A Glance at the Gallery

Posted on 12/10/2010

Once more, CGC’s sizzling QC Doctor, Michael McFadden, has returned for a tour of the latest exhibits in the Fandom-famous DigiGallery.

Michael McFadden here with a brief selection of new books recently added to the CGC DigiGallery.

Astonishing X-Men

Summer convention season is over, yet we’re still very busy with SigSeries books this fall. We’ve seen a lot of nice artwork on the blank covers of sketch editions. Fans have embraced certification of individually drawn covers as a great way to make a mass-produced funny book a true one-of-a-kind collectible. Lady Death: Dragon Wars #1 has a profile of Vampirella by Amanda Conner and is also signed by Brian Pulido. Another profile shot by Neal Adams of his classic Batman graces Marvels Project #1. Wolverine seems to be surprised to see a Herb Trimpe Hulk on Astonishing X-Men #1. He shouldn’t be: Trimpe drew Hulk for years.

The Marvels Project

We’re celebrating Paradise Island’s “National Wonder Woman Month” with a trio of lovely shots of Amazon Princess. Ramona Fradon’s is on Fallen Son #3, Nick Dragotta’s is on X-Men #1 and George Perez’s is on Marvels Project #1. DC characters drawn on Marvel books? Marvel continues to issue blank variants to the delight of fans. DC is apparently not interested. Gene Colan pencils Iron Man on Avengers #1, a book also signed by Stan Lee. Artist Tim Sale and colorist Laura Martin collaborate on Marvel’s Daredevil in his original Silver Age costume. Joe Simon draws an iconic view of his co-creation Captain America’s shield on a Marvels Project #1.

The Marvels Project

Russ Heath delivers a couple of dynamite drawings. On Marvels Project #1, he draws an ambulatory skeleton that harkens back to his days as an Atlas horror artist. On Fallen Son #3, Heath draws a meticulous headshot of Sgt. Rock. Hmm, I probably shouldn’t refer to a “headshot” in a war book. Anyway, Heath followed Joe Kubert as Rock’s primary artist in the late 60s and maintained the strip’s high standards. From September’s show in St. Louis, Kenneth Rocafort did a nice sketch on Velocity #2, Robert Atkins dropped a spinning Deadpool on Marvels Project #1 and Brian Hurtt illustrated the Black Knight on Avengers #1.

Pedigrees this month include scarce Catman #22 (Church), Flash #92, the classic three-hero cover inaugurating Black Canary’s solo feature (Crippen) and Mad #s 2, 6, 8, 9, 15 and 18 (Gaines File Copies). Charlton’s Danger and Adventure #23 (Bethlehem) and Dell Giant #26 (File Copy), like the Mad issues, from the 50s. Harvey Hits #45 and #48 were File Copies as well. All at 9.8 were Green Lantern #54, Thor #140, Brave and the Bold #64 (Rocky Mountain), Uncle Scrooge #36 (Dell File Copy) and Combat Kelly #9 from 1973 (Don Rosa, the Deadly Dozen death issue). Most of this month’s pedigrees are either highest-graded or tied.

Seven Seas Comics Four Color Comics (Series 1) #3, All Top Comics #18, Air Fighters Comics #10 and Marvel Mystery Comics #13 (first appearance of the Vision) and #16 are new Golden Age entries. All-American Comics #25 is the highest-graded non-restored copy we’ve done. Only one copy is superior to the Golden Age Green Lantern #3. Amazing Mystery Funnies #22 is only the third we’ve seen. USA Comics #1 replaces a restored book of the same grade in the DigiGallery and the 9.4 Seven Seas Comics #1 is super-sea-ded only by a lone 9.6. Detective Comics #87 was 9.4, as was #90. Unfortunately, #90 is a double-cover and the 8.5 outer cover is what you’ll see in the scan.

Archie Comics #13 is 5.0 and we added it because at this writing, only two have graded higher. The Crippen copy of #36 is highest-graded at 7.5. Pep Comics #26 is only the fourth copy of this book we’ve certified, back from the days when it was still headlined by superheroes. It is a major Archie key, featuring the first appearance of Veronica Lodge. Beginning with issue #51 (7.0), MLJ’s superheroes are no longer seen on any Pep cover. It’s all denizens of Riverdale from this point.

Jungle Comics Some arresting Fiction House books crossed our desks. An 8.5 Wings Comics #1 is bested by only two copies. One is a 9.8 which strikes me as pretty unfair competition for a book from September 1940. Jungle Comics #14 offers a gorilla with significant hygiene issues and an 8.5 certification. Number 139 at 8.0 is highest-graded. Sheena, Jungle Queen covers front high-grade copies of Jumbo Comics #s 71, 78, 88 and 109. #91 illustrates use of the guillotine, an execution technology so popular it has become a hit amongst the most discriminating skull-worshiping cults of the foreboding reaches of uncharted Africa. Hurry, Jungle Queen, or Bob’s coconut will be kissin’ the straw at the bottom of the basket, toot sweet. That’s if the guillotine blade, without channels to guide its quick descent, happens to comes down straight. If not, Bob might be split down the middle like a delicatessen pickle. Grades for African Skull Cult: A for creativity, A for enthusiasm, D- for reading the damn instructions with your “Mail-Order Guillotine Kit.” Ouch. Good luck, Bob.

Trying to cash in on the nationwide Davy Crockett phenomena of the mid-50s, obscure DC title Legends of Daniel Boone #7 tied for highest-graded. As the Crockett craze slowly cooled, DC’s title crashed with issue #8. Seldom seen but highly-sought, a copy of Batman #100, with its distinctive sextuple part cover, crashed into the top spot at a stunning 9.2.

An unlikely harbinger of the coming Silver Age revival of superheroes as commercial properties, Detective Comics #225 is the first appearance of the Martian Manhunter, the first part of his two-part origin. Scarce in high grade, the 9-oh we saw this month is only beaten by one slightly better 9.2. And that’s it. The brilliance of the cover’s predominant bright yellow on a clean, smooth, near-pristine copy registers an impact. Also seldom seen is a Silver Age oddity, Bill Spicer’s early fanzine, Fantasy Illustrated. Specializing in “graphic stories” over articles, this copy of #2 reached a stellar 9.6. Archie's Adventures of the Jaguar #13 and Adventures of the Fly #23 each tied for the top spot. Adventures of the Fly #21 stood alone at the summit. All certified 9.4. The origin issue of Justice League of America, #9, was an arresting 9.6...none better. Earning 9.8 were Chamber of Darkness #1, squarebound giant Batman #258, Swamp Thing #3, Captain America #104 and Amazing Spider-Man #s 163, 165 and 166. Action Comics #319 was 9.6 and only two copies are superior to Showcase #47 (Tommy Tomorrow, 9.0). Green Lantern #3 is a highest-grade tie at 9.2.

Comments and questions regarding the gallery? We’re fans, too. We enjoy hearing from you, unless we don't. You can contact me at mmcfadden@CGCcomics.com. Thank you for your time and do remember - be good to yourself and be CGC-ing you!

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