And All-American Comics
Unlike the other six DC classic “Big Eight” monthly
anthologies of the 1940's, Action Comics and
All-American Comics present special collecting challenges
from the standpoints of both content and cost.
Action, the original home of Superman, and All-American,
the original home of Green Lantern, boast these two
iconic characters, yet not as many other genuine attractions
as the other DC anthologies. In addition, they tend
to be among the most expensive Golden Age titles – especially
the early issues.
Even if you skip the big-bucks issues, you still can
gather an attractive, representative collection of
the two titles with perhaps a half-dozen issues of
The early Superman stories in Action from #1-52, and
the early Green Lantern stories in All-American from
#16-38, are available in DC Archive editions. So, unless
you are wealthy, skip the early issues of both and
focus more on the later issues – some of which
may never be reprinted.
In the case of Action, a good place to start would
be #52 (Sept. 1942) through #74 (July 1944). All of
these are prime World War II issues, many of them with
Superman war-theme covers, and all contain Zatara the
Master Magician, The Vigilante and Americommando, along
with early Congo Bill adventures.
Action was among the few Golden Age titles not affected
in any way by wartime paper rationing, other than the
drop in page count to 60 pages (including covers) with
#61 and to 52 pages (including covers) with #75 (Aug.
1944) – but all of DC's comics follow suit.
Action's contents did not significantly change
until issue #127 (Dec. 1948), when eight-page Tommy
Tomorrow strips began running. Tommy Tomorrow was among
the earliest regular space opera characters in comic
books. That's why Action #127 through #132 are
cool, because they all contain Superman, Zatara, Congo
Bill, The Vigilante and Tommy Tomorrow, as do #136,
138 and 141, which was the last Action with Zatara.
Any of those issues are desirable.
Contrary to what some readers believe, Zatara had
a few more adventures in the early 1950's outlasting
several classic DC heroes. His last Golden Age appearance
came in World's Finest #51 (April-May 1951).
Change came slowly to Action in the 1949-54 period,
just as it did to Adventure, its companion DC anthology.
The Vigilante — a decent character, but a marginal
costumed hero without any special powers — lasted
far longer than might have been expected, running through
Action #198 (Nov. 1954). Action dropped from 44 pages
(including covers) to 36 pages with #197 (Oct. 1954),
so Tommy Tomorrow returned with #199. The ace of the
Planeteers was destined to run well beyond the beginning
of the space race with the launch of the first earth
satellite in 1957 by the Soviet Union.
All-American was the flagship title of All-American
Comics, Inc., the company run by famed comics pioneer
M. C. Gaines. DC promoted and distributed the Gaines
publications and ultimately bought them out in 1945
following a short-lived break-off. The Justice Society
usually featured characters from both the National
(DC) and All-American lines.
The first 15 issues are noteworthy primarily for the
fact that “boy editor” Sheldon Mayer brought
his hilarious Scribbly strip over from the early Dell
line of comics beginning with All-American #1 (April
1939). All of the Scribbly stories, which ran through
All-American #59 (July 1944), were only four pages,
including the ones with the hilarious superhero parody
Red Tornado, who began in #20 (Nov. 1940).
The early Green Lantern stories are wonderful, of
course – especially Green Lantern's World's
Fair tale in #18 – but those issues of All-American
are extremely pricey, even if only in “good” condition.
The Atom started in #19 (Oct. 1940) and Dr. Mid-Nite
in #25 (April 1941), followed by Sargon the Sorcerer
in #26. Sargon was an underrated magician strip.
For some reason, the early Green Lantern stories were
short – only eight pages in #16-19 and 10 pages
in #20-30 – before expanding to 13 pages with
#31 (Oct. 1941). For your money, your best bet might
be to start collecting All-American with two of three
issues from #31 through #50 (June 1943), the final
68-page issue and the last issue with Sargon (except
for a one-issue reappearance in #70), who went over
to Sensation Comics. The Atom skipped #47 (Feb. 1943),
which was the only issue to cover-feature Hop Harrigan,
an aviator hero who lasted all the way through #99.
The Green Lantern stories began to get increasingly
comical, both with regard to the covers and the interior
art, until the last 15 issues or so. In my opinion,
your best bet would be to skip over most issues from
#51 through #87. Instead, focus on All-American #88
(the first issue with art by the wonderful Alex Toth)
through #102, the issue before the title switched to
Every issue of #88 through #102 is a gem, especially
those with Harlequin in the Green Lantern stories,
and Toth art appears in #92 and #96, as well as #98
through #102, along with several covers. Toth's
marvelous western strip Johnny Thunder debuted in #100
and was cover-featured for the final three issues.
In short, get a couple issues of All-American #31-50,
then focus on #88-102. You can't go wrong that
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Charity Signings at the Paradise
Comics Toronto Comicon
Guaranty, LLC (CGC) and Paradise Comics will
be supporting two great charities at the Paradise
Comics Toronto Comicon, which will be held November
7 through 9, 2003, at The Queen Elizabeth Building,
Exhibition Place; Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Proceeds from all donations made during the
creator signings will go toward A Commitment
To Our Roots (ACTOR) and the Canadian Kid's
Help Phone Line. A CGC representative will be
on hand to witness the signings. Proceeds from
each book submitted to CGC for the Signature
Series will go toward the two charities. Check
the CGC booth (#A6 & B6) for the signing
schedule. Some of your favorite creators will
be on hand, such as:
Representatives will be on hand at the CGC booth to
take regular submissions (not just Signature Series)
and to answer any questions you may have.
For more details please go to: www.torontocomicon.com.
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Offers Free e-Overstreet Guide To Amazing Comics Auctions™ Winners
For the rest of 2003, Heritage will give every Amazing
Comics Auctions™ winner and underbidder a free
download of the electronic version of The Official
Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide™, a $25 value. More
CGC'd! — Get your official CGC Boxes directly from Gerber!
Each box holds approximately 30-33 CGC Graded Books!
To order your boxes, please call 1.800.79.MYLAR or 1.410.944.9363 or send an email to KGeorge@archival.com.
|1 - 9 boxes
||$4.50 per box + $8 shipping
|10 - 49 boxes
||$3.30 per box + $20 shipping
||$2.75 per box + $40 shipping