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Comics Guaranty, LLC Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
February 2005  
 
Volume 4, Issue 2  
   
1. Jumbo and Jungle Comics
   
2. Demolition Comics on eBay
   
3. Murder Me Dead
   
4. CGC Signature Series in Full Effect at the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon this April!
   
5. Average CGC Grade Analysis from Greg Holland
   
6. Highgradecomics.com Web Site Re-Launches with Many CGC'd Comics
   
7. The CGC Collector
   
8. Heritage Comics Posts Strong Results for First Auction of 2005
   


UPCOMING EVENTS

February 25-27
Megacon
Orange County Convention Center

Orlando, FL


March 18-20
Wizard World LA
Long Beach Convention Center

Long Beach, CA
ON-SITE GRADING


April 2-3
Big Apple Convention

Penn Plaza Pavilion
New York, NY


Nolan's Niche Jumbo and Jungle Comics
Michelle Nolan

By the time the queen and king of the Golden Age comic book jungles had taken their final swings on those oh-so-improbable vines, only Superman and Batman had appeared during more consecutive months among characters created for American comic books.

Sheena appeared in all 167 issues of Jumbo Comics (1938-53) and Kaanga in all 163 issues of Jungle Comics (1940-54), giving those classic Fiction House titles two of the most enduring characters of the Golden Age.

Today, Will Eisner's and Jerry Iger's Sheena, originally created as an English newspaper strip, is by far the better known of the two characters. Sheena emerged as the star of two syndicated television series nearly half a century apart, not to mention a movie distribution three decades after she last appeared.

Ironically, Kaanga was clearly a Tarzan knockoff, yet the so-called Jungle Lord dominated the potted-palm comic book scene long before Tarzan earned his own regularly published Dell comic book. That occurred nearly half a century after Tarzan first appeared on the pulp magazine scene in 1912.

For some reason, though, the Kaanga-like character Ki-Gor was a huge hit in the Fiction House pulps, but Sheena barely made a blip on the pulp scene, especially considering her impact on the comics. Ki-Gor appeared in 59 consecutive quarterly issues of Jungle Stories (from Winter 1938-39 to Spring 1954), but Sheena's only pulp stories were published in a one-shot Sheena pulp in 1951 (three stories) and in the final issues of Jungle Stories.

When looking over the history of Jumbo and Jungle, there's no question that Jumbo is the more collectible comic, especially since this anthology of original strips went through several distinct phases.

Jumbo #1-8 (September 1938 to June/July 1939) were oversized 10½-inch by 14½-inch experiments, all in black and white, looking much like DC's New Fun Comics #1-6 of 1936. If you can acquire even one issue of the first eight Jumbos in any complete condition, consider yourself fortunate, since all eight are among the scarcest of Golden Age comics.

Sheena didn't take over Jumbo's cover on a regular basis until #17 (July 1940) and immediately made the title one of the most distinctive looking and original of the early Golden Age. A flood of jungle queen imitations didn't hit the stands in their own titles until after the super heroes began their gradual decline following World War II.

Jumbo's interiors didn't vary much throughout the 1940s, what with the familiar likes of The Hawk, ZX-5, Stuart Taylor and Inspector Dayton, all of which appeared in the first 63 issues (the last 68-pager was #51). The one "different" feature, Lightning, was different only for Fiction House, which produced only a handful of genuine super heroes.

Lightning made one of the strangest debuts in history — he appeared in full super heroic regalia on the cover of #14, yet did not appear inside until his 8-page back-of-the-book debut in #15 (May 1940). His only other full-fledged cover appearance was #16, making that issue a "must" if you want a representative collection of what made early Fiction House comics absolute standouts on the newsstands. Lightning lasted through #41 (July 1942) as the company's longest-running costume hero. The long-running Ghost Gallery replaced Lightning in #42 and never left the title. Another long-running strip, Sky Girl, debuted in #68 (October 1944) and ran through #130 (except #79), with almost all stories done by Matt Baker, giving Baker completists quite a financial challenge, if not rarities to chase. Every comic convention seems to have several issues of Jumbo.

Sheena appeared in two stories (a total of 20 pages in each issue) of Jumbo #141-149, which were the last 52-page issues. Jumbo dropped to 36 pages (including covers) with #150. What makes Jumbo #151-167 worth collecting are covers by Maurice Whitman, who began drawing most of them with #146 and composed strikingly different horror covers for #151-167 when the publishers decided Sheena was no longer a cover draw. The versatile, under-rated Whitman drew dozens of Fiction House covers in the 1950-54 period, no doubt keeping several titles alive until the publisher was on its last legs.

Jungle was unique with regard to genre — as was the sister title Planet — when #1 (January 1940) appeared, part of a deluge of new titles from numerous publishers in the first half of 1940, the first year comics really became a cultural phenomenon. But other than some marvelous early covers by several talented artists, Jungle quickly became repetitive and remained that way throughout the run. Camilla, Wambi, Tabu, Simba the Lion, Fantomah, Captain Terry Thunder — all were well drawn but none were especially memorable.

Jungle's last 68-pager was #41 (May 1943) and its final 52-pager was #139 (July 1951). Sheena appeared in a 12-page story in #158 (Spring 1953), immediately following the demise of Jumbo. Tiger Girl appeared in 5- or 6-page stories in #152-163 (except #158) while shifting over from Fight Comics after her last appearance in #81. Just as he did with Jumbo, Maurice Whitman turned in striking covers for Jungle beginning with #132.

Unless you're a completist, your best bet with Fiction House is to check both the covers and interiors of any issues of Jumbo or Jungle that tickle your fancy or meet your price point. Most of the artists who worked between 1940 and 1954 were competent at worst and wonderfully dynamic at best. If you can acquire a couple dozen copies of each, you can call yourself the owner of a truly representative collection.

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CGC Signature Series in Full Effect for Brian Michael Bendis, Warren Ellis and Bill Willingham at the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon this April!
The newest addition to this year's Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon, Brian Michael Bendis, writer of Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers, Powers, the Pulse, Secret War, and the upcoming House of M, will be one of the many creators available for the prestigious CGC Signature Series label. Brian joins Warren Ellis, the writer of Planetary, Iron Man, Ultimate Nightmare, Ultimate Secret, and the upcoming Desolation Jones and Bill Willingham, writer of Fables, Robin and the upcoming Day of Vengeance.

"We're very honored to have these distinguished writers at the show," said co-promoter Kevin Boyd. "Being a fan of all three writers, I'm already excited, and the fans have been buzzing about the news on the Web. The opportunity to have a comic signed and submitted for the CGC Signature Series has never been easier. It is an amazing chance to get the only 100% authenticated signatures in our hobby from creators who don't travel to Canada very often."

The April 29-May 1, 2005 convention will be held at the National Trade Centre in Toronto, Canada. "We've moved into the East Annex of the main National Trade Centre building this year... so we're even closer to parking and public transit and only a short walk away from our old location in the Queen Elizabeth Building." said co-promoter Peter Dixon.

"Fans in Toronto know that the Paradise show is a quality comic book show. They (the fans) are appreciated every day of the event," said Kevin Boyd. "Peter and I put a lot of attention into making the con experience as fun and friendly as possible for everyone." Wide aisles, fast moving lines and full access to the guests are all hallmarks of the Paradise Con, now entering its third year as a three-day event.

CGC is the official grading service of the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon and will be accepting submissions at the show. "The prestigious CGC Signature Series, as always, will be a big focus of our convention," says Peter Dixon. "We cooperate fully with CGC to ensure that the service will be available to all." There will be a special Signature Series submission booth, which will coordinate the many Signature Series witnesses at the event. As with all comics submitted to CGC by Paradise Comics for Signature Series, Paradise will be making a donation for each book to charities like ACTOR - A Commitment To Our Roots, and Doctors Without Borders.

Last year's show featured Will Eisner as the Guest of Honor. "Everyone here at Paradise was devastated by the news of Will Eisner's death. He was like everyone's favorite grandfather the weekend of the show and I still get calls from the fans who met him last year who want to talk about the impact that their meeting Mr. Eisner had on their lives and careers," said Peter Dixon.

Among the other guests already confirmed (in no particular order) are:
  • Dave Sim (Cerebus)
  • Jerry Robinson (classic Batman artist and co-creator of many Batman-related characters like the Joker and Robin)
  • Alvin Schwartz (writer of Gold and Silver Age DC Comics and strips, creator of Bizarro)
  • Jim Cheung (Young Avengers)
  • Adi Granov (Iron Man)
  • Ty Templeton (Simpsons, Spider-Man/Human Torch)
  • Dave Ross (Breakout)
  • B. Clay Moore (Hawaiian Dick, the Expatriate, Battle Hymn)
  • J. Torres (Love As A Foreign Language, Teen Titans Go, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight)
  • Tom Fowler (Green Arrow)
  • Jim Craig (classic Marvel artist, What IF?, Spider-Man: The Trial of Venom)
  • Tom Grummett (New Thunderbolts, Teen Titans)
  • Kaare Andrews (Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Year One)
  • Phil Jimenez (DC Countdown, Otherworld)
  • Francis Manapul (Magdalena/Vampirella, Witchblade, Tomb Raider)
  • Stuart Sayger (Shiver in the Dark)
More guest announcements are due shortly. Full list (including Artists Alley) is available at the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon Web site.

The Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon is also the home of the 1st Annual SHUSTERS - the Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards, which will be handed out at a ceremony at the con on Saturday, April 30th.

To receive e-mail updates on the show, visit www.torontocomicon.com and register, e-mail info@torontocomicon.com, or call (416) 487-9807.

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The CGC Collector

The CGC Collector, a new addition to the CGC newsletter, will spotlight a different CGC Registry Set and its owner. If you are interested in being spotlighted as The CGC Collector, please send a link to your Registry Set and a small write up with its contents to plitch@cgccomics.com

Hi, my name is Greg Loey and as you can see by looking at my registry set; my passion is collecting DC 100-page giants. However, unlike many others that are reacquiring books that they owned while they were younger, I don't recall buying any of these books while I was younger. However, I did have recollection of seeing some of the later ones at the corner grocery store.

I started collecting comics again in 1989 during the hype of the first Batman movie. Initially, I mainly collected Marvels with an emphasis on the Bronze Age keys as well as a run of Fantastic Four from numbers 39 to 150. However, as I found it more difficult to find books of my liking, I decided around 1997 to concentrate on buying bronze DCs that I recalled either seeing on the stands or in their house ads. With the advent of eBay and some aggressive local buying, I was finally able to complete my raw runs of the 100 pagers in 2001 with the purchase of a copy of Young Love 114.

Although I bought a few CGC graded 100 pagers on and off, I started to become more aggressive in my buying in the summer of 2002. I started submitting my raw copies to CGC in July of 2003 and after some initial disappointments, I finally got a grasp of how CGC tends to treat defects with 100 pagers. Currently, my registry consists of around a 50-50 split of books that I submitted myself and the ones that I purchased from others. Regarding some favorite finds, the 2003 San Diego convention was one of the best, as I was able to find my current copy of Adventure 416 and Batman 238. They were purchased raw so I was happy with the CGC 9.6 and 9.2 grades that I received for them. These books are more difficult to find, as they are among the earlier issues. The black cover on the Batman does not help when trying to find NM or better copies, which obviously, I haven't succeeded yet.

Another purchase of a difficult book was the DC 100-Page Super Spectacular 4 CGC 9.4, which has a classic black cover drawn by Bernie Wrightson. This book was won at an All-Star auction along with the Our Army of War 242 CGC 9.0 which is from the Winnipeg pedigree. This pedigree has been the source of some many tough issues for me.

Regarding difficult issues to find in high grade, the romance and horror issues are some of the hardest to find in nice condition due to the demographics of their readers. I was able to purchase my DC 1000 Page Super Spectacular 5 CGC 9.0 in around the mid-1990s for a very aggressive price at that time. This copy is structurally beautiful with its only material flaws on the back cover. Another fortunate purchase by me was a House of Mystery 224 that eventually graded a CGC 9.6. This proves that you can get quality raw books on eBay if you buy from known sources.

Currently, my focus is on filling the few holes in my CGC run but I am becoming more patient with my purchases. I was buying very aggressively over the last few years so I can become more selective with the final books that I need. I have met many great people over the years, especially through the CGC Forums and some of them have been very helpful in assisting me in completing my run. My Tarzan 235 CGC 9.8 is an example of this. When I submitted my best copy of that book to CGC and got back a sub-par 9.2 grade, I contacted someone who mentioned that he may have a nice raw copy of that book. That person is Adam Charalambidis and he did one of the nicest things by sending me the book for free with no strings attached. As you can see, this book eventually graded a CGC 9.8 and remains the nicest book that I have personally submitted to CGC. Another person who has assisted me in presenting my set with some scans is Brad Hamann, who I also met through the CGC Forums. He has been very helpful in reducing my scans to a presentable but allowable size for the registry.

I would like to end by thanking all the others who have helped me towards my goal of completing this run.

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cgc registry

Demolition Comics
on eBay

Demolition Comics Inc, and Demolitioncomics.com are back on eBay again after an 18-month hiatus. They were busy creating their multilingual comic book Web site. "The Web site was so demanding, it required our undivided attention. We just had to give it all our focus," says William Insignares, owner and CEO of Demolition Comics. "Now that our Web site is finished and on a steady track, we have decided to return to eBay in a big way," says Insignares. "We will be marking our return with some wonderful early Modern and Bronze age very high grade Marvel and DC CGC certified comics. Many of these comics are the highest grades ever received for that particular issue. These are all from the same collection!"

Demolition Comics promises four weeks of auctions in which they will hope to auction off most, if not all, of the books from this high grade collection. "We were so thrilled when William brought us these high grade books from this fantastic collection," says Steve Borock, President of CGC, LLC. "I think fans will be thrilled to have a chance at owning some of these."

Demolition Comics' eBay seller's ID is demolition_comics. They are in their second week of auctioning of this collection. If you would like to see what is available from Demolition Comics, head over to eBay now.

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Murder Me Dead
Shawn Caffrey
Caffrey Chronicles

Last month, I announced that "Caffrey Chronicles" was changing its face. Instead of personal selections, I am now offering readers a chance to recommend books for review. Matt Dakan, one of our Modern Pre-Graders, was the first to present me with a stack of books that he wanted me to check out for the newsletter. The first book from the pile that I picked out was "Murder Me Dead," a trade paperback collection written and drawn by David Lapham.

"Murder Me Dead" was originally released in July of 2000 by El Capitan as a nine-issue series. A crime noir story of Steven Russell, a wealthy Jazz club owner, and a man married into a wealthy family but an unhappy marriage, who comes home one night only to find that his wife Eve had hanged herself. Many people in Steven's life were aware of the poor relationship he shared with his wife, and the suspected "suicide" turns into a murder investigation, with Steven as the prime suspect, and a large cast of supporting characters wanting nothing more than to see him go down for it.

What I found most enjoyable about this series was how David Lapham, who I've previously mentioned in a past article about "The Darkness," tells a story with deep character development, bringing an overwhelming sense of realism with each new face. As each individual character is introduced, the reader sees Steven's life become more complicated, tightly woven in a web of lies and violence. Characters like the beautiful yet mysterious high school crush Tara Torres, who makes her way back into his life along with her secretive and dangerous past, and Sam Fred, a sleazy P.I. hired by Eve's estranged family, hoping to get the evidence needed to prove that Eve's death was at the hands of Steven, make the story a suspenseful read of love, betrayal and murder.

David Lapham, who took a break from the popular "Stray Bullets" to work on this project, is at his story-telling best. His art and writing compliment each other, resulting in an easily read nail-biter. The trade paperback collects all issues, making this book a non-stop, one-sitting read. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of David's work, a crime fan, or a reader just looking for something different than the typical super-hero genre title.

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Highgradecomics.com Web Site Re-Launches with Many CGC'd Comics

The 2005 selling season starts off with a bang with the re-launch of the Highgradecomics.com Web site.

Working with J2 Interactive (www.j2-interactive.com), our good friend, Bob Storms, is unveiling over 25,000 books online covering multiple genres in high grade, many CGC'd. Powerful new features such as bidding on all books, smoother navigation, special promotions for Web site customers, selling/consignment tools and automatic want-list processing now makes this one of the premier Web sites to visit when looking for high grade material.

For more information on buying high grade CGC'd comics from Bob, visit www.highgradecomics.com.

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Average CGC Grade Analysis from Greg Holland

Using counts from the 12/16/2004 CGC census data, the average universal grade for each publisher has been calculated for each year. In each of the graphs, an attempt was made to identify publishers which spanned the timeframe selected as well as being well-represented in regard to total CGC submissions. Click here to review graphs.

It is apparent that key issues (such as those from the Silver Age), which are often submitted regardless of the condition of the book, will generally lower the overall average grade due to higher number of mid-to-low grade submissions in the census. It is possible that these key issues offer a better estimation of the condition of all comic books in existence from a particular time period, while more common issues of the same age are likely to be submitted to CGC only if their condition is already regarded as above that of the average copy.

If nothing else, this analysis should offer a better understanding of books that have been CGC graded to date, and what book conditions would be above average or below average to the comic collector who uses CGC.

To do your own CGC Analysis visit Greg Holland's Web site at: http://www.GregHolland.com/CGC or chat with him on the CGC Forums, under username Valiantman.

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Heritage Comics Posts Strong Results for First Auction of 2005
Many notable CGC-graded books among the highlights

"This was as strong a sale as we've ever seen," said Ed Jaster, Director of Acquisitions for HCA, "with solid prices realized across the board. I've actually had consignors calling me raving about their results, which were, in many cases, far above what anyone expected.

"In comic books, condition continues to rule," Jaster continued, "with 9.6s and 9.8s commanding strong multiples of Guide. For example, an Amazing Spider-Man #19, CGC graded MT 9.9 with off-white to white pages from the Northern Lights Collection brought $20,700, over 33 times Guide. Similarly, an Amazing Spider-Man #129, featuring the first appearance of the Punisher, CGC-graded NM/MT 9.8 with White pages, sold for $9,200, a cool 23 times Guide. It seems that Spidey still rules the roost, even though the next movie is still several years away."

Read this article in its entirety

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