A Decade of Web-slinging
Now, when most people think of the art in Spider-Man
comics, they associate names of delineators such as
Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr. & Jr., and Todd McFarlane.
These four names have been forever engraved in the history
of Spider-Man. But, there is one man not mentioned who,
like the previous four, is beginning to make his mark
and will soon be remembered as one of the Spider-Man
greats. Mark Bagley, who pencils the ever so popular
Ultimate Spider-Man, is approaching his ten-year mark
of working on pages of various web-slinger titles.
Mark entered into comics by winning first place in
Marvel's Try-Out-Book, and began his career working
on Marvel's New Universe label. After gaining the experience
in storytelling, he was finally given a chance to pencil
a Spider-Man title with Amazing Spider-Man issue 345.
After that issue, Erik Larsen picked up and continued
until issue 350, but from then on Mark Bagley began
his full-time run on the Amazing Spider-Man. Now for
those of you who don't remember him doing the early
nineties issues, think Carnage. Mark was doing the art
at the time of the first appearance of Carnage, the
new and lethal spawn of Venom in issue 361. But even
before that, he was working on the title, beginning
with issue 351 and carrying through to issue 415, including
the art for variant covers of various issues. Not only
did he draw almost 70 consecutive issues of Amazing
Spider-Man, but he continued his work for Marvel and
for Spider-Man penciling such titles as Venom: Lethal
Protector, Spider-Man Annuals, and Spider-Man appearances
in various Marvel titles like Daredevil Annual 5, What
If? 4, and Thunderbolts 1 & 33.
He has carried his legacy through Amazing Spider-Man,
and has hit the artistic peak of his career penciling
Marvel's hottest title, Ultimate Spider-Man. Ultimate
Spider-Man, which is now on its 30th issue, has had
Mark busy changing the face of the Spider-Man universe.
His ability to produce quality work and tell a story
with his clean line work, has made his name in Spider-Man.
His consistent high quality artwork has been pulling
him through the crowd to join the ranks of the recognizable
Spider-Man artists that we associate with the wall-crawler
Back to top
The Green Hornet
The Green Hornet ran 47 issues spanning most of the
Golden Age in the 1940s, but a handful of those 47 comics
are much more potentially attractive than others to
collectors - and not always the most expensive ones
The vast majority of comics in the late 1930s and
early 40s were anthology titles, regardless of whether
they featured costumed/super heroes. Green Hornet was
among the first costumed hero titles to break that mold.
Indeed, the only commercially successful single character-dominated
comics that appeared before Green Hornet #1 (Dec. 1940)
were Superman, Blue Beetle and Batman. A few other Golden
Age titles devoted primarily to one character, such
as The Flame and Green Mask, appeared before Green Hornet,
but none of them ran more than nine issues in their
What many fans of the Harvey version of the Green
Hornet may not realize, however, is that Green Hornet
apparently wasn't commercially successful at first,
either. The first six issues (#6 is dated Aug. 1941)
were published by Holyoke, the same small outfit that
produced the likes of Captain Aero and Catman. Indeed,
the first issue of Captain Aero (#1 on the cover and
#7 in the indicia) was dated Dec. 1941, and was picked
up from Green Hornet #6.
Perhaps the Green Hornet's licensing rights had something
to do with this, since the Hornet comic was based on
the wildly popular radio show, created by Fran Striker
and George W. Trendle. The show began in 1936, meaning
that the Green Hornet - conceived as a descendent of
the Lone Ranger - had more in common with early 1930s
characters like The Shadow and The Spider than with
any costumed comic book cousins.
The Green Hornet comic also may have been published
in part to take advantage of the two Green Hornet serials
from Universal in 1939-40. Oddly, Harvey issues #7-36
all featured the cover blurb "On the Air, In the
Movies," so those two Universal serials must have
been recycled a lot, since there were no other Green
Hornet movie appearances, either in serials or feature
Regardless, the first six issues of Green Hornet all
are valued in the Overstreet Price Guide at more than
the Harvey issues, which began with #7 (June 1942).
Indeed, there's little doubt the first six issues are
probably scarcer, though certainly not better. The best
of the first six issues are #1 and 3, with no fewer
than eight Green Hornet stories of six to eight pages
apiece. Issues #2 and 4 have seven stories, #5 has five
and #6 has four. So if you can't afford #1, shoot for
#3 - although #1 has by far the best cover of the first
However, the title became much more interesting from
the standpoint of both story and art when Harvey took
over, even though Green Hornet basically became an anthology
title, since there were never more than two Green Hornet
stories in any Harvey issue. Green Hornet #7-19 featured
two Green Hornet stories and the rest of the series
had one Hornet appearance except for a pair in #35 and
#40 through #44.
Green Hornet #7 through #10 represents the apex of
the title, since three costumed characters also appeared
along with two full-length Green Hornet stories - Sprit
of '76, Zebra and Robin Hood (not to be confused with
the legendary bowman of Sherwood Forest). There's a
bonus in #9 - a Jack Kirby cover. So if you want the
most for your money, get #7 through 10, all more inexpensive
than any of the six Holyoke issues.
The other top bargains in the Harvey run are #17-19,
which boast Alex Schomburg covers to go with two Green
Hornet stories along with Spirit of '76 and Zebra tales.
The Schomburg covers continued through #23.
Later issues of top interest include #39 (with a 12-page
Simon & Kirby Stuntman story) and #31-34 (with early
appearances of Bob Powell's Man in Black).
The Green Hornet probably appeared in fewer stories
than any other mainstream Golden Age hero. His only
other full-length comic book appearances were single
stories in All-New #13 (July-Aug. 1946) and #14 (Jan.-Feb.
Interestingly, it was in the second half of 1946 that
the Hornet appeared he was destined to be one of the
first of the classic Golden Age characters to be cancelled.
Harvey's #30 was dated May-June 1946. The Hornet finally
did bite the comic book dust with #47 (Sept. 1949),
but not until after Harvey tried an interesting experiment.
They tried to make the title more of a crime comic.
Even issue #44 (March 1949) as "Green Hornet Racket
Buster Comics," with "Racket Buster"
in huge letters and "Green Hornet" in much
smaller type at the top of the cover.
New episodes of the radio show continued through 1952,
with the ever-present "Flight of the Bumblebee"
musical theme, which at the time was second only to
the Lone Ranger's "William Tell Overture"
in fan familiarity. Unlike the Lone Ranger, however,
the Green Hornet did not have television show running
in 1966-67 for a single season, inspired by the success
of Batman. Gold Key Comics published three highly collectible
issues of Green Hornet, with fine photo covers, in conjunction
with the show.
There was also an odd, inexplicable one-shot 1953
Green Hornet appearance from Dell (Gold Key's predecessor)
in Four Color #496. This is one of the tougher Four-Color
issues to find, although dealers and collectors have
sought this one avidly because it's also one of the
more valuable Four-Color issues of the 1950's. One can
only guess why Dell decided to publish this, but it
does provide a 36-page all-Green Hornet issue, which
is far more Green Hornet pages than Harvey ever offered.
Back to top
Heritage to Auction One of the
Finest Amazing Spider-Man Comic Book Collections Ever
Heritage's December 6-7 Signature Auction will feature
the Deer Park Collection, the best near-complete run
of Amazing Spider-Man comic books ever offered for sale
at one time. Book after book in this run is absolutely
stunning, with many (if not most) being the highest
graded copy certified by CGC to date. Many of these
copies are sure to hold up as the best ever.
a look at the highlights...
Back to top