When The Flash was revived featuring Barry Allen during the Silver Age of Comic Books, the speedy series was rebooted with issue #105 (cover date March 1959), continuing from the Golden Age run starring Jay Garick. The reasoning from the publisher was that readers trusted a long-running series and that it would sell better than something marked #1.
Obviously, that mindset changed over the following decades, and debut issues are now considered highly collectible. We have some real zingers in this sale, including first issues of Batman, Superman, Fantastic Four, and X-Men, but we thought it would be fun to shed light on some lesser-known number ones.
Without further ado, here are seven vintage debut comics we’re offering that deserve more love:
1. All Select Comics #1 (1943)
Adolph Hitler was a frequent foe in comic books during World War II. Here we find Timely’s titanic trio of Captain America, Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner attacking the Führer’s Berchtesgaden fortress, aka the Eagle’s Nest (which was actually undamaged during the war and today is a tourist attraction). Illustrated by Alex Schomburg, the cover image is dynamic and detailed, making the lot a display-worthy piece. Inside, our heroes battle such long-forgotten villains as The Claw, Ogor, Herr Baron, and The Vulture and his nefarious Batmen.
2. Blue Beetle #1 (1967)
The Blue Beetle has gained mainstream fame of late because of the recent feature film, but casual fans may be surprised to learn that there are three incarnations of the character and that he dates back all the way to 1939, the same year Batman debuted. My primary connection to Blue Beetle is the Ted Kord incarnation, Booster Gold’s wisecracking partner from Keith Giffen, and J. M. DeMatteis’ hilarious, hugely entertaining Justice League of America titles from the 1990s. Kord debuted as a backup character in Captain Atom and received his own series in 1967. It only lasted five issues, but #1, featuring cover and interior art by Steve Ditko, is a must-own for BB collectors.
3. Daredevil Comics #1 Daredevil Battles Hitler (1941)
As referenced above, Hitler frequently menaced the pages and covers of Golden Age comic books. With the possible exception of Captain America Comics #1, which depicted Cap punching the evil dictator in the face, none are more striking than this issue. It features a partial photo cover by Charles Biro and Bob Wood, with Daredevil and the Silver Streak battling The Claw and Hitler. The stories also feature such real-life historical figures as Winston Churchill, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, and Benito Mussolini. Perhaps most bizarrely, the issue concludes with a nine-page bio on Hitler.
4. Eerie Comics #1 (1947)
Back in 1947, the idea of an all-horror/supernatural comic book was an almost unthinkable proposition. But here we are with Eerie Comics #1, the world’s first comic book focused exclusively on the genre. Adorned by a sexy bondage cover illustrated by Bob Fujitani, the issue features a quartet of haunted tales, including “The Man-Eating Lizards” by the legendary Joe Kubert, the founder of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art (now known as The Kubert School). The issue has deservedly been reprinted in recent years, but hardcore collectors will want this rare original release.
5. Out of This World #1 (1950)
There are so many things to like about this issue it’s hard to know where to begin. The amazing cover reminds us of any number of beloved robot sci-fi films of the ‘50s. The image was created by Gene Fawcette, who also provided interior art along with John Giunta and Joe Kubert. The comic features the first appearance of Crom the Barbarian, who was created by Gardner Fox and Giunta. The copy we’re offering boasts a 9.2 rating, making it the highest-graded example of the issue, according to CGC. This lot is “out of this world” in more ways than one.
6. Pocket Comics #1 (1941)
Pocket Comics #1 is the answer to a trivia question you didn’t know you wanted the answer to but absolutely do: the first comic book published by Harvey, the company that went on to compete with Archie Comics via such titles as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Hot Stuff the Little Devil, and Richie Rich. As the name of the issue suggests, it is a digest-sized comic. Featuring Joe Simon cover art and a lead story written by Otto Binder (starring Satan vs. democracy, no less), the issue features the origin and first appearance of Black Cat, Cadet Blakey (the Spirit of ’76), and the Red Blazer, among others. The copy offered is CGC’s highest-graded.
7. Richie Rich #1 (1960)
I love epic superhero sagas as much as the next comic book fan, but sometimes, when I just want to unwind after a long, tiring day, I love to kick back and enjoy the simple charms of Richie Rich. The character is super nostalgic for me as I grew up reading about his adventures, which typically involved him being surrounded by absurd amounts of cash, diamonds, gold bars, and/or other valuables. The kid got thousands of dollars weekly for allowance and would often commandeer a vehicle and chase criminals, sometimes accompanied by his girlfriend, Gloria Glad. Talk about a power fantasy!
Here are six more hidden gem debut issues in this sale that you might want to check out:
- Bone #1 (1991)
- The Flame #1 (1940)
- Front Page Comic Book #1 (1945)
- Shanna the She-Devil #1 (1972)
- Special Edition Comics #1 (1940)
- The Thing #1 (1952)
Browse all the lots in our 2023 November 16 – 19 Comics & Comic Art Signature® Auction #7342