Luke Cage History: From Hero for Hire to Hollywood
TV, Comic Books
Comics | Issue 3800 of the British comic The Beano hit newsstands last week, making it officially, according to Guinness World Records, the longest-running weekly comic. Artist David Sutherland, who has been drawing the Bash Street Kids since 1961, unveiled the official plaque at Beano headquarters. [Down the Tubes]
Auctions | A copy of Suspense Comics #3, published in 1944, sold for $173,275 at auction last month, setting a new record for a non-superhero comic. The high price was probably due to the cover, by Alex Schomburg, which features a woman tied up and apparently about to be sacrificed by Nazis and the KKK, a crossover that would attract potential buyers from several groups of enthusiasts (this issue was described in an earlier auction as a ““Nazi/Bondage/Horror/War hybrid”). Plus it’s rare — the lurid cover may have suppressed sales when it was first published — and in good condition. [Observer]
Action! Mystery! Thrills!: Comic Book Covers of the Golden Ages, 1933-1945
Edited by Greg Sadowski
Fantagraphics Books, 208 pages, $29.99
Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1
Edited by Blake Bell
Fantagraphics Books, 224 pages, $39.99
Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics
Edited by Michael Gagne
Fantagraphics Books, 200 pages, $29.99
Our current publishing era has been dubbed the Golden Age of Reprints by a number of online pundits, myself included, and it’s not too hard to see why. Classic comics that fans and scholars never thought would make it to the bookbinders, let alone be available in an affordable version, are now coming off the presses at a staggering rate.
One of the benefits of this plethora of reprint projects is it allows us to re-examine certain noteworthy periods of comics history, help us discover long ignored artists and fully consider cartoonists who, though their names might have been recognizable, have largely been unappreciated except by a few. The alleged Golden Age of comics in particular has benefited from this scrutiny, not only in illuminating people like Fletcher Hanks but in showcasing work by folks like Jack Cole and Bill Everett.
One of the people leading the way in this specific endeavor is editor Greg Sadowski, who, in anthologies like Supermen! and Four Color Fear, has given average readers access to comics from well-covered eras (i.e. the early superhero and horror trends) merely by republishing stories that didn’t come from Marvel (or whatever it was called at the time), EC or DC.
Sadowski’s latest book, Action! Mystery! Thrills! has a somewhat even narrower focus, dealing entirely with comic book covers from the Golden era. It makes a certain amount of sense. While covers are still an integral part of marketing and selling a comic, they were even more essential back in those early, heady days, when you competed with hundreds of other titles and an eye-catching cover could mean the difference between profit and cancellation (or at least that’s what many editors and publishers of the time felt).