Comics Guaranty, LLCNumismatic Guaranty Corporation
October 2003  
 
Version 2, Issue 7  
   
1. Action Comics And All-American Comics
   
2. Charity Signings at the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon
   
3. Heritage Offers Free e-Overstreet Guide To Amazing Comics Auctionsô Winners And Underbidders
   
4. Get your official CGC boxes directly from Gerber!
   
5. On-site certification at Wizard World Dallas!
   
6. I've got the “Creeps”

 


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


Nolan's Niche Action Comics And All-American Comics
Michelle Nolan

Unlike the other six DC classic “Big Eight” monthly anthologies of the 1940's, Action Comics and All-American Comics present special collecting challenges from the standpoints of both content and cost.

Action, the original home of Superman, and All-American, the original home of Green Lantern, boast these two iconic characters, yet not as many other genuine attractions as the other DC anthologies. In addition, they tend to be among the most expensive Golden Age titles – especially the early issues.

Even if you skip the big-bucks issues, you still can gather an attractive, representative collection of the two titles with perhaps a half-dozen issues of each.

The early Superman stories in Action from #1-52, and the early Green Lantern stories in All-American from #16-38, are available in DC Archive editions. So, unless you are wealthy, skip the early issues of both and focus more on the later issues – some of which may never be reprinted.

Action Comics #61
 

In the case of Action, a good place to start would be #52 (Sept. 1942) through #74 (July 1944). All of these are prime World War II issues, many of them with Superman war-theme covers, and all contain Zatara the Master Magician, The Vigilante and Americommando, along with early Congo Bill adventures.

Action was among the few Golden Age titles not affected in any way by wartime paper rationing, other than the drop in page count to 60 pages (including covers) with #61 and to 52 pages (including covers) with #75 (Aug. 1944) – but all of DC's comics follow suit.

Action's contents did not significantly change until issue #127 (Dec. 1948), when eight-page Tommy Tomorrow strips began running. Tommy Tomorrow was among the earliest regular space opera characters in comic books. That's why Action #127 through #132 are cool, because they all contain Superman, Zatara, Congo Bill, The Vigilante and Tommy Tomorrow, as do #136, 138 and 141, which was the last Action with Zatara. Any of those issues are desirable.

Contrary to what some readers believe, Zatara had a few more adventures in the early 1950's outlasting several classic DC heroes. His last Golden Age appearance came in World's Finest #51 (April-May 1951).

Change came slowly to Action in the 1949-54 period, just as it did to Adventure, its companion DC anthology. The Vigilante — a decent character, but a marginal costumed hero without any special powers — lasted far longer than might have been expected, running through Action #198 (Nov. 1954). Action dropped from 44 pages (including covers) to 36 pages with #197 (Oct. 1954), so Tommy Tomorrow returned with #199. The ace of the Planeteers was destined to run well beyond the beginning of the space race with the launch of the first earth satellite in 1957 by the Soviet Union.

All-American was the flagship title of All-American Comics, Inc., the company run by famed comics pioneer M. C. Gaines. DC promoted and distributed the Gaines publications and ultimately bought them out in 1945 following a short-lived break-off. The Justice Society usually featured characters from both the National (DC) and All-American lines.

Action Comics #61
 

The first 15 issues are noteworthy primarily for the fact that “boy editor” Sheldon Mayer brought his hilarious Scribbly strip over from the early Dell line of comics beginning with All-American #1 (April 1939). All of the Scribbly stories, which ran through All-American #59 (July 1944), were only four pages, including the ones with the hilarious superhero parody Red Tornado, who began in #20 (Nov. 1940).

The early Green Lantern stories are wonderful, of course – especially Green Lantern's World's Fair tale in #18 – but those issues of All-American are extremely pricey, even if only in “good” condition. The Atom started in #19 (Oct. 1940) and Dr. Mid-Nite in #25 (April 1941), followed by Sargon the Sorcerer in #26. Sargon was an underrated magician strip.

For some reason, the early Green Lantern stories were short – only eight pages in #16-19 and 10 pages in #20-30 – before expanding to 13 pages with #31 (Oct. 1941). For your money, your best bet might be to start collecting All-American with two of three issues from #31 through #50 (June 1943), the final 68-page issue and the last issue with Sargon (except for a one-issue reappearance in #70), who went over to Sensation Comics. The Atom skipped #47 (Feb. 1943), which was the only issue to cover-feature Hop Harrigan, an aviator hero who lasted all the way through #99.

The Green Lantern stories began to get increasingly comical, both with regard to the covers and the interior art, until the last 15 issues or so. In my opinion, your best bet would be to skip over most issues from #51 through #87. Instead, focus on All-American #88 (the first issue with art by the wonderful Alex Toth) through #102, the issue before the title switched to All-American Western.

Every issue of #88 through #102 is a gem, especially those with Harlequin in the Green Lantern stories, and Toth art appears in #92 and #96, as well as #98 through #102, along with several covers. Toth's marvelous western strip Johnny Thunder debuted in #100 and was cover-featured for the final three issues.

In short, get a couple issues of All-American #31-50, then focus on #88-102. You can't go wrong that way.

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Charity Signings at the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon

Action Comics #61Comics Guaranty, LLC (CGC) and Paradise Comics will be supporting two great charities at the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon, which will be held November 7 through 9, 2003, at The Queen Elizabeth Building, Exhibition Place; Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Proceeds from all donations made during the creator signings will go toward A Commitment To Our Roots (ACTOR) and the Canadian Kid's Help Phone Line. A CGC representative will be on hand to witness the signings. Proceeds from each book submitted to CGC for the Signature Series will go toward the two charities. Check the CGC booth (#A6 & B6) for the signing schedule. Some of your favorite creators will be on hand, such as:


Representatives will be on hand at the CGC booth to take regular submissions (not just Signature Series) and to answer any questions you may have.

For more details please go to: www.torontocomicon.com.

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Heritage Offers Free e-Overstreet Guide To Amazing Comics Auctions™ Winners And Underbidders

For the rest of 2003, Heritage will give every Amazing Comics Auctions™ winner and underbidder a free download of the electronic version of The Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide™, a $25 value. More details.

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Get CGC'd! — Get your official CGC Boxes directly from Gerber!

Each box holds approximately 30-33 CGC Graded Books!

To order your boxes, please call 1.800.79.MYLAR or 1.410.944.9363 or send an email to KGeorge@archival.com.

Quantity Price
1 - 9 boxes $4.50 per box + $8 shipping
10 - 49 boxes $3.30 per box + $20 shipping
50+ boxes $2.75 per box + $40 shipping

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cgc registry

Get CGC'd! — On-site certification at Wizard World Dallas!

On-site certification was so successful at this summerís Wizard World Chicago that we are doing it again this November 21-23! Thatís right, CGC will be grading at Wizard World Dallas, Booth #ís 605 and 607. Submissions will be accepted Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Get to the CGC booth early to avoid missing cut-off times. Please check with CGC show representatives for on-site pricing and daily cut-off times.

CGC will be accepting early submissions during set-up on Thursday evening for Friday grading. CGC will also be accepting submissions to take back to our Sarasota offices to be certified at regular turn-around times and prices.

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I've Got the “Creeps”
Shawn Caffrey
Caffrey Chronicles

With Halloween right around the corner, I wanted to pick an issue put out by Warren Publishing that would follow the ghoulish tradition of October 31st by having a frightening collection of stories to discuss this month. I didn't want just one — I wanted a few that were guaranteed to give any collector a scare. That's where my friend John came into the picture. I told him what I was looking for, and he, having in-depth knowledge on Warren magazines, pointed me in the direction of the greatest collection of short tales of horror: Creepy #91.

Creepy #91 was put out in August of 1977. The issue is entirely reprints, but, in my opinion, are some of Warren's best published works. “Nightfall,” a story written by Bill DuBay and illustrated by Berni Wrightson, led off the issue. The story is about a little boy named Nemo, who, during bedtime, is visited by ghoulish figures from the dark corners of his room who want him as a full-time playmate. No matter how many times he screams, sending his mother and father in each time, the monsters disappear as quickly as they appeared from the shadows. Combining elements of pencil, ink and wash, Wrightson stands up to his reputation as the master of macabre with his detailed crisp lines and shadowy twisted creatures. “Nightfall” will have any young collector checking under his or her bed before going to sleep at night and make every parent tuck his or her child in a little bit tighter.

Another great story, titled “Creeps,” is a tale of horror in a different light. No monsters. No things that go bump in the night. But still enough to send chills down one's spine. Written by Archie Goodwin and illustrated by John Severin and Wally Wood, “Creeps” is a tale of a man named Lester Finch who has an obsession with societal degenerates, or those whom he perceives as degenerates. Starting off as a story of a man living with his mother and working an average 9 to 5 job, Lester's character slowly loses grip with reality, having been disgusted with the people around him. He doesn't see other people as what they are. Instead he sees muggers, bums, beggars; any vagrants that society has tried so hard to push asunder. Lester hits a breaking point and lashes out at a man he dubs as trash, pushing him in front of a car. This is only the beginning for Lester. Having lost all sense of reality, he continues to murder members of society that he deems as bad elements, only to have his obsession spread back home, where he kills his mother in a delusional fit of disgust. Now, on the run from the law and the people for whom he holds a strong hatred, he's forced into the back alleys, hiding in the same areas where he found his victims. Seeing that he's become a “creep” himself, he takes his own life. This is a story that depicts the horrors of the human mind, and is illustrated with such photographic realism, it can only come from the hands of John Severin and Wally Wood.

Creepy #91 has eight stories total—all reprints, but together in one issue, making this a great buy. I'd discuss all of them, which I will at some point in the future, but for now I will discuss one more, titled “Shadow of the Axe.” Two talents I've never mentioned are responsible for this grisly tale that's bound to leave the reader in pieces. Written by Dave Sim and illustrated by Russ Heath, the story begins with a little boy falling to sleep each night to the sounds of his father outside with his axe. After finding out that his father is responsible for the deaths of missing townspeople, the boy takes matters into his own hands and decides to end his father's killing spree. Patiently, the boy sits atop the staircase with his father's axe in hand, waiting for his return from outside. Patience pays off, for his father comes inside and begins his trek upstairs. Suddenly, the boy takes one swing, taking his father's head clear off his body, thus ending the reign of the axe-wielding madman. The next morning, while the police are removing the body, the boy stands over watching—only to look at his mother, who gives him a chilling wink of the eye. What does this mean? Was she responsible for the murders or was she happy the boy ended her husband's madness? It leaves the reader with some room for interpretation, making the story more enjoyable, yet still maintaining its eerie approach.

Creepy #91 has more stories just as effective and chilling as the aforementioned. I hope collectors will heed my warning though, for it is not for the faint of heart. As a matter of fact, next month I will discuss a story titled “Thrillkill”, also found in Creepy #91, which, in my opinion, is the scariest Warren story yet.

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