For comic book collectors of a certain age, All Star Comics No. 58, published the year of the bicentennial, was that one book never to be parted with never to be loaned out to a friend, never to be sold by Mom at the used book store across town. All Star Comics was the book that launched comicdoms original superhero team, the Justice Society of America, until its renaming and retirement in 1951. But out of nowhere in 1976 it returned to the spinner racks, where its colorful cover beckoned every kid with a quarter to spare.
There was Robin in a new costume! The JSAs Flash and Green Lantern and Doctor Fate and Wildcat! Wally Wood art! A Mike Grell cover! And above all, Power Girl making her debut as Supermans Earth-2 cousin while sporting a peekaboo costume that left little to the imagination. Kara Zor-L had many fathers, including writer Gerry Conway and artist Ric Estrada, but Power Girl was less a throwback to DCs earliest heroes and more of a callback to Woods more, ah, revealing work at EC and on Sally Forth. The story didnt make much sense, but theres a reason All Star Comics No. 58 remains one of the Bronze Age comics worth its weight in gold. And it sure aint because of the return of Sylvester Pembertons Star-Spangled Kid.
For the first time, Grells beloved cover of that coveted comic comes to market: Its among the numerous centerpieces in Heritage Auctions
Dec. 10-11 Comics & Comic Art Signature® Auction, whose comics and art tilt heavily toward DC but count among their must-haves one of the finest Steve Ditko Spider-Man pages ever to come to auction a four-panel masterpiece from 1965s The Amazing Spider-Man No. 29 pitting the Wall-Crawler against the Scorpion and a rare 1984 Dave Stevens page featuring his Rocketeer wearing that trademark helmet.
After decades of being a comic book and comic art collector, I am thrilled to curate my first comics auction at Heritage, says Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Joe Maddalena. The comic art in this sale is of remarkable quality and every page is fresh to the market, as are the comic books. And if youre a fan of DC Comics, this is the ultimate auction.
This special year-end event features several iconic Justice League of America offerings pairing DCs modern heroes with their Golden Age, Earth-2 counterparts. Among their estimable lot is Ernie Chans original cover art to 1976s Justice League of America No. 135, featuring not only the JLA and JSA but the heroes of Earth-S (home of the Shazam Family). Here, too, are two JLA covers by the late, great George Pérez, without whom DC would have never suffered its first Crisis: the cover art to issue No. 195, a JLA-JSA crossover featuring the Secret Society of Super-Villains, and the jam-packed cover for issue No. 207, which crams into a single image the JLA, the JSA, the All-Star Squadron and Earth-3s Crime Syndicate.
This auction also features one of Neal Adams and Dick Giordanos landmark covers from 1971: Worlds Finest No. 201, pitting Superman against Hal Jordans Green Lantern in a tussle over A Prize of Peril, with Doctor Fate (really, Felix Faust in disguise) serving as ringmaster.
The Spectre looms large over this auction, which features one of the best copies Heritage has ever offered of More Fun Comics No. 52 the 1940 book that introduced Jim Corrigans vengeful anti-hero. This book is already ranked high on Overstreets list of Top 100 Golden Age Comics (at No. 18!) and is deemed rare enough in any grade to merit an 8 on its Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books Scarcity Index, which makes this CGC Very Fine+ 8.5 copy all the more significant in a sale that pays homage to the JSA member who continues to haunt DCs titles well into the 21st century.
This auction likewise features Murphy Andersons Spectre makeover done for DCs Showcase series in the mid-1960s, when the artist and writer Gardner Fox resurrected Corrigans undead avenger and gave him almost unlimited powers. This stunning cover to Showcase No. 64 hints at the wild ride inside, as a gambler inhabits (or hijacks) Corrigans body as the Spectre tries to make his way home.
Adams followed two years later with this final cover of the Spectres short-lived solo title. Adams, then a relative newcomer, wrote and drew the entirety of The Spectre No. 5 from 1968, which had floated into the horror-anthology territory by the time Fugitive From Justice! was published.
Jim Aparos rendering of the Spectre, in this horrific splash page from 1975s Adventure Comics No. 439, finished what Adams started, taking the character to his logical and terrifying extreme. Aparo and writer Michael Fleischer turned Corrigans undead cop into the star of an outright horror comic. The Spectre didnt merely mete out vengeance; he delighted in the ghastly deaths visited upon the books villains. It was EC-meets-DC, a giddy, gruesome throwback to titles that pre-dated the Comics Code.
In addition to the countless DC gems in this event, there are myriad Marvels, too, among them that Ditko Spidey and one of the best copies Heritage has ever offered of 1941s Captain America Comics No. 3, graded CGC Very Fine 8.0, which counts among its highlights a young Stan Lees first work for Timely Comics. Alex Schomburgs bondage cover, featuring the Red Skull, grabs the attention; but its whats inside that makes this keeper a classic.
Heritage likewise will present the finest copy of 1942s Pep Comics weve ever offered, graded CGC Very Fine+ 8.5. Only one copy has ever been graded higher of this book that features an early Archie appearance and only the second sighting of Veronica Lodge.
Here, too, is an unforgettable big-screen moment beautifully rendered for the comics: Dave Cockrum and Klaus Jansons rendering of that moment from Star Trek: The Motion Picture when Admiral James T. Kirk sees his old ship again. Says this stunning page from Marvel Super Special No. 15, The Enterprise is his! And, soon, it will be someone elses.