Comics Guaranty, LLCNumismatic Guaranty Corporation
December 2003  
 
Version 2, Issue 7  
   
1. Collecting Crack, Hit and National Comics
   
2. GPAnalysis announces the addition of market reports
   
3. Y: The Last Man
   
4. "Comic Zone" Radio Show Launches
   
5. Overstreet's Comic Price Review
   


UPCOMING EVENTS

January 24-25
Big Apple Show

Penn Plaza Pavilion
New York, NY


March 5-7
Mega Con

Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL


Nolan's Niche Collecting Crack, Hit and National Comics
Michelle Nolan

When it came to producing first-rate anthologies with numerous classic super heroes, only one Golden Age comic book company rivaled DC during the Golden Age.

Quality Comics definitely lived up to the name of their company's imprint. Just as the marvelous "Big Eight" monthly DC anthologies have steadily risen in price, so have Quality's seven Golden Age anthologies.

The success of Feature Comics and Smash Comics – which we will cover in a later installment – led Everett "Busy" Arnold's firm to produce three more monthly titles in mid-1940 – Crack, Hit and National. They were followed a little more than a year later by Military and Police, also to be covered in the future.

Crack, Hit and National each featured many of the most colorful heroes and best covers of the early Golden Age, not to mention any number of memorable artists. They are without a doubt among the cornerstones of any Golden Age collection.

Crack came first, with #1 dated May 1940. The early issues tend to look more like newspaper reprint comics with a multitude of short stories, in the manner of Feature Comics (formerly Feature Funnies), even though Crack featured mostly original characters.

The first issue featured The Clock (already an established Quality character) along with the debuts of The Black Condor, Alias the Spider, Madam Fatal (a minor hero but interesting as the only costumed hero to masquerade as a woman) and The Red Torpedo.

The Red Torpedo ended in Crack #20, Madam Fatal finished in #22 and Alias the Spider concluded in #25, so you might want to get one of the first 20 to have an example of all the characters, none of whose stories ran more than 5 pages. But several of the real gems in the Crack run were to come – specifically #27-31. It was in #27 (Jan. 1943) that Captain Triumph made a, well, triumphant debut with a magnificent patriotic eagle cover.

The Black Condor, so often drawn in wonderful fashion by Lou Fine in breathtaking 9-page stories in most issues through #24, actually lasted until #31 under other highly competent artists. Meanwhile, Alias the Spider ran through #35. That means your best bet is to get as many issues from #27-31 as you can, plus whatever issues with Fine art and/or covers you can afford. All five issues of Crack #27-31 are gorgeous examples of the Golden Age at its imaginative, artistic best. Not that Crack #36-62 are anything to sneeze at – there were numerous Reed Crandall covers on Captain Triumph – but Crack definitely lost something highly imaginative when the Black Condor flew the comic coop.

Hit Comics #1 and National Comics #1 both debuted with July 1940 dates, giving Quality five anthologies – one fewer than DC had at the time – not to mention plenty of opportunity for Lou Fine and Reed Crandall, among other fine artists, to strut their stuff.

In Hit's first 17 issues, the title featured three little-known but beautifully drawn super heroes, The Red Bee, Neon the Unknown and Hercules, all of whom had several featured cover appearances, mostly by Lou Fine. Neon lasted 17 issues, Hercules 21 and The Red Bee 24. So if you're a completist who seeks at least one early issue of Crack, you would want at least one of the first 17 issues of Hit. Rich collectors will want more, of course, since Lou Fine did so many of the covers. It truly is hard to go wrong on a World War II comic from Quality.

The little known but beautifully conceived patriotic hero, Stormy Foster the Great Defender, debuted in Hit #18 along with an interesting minor wartime costume hero, The Ghost of Flanders. Stormy Foster made it through #34, with every story at least an 8-page gem, but The Ghost of Flanders lasted only through #25, the issue that featured the debut of Kid Eternity.

My recommendation, then, is to shoot for as many issues of Hit #18-25 as you can find (though remember, you get Hercules only through #21), with all the issues through #34 being well worthwhile, too. Those eight issues of Hit in the run of #18-25 are absolutely spectacular examples of the Golden Age at its best, and the Stormy Foster covers (several by Crandall) are truly knockouts.

Kid Eternity, a character some love but I have never cared for, somehow ran all the way through Hit #60, when he was dropped in favor of Reed Crandall's marvelous renditions of riverboat gambler Jeb Rivers through Hit #65 (July 1950), the last issue. For my money, get Hit #61-65 with gorgeous Crandall covers and forget about Kid Eternity unless you are a Quality completist.

National debuted Will Eisner's creation Uncle Sam and Wonder Boy with #1, along with Cyclone, who ran only the first four issues. In #5, Quicksilver – Quality's lower-key knockoff of The Flash – made his debut and ran all the way through #73 (except for #72), though never in more than seven pages. Wonder Boy ended in #26, so you'll want at least one early National #5-26.

For my money, though, National was just beginning its best issues. Two intriguing wartime costume heroes, The Unknown and G-2 of Army Intelligence, debuted in #23 and #27 respectively. The Unknown ran through #41, Uncle Sam through #45 and G-2 though #46 (Feb. 1945), so your best bet is to grab as many issues of #27-41 as you can for one of the best examples of a patriotic title you can find, with all issues containing four costume heroes in World War II themes.

Of course, almost any 1940's Quality titles may capture the fancy of Golden Age fans, depending on the appeal of the cover. The above are just recommendations for those who don't have unlimited funds!

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GPAnalysis announces the addition of market reports

GPAnalysis for Comics now provides its subscribers with an additional service, GPA Market Reports. These reports are substantially different from the current GPA service and functionality in that they provide subscribers with summary reporting on the total GPA data. This service is free to all GPA subscribers and can be accessed immediately.

"The GPA Market Reports service is our continued dedication to providing our customers with even more analysis on the CGC marketplace, arming them with yet another tool in their comic collecting endeavor," George Pantela of GPA notes.

"GPAnalysis for Comics, an already invaluable tool for tracking current market prices for CGC certified comic books, has now been greatly enhanced with the inclusion of GPA Market Reports. Definitely a smart way to stay in touch with the market and effectively manage your collection," says Steve Borock, Vice President and Primary Grader, Comics Guaranty Corporation (CGC).

A total of 11 reports (updated at the beginning of each month) will include sales and volume reports, together with specific sales data, giving GPA subscribers the edge when trading CGC comics. Reports are a combination of "progressive" (12 month reports) and "monthly" (last month) analysis data and, in most cases, are separated across different eras (silver, bronze, etc.). GPA subscribers will be emailed as reports are updated.

The reports include:
  • GPA Top Individual Comic Price Report - Progressive & Monthly

  • GPA Top Title Price Report - Progressive & Monthly

  • GPA Top Comic Title Volume Report - Progressive & Monthly

  • GPA Top Individual Comic Volume Report - Progressive & Monthly

  • GPA Top Individual Comic Volume Report (regardless of grade) - Progressive & Monthly

  • GPA Top Positive Investment Performers by Individual Comic Report - Progressive

  • GPA Top Negative Investment Performers by Individual Comic Report - Progressive

  • GPA Individual Comic Pedigree Report - Monthly

  • GPA Individual Comic Price-Variant Report - Monthly

  • GPA High Grade (Mint) Report - Monthly

  • GPA High Grade (NM/Mint) Report (all comics prior to 1980) - Monthly

Dirk van der Gaag, commercial director of GPAnalysis for Comics, believes the advent of GPA Market Reports will better serve subscribers. "Our long term goal is to give our subscribers as much information and analysis as possible. GPA Market Reports is but one of a number of services we will introduce in the future. We're committed to continually adding value to our service."

GPA subscribers are encouraged to view the reports and email their suggestions on how the service can be improved. "We want this to evolve and grow with the needs of our subscribers," says Pantela. "Although we believe we have covered a lot of analysis in these reports, as the CGC market expands, collectors will want to view sales information in different ways. We are well placed to deliver even greater insight into the thousands of weekly sales," he says.

At just $6.95/month subscription, the level of information and analysis accessible is unique to GPA. Subscribers currently enjoy the ability to look up CGC sales going back to June 2002; drill-downs to individual sales, price and volume graphs (including trends); date and grade range focus; and now, GPA Market Reports.

GPA Market Reports can be found at http://www.gpanalysis.com/reports.aspx.

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cgc registry

Y: The Last Man
Shawn Caffrey
Caffrey Chronicles

After a few months of discussing comic magazines, I felt it was time to return to the world of comic books. This wasn't a decision that was based on the lack of comic books in this newsletter, but due solely to a recent phone conversation with my father. It involved one of my many attempts to explain why comics are not all the stereotypical men in tights fighting crime, but one of the most intelligent, yet entertaining forms of fictional literature. With one particular comic title in mind, I asked my father how he would feel if he was the only male alive on the entire planet. Answering with only a chuckle followed by a thought provoking silence, I knew right away what he was thinking. I then proceeded to tell him that he would form a completely different opinion once he read "Y: The Last Man" by D.C.'s Vertigo.

"Y: The Last Man" is written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Pia Guerra along with beautiful painted covers by J.G. Jones which introduce each issue in this compelling series. The story itself first sounds like a mixture between a 50's sci-fi movie and an adult fantasy, but a few pages in, the post-apocalyptic nightmare one wasn't expecting comes into view. Yorick, the main character, soon finds himself to be the only man alive. To be even more specific, he is the only thing with a Y chromosome that is still breathing…well, him and his pet monkey, Ampersand. The death of every male on the planet happens very quickly in the beginning of the story, leaving the reader with countless questions and a powerful cliffhanger by the end of issue one. The women, all thinking that there are no more men alive, begin to find out about this man who has survived and begin to track him down. Some are trying to help Yorick, others, Amazonian-like, who believe God killed men for the evils they committed while alive, are trying to kill him, one of which is his own sister. Thanks to Brian K. Vaughan, the strong character development and hip dialogue make the story intriguing and full of plot twists. Combined with Pia Guerra's artwork, this completes the story as a beautiful read.

"Y: The Last Man" is filled with subplots constantly leading Yorick on new twists of adventure and action in every issue. The book has received much acclaim, earning Wizard Magazine's "best" book of 2003 in the magazine's "Best of 2003" issue, and J.G. Jones' painted cover to issue #15 earning "best" cover. With a lot of buzz around this series, there's little doubt that the storyline will be ending anytime soon, thus making this series not only an entertaining read, but one that will continue to leave readers wanting more. I highly recommend "Y: The Last Man" not only for comic fans and collectors, but non-fans alike, for this would not only make a great gift just in time for the holidays, but also a great way to introduce new readers into the hobby. I know that after my phone conversation with my father, he can expect this comic in his Christmas stocking this year. Enjoy!

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"Comic Zone" Radio Show Launches

Want to know the ins and outs of comic collecting? Tune in to"Comic Zone" and learn from the experts. Co-hosted by Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Collectibles and Edward Keyes of World Talk Radio, the hot new Internet radio talk show explores the art, the people and the business of the comic book industry.


Steve Borock and Vincent Zurzolo on a grading panel at San Diego Comic Con International

Special guests of the "Comic Zone" premiere episode include Steve Borock, Vice President and Primary Grader of CGC, Bill Cole of BCEmylar.com and David Matteini, collector and investor in Gold and Silver Age comics! The online archive of the first episode can be heard at: http://www.worldtalkradio.com/show.asp?sid=68.

Episodes will initially air at the same Bat-Time and same Bat-Channel every Monday 3 PM EST at the same Bat-URL: http://www.worldtalkradio.com/show.asp?sid=68.

Be sure to tune in every week for more of the best guests, hottest topics and news on what's happening in comic collecting today!

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Overstreet's Comic
Price Review

The newsletter from the oldest name in comic book pricing now includes sales data on CGC certified magazines, as well as CGC'd comics!

Overstreet's Comic Price Review (OCPR) #4, takes a look at how rare books graded 10.0 really are! The usual in-depth market analysis, market reports, lists of sales and pricing data are accompanied by the top 10 CGC books certified 10.0.

And that's not forgetting the rest of the market. Each month OCPR is the newsletter for serious collectors and dealers, reporting on the latest prices realized in auctions and other transactions, and taking a detailed look at specific comics, concentrating on the elusive CGC certified 9.0 to 10.0 range.

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