive approximately two weeks after issue date to allow time for grading.

"I use CGC to grade the books in my personal collection, as well as to help boost the value of books I sell," said Steve Mortensen, president of Colossus Comics, Inc. and ebay Power Seller (id: smortensen). "Setting up this CGC 9.8-grade subscription service was a natural result of my own experience. I want to offer a simple, reliable way for collectors to get their favorite new comics at one of the best grades possible."

CGC 9.8 subscriptions are purchased at a yearly rate of $395, which breaks down to about $33/month for 12 issues of the subscriber's chosen title. The fee includes all grading, shipping, insurance and cover price costs. (All 12 issues must be of the same title.)

Bonus 9.9 MINT or 10.0 GEM MINT Graded Comics
As a bonus, all subscribers will have a chance each month to win, by lottery, a free CGC-graded 9.9 or 10.0 comic in addition to their regular subscription. The number of MINT/GEM MINT books each month will vary depending on availability, and may be of any ongoing series title.

How to Subscribe
Subscriptions can be ordered through www.colossuscomics.com, on ebay (id: smortensen), or by calling 1-408-260-9109. For more details about the service, email cgc@colossuscomics.com.

About Colossus Comics, Inc.
Colossus Comics, Inc. (www.colossuscomics.com) sells collectible comics and subscription services, and is owner of the ebay Power Seller id smortensen. President and Founder Steve Mortensen has been collecting and selling comics for nearly 20 years. Also an established graphic designer and owner of Steve Mortensen Design (www.stevemortensen.com), Mortensen has a love for the art of comic collecting, a keen eye for grading, and an outstanding reputation for delivering quality products in a timely manner.

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