So you may have heard that Christine and I took a special emergency trip down to Unadilla yesterday on account of that fact that her grandmother found a box of “Golden Age” Comics in a closet. Now you probably know this by now, but I am a huge Huge HUGE comic book geek. I even have my own (very infrequently updated) blog about them. Needless to say I had a serious dork attack and may or may not have (read: most certainly did) peed my pants out of excitement. At 8 P.M., after frantically packing comic book bags and boards, The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, and some adult diapers, we were off. Three and half hours later we arrived to find Christine’s mother and sister thumbing through the comics as though they were a stack of three month-old People Magazine’s at the dentist’s office. Doing my best to maintain my composure I uttered something along the lines of “Get your filthy hands off of those! Do you realize what you are holding!?!” or something to that effect…or maybe I just wet myself again…I really don’t remember. It was late, I was tired, and very VERY excited.
Sitting down at the kitchen table with a small stack of the issues that Christine’s grandmother really wants to sell, I felt my body tense as I came to the realization that these would be the oldest comics that I have ever held in my hands. Brow moist with nervous sweat, hands aquiver, I began to inspect the first comic, a little title called “Daredevil #1“. Did you click that link? Good. Do you recognize that man on the front? The swarthy looking one with the emo hair and the tiny mustache. Yeah, that’s Adolf Hitler getting punched in the face. Now, I can’t overstate how incredibly valuable “Golden Age” Comics featuring Hitler are because the confines of written language dictate that I use real words that you will understand, but take my word when I say they are extremely valuable. For instance, this very same issue graded in Near Mint condition (which, mind you, would be very unlikely considering the comic is 70 years old) can fetch over $20,000. Aw dammit, I just peed again.
This isn’t to say that Christine’s grandma’s copy is worth that much. All things considered, it was in very nice condition, the colors are vivid, the paper is relatively white and odorless, there aren’t too many nicks and rips. In fact, the only major defect is that the cover of the issue was detached from the staples, though I have seen coverless copies of the same issue selling for $600. And while that certainly is the biggest highlight insofar as the value of these books are concerned, there were still several other really cool issues. She has a copy of “Detective Comics #96”! To put that in perspective Batman appeared in “Detective Comics #27”, putting #96 around 1943. This issues was in incredible condition barring the slight curling on the right side from being stored in a box in a closet for at least the last 30 some-odd years. According to The Overstreet, Alfred’s last name is revealed to be “Beagle” in this issue; his name, of course, would later be changed to “Pennyworth” but it is an interesting tidbit.
She also has a copy of “Captain America #38”, complete with racist cover and all. This issue was one of the coolest to me because I am a total Marvel doofus and “Golden Age” Cap is the man. Interestingly, this issue along with some others only feature one staple in the center of the spine as opposed to the two on either end that is more common today. This may have been because of metal conservation for the war effort. For this reason there was a sizable stress hole on the left side of the cover, but the cover has remained attached. Sadly the bottom right corner of this issue had also served as a buffet for a family mice at some point in time. Lastly, it would appear that the centerfold poster of Cap, purported by The Overstreet, had been removed. Still the inside was very readable and the art impeccable. Plus it included a short seven page story featuring the original Human Torch. Unbeatable stuff!
Another interesting highlight was a copy of the “Cocomalt Big Book of Comics”. This promotional comic from 1938(!) was put out by Cocomalt brand chocolate milk and featured reprints of classic funnies including Windsor McCay’s “Little Nemo”…it also has a racist cartoon on the cover. Aside from a thumb sized hole on the right side of the cover, this issue was in superb condition. While not nearly as flashy as a “Captain America” or “Detective Comics”, this is an extremely rare comic that shared in a long held tradition within comics during the 1930’s of reprinting newspaper funnies. Also, this issue premiered in 1938, that same year during the month of June a certain colorfully clad alien do-gooder would appear in “Action Comics #1” changing the face of comics and American popular culture forever.
Aside from those issues there is a stack of around 20 more comics from the early 1940’s. The majority of these are funny animal books, Mickey Mouse, Looney Tunes, Krazy Kat, just to name a few. While these are not quite as highly sought after and therefore not as valuable as the ones listed above, they are still almost 70 years old. Many of them are in good condition all things considered. It is very interesting to see how the war effort was aimed at children by having Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny buying War Bonds and growing victory gardens. Over the next few weeks I will go through these issues and grade them to the best of my ability.
Oh, and I forgot the best thing! Christine’s grandma is letting pick a few to keep because my birthday is on Monday.
Best birthday ever.
Tagged: action comics, adolf hitler, batman, bugs bunny, captain america, cocomalt, cocomalt big book of comics, comic books, comics, daredevil, detective comics, donald duck, golden age comic books, hilter, krazy kat, little nemo, looney tunes, marvel, mickey mouse, overstreet comic book price guide, people magazine, superman, unadilla, victory gardens, war bonds, windsor mccay, world war ii