Good Times

December has always been kind to comic book shops, at least it has to the Big B shops over the years. Christmas and the holidays are in the air and gift-giving is on people’s minds. Luckily for comic shops, there are a lot of comic book pop culture fans out there who have friends and loved ones who know exactly what they like. These folks are shopping and asking questions and clicking things on their phone and generally perusing through the shop, at least this is the scenario in early December. By the time the calendar rolls around to December 20th all bets are off, at that point anything can go at any time and at any price. It’s a peculiar mix of people that have looked but could not find that perfect gift, procrastinators, gift add on’ers and the like. These shoppers can do a lot of damage in one visit. If you are a comic book shop you best be putting your relevant, new, quality items front and center and if you are a shopper – our address is 1045 Upper James Street, Hamilton!

Stay safe out there, bundle up, be courteous, be kind- unless you’re fighting for that last Furby – and enjoy the wonders that the season brings.

I’m now lining up books for our upcoming ice collectibles auction that ends on Christmas Day. It’s a good day to play Santa to yourself: there are lots of cool gifts you can pick up for yourself in that auction so make sure you’re tuned in.

You’d think picking a cover of the week would be easy but I found myself torn so I thought why not go with both? First up is this gorgeously simple George Wilson painted cover for Doc Solar Man of the Atom #22: great composition, great colours, great feel to this fun cover. Second up is this very nice Matt Baker cover to The Hawk #12. We all know Matt Baker for his girls but subject matter aside the man’s quality just shines through.

Speaking of doubling up, these in-house DC ads come from 1943’s Mutt and Jeff #9. DC was firing on all superhero cylinders in 1943. I like how they call the first page “The Big 8” and treat the second ad like “oh and we make these too”, meanwhile the second ad has Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman. If you were a kid and a DC fan you’d a had to come up with $1.60 to get all 16 issues, though I’m not sure if the quarterly’s had ended by then or if any of these were bi-monthly. Still, that’s a lot of reading and a lot of clams.

I have this lovely run of Witching Hour comics going up for the Christmas auction; talk about a Hall of Fame run of artists drawing for that title, Kirby, Morrow, Cardy, Tuska, Adams, DeZuniga and more. This splash from Tony DeZuniga caught my eye and I’m featuring it as the splash of the week! I’ve always liked DeZuniga’s style.

This week’s ice collectibles eBay auction produced some more great results: I want to feature the $164.50 earned by the Superman versus Spider-Man Treasury Edition. This book marked the first Marvel and DC collaboration; imagine if Marvel Buys DC!

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. While I do like painted covers, the Matt Baker takes the day for me! That splash is also very nice! I have that Treasury Edition with a bunch of other all in very nice condition, but how do I get rid of them?

  2. Agreed with Gerald, the Matt Baker wins.

    That 1943 ad is way cool and my pick of the lot is World’s Finest, which is very coincidental because it’s the only one I own. Batman is the first Alfred, though, so that’s the winner by $$$.

    DeZuniga was one of my favorites. While not totally grabbing me like an Adams or a Byrne, when he was firing on all cylinders he was completely distinctive and phenomenal. Nothing beats Falling In Love #121, but check out Young Love #85 and All-Star Western #8.

    I will sit on my Supes vs. Spidey for awhile more. If only this wasn’t a Treasury Edition.

  3. boy , to be a kid back in 1943 ! i juuuuust love me some big logo DC’s . i’d plunk down my $1.60 right now . Matt Baker books are real tough to find out here in Vancouver , and , if you do find one , they’re about triple guide , sometimes more !!! Walt , i’m the one who bought that HTF Big Town #1 last night . now i only need 3 more issues to complete the run , so , thanks for that !

  4. Chris!! You stole that Big Town! I’m glad it went to a good home though, nice work.

    Gerald and Meli, I heard a rumor that CBCS might start grading the Treasury sizes! It might ignite some more interest in them from the investing point of view. While we’re here, what are the big Treasury Editions again?

    Spider-Man – the 1st one – the red one
    Star Wars #1
    Marvel’s 1st Christmas one
    ?? what are a few more must haves ?

  5. So I was going through a box of Esquire magazines from the 60s and 70s, because their owner passed away, and I found a mini spiderman comic book in the box and my search for information led me here. Anyone know anything about it?

  6. The Hawk is an outstanding run, western or not. The first issue was published by Ziff-Davis and sports a truely great painted cover. Then St.John took it over for about 12 issues, as they did many other Z-D titles when Z-D left the comics field.

    More Baker that won’t break the bank can be found on covers (and inside) of Authentic Police Cases and Fightin’ Marines, also from St. John. Interesting, after St. John was winding down in ‘55-56, Baker starts doing work for Quality, such as in their usually bland later romance titles, and then for Atlas in their romance stuff, right in their with Colletta and Jay Scott Pike work, which is now getting fairly collectible.

    There are still unrecorded Baker’s out there, also. He also did a couple issues of Lassie for Dell, in the early #20s…handsome work hidden behind Dell painted covers. Who looks twice at Lassie, right? But they are in the guide. Not being his sexy cover stuff, all these these post-code books can be had at bargain prices.

    What’s HTF?

    Slabbing Treasury Editions is gonna take a lot more plastic (and perhaps be more succeptable to cracks and breakage). Wonder what those’ll cost to grade and encapsulate? Seems like a premium. And even harder to store, find a tall shelf and stand them up like books?

    Chris, I just got turned on (again) to Big Town. I’d collected some a few scattered issues and then forgot about them. But those Alex Toth covers and stories on early issues, and Gil Kane covers and stories later on, and Joe Giella and others,lovely work, classic early 50s DC. Offten the same talent doing sci fi in 1950s Mystery in Space and Strange Adventures which of course are among my favorite books. And then they all shined on five pre-code issues of Danger Trail, a title that is one of my very favorites from DC. DC reprinted much of the Danger Trail work in the 70s in their giant-sized issues 52-page issues when they need filler material.

    My friend Michelle Nolan picked up an original owner batch way back in the early 70s in great shape…. We do opposite condition trades, I swap my lesser copies (Good to VG) to her for her nicer copies (VG to FN, occasionally a 7.0)….she makes some $$ and still has a book to enjoy, which is enough for her. While I succumb to the upgrade addiction. Her run of copies of Big Town starting in the single digits in 5.0 to 7.0, oh man, those are just lovely covers to see in bright nice condition. Stunning Toth. And again, inexpensive. Its easy to lump Big Town in with often lame early 1950s DC titles like Mr. District Attorney and Gang Busters, but Big Town overall was much stronger. However, even these other two have some occasional shining issues too, you just have to look harder.

    (Guys, please forgive me if I am repeating myself. I’ve wrote at least two posts lately that seemed to have disappeared into the internet Phantom Zone when I tapped a wrong button or something. I think a note about Big Town was one of them).

  7. Bud

    HTF is hard to find . up here in Vancouver , there is always a lot less GA books to find than down south where you live !!! as for those early 50’s DCs you’ve just mentioned , i collect all of them , too ! Michelle lives just across the border from me in Bellingham , a 30 minute drive away , though i’ve never met her . i’ve read her stuff for decades , she’s a very skilled writer . i especially liked her book ” Love on the Racks ” .as you know , she had lots of LOC in DCs books back in the day , too !

    it’s always a pleasant surprise when i buy a new DC from the early 50’s to discover a Toth story or early Gil Kane . my complete run of All-Star Western has lots of early Gil in them , and not to mention Western Comics title as well . i’ve read lots of interviews with Gil , and he states he wasn’t a big fan of his early work .Boy , do i disagree with his assessment .

  8. Will, that was a little insert comic put into an issue of Esquire and Eye Magazines, I’ve seen a few torn out over the years selling from $10 to $50, some guy has a 6.0 graded up on eBay now and he wants $1700! What he wants and what he gets are tow different things. I’d prefer to own one intact in the magazine though.

    Bud I’ve also seen some early code romance comics that look like Baker but he’s not credited, the issues escape me at the moment but I have them in a box somewhere, I was going to research them a bit more but them agai I was going to do a lot of things…

  9. Hey Bud
    I actually wrote a comment about “influencers” a couple of posts back and got my “nonce verification” denied, so, of course, everything I had written just disappeared into the void. So, I wrote it all again from memory…and got dumped a second time! After that, I wrote it all out again from memory and just Emailed it to Walt. Then (silly me), just in case, I typed it into the comments yet again, and, you guessed it, got dumped a third time. Something is definitely afoot!

  10. Aha ! So I’m not the only one getting ‘nonce verification’ errors! I wrote my usual essay for ‘influencers’ & it failed twice !! I do have a copy of my post, but I am now bummed out & sulking. There is something definitely fishy going on in Hamilton !!!

  11. HTF also means ‘I’ve got one in my basement but don’t know which box it’s in!’. I’ve been looking for my copy of ‘Our Army at War #83’ for about thirty years & still have not found it ! I know I have a copy !!

    Just before covid I managed to acquire an award document for a top scoring Polish Fighter Ace from WW2. During a routine clean up of my basement, I placed that document in a box for safe keeping. Now I don’t know which box I put it in !!! That’s HTF !!! I’ve been looking for it for months !!

    I’m not a hoarder….everything is neat & organized….but I can’t find anything !! I have got too many boxes, intricately stacked up like the walls of Macchu Picchu !! Where do I start to look for stuff !!!

  12. indy says ” what top men ?” the g-man says ” Top Men ” , lol . just like the ark , you’ll never fix the problem , Walt !

  13. Well, Mel, I’m glad we opened up that can of worms. Crazy to have normal comments dumped. I rarely ever put in a link so not sure why this lovely Askismet would dump us. Maybe they don’t like my domain name? I’ll start copying my notes here until Walter gets to the bottom of this.

    Live Frog…Yeah, I have a couple HTF books too. Just don’t know where they went, if someone lifted them, if I took them to my warehouse for a scan (back in the old days of our doing artist bios and picturing samples of their work)….and never got them back, if they are just filed wrong….a couple I just eventually replaced. That’s not including my “find” items, as noted on my “have” list, which either are misfiled or else I mis-recorded them on my list (it happens) and I never had one in the first place. That’s a dumb problem resulting from TOO MANY COMICS.

    Walter, when you find those possible Baker romance, try GCD or else the Golden Age website (where there are scans of books, I never remember the exact name) for info. Jim Vadeboncoeur was posting art credits to both and loaning his books to the GA site for them to scan. Overstreet never (or rarely, to be kinder) picks up that stuff. Jim V. knows his Baker, and he ID’ed the Baker look-alike, still unnamed, who could be Baker’s brother or else someone one entirely different. He’s credited as “Ace Baker” on those sites.

    And then there is work credited to Baker that is not his work, some of it from the Iger shop. Jim V debunked a lot of that, I think in the Matt Baker book from Twomorrows…but that doesn’t stop Overstreet and dealers from continuing to market Iger Shop imitation Baker as Baker, including some big dollar Phantom Lady work in her own title.

    Chris…don’t get me started on early 50s DC westerns. Gil Kane even did phenomenal Hopalong Cassidy work at the end of that long run, a really, really neglected title. Also in DC’s Hoppy is Gene Colan, who kicked it off around #88 and Ray Bailey who took over after Colan (Jack’s brother) doing wonderful work. Ray also did the earliest Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen issues, very sharp inking.

    DC took over Hoppy from Fawcett. But also, those All Star Westerns, later issues of Western Comics and All American Westerns, oh man, really neglected titles filled with great work, especially the Toth in AAW. Infantino, Kane….I just keep upgrading my copies of those (and all the 1950s Atlas westerns, which I consider bargain priced). I snarf up cheap or reasonable copies, which are most I see that are still raw. It’s sometimes not easy to sell my dupe lower grade ones, even with Rawhide Kid and Two-Gun Kid and Kid Colt. Oh, well. Jack Davis!! John Severin!! Kirby!! Russ Heath!! Al Williamson!! They were all doing brilliant Atlas western stories and the occasional cover….

    Chris, Michelle does the local comic shows up there near you, there is even one in Bellingham where she lives. You should run into her sometime if you ever cross the border!! She’s a hoot. Or come down to the Seattle Book Fair in October and you can run into both her AND us when we exibit next year.

    And her books ARE good, you are right. She wrote a column for Comic Book Marketplace for years, and for a while in the early internet days, she wrote comic artist bios for my website (all lost now, unless she has copies) that we paid her for to provide more content for our site….long time ago now. She’s a data nut, as you can tell from reading Love on the Racks—that is still the one and only good book on the romance genre in general. John Benson’s two books on St. John, Baker and romance writer Dana Dutch are also must-read. Funny, Benson just called me out of the blue yesterday, haven’t talked to him in decades. He more famously edits Squa Tront and recently signed a bookplate we did for the latest issue. It is said to be the final one, but I have my hopes someone will pick up the reins. Great fanzine, started by Jerry Weist around 1966 or so. Every issue is a gem.

  14. Chris Elliot- I did not know that the Ark was broken! Did you try to reboot it ? Pull out the power cord & wait 30 seconds, then plug it back in again. That usually works on my Ark !

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