5th Anniversary Convention Specials
CGC is celebrating its 5th year anniversary! In honor
of this event CGC will be offering the following discounts
and giveaways at all conventions during the month of
2 Books – $16/book
3-9 Books – $15.50/book (normally $16/book)
10+ Books – 14.50/book (normally $15/book)
$45/book (normally $49/book)
$74/book (normally $79/book)
Every person who submits comics to CGC at February conventions
will be entered into a random drawing. There will be
5 prizes* given out after every show.
prize – Free 1 year Collector's
Society Membership and 1 free Standard Submission.
2nd prize – Free 1 year Collector's
3rd prize – 1 Free Express Submission
4th prize – 1 Free Standard Submission
5th prize – 1 Free Economy Submission
*Prizes are non-transferable and have no cash value.
Periodicals was one of the more intriguing second-tier
comic book publishers of the Golden Age, especially
because the company almost seemed beat before it really
When Hillman gained its “second chance”
in 1942, Air Fighters Comics, which became Airboy Comics
in 1945, emerged as one of the longest-lasting Golden
Age titles. Until Hillman went out of the comic book
business in 1953 to focus on paperbacks and magazines,
the company also produced successful comics titles in
the genres of crime, western, romance and many others.
By the end of 1941, Hillman seemed like a full-fledged
four-color flop, and that's why its earliest titles
are tough to come by today. Get one of each –
if you can!
Hillman published Miracle Comics #1-4 (February - April
1940), then a final issue dated March 1941), Rocket
Comics #1 - 3 (March - May 1940) and Victory
Comics #1 - 4 (August - December 1941). In addition,
Hillman's Air Fighters #1 (November 1941) is essentially
a one-shot, with #2 not coming along until November
1942 – and with a different cast of characters.
Not a single one of those
dozen issues rates a Gerber Photo-Journal scarcity rating
of less than 6! (50 to 200 copies exist)
By far the most fascinating of these four early Hillman
titles was Victory Comics, which featured three costume
heroes in each issue – The Conqueror, The Crusader
and Bomber Burns. Ironically, the last issue of this
early patriotic war title hit the stands shortly before
the attack on Pearl Harbor which drew the United States
into World War II. Apparently Hillman suffered either
financial or manpower problems following Victory #4,
which was the last of the original 12 issues released
All four issues of Victory featured dramatic patriotic
covers of The Conqueror, the first of two by Bill Everett.
Numbers 1 - 2 are listed as 7's in the Gerber
Photo-Journal and #3 - 4 are 6's. There's
no question that they are probably just that scarce.
Victory was actually intended to be one of the first
war-action titles in comic's history rather than
strictly a costume hero book.
In contrast, Miracle Comics and Rocket Comics are more
science fiction oriented. Miracle featured the Sky Wizard,
Master of Space, in 16- to 20-page stories in each of
the four issues, along with Dash Dixon, Man of Might,
in 10- to 13-page tales. In addition, Miracle Comics
featured two of the shortest-lived heroes in history
– Masked Angel (four pages in #1) and the Veiled
Prophet (five pages in #4). It's these kind of
heroes who drove Golden Age “hero completists”
nuts years ago. (Are there still collectors seeking
at least one example of every Golden Age hero? It would
seem prohibitively expensive!)
Rocket Comics featured the interplanetary exploits of
Rocket Riley and one costumed hero, Red Roberts the
Electro Man, in all three issues, but nothing else of
note. Miracle #1, #3 and #4 are 7's in Gerber.
Rocket #1 and #2 are 7's and #3 is an 8. That's
why if you get one issue of each, you'll be doing
well, indeed, along with one issue of Victory.
Likewise, Air Fighters #1, featuring a 12-page story
of The Black Commander in this costume hero's
only appearance, is rated a Gerber 6. It's no
wonder Hillman went out of the comic business for a
year – its early comics apparently sold poorly
in the glut of early Golden Age competition.
On the other hand, the World War II issues of Air Fighters,
beginning with Vol. 1 #2 (November 1942), are filled
with original costume heroes, including Airboy, Iron
Ace, Sky Wolf, Flying Dutchman, Black Angel and Bald
Eagle. They all appeared through Vol. 2 #8 (Fall 1944)
except for Bald Eagle, which finished in Vol. 2 #5 (February
1944). With issues dated between Vol. 2 #9 and Vol.
4 #1 (February 1947), it's a matter whether you
like the cover and/or contents, since both varied widely.
But you can't miss with any of the first 16 issues
of Air Fighters, which were all 68 pages (through the
February 1944 issue).
Eclipse reprinted at least the first seven issues as
the full-color Air Fighters Classics in 1987-1989, during
the same period in which that independent company began
issuing a new Airboy series, which ran 50 issues in
1986-1989. Air Fighters Classics were originally $3.95
per cover and still can be acquired for about that today,
so try to find a couple before you invest big bucks.
Airboy appeared in every issue through the last, dated
May 1953, which was Vol. 10 #4 (whole number 111; there
was no Vol. 3 #3). The Heap, the first version of a
Swamp Thing type in comics, appeared in the Sky Wolf
stories in Vol. 1 #3 and 9, Vol.2 #10 and Vol. 3 #4.
The Heap's own series began in Vol. 3 #9 (October
1946), and the scraggly Toxic Avenger-type creature
appeared in most issues thereafter, with art and story
quality varying wildly. The same could be said of the
Airboy stories, because what will appeal to one fan
won't to another. After Air Fighters became Airboy
with Vol. 2 #11 (December 1945) – apparently in
response to the end of World War II – the quality
of the title varied dramatically from one issue to the
next. But they are all worth looking at. I especially
like the few stories in which the villainess Valkyrie
appeared to match wits with Airboy. Eclipse reprinted
most of those in a one-shot in the late 1980's.
Hillman's other costume hero title was the bizarre
15-issue run of Clue Comics, which became the highly
successful Real Clue Crime stories with Vol. 2 #4 in
1947 (whole number 16). Every hero in Clue Comics –
Boy King, Nightmare and Sleepy, Micro-Face, Twilight
and Zippo – was an oddity. You have to see these
characters to believe them! All five of those creations
appeared in Clue #1-5, so any of those five issues will
suffice unless you find your fancy taken with these
weird guys. There was also a costume hero of sorts called
The Gun Master in #10-15, but the really interesting
off-the-wall creations were Iron Lady (Vol. 2 #1 and
3) and Rackman (#12), both oddly violent strips. Incidentally,
Iron Lady also appeared in an origin story in Airboy
Vol. 4 #1 (February 1947) and Rackman ran in seven stories
in Airboy Vol. 4 #2 through Vol. 4 #8.
In my opinion, just about any Hillman comic is worth
looking through, simply for the wide variety of characters,
art and cover themes. It's tough to pin these
down. Beware, though – I've run into several
Hillman completists over the years, so you still may
have competition. The nice thing about Airboy is that
a few issues can be found at most large comic conventions
and on eBay. Hillman issues are always worth a look!
Search Engine for Collectibles
Our friend Joe Fiore or, as some people know him from
the CGC Chat Boards, “comicwiz” has created
what we think is a new and exciting internet search
engine to find your favorite collectibles: “myAdhound”.
For more information, click on the following link:
And don't forget to tell him CGC sent you!
Changing Face of The Caffrey Chronicles
The past year has brought many changes into comics,
some good, and some bad. For example, 2004 had seen
Spider-Man's life forever changed, both physically
and emotionally, D.C. Comics facing a “crisis”
that forever altered its continuity, and an explosion
of talent through the many new and existing titles on
the market. With the numerous changes to comics and
introductions of new comics and publishers, I can only
hope that 2005 will be just as good to comics, if not
Last year we were reintroduced to characters of old
and introduced to new and exciting characters. Marvel
and DC have revamped existing titles and characters,
while publishers such as Top Cow and IDW are introducing
new titles and characters. Unfortunately for me, with
the abundance of great material on the stands, not to
mention my predisposition towards certain genres, many
great comics, both independent and mainstream, tend
to be overlooked. That's why this month I chose
not to write about a comic in particular, but offer
Each month for the past two years, “The Caffrey
Chronicles” has been seen on the pages of CGC's
e-Newsletter, and each month, I write about a particular
title, single issue, trade paperback, or graphic novel.
When I look back at all of the comics that I've
written about, I can't help but think about all
of the comics that I haven't touched on. But with
that, also come the comics that you, the reader, the
collector, and the fan have yet to see reviewed here.
As of the next newsletter, I'd like to offer you
a chance to recommend a new comic* of your choice. All
of us at CGC are fans and readers foremost, and we welcome
anything new to delve into.
If anyone has any ideas of what you would like to see
reviewed on the pages of CGC's e-newsletter, send
me an e-mail at email@example.com.
If your comic is chosen for “The Caffrey Chronicles”,
CGC will send you a CGC certified copy of that very
comic recommended must be a recent title (not including
variants or special covers). Trade paperbacks and Graphic
Novels are also welcome. Comic books that are out of
print, and have a fair market value of over $20, will
not be available for this promotion.
Reminder: CGC Comics up for
Just a reminder that Hake's Americana & Collectibles
Auction #182, showcasing CGC-graded comic books including
acclaimed and noteworthy issues from high profile collections
including the Mile High, Pennsylvania, San Francisco,
Rockford, Gaines File, Bethlehem, and other pedigrees
will be held on January 25-27, 2005.
For more information, go to http://www.hakes.com/search.asp?CategoryID=160
to be directed to the CGC-certified comics.