Friday, February 12, 2010

DC Silver Age GRAIL Quest!

During the snow storm this week, with frankly nothing else to do, I cracked open one of my long boxes of Silver Age DC comics and just sort of rummaged. There is something comforting about those old four color covers of Action, Superman, Showcase, Justice League, The Flash and Batman etc. that warm the cockles of my heart. Though just what a cockle is eludes me. Being, myself, a relic of the Silver Age I have amassed a very nice assortment of DC Silver Age (Marvel too but that is for another day) and it got me to thinking about how I could lend my sage (read OLD) advice to younger collectors (read UNDER 50) on what I consider must have DC SA books.
Of course the prices on these books in Near Mint condition can average well over a thousand dollars each but mid to lower grade copies may be right in your budget! AND these books have all been reprinted over the years, so there is really no reason that you CAN’T have copies of the ones you covet! Just look UP when you come into CBJ and you will see the walls LINED with DC Archives. Ask the team which volumes the books I describe below appear in!

Showcase #4 – This is the holy grail of Silver Age books as it is the very FIRST Silver Age book. Showcase #4 marks the first appearance of Barry Allen, the Flash. This was a modern reworking of the Golden Age character, given a sleek new look and a science fiction back story as opposed to a magical origin. I have rarely seen this book, even in very low condition, for less than $1000, BUT it is constantly being reprinted in DC collections and certainly deserves an honored place in any Silver Age collection.

Mitch SA Collection Status – NEED IT!

Brave And The Bold #28 – The first appearance of the Justice League Of America! It does not matter that the world’s mightiest heroes came together to fight a very big STARFISH. It’s the thought that counts! A fair to good copy will set you back a few hundred bucks. However, the JLS is one of the cornerstones of the DCU and you really can’t have a complete Silver Age collection without this gem.

Mitch SA Collection Status – NEED IT!

Flash #123 – This is the very first appearance of an Earth 2 character in the Silver Age. The Golden Age and Silver Age flash team up! Nuff said! (with apologies to Stan Lee)

Mitch SA Collection Status – GOT IT!!

Showcase #22 – The first appearance of The Green Lantern. GL is one of the most popular and well written titles in the modern DCU. Check this out and you will see how little DC has had to change the character over the years. I have seen this book as low as $100 WITH a cover!

Mitch SA Collection Status – NEED IT!

Action #242 – The first appearance of Braniac! After Lex Luthor the evil computerized android is Superman’s greatest enemy! This book is a must have for ANY Superman collector. Sadly it is very expensive and TOUGH to find in higher grades because the purple background on the cover is very prone to chipping and showing every little crease. I chased this one for a long time but…

Mitch SA Collection Status – GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Action #252 – This is a real gem! Action #252 marks the first appearance of TWO DC mainstays! Of course this issue has the very first appearance of Kara Zor-El….SUPERGIRL! But often overlooked is that this issue ALSO marks the first appearance of the evil Metallo! Figure to go between $150-$300 for a Good to VG copy.

Mitch SA Collection Status –HOT DAMN I GOT IT!!!!

Adventure #247 – This one breaks my heart! TRY to get even a ragged copy for under a grand! This is the first appearance of The Legion Of Super Heroes. It was a small Superboy story about a “superhero Club” and the only Legion members that appeared were Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad. BUT it was the one that gave birth to a legend…I mean LEGION. Plan on the Legion Of Superheroes Archive for this one!

Mitch SA Collection Status – NEED IT! (Sobs!!)

Adventure #300 - This one is much more affordable for legion fans. It marks the issue in which the LSH became the lead feature in Adventure and you can get a NICE copy for around $100!

Mitch SA Collection Status – Got it!

Superman Annual #1 – This one is a personal favorite of mine. It was THE VERY FIRST Annual ! It features some wonderful; reprints from the late Golden Age and early Silver Age. Like most of the square bound 80 pagers it is very hard to get in higher grades and can go for over two grand! A low grade copy goes for about $100 but it was recently reprinted in a wonderful facsimile edition that you can get for around $5. It is worth it JUST for the cover!

Mitch SA Collection Status – YOU KNOW I HAVE THIS ONE!!!

Detective #327 – The first NEW LOOK Batman issue. Batman was one of the last character to get a silver age make over. During the 50’s and most of the 60’s Batman was regulated to Sci-Fi/Dick Tracy type of stories. So much so that the character was hardly recognizable as Batman at all! This was the first step in modernizing the character ! You can get VERY nice copies at around $50!

Mitch SA Collection Status – GOT IT!

Superman #149 – The Death Of Superman! No REALLY. This was the issue in which Luthor actually manages to KILL the man of Steel. Of course it was an “Imaginary Story”…the FIRST one in fact. It was ALSO the last 10 cent issue of Superman! Just how you can have an “Imaginary Story” in and imaginary universe was never actually explained! A near Mint will set you back a couple of yards!

Mitch SA Collection Status – I GOT TWO!

Justice League Of America #21 and #22 – The first cross over between the JLA and Earth 2’s JSA! It would become an annual event! You can get the pair in about VG for around $100!

Mitch SA Collection Status – I GOT EM!

Showcase #34 - The First Appearance of the Atom! In my opinion this is one of the more UNDER valued SA DC first appearances. You can easily find VG/F copies at around $100. Not bad for a DC Mainstay! Hell, the cover ALONE is worth the price!

Mitch SA Collection Status – I GOT IT!

Showcase #6 – The debut of Jack Kirby’s Challengers Of The Unknown! Kirby often said this was a prototype for the Fantastic Four. You can certainly see the seeds that were planted here that would eventually lead the way to Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny! VERY RARE and VERY expensive! Get the DC Archive Edition! But get it fast because THEY are getting rare too! (psssst CBJ had one last time I looked!)

Mitch SA Collection Status – I GOT IT!!! (But I got it as a kid . My wife would KILL me if I spent the couple of grand necessary for a mid range copy!)

Secret origins #1 – This is one of my favorites because it is the FIRST reprint of several early Silver Age Origins. In itself this is a valuable book in higher grades but you can certainly find a nice mid range copy for about $100! It is a very nice way to get the first SA stories featuring Green Lantern, Challengers of the Unknown, Flash, and Adam Strange!

Mitch SA Collection Status – I GOT IT!

Green Lantern #76 - #85 - #86 – These issues were crafted by the legendary Neal Adams and essentially put an END to the Silver Age by introducing real world themes such as racism, war, and drug abuse to comic books! They have been endlessly reprinted but the originals can all be had for under $100 for mid to high grade copies.

Mitch SA Collection Status – I GOT THE ENTIRE RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally as a coda to the Silver Age I highly recommend the Alan Moore/Curt Swan story “Whatever Happened To the Man Of Tomorrow” (Superman #423 and Action #583). The story was intended to close the book on the original character's history subsequent to the events of Crisis On Infinite Earths and in preparation for the following series reboot by John Byrne , and was Swan's final major contribution to the series. You can get BOTH in near mint for around $20! It is also now available in a very nice hard cover edition and readily available!

Mitch SA Collection Status – I GOT EM!

There you have it troops. It is certainly not EVERY book from the Silver Age of DC but they are all great books and KEYS at that!

Some I have....some I need...the QUEST GOES ON!!!

FIVE days until Pitchers and Catchers!
That’s 30!


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