Monday, March 29, 2010

It's Not All About The Cape

Last time we discussed Superman #61 as a key Golden Age collectible comic. That got me to thinking about some of the truly rare GA comics that are NOT Superhero books. When we look back at the Golden Age in particular, it is common to almost dismiss any book not in the Superhero genre. This is understandable because the Golden Age was launched by the creation of Superman and Superheroes dominated the early days of the Golden Age. It was not until the late 40’s and early 50’s that other genres (Horror, Sci-Fi, Humor etc.) began to assert their popularity in the wake of the decline of the costumed adventurer.

Certainly the EC Comics of the early 50’s are very much sought after Golden Age collectibles. EC specialized in Science Fiction, Horror and War titles as well as an interesting humor comic called Mad. (Mad would later become a magazine sized book to avoid the censorship of the Comics Code). Many early EC comics in high grade command thousands of dollars. It should be noted that it is extremely to find EC comics in high grade because the stock they were printed on were of even lesser quality than many other companies.

One of the most difficult non-hero Golden Age books to come by in any condition is Motion Picture Comics #110.

This comic is based on George Pal's When Worlds Collide (1951), the science fiction epic which brings out the best (and worst) in humanity as the world faces imminent destruction. A rocket is built that will carry a select few off the planet. Photo cover features Richard Derr and Barbara Rush. Pencils by George Evans, with inks by Al Williamson. (The pair drew themselves into the story).

Motion Picture comics was produced by Fawcett (Captain Marvel) .Fawcett Movie Comics changed its name to Motion Picture Comics in 1950, and produced comic book adaptations of popular movies. Motion Picture Comics generally favored war stories and westerns but now and then a science-fiction title would creep in, like “When Worlds Collide”. Motion Picture Comics all featured photo covers, often taken from the movie lobby posters.

I chased this book for years! Unlike a Superman #61 or a Detective #225 which are fairly plentiful, though VERY expensive, M.P.C. #110 is very expensive (A high grade copy can run over $1,000) AND very rare. The most I ever saw on Ebay for instances were two copies in low to mid grades. And THEY were the same copies that had changed hands on Ebay several times. Even at big shows like the last NY Comic Con I could only find ONE dealer who had a copy. Chasing down a truly rare comic is what makes this part of the hobby particularly frustrating…and FUN! (After much searching I WAS able to find a very nice copy at a good price on Ebay!)
As Golden Age comics in mid to high grade become more and more scarce and expensive, so too have Silver Age books in higher grades begun to feel the push upwards in scarcity and value. While most comic collectors do not chase Golden or Silver Age books, it is a fascinating part of our joint hobby to explore. Afterall you don’t have to BUY, in order to shop! Check out the various online auction sites and collectors sites such as and you will get a nice tour through the history of our hobby absolutely free!

That’s 30!


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