Week 27: Canusa Games

Hamilton Ontario and Flint Michigan have held their annual CANUSA games every year since 1958, its the longest running amateur sports competition in North America. Host cities alternate each year, Hamilton odds, Flint evens. I mentioned CANUSA because this week’s post covers July 1st, Canada Day and July 4th Independence Day in the USA. Happy Canada Day! Happy Fourth of July!

On the Canadian side I’d like to post Leo Bachle’s splash to Dime Comics #1 featuring the 1st Johnny Canuck, February 1942.

On the American side lets go with this great Kirby splash featuring the origin of Captain America from Tales of Suspense #63 from 1965.

Now I’ll continue with my weekly highlighting of books I’m putting up for eBay auction, counting the pages for completeness has never been this much fun. I love this Vince Colletta splash from True Tales of Love #23 from May 1956.

Also in the page counting pile was a nice copy of Amazing Spider-Man #96, I wasn’t too impressed with the splash but thank goodness I had to count the pages because the last page splash is a winner! Art by Gil Kane and inks by John Romita.

For the millionth time, Jack Kirby is a Beast! So much motion in this great two page splash from Black Panther #2, 1977.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

Articles: 1702


  1. Great stuff! The Goblin really came off threateningly realistic. Have to give the nod to Romita, he nails the cliffhanger here. He was at his bestbwith the Goblin and Mary Jane.

    I love that Cap splash. Stan, in his credits there, might have given a nod to Joe Simon…but still, both he and Jack were part of Cap’s first days, in their own way. But far moreso Jack and Joe, of course. You guys all surely know Stan wrote a text story in Captain America #3, 1941, his first credited or published piece. Hopefully Stab gave Joe Simon credit elsewhere and plenty of it. He was probably Stan’s direct editor before S&K left to go to DC.

    Still, I bought that issue off the stands, and just that splash, wow, it said, we’re off to something very special. Jack reprising his greatest Golden Age achievement….at least in my eyes. Cap #1-10, what more can you say? Magic!

    Ever since Jukes Feiffer reprinted an early Cap splash in Great Comic Book Heroes, in 1964, the Golden Age Cap was really special to us young fans. Those Fantasy Masterpieces issues with the GA Cap reprints was funky, sure, but eye-opening for us…you have to hand it to Marvel for getting those stories back into print so early on….

    Ok, really not a special Colletta, Walter, sorry. That’s a minor taste is all. He did a lot better in the plenty of Atlas love titles. He is one of, if not THE best creator of romance stuff in Atlas during that time. Jay Scott Pike was another standout at times. I only turned onto Colletta’s work there in the past few years. His issues have gone from $2 bins to active EBay and Heritage auction targets at multiples of guide, in just about any reasonable condition. His best covers are great, but Walter makes the point, his splashes and entire stories can be special too. Not quite Matt Baker level, but darned nice.

    How many little girls saved THESE issues? Not many, I imagine.

    …when my buddy Jim Vadeboncoeur sold his complete runs of Atlas romance, on EBay (via BigGuysComics), I was an active bidder (long story why I didn’t get first shot…I offered Jim 2.5 times guide, but money wasn’t the issue…he really wanted to impress with his complete runs and see what would happen). Now, two times guide sounds cheap, but this was several years ago now. I got some, but watched others go anywhere from $50 to $200, mostly in only gd, gvg, vg shape. I hate EBay, but trying for those i signed into a sniper program and everything. After that, I stopped doing EBay again.

  2. Happy Canada Day! I like these splashes… however the Colletta loses a bit in the layout. I am not sure forcing in the to lower Right panels helps!
    Yes thats one great Goblin by two greats in the field! If you broke down Spiderman into ages Ditko would be Golden Age, Romita Silver Age, and Kane Bronze!
    That is a great example of Kirby post New Gods! I know some feel he lost some of his mojo in his later work, but this is an example that shows he didn’t! Is that inks by Mike Royer by the way?

  3. The Goblin is truly menacing, one of the best images of the character.

    I have to fight for that Colletta splash, just the clean lines it gives us and for a bonus the two girls smoking cigarettes in the bottom panel !!

    Thanks Gerald, I’ll give you a Happy Fourth of July a few days early.

  4. I missed the smoking girls, that’s unusual and very cool.

    Walter, if you like that clean line look, I hope you are into Johnny Craig. For a long time I did not appreciate his EC work, being eclipsed as he was by Wood and the other boys. But in 1988|89, when Cochran was auctioning off mid-to later-era EC stories and I had a little money, I began REALLY studying them hard to figure what to bid on…I saw the light. He’s really, really good.

    Now I like finding his Pre-Trend work, in War Against Crime, in comics I never before collected. Best artist in those early books, before Wood and the boys joined the show. And his Picto-Fiction stories are especially great too…the work by all the EC guys in those hybrid magaxines is still underappreciated, I think. The Russ Cochran/Gemsone comolete Picto collection is STILL in print.

    In the sixties, Craig’s Warren magazine work was good, also.

    I used to own Craig’s first Drusilla story, introducing the 4th EC witch…the cute one. Inthink it eas in a later Vault of Horror. I still have several of his great stories for Extra, includings one or two drawn with no panels, not unlike the Picto-Fiction work. He’s so sharp. He would have done well illustrating James Bond.

    Back in 1988-89, these New Trend stories of his were going begging in the auctions, for under $300 per story! Not per page, per story. I own all four of his from Extra #4, and used to own the (not so great) cover, too. Bragging rights, owning an entire EC issue in the original art. Okay, okay, its one of thr most minor of all of their titles, it’s true…but still better than MD and Psychoanalysis!

    Happy holidays, guys!

  5. Your right about Johnny Craig Bud… he must of been the hardest member of the EC staff! He was there from Pre-trend, New Trend, and New Direction across all genres! I would love to have an original Psychoanalysis page! Gaines was so audacious to come up with such a title! I have read that Craig was far more involved then just a penciler on the EC libe as well.

  6. Yes, Johnny Craig was editing Extra I think…okay, he was indeed, I just Googled it to be sure and I found a well-illustrated bio of him on Lambiek, always an informative site. Here’s a link to the entire bio, worth reading, and I excerpted a few good parts below.


    Johnny Craig was closely involved in the development of the horror titles ‘The Vault of Horror’, ‘Tales from the Crypt’ and ‘The Haunt of Fear’, and became a regular artist of covers and stories. He was also an essential contributor to ‘Crime SuspenStories’, which was launched later in 1950.

    Unlike other EC artists, Craig not only drew but also wrote the scripts for his own stories. He became instrumental in the look of ‘The Vault of Horror’, for which he drew the covers of 29 issues. He enhanced Al Feldstein’s design of the title’s mascot character The Vault Keeper, and later also created the hostess Drusilla, while serving as editor for the later issues. Many of his covers for ‘The Vault of Horror’ and ‘Crime SuspenStories’ were controversial. One of Craig’s covers, which features a man hanging on the gallows, was slandered by psychologist Dr. Fredric Wertham in his book against comics, ‘Seduction of the Innocent’ (1954). Another infamous Craig cover, depicting a man with a bloody axe and a severed woman’s head, was presented at the Senate Subcommittee hearings against the influence of comic books on children.

    He was the editor of ‘Extra!’, a newspaper/adventure comic book in the New Direction line. He wrote and drew two stories per issue, including the ‘Dateline’ feature starring newspaper reporter Keith Michaels, and provided the cover art. He also drew the covers for the medical comic book ‘M.D.’, and experimented with hued pencils in the Picto-Fiction books.

  7. Thanks for including Dime Comics #1 Walt. I was in love with that book when Stephen first offeed it up for sale.
    He is the “Captain America” of Canadian books and a worthy Patriotic hero to represent Canada

  8. I tried looking up a copy of the book… but the only one I found was $200

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