||Collecting Columbia Comics
The small output of the Columbia Comic Corporation is
often overlooked by Golden Age collectors, but it shouldn't
flagship title, Big Shot Comics, ran 104 issues
from 1940-49 as one of the first hybrid anthology titles,
mixing original heroes such as Skyman and The Face with
well-known newspaper comic strip characters. Big
Shot, however, was the only long-running title
Skyman, often drawn by Ogden Whitney, Mart Bailey, or
Paul Reinman, was a solid Golden Age costume hero, yet
was featured in solo action on only a handful of Big
Shot's covers. Skyman's all-too-short stories often
seemed to end just as they were getting going. He ran
in every issue through #101 except #42, but his last
adventure as long as 10 or 11 pages was in #26 (Aug.
1942). None of his remaining adventures in Big Shot
was longer than eight pages, and they were only six
pages for the second half of his long run. His stories
just cried out for longer treatment.
Skyman, a dynamic costumed aviator created by writer
Gardner Fox (perhaps with help from editor Vincent Sullivan),
appeared three months after the first strip of this
kind, Spy Smasher, debuted in the first issue
of Fawcett's Whiz Comics. Skyman thus appeared too soon
to be considered a Spy Smasher knockoff.
The Face, credited to Fox and Sullivan and drawn in appropriately
scary style by Mart Bailey, was one of the most original
of the early heroes. Radio announcer Tony Trent came
up with the idea of wearing a frightening green mask
to throw fear into criminals. The idea was cool, but
the stories were almost all either 8- or 6-pagers, failing
to allow for the development such a character might
have warranted. Some collectors even consider these
early horror strips, so to speak. Except for a handful
of later appearances, Tony Trent abandoned The Face
after #62 (Jan. 1946) to go after criminals with his
Big Shot came up with another original costumed
hero when Spy Chief (known as Spy Master in the first
two issues) gained an alter ego known as The Cloak.
The origin of The Cloak was told in #15 (July 1941)
but the character ended with #28 (October 1942) and
his stories were never more than 6 pages. Big Shot
also had its own magician, Marvello Monarch of Magicians,
as did so many Golden Age anthology comics. Marvelo
lasted only through # 20 (December 1941), though featured
almost entirely in six-page stories.
Early issues of Big Shot are surprisingly scarce,
so they are indeed prizes. They also featured the likes
of Joe Palooka, Dixie Dugan, Charlie Chan, and Sparky
Watts (who began his humorous, satirical run in #14).
Your best bet is to nab one or two of the first 20 issues,
and you'll have all the characters, not to mention possibly
a scarce issue.
Skyman also appeared in four issues of his own title.
Although numbered, they were dated only by year and
were essentially one-shots. If you aren't interested
in Big Shot, it would still be well worth your
while to pick up any of the four Skyman issues. The
first two (1941 and 1942) were 68 pages, while #3 (1947)
was 52 pages and #4 (1948) was 36 pages.
All four issues contained four Skyman stories, and #1
also had a 3-page recap of the origin of Skyman, whose
alter ego was scientist Allen Turner. His nifty boomerang-style
plane, The Wing, was one of the earliest versions of
the Stealth bomber and may have been inspired by a craft
of the same name in Republic's first Dick Tracy
The Face also appeared in four issues, a 68-pager in
1941 with four Face stories, a 60-pager in 1943 with
five Face stories, and 36-pagers in 1948 and 1949, after
Tony Trent had abandoned his gimmick. The first two
issues can be exceptionally difficult to locate, so
they are genuine Golden Age "finds" if you
can locate any of them.
Many collectors were surprised to discover that Skyman
and The Face appeared in stories in Sparky Watts
#1, an undated 1942 issue. Sparky Watts isn't
every fan's cup of tea—although if you give cartoonist
Boody Rogers a chance to grow on you, you'll find him
often hilarious—but the first three issues of
Sparky Watts are noteworthy for some of the
longest stories in comics to that point. They ran 39
pages in #1, 52 pages in #2 (1942) and 54 pages in #3
Joe Palooka ran in every issue of Big Shot
through #72 (Dec. 1946). That was odd because Harvey's
run of Joe Palooka began with #1 in Nov. 1945. Joe Palooka
also appeared in the first 31 issues of Quality’s earliest
title, Feature Funnies # 1-20/Feature Funnies
#21-on. After Feature Funnies #31 (April 1940),
Columbia immediately picked up the strip with Big
Shot #1 (May 1940). Joe Palooka thus became one
of the few iconic comic strip characters to be published
by three different companies—and to run continuously
on the newsstands from 1937-61.
Columbia also published a 68-page one-shot in 1943 entitled
Columbia, the Gem of the Comics, but the only
strip resembling a super hero was Sparky Watts.
Columbia's four issues of Joe Palooka, released
in 1942 and 1944 before the Harvey run began, also did
not include any super heroes, though they are "musts"
for Palooka collectors.
CGC Invades WonderCon
February 10-12 marked WonderCon's 20th year and another
great start to the convention season. CGC made its presence in the
city of San Francisco, setting up on the convention floor to take submissions,
giving fans and collectors the opportunity to take advantage of their
guaranteed turnaround-time tiers. With close to 1000 submissions by
the close of the weekend, it was clear to the CGC staff that many took
them up on that offer.
The three-day show, held once again at the Moscone
Center in downtown San Francisco, offered an impressive line-up of
guests, ranging from the likes of Frank Miller and Peter David to Terry
Moore. Attendees who stopped by the CGC booth were offered to participate
in CGC's prestigious Signature Series tier, giving them the opportunity
to get their books signed by their favorite creators witnessed by appointed
CGC witnesses. With the books being witnessed, fans can submit their
books through the Signature Series tier, where during the grading and
encapsulation process, it's given the yellow label, authenticating
the creator's signature.
"CGC Signature Series was very successful this year", says Kevin Boyd, a CGC Signature Series Director, "and with WonderCon being the kick-off to the convention season, we can't wait to see how many more people participate in this great program throughout the year."
A special thanks to Jason Waters (ACTOR), Kris Moore, and Elrod Mah for all their help in making CGC's WonderCon presence a successful convention experience.
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All Star Auctions to Feature CGC'D Comic Books and Rare Comic Art
"We are very excited by the upcoming New York City convention to be held at the Jacob Javits Center February 24-26, 2006. At the upcoming Convention, we will be joined at our booth by Carmine Infantino, the artist who revolutionized The Silver Age Of Comics. We will also be joined by Joe Giella, one of the premier artists of the Golden, Silver and Bronze Age of comics. Joe celebrated 60 years in the field in 2005! In addition to these two fine artists and gentlemen, we will also be holding a Simul-Con: an auction which will end at the convention. We will have items in the auction on view, and a bank of computers where you can bid. View it, bid it, and win it!".
We will be offering CGC'd comic books from the Big Apple Collection, both Golden and Silver Age. We will also be featuring more great DC art by the greats! A truly historic page from the DC Universe, the splash page from Brave and the Bold #34, the first Silver Age Hawkman appearance! We will also be featuring great strip to include a FANTASTIC Peanuts Sunday.
For more information please go to: http://www.allstarauctions.net.
World's Largest Doctor Strange Collection
The Howard Hallis Doctor Strange
Collection will be on display at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, California, from March 1 - 26, 2006. Opening reception will be on Saturday, March 4, from 6-10 pm.
"Howard has been a member of the CGC chat board community for awhile now," said Steve Borock, CGC's president and primary grader. "He is just a great guy and his love for this hobby is undeniable. Once you see this collection, you will see what a labor of love putting together this impressive array of Doctor Strange
The collection will include original art pieces from legendary comic artists such as Gene Colan, Frank Brunner, Alex Ross, and P. Craig Russell, among many others. These will be displayed in the gallery area in the back of the store. There will also be rare posters, pin-ups, and limited edition prints in this area as well.
Also on display will be high grade CGC'd comic books, foreign editions, trading cards, toys, sculptures, and various rare collectibles. Howard's own custom covers for Ditko's Strange Tales
run will also be part of the show.
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CGC Signature Series Signing at MegaCon
CGC has announced that the very
talented Amanda Conner (JSA: Classified) & Jimmy Palmiotti (Hawkman, Jonah Hex) will be signing at the CGC booth at MegaCon. Amanda & Jimmy will be signing at the CGC booth Saturday, February 25, from 3 pm to 4 pm. All comics signed by Amanda & Jimmy at the CGC booth will be eligible to receive the CGC Signature Series label.
CGC witnesses will be on hand to accept signed books during the signing. Only comic books submitted immediately after the signing will be given CGC's Signature Series label, comic books submitted anytime after the signing will not be eligible for the CGC Signature Series authentication.
Arrive early at the CGC booth to ensure a spot in line
for these remarkable creators. For more information
on upcoming shows that CGC is attending check our Web
site at: http://www.cgccomics.com.
For more information on Megacon, visit:
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Comic 'Crisis' Relief! Two Generations of Comic Writers Band Together for a Cause
Top industry talents bridging comics past and present
are joining forces at The Comic Bug on Saturday, March
25 from 2-5 p.m. Writers Geoff (Infinite Crisis)
Johns, Marv (Crisis on Infinite Earths) Wolfman
and inker Norm Rapmund (Infinite Crisis) will
be appearing at the Manhattan Beach, California, store
for a charity signing benefiting ACTOR (A Commitment
To Our Roots). One hundred percent of the proceeds raised
at the event will go to the organization, which gives
aid to comic creators in need of financial assistance
for everything from medical bills to living expenses.
Twenty-one years ago, Marv Wolfman and George Perez
turned the DC Universe on its ear in Crisis on Infinite
Earths. Consolidating nearly fifty years of continuity,
"Crisis" refined the history of some
of our most loved heroes; Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman
and many more, making obsolete many tales told by generations
of comic book creators while laying the groundwork for
the future. If you've stepped foot in ANY comic shop
in the last year, you've no doubt heard of Infinite
Crisis, the sequel to that seminal work of two
decades ago, which undoes much of the threading that
Wolfman and Perez laid down. Scripted by hot industry
writer Geoff Johns, Infinite Crisis has been
several years in the making, with clues laid intricately
through books from DC as far back as 1998. This is the
first time the two writers have appeared exclusively
under one roof.
"I can't think of a two other creators who have
had such an impact on something as big as the DC Universe,
not just today, but two decades ago. This is history
in the making, folks! Literally!" exclaimed Comic
Bug Manager Mike Wellman. "Just as some of our
favorite super-heroes have gone through generational
changes, so too does some of the talent that create
these tales. ACTOR is an organization that doesn't let
us forget the great writers and artists from all eras,
and helps comics' elder statesmen in financial or medical
"ACTOR is an important organization, one I hope
I never need," stated Wolfman, "but vital
to those who might. I hope we can raise a fortune to
help them out."
"I'm just excited to help out in any way I can,"
"I'm very fortunate to live in Los Angeles,"
beamed McLauchlin. "We have such an incredible,
dynamic array of comic stores. The Comic Bug is quickly
becoming one of my favorites because of the great and
fun promotions they run, just like this one."
"CGC has always supported ACTOR," said Steve
Borock, CGC President and Primary Grader. "We encourage
everyone who can make this great event to do so, and
even if you cannot, please visit the ACTOR Web site
or visit them at most major comic book conventions and
donate whatever they can."
The Comic Bug is located at 1015 Aviation Blvd. Manhattan
Beach, CA 90266. For more information, call (310) 372-6704
or visit http://www.thecomicbug.com.
For more on the guests, go to http://www.marvwolfman.com
A Commitment To Our Roots (ACTOR) Comic Fund is the
first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation
dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in
need. ACTOR creates a financial safety net for yesterday's
creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial
support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into
paying work. It's a chance for all of us to give back
something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.
For more information, visit http://www.ACTORComicFund.org
or call 310-909-7809.
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