Honey Bees

These long weekends are tough if you want to get some work done. The missus, being a teacher, had four days off which meant we went away on a little two-day trip. Luckily I knew a comic guy up that way who had some nice stuff I wanted, he likes the warehouse selection so I stuffed a long box full of goodies and took a pic and sent it to him, I even added a nice pile of cash on top, notice how I have the stack of the brown “Honey Bees” visible on top. Worked like a charm, we did our business in no time leaving me and my gal plenty of time to walk along the beach.

We got back just in time for Easter which my sister celebrates (mine falls on May 2nd this year). Of course, I ate way too much and lost most of the day wanting to fall asleep. Needless to say, neither the shop nor the warehouse had any access to my sought-after skills these past four days, I hope the warehouse fridge is keeping my salami and cheese stash crisp and fresh, nobody likes dried-out cheese… or shrivelled salami.

I’ve also now fallen behind on my mining for comics to be pressed then graded. My presser likes to press for me about 200 books a month meaning I need to get him about 400 books since he says my hit rate is about 50%. I like to consider myself a good grader, as most guys do I’m sure, but I don’t have the time to open each book and inspect closely so if they look sharp in the bag they go into the potential press box.

Part of the formula that is needed for the warehouse project to be successful is a steady and consistent stream of books heading down and then coming back from CGC. We’re a good two weeks behind this next shipment so I really have to get back on track. These days the supply of good books means everything, the market is hot, we need books to list!!!

This week I should have a batch coming back from CGC, I see on the invoice that there is a box now in Grading/Quality Control. There were some nice high-grade books in that batch including Creatures on the Loose #30 and the two Tiger Shark issues Sub-Mariner #5 and #6. I sure do hope the graders were in good spirits last week…

Last night we had more great results on our eBay auctions. I won’t go into how hot Marvels are, all I’ll say is that Marvels are really really hot. I would like to highlight a gem we sold for one of our consignors. Blue Bolt #108 features a stunning Sci-Fi cover by the great L. B. Cole. Our copy was a CGC 4.0 with White pages and it sold for $677.69. Look at this gorgeous thing. Last week I mentioned that DCs from the 1960s might be good buys at the moment, while everyone is running to the Marvels. I also think this is a good opportunity to grab some unique and rare esoteric stuff from the 1940s and 1950s. Be careful with the Sci-Fi and the Horror stuff though, most of these books don’t have the anchor of a known and loved character in them so zero in on strong covers and on big-name artists. Our copy of Blue Bolt #108 delivers on both counts, Advantage Buyer.

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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.
Articles: 1584

10 Comments

  1. The Blue Bolt looks to have a subscription crease down the center but those colours. Nice. I love 40s and 50s space comics. The stories were rich with imagination.

  2. L,B, Cole, what a master. A lot of his covers are put on books that were mostly reprints, as he had taken over a company that had a morge of published work from Fox. Even this one is Wolverton reprints, I believe,

    A lot of the comics from that publisher, Star are mostly reprint inside with fabulous Cole covers. But LB had hired newcomer Jay Disbrow and salted many issues with one new story. I disliked Disbrow’s clunky work when I was a young fan, but have come to appreciate it. Kind of in the Fred Guardineer class of unique, stylized…no Alex Raymond or Mac Raboy, but Jay and Fred Guardineer did their own thing. In the same school is Wolverton, who was at the top of this nuts-and-bolts, clunky style. Spaceships were all rivets and iron and steel, huge behemoths…

    Disbrow came along into fandom in the seventies and later, he had a long career. Here’s a paragraph about him from Lambiek and a link to more:

    Jay E. Disbrow was an American artist, writer, illustrator and lecturer, who worked as a comic book artist during the 1950s. He is especially remembered for his pre-Code horror comics, and has become a cult favorite for his stories filled with demons, ghostly apparitions and other monsters. Disbrow later moved on to become a technical illustrator for the government, but made some independent and promotional comics in the 1980s, as well as the webcomic ‘Aroc of Zenith’ in the 2000s.

    Here’s something I hadn’t know at all, his Fiction House connection!!

    He had an affiliation with Jerry Iger’s comics studio in 1950 and 1951. During this period, he worked as an inker on jungle features like ‘Sheena, Queen of the Jungle’ and ‘Kaanga’, and on the western titles ‘Firehair’ and ‘Long Bow’, all published by Fiction House.

    Here is more from Lambiek that confirms my note above and in fact ties this all back to Blue Bolt again, how’s that for roundabout segue to your cool cover above?

    He [Jay Disbrown] was a freelance artist for L.B. Cole’s Star Publications between 1951 and 1954, where he started writing most of his own stories. Disbrow’s stories were generally the only originals in the comic books, which were mainly re-titled reprints from the defunct Fox Features. He contributed to romance titles like ‘True-to-Life Romances’, ‘Popular Teen-Agers’ and ‘Confessions of Love’, but was especially a writer and artist of horror and monster stories for ‘Blue Bolt Weird Tales of Terror’. He also continued to work on jungle stories with heroes like Nigah, Taranga and Torga for ‘Terrors of the Jungle’. Disbrow furthermore contributed to the company’s other horror titles ‘Spook’ and ‘Ghostly Weird Stories’, and to the parody comic book ‘Unsane’.

    Here’s the link with more about his fan work and lots of artwork:

    https://www.lambiek.net/artists/d/disbrow_jay.htm

    LB Cole gets short-shrift on the Lambiek site, but here it is plus three more great covers:

    https://www.lambiek.net/artists/c/cole_l_b.htm

    Wikipedia doesn’t do much better with LB Cole, but here it is if you guys want more. Best thing to do is hit Google Images and enjoy the show, there’s plenty there by Cole. Gerber did a great job showing all his work, fairly large sized, in the Photo-Journal. It’s probably all indexed there, too.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._B._Cole

  3. Nice background on Disbrow there Bud! As a collector of L.B. Cole I often see Disbrow listed as a participating artist and had assumed he did the non reprinted stories! I agree about, as you put it, the clunky nature of the work…however its always well executed and designed!
    Walt how I know about familial obligations getting in the way of some project I have! I usually go into them some what vexed for it but often end up enjoying myself!

  4. Old timey spacey stuff appeals to me a lot so cool on the Blue Bolt. Tower Comics, ACG and other off-kilter lower tier publishers are kind of funky in their own way and can even be fun or silly and entertaining in that vein – ie Son of Vulcan, Nemesis in his blue/black striped underwear haha! (nice drawing by Pete Costanza though).

    Why don’t you save a pile of money (as shown above) and do your own encapsulating? You can grade obviously, is the machine and slabbing material proprietary and prohibitively expensive?

  5. Cole was special, I think my favorite Sci Fi covers are Captain Aero #26 and Captain Flight #11, I can’t pick which I like better. Thanks for all the links Bud, that lambiek site is a great resource.

    Tim, the box is full of comics!! The money on top is a subliminal trick I learned back in Marketing class.

    Gerald, family is always first, especially when the missus says so.

  6. It’s been 14 odd months since covid changed our world and I haven’t touched or seen (in the flesh) a single note of currency since then…I looked at that stack of paper and thought ‘what’s that???’.

    Sometimes you get a decades worth of change in a single year, 2020 was one of those moments.

    [camera pans for tarmac, slow pan, along empty car park, slow zoom into vans]

    [location: deserted carpark, two white nondescript vans, rear doors only slightly opened, best to conceal action]

    action: Walt pulling out his rubber banded wad

    Walt: muttering ‘you got the good stuff?”

    Seller: ‘yeah, golden, bronze, all 9+ boss’…

    Seller: ‘eh, you wanna talk inks?’

    Walt: ‘nah, wife thinks I’m here for some romantic beach walk, nother time?’

    Seller: just lifts his head to indicate good bye

  7. Walt, if I send you a self-addressed stamped envelope, could you toss that bundle of ‘honey bees’ in it and drop it in the mail? Thanks, Klaus

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