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CGC Certified Rarities In Latest Auction By Hake's
Americana & Collectibles auction #185 is currently
online and features an extensive offering of CGC certified
in the auction include many CGC'd pedigree comics from
noted collections including Edgar Church/Mile High,
Crowley, D Copy, Big Apple, Vancouver, Allentown, Rockford,
Bethlehem, Carson City, Circle 8, Pennsylvania, Larson,
and others. Many of the comics offered are also noted
as being some of the highest certified examples according
the CGC Census. Notable books offered in the auction
include Marvel Mystery Comics #2 CGC certified
9.0, New Adventure Comics #29 CGC certified
9.6 Mile High copy, and Eerie Comics #1 CGC
auction also features an extensive offering of comic
character memorabilia, political Americana, vintage
autographs, toys, and collectibles. Highlights include
a Peanuts Sunday Page by Charles Schulz dated February
17, 1952, numerous early Disney pencil drawings from
the 1930s, a scarce 1966 Batman promotional comic featuring
Bob Kane, an autographed sketch of Superman by Jerry
Siegel and more. Hake's Americana auction #185 closes
September 20-22. To order the auction catalog and to
register to bid, visit www.hakes.com
or call toll free (866) 404-9800 ext. 443.
that The Shadow Comics ran 101 issues in the 1940's,
it's surprising how many fans don't either know or care
much about the run.
Enough fans do care, of course, to keep prices of The
Shadow high enough so that they are not just cheap impulse
items. Yet every dedicated Golden Age collector would
do well to snap up at least a couple of issues, especially
since many issues seem quite scarce.
Shadow was an iconic American radio and pulp magazine
hero by the time Street & Smith entered the comic
book field in 1940. When it came to outside-the-law
costumed avengers with abnormal powers, The Shadow absolutely
dominated the decade of the 1930s.
Street & Smith, a major pulp and magazine publisher
and earlier a leading producer of dime novels, was never
more than a second-tier outfit on the comic book scene.
The Shadow was the venerable firm's flagship comic book
title, first appearing early in 1940 with undated #1
and #2 issues. Issue was #3 was dated May. The Shadow
was numbered 12 issues to a volume, with no numbering
mistakes (as befitting such a classy major-money firm).
The final issue was Vol. 9, #5 (August-September 1949).
Street & Smith dropped its large pulp titles and
comic books at the same time in 1949, though kept its
digest fiction titles such as Astounding Science Fiction,
later Analog. (By the way, doesn't it seem odd today
that the company renamed the title for the 1960s because
it sounded modern? Somehow, though, I doubt well ever
see a "Digital" science fiction magazine!)
The Shadow Comics ran 68 pages through Vol. 3 #8 (Nov.
1943), then 60 pages for 12 issues through Vol. 4 #8
(Nov. 1944). The remainder of the run was 52 pages.
Although numerous issues ran multiple Shadow stories,
the title was basically an anthology, with many characters
pulled from the pulps.
For the collector who wants only a few copies at best,
your best bet is to check the covers in the Gerber Photo-Journal
and decide if any appeal to you strongly enough to collect
for the covers alone. Some were pretty pathetic, but
others were quite dramatic, particularly those drawn
by Bob Powell in the last three years of the series.
In the first six issues, The Shadow played only a minor
role in what was supposedly his own title, appearing
in single stories of five to seven pages. Most of the
features in the first six issues — none longer
than eight pages — were related to pulps and dime
novels, including Nick Carter, Doc Savage in #1-3, Iron
Munro, Horatio Alger, Jr., stories, Carrie Cashin, Bill
Barnes, Frank Merriwell, Norgil the Magician (#3) and
The Avenger (in #2-6). These are very "old-style" looking
comics, considering all the stories were original.
Rather than focusing on these issues, I recommend the
collector consider several issues ranging from Vol.
1 #8 through Vol. 2 #4 (May 1942). The Shadow story
in Vol. 1 #9 (March 1941) is 33 pages long! Most other
issues in this period had Shadow stories of 20 to 28
pages. This was highly unusual for a costumed hero title.
One of Street & Smith's few non-pulp costumed heroes,
The Hooded Wasp, appears in most issues of The Shadow
Comics from Vol. 1 #7 through Vol. 3 #8 (Nov. 1943).
This cool character was sacrificed when the The Shadow
Comics dropped to 60 pages.
The editorial direction of The Shadow Comics was erratic,
at best. For example, there was a 26-page Shadow story
in Vol. 2 #1 (Nov. 1941), then three Shadow stories
with a total of 27 pages in Vol. 2 #2. Multiple Shadow
stories, some as long as 20 pages and some quite short,
ran in many issues of the rest of the run. If you are
going to buy an issue of The Shadow Comics, I recommend
a close examination of the contents.
The origin of the clever early satire strip "Supersnipe
— the Boy with the Most Comics in America" appeared
in a 10-page story in Vol. 2 #3 (March 1942). Because
that issue contains a 25-page Shadow story and a 12-page
Doe Savage tale, not to mention 13 pages of a revived
version of Little Nemo, many collectors try to find
A kid partner who was never in the pulps, The Shadow,
Jr., debuted in a Shadow story in Vol. 6 #9 (Dec. 1946).
Talk about a day late and a dollar (or dime) short!
By this time, few new super heroes, much less kid partners,
were being created. The Shadow, Jr., had his own eight-page
stories in Vol. 7 #2 (May 1947) and Vol. 7 #5 (Aug.
1947), making those issues a bit more collectible for
Doc Savage appeared only in the first three issues before
a long absence after he got his own title. After that
failed, The Man of Bronze came back to The Shadow Comics
in Vol. 3 #10 (Jan. 1944) and appeared in most issues
through the rest of the run. I always thought it odd
that Doe Savage was not able to sustain his own title,
but his cancellation in 1943 after a 20-issue run may
have had more to do with wartime paper restrictions
than popularity. However, the comic book version of
Doc had some pretty bizarre interpretations.
Again, I heartily recommend that you carefully examine
every issue of The Shadow Comics before you buy one,
especially considering that the "good" Overstreet Price
Guide Value is never cheaper than $40. Some issues,
though, are definitely well worth the price.
I have heard of pulp collectors who have the run of
all 325 issues of The Shadow, but I know of no comic
collectors who have amassed all 101 issues. I would
love to know if anyone has ever accomplished that feat!
But consider this: No other character of pulp and comic
book fame appeared in a total of 426 issues (not counting
Shadow Annuals) during the 1930's and 40's!
The CGC Collector
name is Chris Brown, and I am a Valiant Fanatic... The
story reads like the first step of a 12-step program,
and it is entirely true.
I had a good friend who was big into comics, on both
the business and collecting sides of things. I was interested,
and asked him in the summer of 1992 what modern books
had the most "potential." The answer was
pretty unequivocally, "Valiant."
I went to every store within 50 miles of Boston, and
bought every back issue they had. When every store was
ravaged, I used the online community to find more books.
This was pre-Web, so I was using the USENET newsgroups,
and was able to acquire collections. My friend and I
started setting up at shows, where even more collections
would come our way. Pretty soon, Valiant was the focus
of all our show activity. By the winter of 1993, we
were able to do the huge Javits Convention Center show
in New York and have a display wall full of just Valiant.
Hundreds of each Valiant book had passed through my
hands, and I would continually upgrade my personal collection
with the best looking copies.
As quick as it started, it ended. Along the way, I made
the mistake of actually reading them, and was supremely
hooked. The stories were inspired, the color art process
bright and dynamic, the style consistent through the
I kept at least two of every book for my own personal
collection, and fell out of the hobby until I came across
(run by board member "valiantman," aka Greg
Holland) around year 2000. Knowing that these books
were not easy to get in high grade, I went on another
buying spree from eBay, Web comic vendors, and local
shops, hoping to get suitable candidates for slabbing
at CGC 9.8. Prices on the pre-unity books were cheap
at this time — around cover price in bulk. By
2001-2, I had critical mass.
Since then I have done two 150+ book pre-screens, as
well as other straight-out CGC submissions. I keep the
best grade received on each book for my set, and sell
the rest to cover my grading costs and the cost of the
books I keep. I have been able to sell, in my estimation,
over 150 CGC encapsulated Valiants to a great community
of fans. My initial fear of not being able to break
even on the venture was quite unfounded.
The hardest books to get in super high-grade are Harbinger
1 and Solar 10. The Solar is infamous
for the all-black cover, and I have failed to get a
9.8 in about a dozen attempts. I have managed a 9.6
or two. Even more of an issue is Harbinger 1,
as it appears to be the victim of a really bad cover
stock. Splitting and flaking are the norm, even on unread
books, making 9.6 really tough. I have received exactly
3 9.6s, and nothing higher, in over 20 pre-screen attempts.
Do not neglect to realize that I had to purchase many
more copies than what is mentioned in order to have
that many to bother pre-screening.
The highlight of the set would have to be its near-completeness
in 9.8 and nothing below 9.6. I continually try to upgrade
through additional submissions and buying when necessary.
Demand has made the Harbinger 0 Pink CGC 9.8
white the most valuable book in the set, despite the
high numbers in the Census compared to other books.
It is certainly pretty!
Valiant Pre-Unity set titled BestPreUnity
Heritage Comics Latest Auction Sets New World's Records! Auction
highlights include many CGC graded books
Comics Auctions (HCA) held its most recent Signature
Auction August 11-13, in Dallas, Texas. 2,706 total
bidders competed for 3,341 lots, 646 of them successfully,
for an overall total of $4,329,485. 15 lots were purchased
after the auction by 12 bidders for a total of $38,726,
although after-auction sales are still ongoing and could
push the total even higher. Read