TAS: Masks, Calories, and Beavers

In late 1944, Steele seemed to have come up with the idea of doing cut-out masks of a few of the lead Bell characters on the inside covers of some of the Bell Features books. We modern collectors look back somewhat aghast on this because, just like Bell’s placement of cut-out coupons in similar locations, it must have led to wanton disfigurement of many of these books, but such were the ways of the world back then towards something that was seen as ultimately disposable and easily remaindered. Steele signed these “fathead” portraits with his shortened monogram “TAS.”

Review | Mike Mignola’s Hellboy In Hell and Other Stories Art...

Well designed and produced, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy In Hell And Other Stories Artist’s Edition has a major flaw. I gleefully opened my copy, enjoying each page as I flipped through the table of contents and indicia beautifully designed by Randy Dahlk. I landed on the first page of Hellboy In Hell and noticed there was not text. Then I flipped to the next page and saw no text. Skimmed the full 110 pages of Hellboy In Hell story and there is no text.

Undervalued Spotlight #207

Legends #3, DC Comics, January 1987. The Suicide Squad made its first appearance back in September 1959 in Brave and the Bold #25. BB #25 is a great comic to own and very undervalued at its 9.2 guide value of $1,800. The book is a tough find though, it rarely comes up for auction so this week, rather than send you out on a mission impossible, I thought I’d lighten it up and send you after a book with potentially way more upside, at the very least it will be much easier, much more fun and much much cheaper to hunt down.

Canada’s Own Comics: a WECA database

Today is the launch day of our modest attempt to set up an online database of Canadian comic books from the WECA period (1941-46), better known to collectors as The Canadian Whites, at canadasowncomics.com. We were approached early on in our project to avoid the difficulty of creating an online index of these comics from scratch and simply upload our information to the Grand Comics Database. However, we felt it of utmost importance that the first real indexing of these comics be based in Canada. I’m sure that the information we put up there (and remember that this is the first real setting down of comprehensive data about a unique, rare, and arcane set of comic books) will often have holes and need amendment and tweaking, but this first effort is important. I’m sure that a lot of our information will be mined by sites such as the Grand Comics Database, I just hope that whoever ends up using our findings as published material will link back to our site or, at least, credit their find appropriately.

Review | Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Ed...

Stunning, jaw-dropping gorgeous work presented in its original size, Steranko Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition is without peer.

Toronto Comic Book Show Report

On July 6th I had the opportunity to attend the Toronto Comic Book Show (TCBS) for the first time. This was the second TCBS after its inaugural show in May. You won’t see any cosplay or signings at TCBS—the show’s organizers are 100% focused on serving those who just want to get their hands on books (both raw and graded). The admission person I spoke with said they expected over 400 people throughout the day. While that’s a far cry from some of the bigger Toronto shows or US shows, it’s a pretty respectable number considering TCBS is a collector-first show.

Review | Snowpiercer Vol 1: The Escape

A completely different take on the end of the world, Snowpiercer Volume 1: The Escape delivers a harsh look on society in a frozen hell.

FECA

For this column I’ve chosen to step outside of my normal mandate and talk a little about that period that came after the WECA Period (Robin Hood Comics Vol. 1 No. 1 and Better Comics Vol. 1 No. 1 in March, 1941 to Robin Hood Comics Vol. 3 No. 34 Dec. 1946-Jan. 1947). After the end of...

Undervalued Spotlight #206

YOUNGBLOOD #1 (Image Comics, April 1992). This week’s pick came to me as I was examining recent Direct Market numbers. Slowly but surely Image Comics is cementing a dominant and distinctive 3rd place in our industry. At their current rate, Image’s share of the market may top 10% real soon and this is significant news.

Review | Escapo

A coloured reprint of early work, Paul Pope’s Escapo is a gripping look into the heart and mind.

Dates and Places

  I’m up at the archives again, flipping original Bell Features art pages and have just had time to put together a patchwork column this week. First of all, I’d like to share with you some dates and geography. My amateur research into the backgrounds of the creators behind the Canadian...

Undervalued Spotlight #205

Orb #2, Punk Publications, July 1974 I tried to post this on Canada Day July 1st but alas the best made plans are often messed up by sorties into Quebec. Anyway rather than wait until next year I thought I’d post my Canada Day Spotlight one week late. Happy Canada Day! Orb #2 is a very...

Nelvana

Because it’s Canada Day week I want to do a bit of a more involved special column about the figurehead of the Canadian Whites this time–Nelvana. This mini-skirted, semi-mortal, maid of the Arctic skies has firmly become the totem (the chosen emblem) of the Canadian war-time comics.

Jodhpur Jockeys

The WECA period had its share of capes, masks, and tights, but the most common heroic habit for the super-styled Canadian crime-fighter of the period was far more reserved fashion statement. This was the simple combination of jodhpurs and riding boots with a variety of top halfs.

Review | Frank Bellamy’s Heros the Spartan

A sumptuous collection of amazing British 1960s strips by Tom Tully and Frank Bellamy, Heros The Spartan is a must for comic art fans.

DC partners with Graphitti Designs for Gallery Editions

IDW has garnered a significant amount of fans and industry awards for its Artist’s Edition line of books that reprint original comic art full size, utilizing colour scans of the original penciled and inked comic art boards. They’re beautiful giant books that allow the masses, or...

Name-It Comics

By the time Name-It Comics came out, Maple Leaf’s first title, and Canada’s first comic book, Better Comics had already had eight issues out and its second title, Lucky Comics (at that time known as “Union Jack – Lucky Comics”) had had half that. The other title that came out concurrently with Name-It Comics was Bing Bang Comics with its lead and cover feature being the adolescent, Denis the Menace type of trouble maker, Pinky.

Undervalued Spotlight #204

Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1, First Funnies Inc., April 1939 Please don’t yell. I’ve been called out in the past for picking books that are impossible to find and I’ve been real good about it for such a long time now but I’ve come to a breaking point, I simply can’t continue my Spotlights...

Comics as Emotional Assets

In a recent Financial Analysts Journal article authors Elroy Dimson and Christophe Spaenjers provide an excellent analysis of the historical performance of artwork, stamps, and antique violins. The authors label these collectibles “emotional assets.” No, the authors did not include comic books in their study. However, the article offered a few interesting insights that apply to us comic book collectors.

Bus Griffiths

  On the front cover of Canada’s first comic book, Better Comics No. 1 (March, 1941), Vancouver’s Maple Leaf Publications chooses a stylized maple leaf containing the words “Canada’s Own” to be its logo. These words broadcast the mission mandate through which Vernon Miller created his...