Toys in the Attic

We’ve started listing Original Art (OA) on the weekly icecollectibles eBay auctions. It’s tough breaking in a new collecting bucket, you need time to establish enough followers of the OA portion of the auction but you also need pieces to put up to attract those followers. We found the same thing a couple of years back when we started into quality raw comic lots, then a little after that we started heavy into the toys and both of those buckets have become staples of our auctions. With the OA I’d say we’re off to an okay start, we’re going to keep at it and see if we can carve ourselves a little niche in that market.

As I was going through the “headed for the eBay auction” pile this week a thought came to me, can too much of a good thing not be a good thing? I was struck with the thought by luck I think, I was going through a run of Spawns which gave way to a small run of Rangers Comics. The Rangers covers for some reason reminded me of all the Jumbo and Jungle covers so my mind quickly filled with thoughts of covers that repeated themselves. You know when you’re thinking back on the silver age Amazing Spider-Man and, let’s say, Batman runs, I can say an issue number and you’d get the image in your head. Each cover seems so very distinct from each other in these two heavily collected titles, especially when you compare them to the Spawn and Jungle/Jumbo titles. In my head almost all the Jungle issues look the same, ditto for Spawn. This week we’ll go plural and award two Covers of the Week…

Our ad of the week put another thought in my head. I was putting together a lot of the current She Hulks where I saw the back cover ad for Star Wars LEGO. I got to thinking that if there was ever a toy you really had to wrestle with the question of opening it or keeping it sealed it is LEGO. If you had a Vinyl Pop, you could leave it sealed in the box and still get the joy of displaying on a shelf or on your desk and same thing to a degree for a Marvel Legends figure or a Star Wars figure on card. But LEGO? There are a million pieces inside just waiting to be put together. I’m not a big toy guy but I’m sure those early Star Wars LEGO boxes are worth big bucks if sealed.

And from the pages of Rangers #39 we get out Splash page of the weeks, I extended it onto the next page as well for obvious reasons. Comics.org gives Al Feldstein credits with a question mark? If there’s one thing you can say about Fiction House it’s that they honestly believe that sex sells!

Another weekly icecollectibles eBay auction is in the books. There were lots of great books finishing last night and lots of good results. I was watching our CGC 1.5 Daredevil #1 and I’d say it did well. It presents well and it sold for $1,380, just below the recent CGC 1.8 sale of $1,445.

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
Bud Plant
4 months ago

Well, Walter and crew, it took me ten minutes but maybe I can finally leave a comment again. I’m obviously not a big fan of Akismet and the difficulty signing in was the reason I went silent. I have two Google mail accounts which don’t seem to be recognized by the program, so I had to create a new one. Okay, enough, sigh….

The IDW 2017 book Fiction House From Pulps to Panels goes into glorious detail on how Fiction House had more ladies on their staff than any other publisher in the 1940s, especially as they lost male artists off to serve in WWII. Lily Renee was one standout, who only died in 2022 at a ripe old age. She did Senorita Rio among other strips. One of these days Dave Armstrongs documentary with her, done just a few years ago, will see the light of day and it’s a wonderful inside look at working in the Fiction House bullpen.

But what I got from the book was the girls knew what the boys wanted, including Lily, which was lots of t &a, and they gave it to them. And that kept Fiction house and their sometimes not-so-exciting anthology titles selling well all the way into the 1950s.

Walter I agree, the covers between Fight, Jumbo and Jungle were pretty much interchangble, although Kaanga did get top billing on Jungle. Kaanga’s mate looked like a Sheena clone, borrowed from Jumbo where Sheena starred on almost every cover after the very early days. Tiger Girl…just another girl in a skimpy tiger/leopard skin. If there was a leggy gal on the cover, you can bet it was a Fiction House title: Planet with sci fi girls, Wings with girls on plane tips or in parachutes, Ranger with girls being threatened and manly soldiers coming to their aid.

The Iger Shop, with Matt Baker and Jack Kamen as early employees, provided all of Fiction House art. Those two boys and all the others took Jack Kirby’s early innovation of breaking out of panel borders and did it one better…with lots of exposed flesh, as seen above. Classic stuff! A ton of later Iger Shop work is still mistaken (including in the guide) for Kamen or Baker, but it’s often just Jerry Iger telling the boys to imitate the masters, who were early to leave Iger for greener pastures: Kamen to EC, Baker to St. John.

Chris Meli
Chris Meli
4 months ago

As Chris’s uncle used to say, you are half right but all wrong about the FH covers. Even when they were “homages” they were quite distinctive. Yes there were usually attacking animals that Kaanga had to defend the girl from, but each one of these has its charms. Spawn covers rarely have charms.

On the other hand, the idea that you overhear your neighbors talking about “sparklers”, and that gives you license to brain them and knock them down the stairs – I can’t get behind that. Presumably acceptable in the Icicle Lodge’s territory of the Great White North.

Spider
Spider
4 months ago

Welcome back Bud, we’ve missed you…thanks for fighting the good fight against this restrictive commenting system and thanks for continuing to share your wealth of wisdom.

I missed the whole titillation part of the shared Rangers pages (hey, perhaps I’m just used to girls with great legs down here!) – I was just impressed by the panel work and breakouts/layering, those circular panels on both pages are great

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
4 months ago

I agree that FH jungle covers can be interchangeable but thats not to say there aren’t some standout gems an h them. I thought Spawn used the same cover on every issue for years… this is a revelation!
One of the other books I kept besides those I mentioned a week ago or is Daredevil # 1 in vg.
I would have chimed in sooner but we just got word our Portuguese Visa’s have been approved and my wife has me on hyper clean mode!

Bud Plant
Bud Plant
4 months ago

My take on the sameness of many Fiction House covers was not meant as a slight on so many of the great ones, not in the least. Jumbo has iconic covers one after another, I think many are by Zolnerowich, and looking at GCD, I also see covers by John Celardo (Tarzan strip artist in the early 50s, and a mainstay at pre-code Ace titles), and Joe Doolin. I love ‘em. I’ve collected Fiction House since the late 1960s and, modesty aside, I have about as close to a complete collection as anyone’s going to have. Just missing a couple #1’s. I even have the bedsheet sized Jumbos, which are tough even in crappy condition. But no #1, not willing to pay the $12K one just sold for at Heritage. Or was it $14K?

Walter, Planet was my first love in sci fi comics. I built up a collection in the sixties and have upgraded ever since. I only am missing Planet Comics #1. Also Planet pulps…I have that complete. Many covers are close to the Planet comics covers, many great ones by Allen Anderson, a pulp painter who’s superb. And Planet pulps, knock on wood, are still pretty reasonably priced. Kelly Freas did some great later ones.

The Fiction House pulps: Wings, Fight, Jungle…they are all a lot of fun, once they hit wartime and did more good-girl stuff like in the comics. Fiction House as a pulp publisher began way back in the last 1920s, and their stuff until 1940 or so is pretty typical pulp, nothing to get excited about. Fight was a boxes pulp. But by 1942 or so, the pulps and comics were on parallel courses and are both a lot of fun. Often the comics artists turn up in the pulps doing story illustrations.

Speaking of great covers…Lou Fine and Eisner did some fabulous work for the very earliest Fiction House comics. Check out both on Jumbo #5, 9, 10, and a pirate cover on #12, and even a super hero cover by George Tuska on #16. All that’s easy to see in Grand Comics Database/cover gallery, or in the dear old Photo Journal.

The final year or two of all the Fiction House titles boasted covers by Maurice Whitman, the finest covers he ever did in a decently long comics career. I think part of the success of these was also the coloring. Just look at the last dozen or so issues of Jungle, Planet, Jumbo, Fight, Rangers, even Kaanga and Sheena…all Maurice Whitman, all outstanding. And…Ghost Comics, which are going for fabulous prices these days, as are also the final Jumbo issues.

I don’t know how Whitman found the magic, but his work was fabulous. When Fiction House went under, he moved over to Charlton for a little while, and actually did some nice work on (gasp) none other than Nyoka, one of the loser titles of the Golden Age. And on several of their westerns. Charlton also inherited a lot of unpublished work from Fiction House and from Fawcett, and those early “hybrid” issues have some cool work and are also quite scarce. I’m still looking for some. Blue Beetle, Nyoka, Mopsy in TV Teens…

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