Comics Guaranty, LLCNumismatic Guaranty Corporation
March 2003  
1. CGC Certified World's Oldest Graded 10.0
2. The Twisted Tales of Bruce Jones
3. Harvey's Anthologies: Speed Comics and Champ Comics
4. Starting Over
5. Win CGC Graded Books from Dynamic Forces



May 30 - June 1, 2003
Wizard World Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Convention Center
Philadelphia, PA

July 17-20, 2003
Comic-con International

San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA

August 8-10, 2003
Wizard World Chicago

Donald E. Stevens
Convention Center
Rosemont, IL

CGC Certified World's Oldest Graded 10.0!

White Guard ComicComics Guaranty, LLC, announced that they recently graded the oldest 10.0 in comics. Published in 1949, the copy of Kolynos Presents The White Guard #1 predates the next oldest 10.0 by 19 years. Unlike many of the other CGC graded 10.0s that exist, this comic is 54 years old. The book is noted as having white pages. What makes this book even more astonishing is that the comic is a promotional comic. Promotional comics are typically made of cheap pulp paper and lack any real protection from abuse unlike their standard comic counterparts. Promotional comics are typically very scarce in high grade for this reason.

"Steve Borock (CGC's former Primary Grader) and I were in shock when this comic book came across our desks," said Mark Haspel, a CGC finalizer and CGC's pedigree expert. "This may be the oldest 10.0 we will ever grade!"

The White Guard giveaway comic was a book that promoted Kolynos toothpaste. The comic was discovered along with numerous other paper items from an old dentist office on the east coast.

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The Twisted Tales of Bruce Jones
Shawn Caffrey

In my early comic book collecting years, there were other reasons why I mainly stuck with obscure titles versus the more mainstream. As discussed last month in my article on Richard Corben's Rip in Time, I favored the non-superhero independent titles more because of the variety and originality of the artists and stories. The stories weren't always about good versus evil, where some caped vigilante would come to the rescue and save the day. They offered variety of a new kind, with fresh new talent on board with fresh new ideas. And one of these talents in particular was also someone who I mentioned last month, Bruce Jones. Presently, he's the writing talent behind the new Incredible Hulk storyline for Marvel, but in the mid-80s, his creative output fell right into my category of favored comic titles.

In February of 1986, Eclipse Comics published The Twisted Tales of Bruce Jones, a four-issue collaboration of short stories written and drawn from cover to cover by Bruce Jones himself. I managed to pull issue one out of the frequently mentioned 50-cent box at my local comic store and that's when the cover caught my eye. It depicted a man with a huge sword about to attack a giant spider. Well, that was all it took for me. It was funny because just a few nights before, I had watched Tarantula on television for the first time and that left such an impression on my youthful imagination that I never even bothered to open the book, I just bought it for the cover. Anyways, it was only 50 cents, so why not? But when I got home and actually read the stories, it had me on a quest to find the remaining three.

The stories inside ranged from science fiction to horror and even had some humorous tales. One story which caught my eye in issue one was titled, "Outside-In," where three people on a helicopter expedition crash land in a prehistoric jungle only to find themselves part of an alien experiment contained in a controlled environment. Now when I look back on it, I can point out a few similarities with some Wally Wood EC science fiction stories I've read. There's even a hint of Graham Ingels and Frank Frazetta art styles in some of his panels. Nonetheless, his story telling and art are quite original. One of the things about his art that caught my interest was how he would use the whole page to tell a story. For instance, in issue four, in a story titled "Alone" in which a woman is taunted by a man who has hypnotized her to take her own life, he tells the story using the space outside the panels. There are even times where there are no panels at all, just a montage of images that prove to be even more effective in grabbing the readers' attention and striking realism into their minds.

Another story, probably my personal favorite is called, "A Rottin' Deal," where a man and his nephew go on a search for hidden treasure. Only this journey is five days long, and across a dry desolate desert. At the end of each night, they reach an oasis, and fill their canteens with fresh water in preparation for the next day's journey. But the nephew grows tired and greedy for his uncle's canteen and decides to kill him. He then proceeds back towards camp, and at the next oasis, he finds he is beaten there by his own uncle's rotting corpse. Now, I don't want to give away how this ends, but let's just say that the uncle isn't the only corpse in the end. This story, like the rest of them, reminds me of a mix between Tales from the Crypt and an episode of the Twilight Zone, and considering all things in that genre made such an impression on my delicate young mind, these stories did nothing but appeal to me.

The whole series is only four issues and contains roughly four or five stories in each issue. They're all a great read and the art is very impressive. Another great thing about The Twisted Tales of Bruce Jones is the back covers. Three of the four of them have beautiful pin-ups that really give any new fan of Bruce Jones a feeling of his in-depth line work. His three dimensional backdrops seem to pull the viewer into the page. His art, along with his writing, are a perfect combination for a perfect classic series. Well, at least for my money.

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Nolan's Niche Harvey's Anthologies: Speed Comics & Champ Comics
Michelle Nolan

Harvey Publications, one of the biggest names in comics in the 1950s and 60s, was never huge in the superhero field, but did get its start with the combination of three digest-sized superhero comics in the second half of 1941. Harvey then took over two other superhero titles in 1942 that had failed under other companies.

That's why the discriminating collector needs to be careful when it comes to seeking out the prime issues Speed and Champ Comics (we covered Green Hornet Comics, which also was really an anthology title, earlier in this series for the CGC newsletter).

Harvey didn't really get going until 1942, even though the company debuted with Pocket Comics #1 (which introduced Black Cat) and Spitfire Comics #1, both dated August 1941. Pocket ran four issues and Spitfire only two. In addition, Harvey took over Speed Comics with #14 (September 1941) and turned it into a third pocket-sized title for three issues, through #16 (January 1942, the same date as Pocket #4).

The Harvey superhero empire didn't really begin until the full-size, 68-page issues of Speed #17 (April 1942, featuring a Black Cat origin story reprint from Pocket #1), Champ #18 (May 1942) and Green Hornet #7 (June 1942). Simon and Kirby worked on all three of those books, making them prime collectors' items.

There were only 10 prime 68-page issues of Speed – through #26 (April 1943). These were the only issues of Speed with four of Harvey's classic superhero strips – Shock Gibson, Captain Freedom and the Young Defenders, Black Cat, and Pat Parker War Nurse and the Girl Commandos. All four of these strips burst with typical Golden Age energy, although these issues of Speed were so jam-packed with other features that none of the superhero stories is more than eight pages long. Even so, these are wonderful examples of Golden Age anthologies. Narrowing it down even further, #17-20 all had dynamic Simon and Kirby covers featuring Captain Freedom, so they are the best of the best.

Speed dropped to 60 pages with #27 (July 1943) and to 52 pages with #32 (May 1944) and the Pat Parker/Girl Commandos strip continued, but only as a non-costumed feature. Captain Freedom and Shock Gibson ran through the last issue of the run with #44 (January-February 1947), which appeared a full seven months after #43 (May-June 1946). Black Cat, however, did not appear in #39-43 (even though she appeared on the covers of #39-40). In one of the oddities in Golden Age history, two 10-page Captain Freedom stories appeared in #44, making that one of the few times an anthology character bowed out with twice as many appearances as usual.

The early issues of Speed were published by Brookwood (#1-11) and Speed Publishing (#12-13), which may have been an extension of Brookwood. I'm not sure if there was a connection with Alfred Harvey's company, but the first 11 issues are distinguished primarily by primitive 22-page Shock Gibson stories (26 pages in the first issue, October 1939), which were unusually long for superhero stories of the period.

Champ lasted only through #25 (April 1943), which appeared four months after #24 (December 1942). Harvey really didn't have a lot of luck with superhero anthology comics. There was a wide variety of forgettable strips in most issues of Champ, which began late in 1939 under Worth Publishing as Champion Comics #2-10 (there was no #1) and continued as Champ #11-17 under the Champ Publishing Company.

The first true Harvey issue of Champ was #18 (May 1942), which contained The Champ (a good sports strip and one of the first of its kind), Liberty lads (one of the better World War II kid groups) and the superhero strip Human Meteor (originally known as Duke O'Dowd). All three strips run through #25, except for The Champ, which finished in #24. Three obscure costume heroes made single appearances in Champ Comics – the Wasp in #19, The Green Ghost in #20 and The White Mask #22. It should also be noted that issues #8-17 featured some classically energetic Human Meteor covers.

There is no one issue of Champ that contains everything, but issues #18-22 were the best of the run – at least from the standpoint of interior contents – and are well worth adding to any Golden Age collector's stacks.

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Collectors' Society Boards

Phil's Corner Starting Over
Phil Kaltenbach

I have reminisced several times about the early 60s, when comic books first captured my attention and enthusiasm, but I also have some wonderful memories about later years, when I rediscovered comics and allowed them to become a passion that persists to this day.

In the fall of 1968, I had just begun my sophomore year at Loyola College in Baltimore, and one day I drove to a nearby drugstore to pick up something I needed. There a spinning rack of comic books caught my eye. I hadn't paid any attention to them for about five years (too uncool for a high-schooler, I'm afraid), but it surprised me to see Marvels on display, since this chain did not carry them before. The number of new Marvel titles astounded me even further. Iron Man, Sub-Mariner, Captain America, Hulk and Doctor Strange all had their own titles, and who the heck was Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.? I decided on the spot to pick up every Marvel title (cost me about a buck-twenty-five, as I recall), since these wonderful characters had been strictly my brother's domain in the early days. I was surely a Marvel-zombie in the making!

I continued to buy the new Marvels every month, except for the western and romance titles which, though they must have been available, I never even noticed. Late in the summer of 1970, I picked up two copies of the eagerly-anticipated Conan the Barbarian #1. Before that, several books, such as Neal Adams' X-Men run, had made a strong impression on me, but Conan really sent me over the edge. By the time I left for graduate school in August 1972 I had a pretty large box of books (unbagged, I must confess) in tow.

Not until my brother Tom turned me on to Swamp-Thing about a year later (I thought he was talking about Man-Thing, which I loved) did I once again acknowledge the existence, let alone the quality, of DC comics. Soon my monthly purchases included other DC books, such as House of Mystery and House of Secrets, especially when they contained stories by Adams, Wrightson, or any other artists that appealed to me. I snatched up all the new Marvel titles, too, so my comic budget was swelling to what seemed an alarming size, as much as five dollars a month, with some books as high as a quarter!

Before long I would discover the Overstreet Price Guide and the Buyer's Guide to Comic Fandom, and then the genie was truly out of the bottle. Next time I'll talk about how deeply devoted I became to buying comic books by the mid-70s.

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Win CGC Graded Books from Dynamic Forces!

Good grades used to mean As, Bs and Cs, but now good grades mean 10.0s, 9.9s and 9.8s thanks to DF and CGC!

From now until March 21, 2003, DF is giving away three high-grade CGC books to one lucky winner!

Check 'em out...

  • Wolverine: The Origin #3, CGC Graded 10.0 -- a perfect copy!
  • Battle of the Planets #1 DF Exclusive Cover, CGC Graded 9.9
  • Batman #608, CGC Graded 9.8

Good luck, and remember that you only have two weeks to enter!



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