I cannot tell you why he does, but L.B. Cole speaks to me, and my favorite Golden Age artist. While most people would gravitate towards Alex Schomburg (and trust me, he’s a close second in my book), I can’t help but grab any Cole books that come my way.
I have owned a decent amount, in fact I own more now than when I had to sell my collection a little over three years ago. Unfortunately, a few of the books I sold previously are on this list, and now expensive enough to where I feel I may not get another in my lifetime.
It has been estimated at one point that Cole was responsible for drawing upwards of one thousand covers. While this number is inflated and inaccurate, the number is still in the many hundreds. Cole was an extremely prolific artist and combined with his telltale clashing colors, very easily recognizable. Many of his books are now termed “classic covers”, and values of many of these are skyrocketing to values that could equal cars or houses.
Who Was L.B. Cole? Read his bio, bid on current auction items, save a want list, and lookup the value of L.B. Cole artwork.
Below, in no particular order, are some of my favorite top L.B. Cole covers. This list is by no means all-inclusive since Cole created so many covers, however many of his most well known are represented, along with a few that may not be known.
1. Eagle Comics #1 (Rural Home, 1945) and L.B. Cole Animal Study
This is my favorite L.B. Cole cover that I have never owned. I am fascinated with eagles. I think they are the most majestic looking birds. Couple that with the war cover and this book is amazing. Cole is well known for his sharp attention to details with animals (see neighboring picture) and airplanes (see most Contact Comics).
2. Dime Comics #1 (Newsbook, 1945)
This book cannot be common. I have never seen it in person and, in fact, never knew about it until I started making this list. What more could you want though? A hero saving a “good girl”, war cover, and an awesome looking hawk on the cover. Oh and one more thing! A “hanging” cover. This cover is LOADED! Can anyone guess while I will be looking for?
3. The Killers #1 (Magazine Enterprises, 1947)
This book has recently came through a few times lately. It is extremely popular having been singled out in Seduction of the Innocent (SOTI). Most books that are singled out by SOTI are very popular, and that coupled with being an L.B. Cole cover, makes this book a must have.
4. Law and Crime #1 (Essenkay Publishing, 1948)
This is a classic cover even though it isn’t designated “classic”. The stark black background makes this book tough to find in higher grade. History lesson (I usually seem to have one of these don’t I): Raymond Hamilton found fame in running with Bonnie and Clyde. This depicts his execution.
5. Great Comics #1 (Novak, 1945)
I am listing more than a “top 10” this month primarily because I just couldn’t whittle the list down any more than I did. You may ask why this book is on the list. It isn’t incredibly valuable, and it isn’t one of his dynamic well known covers. This book is my biggest regret. I guarantee you all have that one regret. You know, the one that makes you sob like a little kid because you should never ever have let it go? That is this one for me. I received this as a gift, and in incredibly high grade. When I opened it up, on the first page Cole signed it. Why oh why did I ever sell this? Cautionary note: If you ever get a book that you “can’t part with” and think, you are going to be cute by jacking it up to a ridiculous price because “it wont possibly sell at that price”, by unwritten rule, you will sell it in 5 minutes. The universe will conspire against you. My advice? Don’t be cute. Just hold it and be happy.
6. Suspense Comics #11 (Continental Magazines, 1946)
Considered a “Classic Devil Cover” by Cole and one that really pops if you get a clean copy. The yellow, greens and reds clash well causing the devil to stand out well. This was the biggest Cole book I had to sell with my collection a few years ago. Since then, it has started to skyrocket. I may never get it back.
7. Shocking Mystery Cases 50 & 53 (Star Publications, 1952/53)
These books are rare. Incredibly so. We have only had four copies of #50 and two copies of #53. That comes out to only seeing these books almost 4 years apart for the 50 and only once every 9 years for the 53. Don’t wait. If you see one of them, grab it while you can.
8. Popular Teen-Agers 5 & 13 (Star Publications, 1950 & 1952)
As the 1950s came around, and books became scarcer due to various reason, artists had to find work wherever they could, even if that meant working on romance books. Some of Cole’s best work is on romance books. The #5 is the most sought after of his romance covers, but I am partial to the #13. Regardless of which you prefer these might be something to find now as prices continue to climb nonstop and they are not by any means common. We have only had five copies of #5 and a lonely ONE of #13.
9. Power Comics #3 & #4 (Holyoke, 1944 & 1945)
The #3 is the most well recognized within the title, however I love #4 also. As I said earlier, I love birds and this was one I was obsessed with early in my career. This was also one I had to give up a few years ago. Someone recently asked me if I were going to get it back or I would go for the #3 instead. I didn’t have an answer. Either would be good for me. Which do you prefer?
10. Blue Bolt Weird Tales #115 (Star Publications, 1952)
We have only ever had this book three times in our long career. This is one of Cole’s most well-known covers, only a few others being more recognizable. This book falls into that 1950-55 time period where books are much rarer than in other time periods. According to the population report, there are only 22 CGC graded copies.
11. Contact Comics #12 (Aviation Comics, 1946)
This book is L.B. Cole’s most well-known science fiction cover. This looks like a beautiful throwback to the bygone era of pulps and Frank R. Paul’s masterpieces.
12. Mask Comics 1 & 2 (Rural Home, 1945)
Possibly the most masterful works from L.B. Cole, Mask 1 & 2 highlights his unique color scheme and artwork. These two books tend to have color touches on them due to the black background so finding them unrestored is a chore. Both are considered “classic” covers, with #2 showcasing his classic devil figure.
If you take all the books on this list and watch sales, you will find almost all the books making drastic jumps in value. With the overall amount of Cole artwork, designated “classic covers” and beautiful colors, he has cemented his place as one of the premiere artists in comic book history.