Hey Boo Boo

Happy Halloween everybody. Please be careful driving today as there will be way too many kids out there trying to run off their sugar rushes. I’m getting lazy I think; a few years back we had a big Halloween push at the shop with our “Give Comics Not Cavities” campaign. We’d bundle up 25 cheap comics and sell them for $20, encouraging our customers to grab a stack or two to give out to the kids that came to their door. We only really pushed it the one year and then I think the pandemic hit. I should have fired the idea back up this year but somehow lacked the ambition. No excuses next year.

This week I dip back into that delicious box of old strip cover return comics that we’ll slowly start putting up for auction in the coming weeks. These books go back to the mid-1930s and are an absolute pleasure to go through; it’s scary how much fun I’m having. Behold the glory that is Keen Detective Funnies #23 featuring the first appearance of Air Man. The book has a beautiful cover and it’s a shame that the cover is gone but let’s take solace in this beautiful splash page.

As I was leafing through the Keen Detective Funnies #23 I found myself admiring the art in the Dean Masters D.A. story inside and I wanted to feature a sample. I did a little research and found out it was drawn by Claire S. Moe, one of the few female Golden Age comic book artists. At the time of these drawings, she would have been 43 years old; she also drew for Archie, Fiction House and Lev Gleason. I really like her art. I’m hoping our friend Bud Plant can add a little more info on her.

What’s with the red monotone colour on one side and the black and white on the other? Looks frightful! This was 1940 and the American comic book was well-versed in four-color comics,

Speaking of great artists, there are few greater than the mighty Frank Frazetta. For me, if I was an artist the definition of terrifying would be knowing I have an 8-page story following one of his 8-page stories. Speaking of Frank Frazetta and the number 8, check out this rare 1975 Russ Cochran Portfolio featuring beautiful high gloss prints of the 8 legendary covers Frazetta did for Famous Funnies #209 to 216. This is another very cool item in the pile I enjoyed checking out.

It’s spooky how many cool and unique things were in my eBay auction pile this week. I’ll cap it off with this bound edition of Jack Kirby’s Fighting American featuring issues #1 through #7. I’ve never really come to a firm resolution on what I think of bound editions. I’ve had Daredevil #1 to 20 years back in a bound edition and I remembered I poo-pooed it at the time but the more I think of it these are the real deal, they are the original printings cropped and glued so they can be presented in a bound format. It will be interesting to see how the market treats these bound editions (I have a few others) as they hit the auctions.

Our weekly icecollectibles ebay auction eerily ended last night on all hollows eve, luckily no books disappeared or burst into flames though I must say there were some hot finishes. Our CGC 8.0 copy of Amazing Spider-Man #28 closed at $1648.23 USD which was a strong result and bettering the $1440 sale recorded in September. Any time you can produce a stronger sale in October than you had in September you should chalk it down as a good positive result for the market. Let’s hope November is kind to everyone.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

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Bud Plant
1 year ago

Walter, not wanting to fail your challenge with Claire Moe…I had to look her up, not knowing much more than you do. I’ve seen her work in a fair number of Centaur/Comic Magazine comics, but that’s it. Here’s what I found, first from https://womenincomics.fandom.com/wiki/Claire_S._Moe

Claire Stander Moe (1897 – 1976), who also used the pennames Vic Todd and Orville Wells, was a Swiss-American comic book artist from during the late-1930s and early-1940s who worked primarily through the Chesler Studio and Funnies, Inc.

Moe was born Claire Stander in Berne, Switzerland, where she later received formal art training. In 1914, she immigrated to New York. By 1926, she had married Norwegian immigrant Gunnar Hilmarsen Moe, and they had a daughter, Claire Gurine Moe. By 1930, they had settled in Westchester County, where they lived until at least 1940. According to the 1930 and 1940 U.S. Census, Gunnar worked as a tiler, but the 1940 Census does not list an occupation for Claire despite having been producing comics for about three years at that point. This may indicate that she considered it more of a hobby than a job. Gunnar died in August 1960; Claire is said to have died in 1976.

Lambiek, always a pretty dependable site, has just a little to add. they also list her pennames Todd and Well, and this:

She made several stories with ‘Patty O’Day’ for Wonderworld Comics by Fox Comics at the end of the 1930s, often signing her work “Vic Todd”. Moe also did ‘The Circus and Sue’ and other features for Funny Pages by Centaur Comics in 1937-39. Other credits include contributions to Archie Comics, Fiction House (‘White Panther’), Lev Gleason and Chesler (‘Kit Kelly’). She was also a designer of ceramics and shadow pictures painted on glass.

Now on the CGC site, here’s an odd one, —- “Post your Charles J. Mazoujian (Claire Moe) covers” —-which is followed by a bunch of Marvel Mystery #2 covers, attributed to Clair Moe by CGC.

Now https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Chuck_Mazoujian#Work_History clearly attributes Marvel Mystery #2 to Chuck, who was born 20 years after Moe, in 1917. Claire and Chuck are NOT the same person.

Grand Comics Database attributes MM #2 to Mazoujian. I seen to remember he was part of the Eisner shop at some point also. Indexer notes in GCD says “ Art identification by Hames Ware and Dr. Michael J. Vassallo via the Timely-Atlas list. Corrected from Claire S. Moe.” I trust those guys, so if they say it’’s not by Moe, believe it.

So I think CGC screwed up with their attribution and our CGC board posting continued it. Lambiek has a good posting on Mazoujian and indeed he worked for Eisner:

Chuck Mazoujian was educated at the Pratt Institute, where he graduated in 1939. He joined the Eisner/Iger Shop in 1939 and did comic book art on features for Fiction House (‘Captain Terry Thunder’), Novelty and Quality Comics (‘Jack and Jill’, ‘Mr. Zero’, ‘Quicksilver’, ‘Sally O’Neil’, ‘Samar’, ‘Z-11’). In 1940-41 he did art on the ‘Lady Luck’ Sunday page for Register and Tribune Syndicate. Mazoujian modeled the character after his fiance, then Edna Monson, who wore a stylish green hat.

Ok Walter, hows THAT for going down the rabbit hole?

Oh, and regarding the black and white pages in your Keen Detective (a great book, by the way, I own it)…doing some pages in black and white was common even in the early DC titles, but you are right, by this time, 1940, it should have been dropped. But poor Centaur gets some kind of dubious distinction as one of the few if any publishers who actually went belly up during the heyday of early comics, when everyone else was selling zillions every month. Poor management? My buddies and I think they had bad circulation, maybe not fully national like say DC and Dell had, maybe just east coast? In any case, we all know how scarce Centaurs are, probably due to poor circulation and perhaps lower print runs. So if they were headed for disaster financially (they closed up in 1941), they would be cutting every corner, and running some pages in just one color instead of four would save them a fraction of a cent per copy, times 100,000 or 200,000 copies…it can add up. And yeah, it looks crappy!

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
1 year ago

Well… I was not able to give out comics again for Halloween this year as I am again traveling. I have that Russ Cochran Frazetta covers art but not in terrific shape. Once again I am dazzled at Bud’s incredible knack for bringing us comic history!

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
1 year ago

My wife and I are on a West Coast farewell tour so to speak as we hope by this time next year to be in Portugal. Family and friends from Portland to SoCal. A lot of good times and a lot of tears as it may be the last time I will see some people.

1 year ago

Enjoy your tour Monsieur Eddy! But please remember to stay connected with us in your new land!!!

And make sure you devour a tart when you get to Portugal, I can’t enough of them, delicious!!!