In today’s Undervalued Spotlight we venture back in time to one of the bleakest periods in the super-hero comic book genre. The year is 1955 and the Golden age of comic books is winding down. The comic book genre in has been under attack by Doctor Fredric Wertham, and the industry in general has received a few years of negative press.
Timely/Atlas super-heroes Captain America, The Sub-Mariner, and the Human Torch are long gone. DC comics have suffered many casualties but are still hanging in there on the strength of their flagship heroes Superman and Batman & Robin. Action & Detective comics are still published monthly. Batman, Superman, were published eight times each in 1955. World Finest featuring Superman, Batman & Robin team-ups were published bi-monthly and were my favorite title of the bunch. It is the low point in super-hero comic production. The industry carry’s on with more mystery, monster, romance, westerns, comedy, and war comics.
We all know now that the super-hero genre does make a big comeback led by DC comics and Showcase #4 with the return of the new Flash. Others follow – Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and many more. Marvel Comics returns in 1962 and the industry has never looked back.
In 1955 the super-hero comics books were pretty run of the mill. Superman and Bat-Man & Robin never seemed to battle any of their rogue’s gallery of foes. They were mostly new one off characters. Superman had more trouble with Lois Lane than anyone else.
The lone stand-out book for me from this year was our undervalued spotlight pick Superman #100. This book features an inspired 100th anniversary cover featuring cover reprints of Superman issues #1, 25, 50, and 75. This book isn’t hiding from its past, it is embracing it, it’s celebrating it, it is shouting out to the world Superman #100 yeah!! Someone in DC comics finally realized making it to one hundred issues was a real milestone and worth celebrating. It must have worked as the Batman #100 that came out in 1956 had a very similar cover. The inside of the giant sized book featured three new stories, much like the recent stories in books prior to this one. It didn’t matter “Supes” had made it to one hundred and he wasn’t going away.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Marvel Tales #1 and comic store guru Harry Kremer. Superman #100 was one of Harry’s holy grail books. He loved it and was always trying to track down a high grade copy. He did have a beautiful copy that had an unfortunate 3” tear at the bottom of the book. We’ve all had one of those books that looks great laying down – but we know where that dreaded defect is. I had the chance to view every once in awhile and Harry would grimace at the tear every time. Low grade copies in the 2.0-4.0 would show up at the store, but nothing close to even a 7.0. Harry felt this book was very high on pretty well any serious Superman collector’s want list. I didn’t even collect Superman and I wanted one! I don’t know if Harry ever got a better book, I’m sure I would have heard about it if he did. Harry is no longer with us so I thought would make this Undervalued pick for him here today.
Superman #100 is already a pretty pricey book. I like it mostly because of its long term built up demand and fantastic cover. Obtaining a nice clean copy in the 6.0-7.0 grade range would be a great place to start or end your search for this beauty. Even though Superman is not as popular as he once was, I think demand would save the book from any really serious downside, and we should see slow and steady growth moving forward.
The splits for this book in the 46th Overstreet price guide are 4.0 $516 / 6.0 $774 / 8.0 $1651 / 9.0 $2826 / 9.2 $4000.
Strengths that make this comic a good long term investment.
- Giant – Size Anniversary issue
- Awesome cover that features a Superman #1 re-print
- Produced in an era of low super-hero demand/production – 1955
- Harry Kremer says it’s a tough book to find in grade