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Comics Guaranty, LLC Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
April 2005  
 
Volume 4, Issue 2  
   
1. Wings Comics
   
2. D.C. Gives Blue Beetle "Open-Minded" Treatment
(Spoiler Warning)
   
3. CGC Accepting Submissions at the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon 2005 — April 29-May 1
   
4. High Grade CGC Books at EsquireComics.com
   
5. CGC Graded White Mountain Copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 Caught in Heritage's Web!
   
6. The CGC Registry
   
7. CGC Submission Analysis from Greg Holland
   
8. Grading On-Site at Wizard World Philadelphia
   


UPCOMING EVENTS

April 29-May 1
Paradise Comics
Toronto Comicon 2005

National Trade Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


May 13-15
Motor City Comic-Con

Novi Expo Center
Novi, MI
Submissions Only


May 21-22
Golden State Comic-Con

Oakland Convention Center
Oakland, CA


June 3-5
Wizard World Philadelphia

Philadelphia Convention Center
Philadelphia, PA
On-site Grading
Moderns Only — 1975-Present


Nolan's Niche Wings Comics
Michelle Nolan

This concludes a four-part Nolan's Niche on collecting the "Big Six" from Fiction House, one of the leading "second-tier" companies of the Golden Age.

Some collectors consider Fiction House to be the ultimate "generic" comic book company, and it's hard to disagree. Many of the stories make only marginal sense, and the vast majority of the characters are cardboard at best, yet Fiction House titles are just bursting with energy that typifies the Golden Age.

In the previous three installments, we covered five of Fiction House's classic "Big Six." We'll finish with Wings, surely as generic a title as ever existed. The title was taken straight from Fictions House's long-running pulp empire, as were Planet, Jungle and Fight.

Wings was one of the longest running of the genre specialty pulps, running 133 issues from January 1928 to Spring 1953. It's important to remember that even as late as 1940, when Wings Comics #1 (September 1940) appeared, the vast majority of the American public had never traveled by air. Look at it this way: When Wings #1 hit the newsstands, many parents of the children who read it were born either before or not long after the Wright brothers first flew in 1903!

WingsIt seems likely that Fiction House came up with Wings, the fifth comic book title, in response to the war then raging in Europe and Asia. In that respect, Wings can be considered the first truly successful war comic. Unlike Fiction House's other titles of the 1940-42 period, Wings did not feature any superheroes—unless you count the dynamic soldier of fortune Captain Wings, a lone-wolf type who debuted in Wings #16 (December 1941). Captain Wings ran for 101 consecutive issues—through #116 (an undated 1952 issue)—then returned in #118 and the final issue, #124, both original stories. Captain Wings ran at least 10 pages in all but a handful of issues, so Fiction House clearly felt it had a winner.

The real attraction of Wings is in the wonderful air-war covers, which duplicated the visual success of numerous pulps. Wings presented Fiction House with a unique dilemma—how to use the leggy lasses portrayed much more often than not on the covers of the five other "Big Six" titles.

WingsFiction House didn't even try to use femmes in peril on Wings covers until well after World War II ended in 1945. If you have a Gerber Photo-Journal, you can see for yourself that there is nary a female on the covers of #1-72 except for #26 (October 1942) and #69 (May 1946). Beginning with #73 (September 1946), women in danger dominated most covers of Wings through #109 (September 1949), which was the last monthly issue before Wings went quarterly or even less frequently. Bob Lubbers, one of the most imaginative cover artists of the post-war period, drew virtually all of these girls-in-danger covers, often dreaming up situations and fashions (!!) that can only be described as less-than-likely! But they're lots of fun for the collector who loves bizarre, thoroughly energetic covers.

My favorite Wings cover is #87 (November 1947), featuring one of the few females in charge during the title's run. On this cover, a redhead in full female-soldier-of-fortune regalia fires a machine gun to help answer the cover title of the Captain Wings feature: "Does Tomorrow Hold Death from the Outer Void?"

By the way, one of my favorite cover titles graces #63 (November 1945)—"Hari Kiri Rides the Skyways." It's an ironic title, since house ads indicate the issue went on sale about September 25—about three weeks after the Japanese officially surrendered to General MacArthur! But then, Fiction House kept aiming at the Japanese long after the end of the war. In fact, Captain Wings battled Colonel Kamikaze through #72 (August 1946)—though on that cover, the Japanese villain is billed as an "arch criminal."

Wings finished out as a Korean War comic for most of the final 12 issues from #113 Winter 1950/51) through #124 (Summer 1954), which ties as the final Fiction House comic. Wings #112 (undated 1950) features the science fictional "Flight of the Silver Saucers," featuring what is billed as "The Return of Captain Wings." Captain Wings had never left the scene! This issue is very tough to find—perhaps all the "flying saucer collectors" have scarfed up most of the available copies!

Oddly, the long-running Clipper Kirk emerged as the company's only genuine post-war costume hero (unless you count jungle girls) when he became The Phantom Falcon in #69 (May 1946). The Phantom Falcon ran through #106 (June 1949), plus in #110, always in six-page backup stories (seven pages in #70). Just another Fiction House oddity—why would the company create one of the final original Golden Age costume heroes, then never try to really take advantage of the concept?

Fiction House did not survive the mid-1950s, since it published virtually nothing other than pulps and comics. Only a handful of pulps remained after the last issue of Planet Stories in 1955, and most of Fiction House's garish comics could not have survived the beginning of the Comics Code with early 1955 issues.

Fiction House tried hard to take advantage of the Korean War, probably more than any company except Atlas/Marvel. The last five issues of Fight and the final four of Rangers featured Korean War stories to go with Wings, plus the short-lived Jet Aces #1-4, War Bird #1-3 and Knockout Adventures #1.

My advice for collecting Wings is to focus on the covers you enjoy, realizing that the earlier the issue, the more expensive it's likely to be.

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CGC Accepting Submissions at the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon 2005 — April 29-May 1

At the end of the month, CGC will be making a stop in Toronto for the 2005 edition of the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon. Our only Canadian stop on this year's convention circuit, the PCTC has a spectacular guest list and an excellent location to have books signed for the prestigious Signature Series label. The show will see the debut of the new Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon CGC Signature Series Center, a booth designed to organize and oversee Signature Series signings at the convention. The center will even feature guest charity signings right at the booth, and will be adjacent to CGC's own submission center.

With writer guests such as the ones listed below, one would wonder if the Paradise crew had decided to make writing the focus of this year's convention. "When you put it like that, I wonder if we did," said co-promoter and organizer Kevin Boyd, "but it just worked out that way."

  • Warren Ellis (Iron Man, Planetary)
  • Brian Michael Bendis (Daredevil, New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man)
  • Samm Barnes (Spectacular Spider-Man, Doctor Spectrum)
  • B. Clay Moore (The Expatriate, Battle Hymn)
  • Ken Siu-Chong (Street Fighter, Darkstalkers)
  • Ian Boothby (Simpsons Comics), J. Torres (Teen Titans Go!)
  • Bill Willingham (Fables, Robin

Boyd continued: "We've got a stellar line of artists coming as well, so don't forget to bring a sketchbook!"

  • Phil Jimenez (D.C. Countdown, Otherworld)
  • Adi Granov (Iron Man)
  • Tom Fowler (Green Arrow)
  • David Mack (Kabuki)
  • Dale Keown (Darkness/Hulk)
  • Alvin Lee (Street Fighter, Darkstalkers)
  • Kaare Andrews (Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus)
  • Tom Grummett (New Thunderbolts)
  • Dave Sim (Cerebus)
  • Jerry Robinson (Golden Age Batman artist).

"We're really excited about this year's convention, and the fan 'buzz' has been phenomenal," said Peter Dixon, owner and co-promoter of the Paradise con. "We've got a lot of new dealer faces, which is something that the Toronto community has been asking for, for years now." In fact, the convention, which is held at the National Trade Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto, is even bigger than last year and has moved into a hall that better fits the needs of the Comicon. At 55,000 square feet it is the largest comic book only show in Canada. "We have over 50 companies, plus another dozen publishers and over 200 comic book creators in attendance," Dixon reports, "and Kevin and his helpers have organized some great panels, and then there's the debut of the Shusters."

The Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards debut at this year's show and the organizers hope to see it become an annual tradition. "There are so many great creators in Canada. This is the community's way of honoring their achievements," says Boyd, who is also the Associate Coordinator of the Shusters. There are five fan-voted awards for work done in 2004, plus a Retailer Recognition award and six Hall of Fame awards. Fans voted online and by paper ballot and the winners will be announced at a special ceremony on April 30th at the Comicon.

With Canadian heavyweights like Dave Sim, Darwyn Cooke, Cary Nord, David Finch and more nominated, you never know who may show up for the awards and who may end up winning.

For more information, visit www.Torontocomicon.com and www.CGCComics.com.

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The CGC Registry

Formed in 2002, the Comics Guaranty, LLC Registry has been an important and expanding part of CGC's trifecta of services that have been introduced since the company first started third-party grading, certification and encapsulation in February, 2000 (the other two being the CGC census or population report and the CGC boards or forum). The Registry allows Collectors' Society members to list (register) their certified comic books (and comic magazines) onto the Registry, where each certified item receives a value (in points) based on its grade. The Registry is divided into sets (such as: Fantastic Four issues 1-300; X-Men issues 1-201, etc.) and subsets (such as: X-Men issues 94-143; Amazing Spider-Man issues 1-25). The registrants' set listings are ranked according to the total number of points his or her set accumulates by adding up the assigned value of each specific issue within that set. At first glance, this would seem like a competition or a means by which a collector can "show off" his or her comic books, but the Registry is far more significant and consequential than its apparent use.

For me personally, using the Registry (and, in effect, the CGC message boards) has been one of the most productive ventures I have ever undertaken in the comic book hobby, the result of which has led directly to the formation of my own Web site, PedigreeComics.com. I started registering my personal collection of comics in late November 2003, and still do so under the nickname "Captain Tripps." At that point in time, I was already known as a high grade collector of Silver Age Marvels, but primarily only to dealers and a handful of other collectors, people in the hobby whose best interests were served by keeping me anonymous.

X-menAfter registering a few of my favorite sets (X-Men 1-66 and Amazing Spider-Man 1-25) and viewing the other sets that were present, I began to take notice of the number of other high grade (and non-high grade) collectors using the CGC Registry, collectors who previously never had a forum in which to list their books and see who else and what else was out there. It was an absolute revelation, and an addictive one at that, as I began to register practically all of my CGC certified comics over the next few months. Almost instantly, other collectors were taking note of who I was as I was now discovering a world of fellow collectors who shared the same love of the hobby that I did. In a way, the CGC Registry became the single best thing that has happened for collectors because before the registry and boards, they never would have had the opportunity to learn each others' identities beforehand. But now, they are e-mailing, private messaging each other, trading comic books, and sharing their love of collecting. And this phenomenon was not limited to just a handful of collectors or ones solely based in the Northeast or this country. The Registry includes members from many different countries—international comic book collectors who were now able to list their books alongside their American brethren.

The CGC Registry is also invaluable in that it basically shows to the participating members (and anyone in the world who knows how to use a computer) what each collector has, and more importantly, which books within a set each collector is missing! Trades, sales, purchases, etc. became commonplace among registrants, as did the drive to upgrade one's own set to get higher in the rankings. As newer registrants began listing their valued collections, more collector "awareness" was achieved and the entire hobby benefited as a whole. The CGC Registry fueled topics for the boards just as the board members cried out for more sets to be listed. Comic book fandom had reached an incredible new and exciting level, courtesy of the CGC.

X-menFor my benefit, the contacts I made through the CGC Registry (and the CGC boards) were more significant and valuable than any auction house's or dealer's customer list, as I used my new-found notoriety as a major Silver Age Marvel collector to open Pedigree Comics, Inc. in June, 2004. Many of these collectors (and "forumites" as per the CGC boards) have become good friends, valued customers and consignors and they are the primary reason why my Web site has enjoyed success in its initial year of operation. Looking back, I realize now that I never would have had the means, contacts or vehicle in which to start an internet-based comic book company without the advent of the CGC, and more particularly, the CGC Registry and chat boards. I would have remained a fairly unknown high grade Marvel collector, one of thousands to go unnoticed within our hobby.

The Registry has become a valuable tool for me as a collector and I remember specifically those first few days and weeks as I began listing my collection. I chose the name "Captain Tripps" after my love of Jerry Garcia, the deceased lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead who went under that handle in the 1960s. I also initially chose to list my favorite set, which was and still is the X-Men (issues 1-66), which I named "Pacific Coast Blues" since the predominance of the comics in the set are from the Pacific Coast Collection and all have blue, universal labels. It is undoubtedly the Registry set I take the most pride in, due to its completeness (all 66 issues), high grades (all in 9.6 or better) and composition of Pacific Coast copies (almost half). In fact, through trades, re-submissions and purchases, the set now includes more 9.8s (36) than 9.6s (29) plus one 9.9 (# 41). Most of the early issues are from the Pacific Coast pedigree and are incredible, unread NM/M copies (#s 1-3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 15, 17, 21, 24, 25 and 30). The Pacific Coasts that didn't make it to 9.8 are all 9.6 (8, 10, 16, 18, 19, 29, 33, etc.). Since I first listed the set, I have been able to acquire (through trades) and up-grade (through re-submissions) several of the issues which are now 9.8, including the 1, 5, 9, 10, 12, 15, 25, 44, 47, 54, 56, 57 and 58.

Not only is the Pacific Coast Collection represented, but a few other known pedigrees are as well. These include the Northland (#s 22, 23, 42, 43 and 62); Curator (#s 10, 36 and 58); Oakland (#59); Golden State (#s 13 and 32) and Massachusetts (#35). In my desire to have the best possible set I could, I actually traded some Pacific Coast copies to get these other pedigreed ones as well as non-pedigree 9.8s. Once the ball got rolling and the "fever" came to the forefront, I was trying to improve every issue, even making trades for an upgrade in page quality. No doubt about it, managing a Registry set can be an expensive and addictive adventure!

There are many other sets that I have come to appreciate and actively list my books into, such as the Avengers 1-50 set; Fantastic Four 1-102 and Daredevil 1-120; but the "Pacific Coast Blues" is my favorite one. With new sets (and subsets) being constantly created, only time will tell if X-Men #s 1-66 will remain that way!

For more information about the CGC Registry and the Collectors' Society, visit www.collectors-society.com.

For information about Pedigree Comics, visit www.pedigreecomics.com.

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cgc registry

D.C. Gives Blue Beetle "Open-Minded" Treatment
(Spoiler Warning)
Shawn Caffrey
Caffrey Chronicles

After D.C. Comics' history-altering seven-issue run of Identity Crisis, large pieces of its after-effects and unresolved conflicts lingered throughout D.C.'s many major titles. This left fans, including all of us in the CGC Grading Room, craving for the confrontations and conflicts set up in the series to be played out in full swing. After four months of waiting, and after four long months of buzz on our CGC Modern forums, D.C. has released D.C. Countdown, an Identity Crisis "follow-up" and the beginning of an even bigger "crisis."  A collaboration of the comic industry's top talents, Countdown, along with D.C., has done what most publishers strive to accomplish with their titles but always seem to fail miserably at—killing a superhero!

CountDownThe top talents responsible for this 80-page book alone are worth the $1.00 cover price.  Written in three chapters by Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka and Judd Winick, with art by Rags Morales, Ed Benes, Ivan Reis, Jesus Raiz and Phil Jimenez, D.C. Countdown is not only an extreme value, but a treat for any fan. The story is mainly focused on Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), who has reason to believe that there is a conspiracy against him and possibly other superheroes. The reader follows Blue Beetle through a hunt to find evidence to support his theory, but each time he gets close to finding information, he is attacked, unveiling someone's intention to have him killed. Turning to the JLA for assistance, Blue Beetle is turned down by them all, illustrating to the reader that the so-called "B-List" character is never taken seriously by many of the super powers in the D.C. Universe. With this, Beetle continues alone and discovers that a secret organization called "Checkmate" has obtained and utilized information on all of the heroes—information such as the heroes' powers, weaknesses, and even secret identities. When confronted by the parties responsible, which is a shocking twist for the reader, Beetle is first offered to be a part of this conspiracy and given two choices—join "Checkmate" or die. Blue Beetle refuses, as a typical hero would, and attempts an escape in order to warn the heroes of the D.C. Universe. But in the end, as one can see from the cover of this book, he fails.

Now I'm not saying that this issue is a masterpiece by any means, for it does have its minor flaws. I'm recommending this book for a few solid reasons. One, the cover art is absolutely stunning, with an illustration by Jim Lee painted over by Alex Ross. Second, the cornucopia of talent put into this thick book is a perfect combination. The writing flows together effortlessly and shows that Rucka, Winick and Johns put forth quite the effort to cover as many loose ends as possible. The artists behind this book are at their best and make this read a pleasure for the eyes. All of their distinct styles bring the characters to life, yet with no single artist shadowing the other. My final reason for this recommendation is what D.C. Countdown means for the future of D.C. characters in the months to come. This book has opened the door for something so large to happen, the word "crisis" could only describe it. Enjoy the ride!

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High Grade CGC Books at EsquireComics.com

We are pleased to announce that Mark S. Zaid's Web site for his new comic business EsquireComics.com is now live. The site features many of the highest CGC graded Platinum, Golden, Atomic and Silver Age books dating from 1930-1963. It also offers user-friendly search options that provide the ability to identify your chosen books via title, grade, pedigree, publisher, era/age or price. High-resolution scans of both the front and back covers of every book are available for a detailed inspection.

EsquireComics.com offers a current inventory that includes such notable Golden Age books as:

  • Green Lantern #1 CGC 9.0
  • Batman #2 CGC 9.2
  • Mad #1 CGC 9.8 (Gaines File)
  • Superman #2 CGC 8.0
  • All-American #16 CGC 4.5 
  • and the classic Silver Age Showcase #4 CGC 9.2

Mark is best known for handling high-profile national security and First Amendment legal cases against the U.S. Government, but has been collecting comics since 1974, and briefly served as a dealer in the 1980s. CGC welcomes him to our family of member dealers.

For more information, visit www.esquirecomics.com.

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CGC Graded White Mountain Copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 Caught in Heritage's Web!

Heritage Comics Auctions (HCA) will offer the White Mountain copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, CGC NM 9.4 with off-white to white pages, featuring the origin and first appearance of Spider-Man, in their upcoming Signature auction, to be held May 18-20 at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City.

"This is one of the finest copies of this landmark book I've ever seen," said Ed Jaster, Director of Acquisitions for HCA. "The White Mountain Collection, originally from New England, was an assemblage of comics from the 1950s and 60s which are renowned for their exceptional condition. Many collectors view the White Mountain books as comparable in quality to the legendary Mile High comics of the Golden Age, and this book in particular certainly lives up to that high standard." Read more

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CGC Submission Analysis from Greg Holland

As of the February 9, 2005 census report, CGC had graded over 500,000 copies of over 50,000 different comic books. 1982's Wolverine #1 (limited series) leads the way with 2,710 copies that have been CGC graded to date. There are 25 books which have been graded at least 1,000 times, and another 63 books have been graded at least 500 times.



The top 100 most submitted comics have been graded a total of 88,178 times. The top 1% (513 comics) represent 35% of all CGC submissions (188,807). On the opposite end of the spectrum, CGC has graded and encapsulated 18,507 different books only once, while 8,721 have been graded twice.

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Grading On-Site at Wizard World Philadelphia

CGC will be grading on-site at Wizard World Philadelphia. PLEASE NOTE: CGC will be grading only Modern Aged books published from 1975 to the present on-site at Wizard World Philadelphia.

Get there early to guarantee your comic books back by shows end. CGC will also be accepting submissions to bring back to their offices in Sarasota for grading at regular turn around times and prices.

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Join the community that is shaping the future of collecting and start getting the most out of your favorite hobby. Click on the link to the right.

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