Geeks Swimsuit Special # 1
by Steve Borock
new Three Geeks book is finally out! It has
been a while since the last issue of Three Geeks
and I could not be happier! The new book is by Rich
Kowolski, writer/artist of Three Geeks, Geeksville,
and the very popular and highly praised graphic novel,
3 Fingers. I doubled over laughing many years
ago when I first read Rich's "How to pick up girls if
you are a comic book geek." That was my first introduction
to Alan, Keith and Jim, now my all time favorite comic
Over the years, I have become great friends with Rich.
We have even done deals trading Silver Age comics for
some of his original covers and splash pages that are
now in my original art collection. They are framed and
lining the hallways of CGC, sharing space with such
artists as Kirby, Ditko, Starlin, Garcia-Lopez, Silke,
Kitson, Jusko and many others. I look forward to reading
everything Rich does, because he loves comic books and
this hobby so much, that when reading his work you see
that love shine through.
Go to your local comic shop and ask for the latest copy
of Three Geeks Swimsuit Special #1, which happens
to have a very embarrassing page featuring yours truly
in a swimsuit! If they don't have it or won't order
it, get it from another big Three Geeks fan:
Chuck Rozanski. His web site is www.milehighcomics.com
and tell him CGC sent you!
to Steve Borock and Mark Haspel
This week we are proud to announce that there have been
two promotions here at Comics Guaranty, LLC.
first is Steve Borock, Vice President and Primary Grader,
who has been promoted to President of CGC. "Though he
is still Primary Grader and the best at what he does,
he has been working for years as the face of the company
and deserves the recognition," said Steven Eichenbaum,
CEO of the Certified Collectibles Group, CGC's parent
company. "Borock, for the last five years, has helped
establish CGC as the only truly independent third party
certification service in the hobby. Because of his hard
work, expert grading, restoration detection skills,
honesty, diplomacy and true love for the hobby, he has
been invaluable in gaining the trust and support of
the collecting community."
over Borock's roll as Vice President will be Mark Haspel,
CGC's pedigree expert and Senior Grader. "Mark is the
backbone of CGC," said Borock, "There is no way CGC
could have been as successful as we have been without
Haspel's knowledge of pedigrees and history of comics,
his hard work and his dedication. He was the first and
only choice that came to my mind when the owners of
the not yet up-and-running CGC told me to find a hardworking,
knowledgeable and very trustworthy person to be 'second
in command' of the grading room. Mark has been my partner
for five years at CGC and I know now that it was the
best decision I ever made concerning our company."
prices for Golden Age comics have consistently gone
up in the 15 years since the first appearance of the
historic two-volume Gerber Photo-Journal set,
interest in Centaur Comics has remained uneven.
A handful of Golden Age collectors are intrigued by
these artifacts from 1936-42, but most fans pretty much
ignore them for two reasons: Centaur (also known as
Comic Corporation of America) featured characters with
no connection to the present and most of the comics
tend to be both scarce and pricey.
They are, for the most part, simply curiosities. Centaur
titles were almost never included in the first wave
of Golden Age nostalgia awareness in the 1960's, even
though the company was a major player in 1940, before
Marvel and Fawcett really hit the big time as rivals
None of Centaur's costume heroes were picked up by larger
companies. So it wasn't until the 1970's that the company
really became known, and it wasn't until the Photo-Journal
cover photos that Centaur received wide exposure.
A representative Centaur collection needs to include
only a dozen issues or so, providing they come from
the top titles. Centaur produced numerous titles of
minimal interest to all but the most hardened comic
book historian or artist researcher, including The
Comics Magazine, Funny Pages, Funny Picture Stories,
Comic Pages, Detective Picture Stories, Star Ranger
(a western title), Cowboy Comics, Western Picture
Stories and Keen Komics.
Of the longer running Centaur titles, the primary comics
of interest are the anthology titles Amazing Mystery
Funnies, Keen Detective Funnies and Amazing
Man Comics. Several short-run titles also are of
significant interest, including Amazing Adventure
Funnies, Fantoman, Masked Marvel, The Arrow, Super Spy,
Detective Eye, Wham, Stars and Stripes, Man of War
and Liberty Scouts.
Let's start with Keen Detective Funnies, which
for some reason began with Vol. 1 #8 (July 1938). The
first 10 issues (Vol. 1 #8-11, Vol. 2 #1-6) are of only
marginal interest, with more than four dozen characters
in short strips. Keen Detective becomes a much
more interesting collectible with the debut of The Masked
Marvel and a 13-page story in Vol. 2 #7 (July 1939).
The Masked Marvel ran the rest of the way, through Vol.
2 #12, then Vol. 3 #1 (Jan. 1940), and finally in #18-24
(March through September 1940). By the way, #18 actually
is the 18th issue, and so forth.
The Eye Sees, a bizarre strip about a giant eyeball,
debuted in Keen Detective Vol. 2 #12 (Dec.
1939), marking one of the most creatively wacky concepts
of the early Golden Age. Air Man, a nifty knockoff of
DC's Hawkman, ran only in #23 and #24, with nicely done
10-page stories. That's why I would recommend either
#23 or #24 if you want the best Keen Detective,
although an obscure superhero named TNT Todd ran in
six-page stories in #21 and #22.
Amazing Mystery Funnies also had an odd numbering
system – Vol. 1 #1-4, then Vol. 2 #1-12, then
Vol. 3 #1, and finally #18-24 (dated March through September
1940, just like sister title Keen Detective Funnies).
Likewise, Amazing Mystery Funnies doesn't really
become interesting until the July 1939 issue (Vol. 2
#7), with the introduction of The Fantom of the Fair,
one of the earliest true costume heroes. The Fantom
(known as Fantoman in the last issue) ran in 8-page
stories throughout the rest of the series. An odd strip
name Speed Centaur (yes, about a Centaur) began in Vol.
2 #8 (Aug. 1939) through the rest of the series.
Despite its title, Amazing Man Comics –
by far the best known and most collectible Centaur title
– really is an anthology throughout its run of
#5 (Sept. 1939) through #26 (Jan. 1942). There were
no #1-4. The title character, Aman the Amazing Man,
ran in one feature-length story in every issue except
for two tales in #23.
Every issue of Amazing Man contained multiple
costume heroes, so you can't go wrong. The list included
Mighty Man (all but #26), Miniature Man/Super-Midget/Minimidget
(all but #26), the Iron Skull (most issues), The Shark
(#6-22), Cat Man (#5 and #8), Magician from Mars (#7-12),
The Marksman, Blue Lady, Nightshade and King of Darkness
(all #24-26) and Electric Ray (#26). Some collectors
like the 1939 issues for their historic value; I recommend
#24-26 for variety.
Centaur's short-run titles are intriguing, especially
the scarce Fantoman #2-4 (Aug.-Dec. 1940).
Fantoman appeared in three stories in #3 and 4, but
I recommend #2 (the debut issue) because it also includes
The Arrow and The Ermine. A related title was Amazing
Adventure Funnies #1 (June 1940) and #2 (Sept.
The Masked Marvel #1-3 (Sept. 1940-Dec. 1940)
all contain three Masked Marvel stories and are among
the most collectible Centaurs. Likewise, The Arrow
#1-3 (Oct. 1940, Nov. 1940 and Oct. 1941) are worthwhile
for the title character, who also appeared in most later
issues of Funny Pages. One of my favorite Centaur
titles is Detective Eye #1-2 (Nov. and Dec.
1940), because The Masked Marvel appears in both issues
in addition to Mr. Giant Eyeball and Airman in #2. If
you can afford only one Centaur, get Detective Eye
The two-issue run of Wham Comics (Nov. and
Dec. 1940) contains five costume heroes – The
Sparkler and Speed Centaur in #1 and Blue Fire, Buzzard
and Solarman in #2. Super Spy also ran two
issues (Oct. and Nov. 1940). For my money, these aren't
worth the money.
What is worth the dough is Stars and Stripes
#2-6 (May-Dec. 1941), with most of the same crowd as
Amazing Man except for its title characters, Stars and
Stripes, who appeared only in #4-6. So those are the
issues I recommend.
I saved some of the best Centaurs for last – Man
of War Comics #1-2 (Nov. 1941, Jan. 1942) and Liberty
Scouts #2-3 (June and Aug. 1941). Man of War, Vapo
Man and Fire-Man appear in all four issues; The Sentinel
appears in all but Liberty Scouts #2. Man
of War #2 also contains The Ferret, making it one
of the few Golden Age comics with five superheroes.
Man of War #1 was reprinted under the title
of Liberty Guards Comics by Chicago Mail Order
Company as a 1942 no-number one-shot.
Back to top