Comics Guaranty, LLC Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
July 2004  
 
Volume 3, Issue 5  
   
1. Three Geeks Swimsuit Special #1
   
2. Congratulations to Steve Borock and Mark Haspel
   
3. Last of the Independents
   
4. Centaur Comics
   
5. The CGC Certified Fawcett File Copies are Finally Here
   
6. Heritage to Offer the Best of the Best!
   


UPCOMING EVENTS

July 21-25
Comic-Con International

Queen Elizabeth Building at
San Diego Convention
Centern Diego, CA


August 13-15
Wizard World Chicago

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, IL


September 11-12
Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD


Three Geeks Swimsuit Special # 1
by Steve Borock

The Three GeeksThe 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 book geeks.

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!

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Congratulations to Steve Borock and Mark Haspel

This week we are proud to announce that there have been two promotions here at Comics Guaranty, LLC.

Steve Borock
Steve Borock
 

The 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."

Mark Haspel
Mark Haspel
 

Taking 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."

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Nolan's Niche Centaur Comics
Michelle Nolan

As 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 of DC.

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.

Arrow Comic 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.

Amazing Man Comics 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. 1940).

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 #1.

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.

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cgc registry

Last of the Independents
Shawn Caffrey
Caffrey Chronicles

In case I haven't already made it obvious enough, I am an enormous fan of the horror genre. Zombies, in particular, are one of my favorite breed of characters. So one would assume that any comic book pertaining to the walking dead would take precedence over my ever-growing stack of "to read" books. Last of the IndependentsOne title called Remains, a comic published by IDW and one overflowing with the undead, has remained a priority title since issue #1. Though there are many zombie books in the market today, due to the resurgence of horror in comics, what separates Remains from the others is the art of Kieron Dwyer. Finding such enjoyment from his unique style of illustration, I traveled to my local comic shop in search of more examples of his work. What I found was nothing pertaining to horror, but an action-packed trade paperback called Last of the Independents.

Last of the Independents was published in June of 2003 by AIT/Planet Lar. With Kieron Dwyer as the artist, I was expecting a well illustrated adventure. What I got was not only well drawn, but with Matt Fraction at the writing helm, it was a comic book thrill ride. The story takes place outside of Las Vegas, where three characters, Billy, Cole and Justine, with plans of retiring from their profession, are planning their final bank robbery. The robbery goes off without a hitch, but what they soon come to realize is that the money they stole is property of a mob family's money laundering scheme. Now, knowing that the mob will soon be after them, they prepare themselves for the outlandish "shoot-em-up" adventure that lies on the road up ahead.

One would think that three bank robbers up against an entire mob family would have no chance, but Billy, Cole and Justine aren't just any normal bank robbers. They surprise the reader by demonstrating their capabilities to handle themselves under ANY situation and manage to put up one hell of a fight against an enormous Vegas crime syndicate.

Last of the Independents reads like an action movie directed by a combination of Richard Donner and Quentin Tarantino. With Kieron Dwyer's gritty line work and edgy layouts of action sequences, the progression of the art with Matt Fraction's scripts make the story flow smoothly without any hesitation, making this book a constant page-turner. I know that normally I recommend books with a darker, more horror-oriented tone, but this was a great read, one for readers and fans of all genres.

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The CGC Certified Fawcett File Copies are Finally Here

Bechara Maalouf, owner of Nostalgic Investments, is proud to announce the debut of the Crowley Collection.

The Marvel FamilyWilliam Crowley was the editor of Fawcett Publications and he had saved at least two copies of each Fawcett for his personal files. Most of this collection will make its debut at the San Diego Comicon July 22nd - 25th. More than 2,000 books were certified by CGC and 85% were graded 9.0 or better. The paper quality on these books is cream to off-white or better. Also accompanying the CGC certified books will be 100's of non-certified Fawcetts and original artwork. There will be something for every Fawcett collector so get there early before the best ones are gone!

Nostalgic Investments/Bechara Maalouf can be found at booth # 909-1008 at the San Diego Comicon. If you would like to contact Bechara prior to the convention please call (781) 910-6704 or e-mail Nostalgic5@aol.com.

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Heritage to Offer
the Best of the Best!
Elite "Platinum Night" Sale to Showcase High-End Treasures—Many CGC Graded Books Featured

Heritage Comics Auctions (HCA) will present their first-ever "Platinum Night" Sale on July 29, 2004 in their Dallas, Texas offices. All lots will be available for viewing July 22-25, 2004 at Comic-Con International 2004: San Diego.

"This is a very exciting sale for us," said John Petty, HCA's Director of Auctions. "We've really raised the bar with this sale, and have gotten very selective about what we accepted. Basically, every lot in this sale has a fair market value of $1,000 or more, making this our most exclusive auction ever."

"It's amazing to see this much quality material in one place," said Ed Jaster, Director of Acquisitions for HCA. "We've purposely kept this sale small, only 318 lots, in order to further highlight the extreme quality of these offerings. To my knowledge, there's never been a sale quite like this in the history of our hobby." More

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