Undervalued Spotlight #408

America’s Best Comics #7, Standard/Better/Nador, October 1943.

I want to thank CBD iron man Mike Huddleston for this week’s Guest Spotlight submission. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love Mike’s Spotlights, his posts ooze knowledge, wisdom and a passion for the hobby that turns me shades of green. Better green than blue is what I say but enough of what I say, lets hear what Mike has to say – take it away sir.

Today’s Undervalued Spotlight shines on artist Alex Schomburg and Golden Age hero The Black Terror, and a great comic book that is America’s Best Comics #7.

Alex Schomburg doesn’t require much introduction as his World War II covers are quite famous across a number of comic titles with Timely perhaps being the best known. There are plenty of other titles and works that really require a separate post to do them and the artist justice. Pretty well all of Schomburg’s war covers have strong demand.

Our focused hero today is the Black Terror. Bob Benton is a pharmacist by trade who stumbled across/ invented “formic ethers” which give him super-powers. His first comic appearance is in Exciting Comics #9. He starts his career as the Black Terror battling crime and quickly turns to battling the Axis for the duration of the war. He continues battling crime after the war until 1949 when the last of the three titles he has been headlining is cancelled. The Black Terror also has a partner, his lab assistant young Tim Roland. Together, they battle the bad guys as the “Terror Twins”.  I always loved their costume with the poison skull label out front. I often wondered if the Punisher creative team of Gerry Conway/John Romita/Ross Andru. were influenced by the Black Terror when they were creating the character. The Punisher has changed over the years, however early on bore some resemblance to the Black Terror.

America’s Best Comics #7 was published in October 1943 by Standard/Better/ Nedor publishing. The book was a compilation style book of assorted Nedor heroes and stories. In this issue, there are four heroes The Black Terror, Pyroman, Doc Strange, and the American Eagle. This book is available to read via public domain as Standard Publishing vanished in 1956. Reading these old stories can be a real hoot. I did read the first story in the book featuring the Black Terror and sidekick Tim battling the Nazi’s and their recently resurrected “Hannibal’s” ancient army, who are attacking our good friends and allies the Russians (still our friends and allies today 😊).

The story in America’s Best Comics #7 may be a little corny but the cover is a first-rate patriot cover by Alex Schomburg. The distinguishing feature of the book is the appearance of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Emperor Hirohito together on the cover. They are defiantly facing off against Nedor’s stable of heroes. Actually, only Hitler is defiant. Hirohito is hiding behind Hitler, and Mussolini is in a prone position hiding under Hitler’s desk – well hold it there. The presence of these three historic adversaries has added considerable value and appeal to this book, pretty much tripling the value when compared to others in this run.

This book, like most Schomburg covers, is hard to find and maybe more so in this title. The CGC Census shows only 24 unrestored graded books led by an impossible Edgar Church 9.6 stunner. You won’t be chasing this book anytime soon. Copies of 2.0-6.0 may be holy grail copies of this book, and even in these lower grades will be priced at multiples of guide. The chase for this book will be worth it though, it is with little downside. I would also recommend looking up other excellent (and much cheaper) Schomburg covers in this run, Exciting Comics, and The Black Terror titles as well.

The 48th Overstreet Price guide valuations are 2.0 $326, 4.0 $652, 6.0 $978, 8.0 $2282, 9.0 $3991, 9.2 $5700.

Reasons to buy this comic.

  • Iconic, and very popular Schomburg World War II cover featuring all three Axis leaders
  • Difficult to find, but the book has widespread appeal, that should hold and increase value in the short and long-term
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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5 years ago

Couldn’t agree more. Great GA covers like this will only increase in value over time. Unfortunately these are out of the price range for the avg. collector like me.

Mike Huddleston
5 years ago

Thanks Nathan,

Yes you do need a healthy chunk of change to tackle this book. I would suggest looking up others (Schomburg) in these Black Terror lines of comics which are also pretty cool, command a good price, but can be had for as little as 1/3 the price of the stud that I highlighted.

I too have a limit of an average collector in terms of what I will spend on a comic. I was fortunate to have large collection of books collected from years ago that has allowed me to “trade Up” for better books (not this one). I also traded up using unexpected wins like the book in yesterdays Overvalued Overstreet to buy a higher end books built to last – like this one.

Based on your past comments you seem to have a pretty good eye for quality. These type of books will come within your reach someday. Good Luck in your searches – its half the fun.

5 years ago

Well Mike I have gotten a few GA books that I thought I would probably never own. Which is great. All be it in lower grades but sometimes you can tell when certain books are completely out of reach. Thanks for the generous comment about my taste in books. I just know great cover art when I see it.

Chris Meli
5 years ago

Since I commented on the previous column regarding Mike’s “traded up” book, I thought I would throw in my two cents here.

No question this is a cool book and it stands out in value. I am not a fan for one reason – no action. Comic books are about beat ’em up first and foremost (even westerns, horror, and a lot of funny animals fit the bill – sorry Archie collectors!). If I am going to shell out $$$ for a Schomburg war cover, the villains are going to be carrying out unspeakable villainy, and the heroes are going to be burning arms, punching out teeth, and pitching enemies off parapets – not standing around smugly. I think the real reason for the value of this book is Hitler’s face, especially a Schomburg Hitler. The other guys are icing on the cake, but you can see from other Schomburg war covers (say Fighting Yank #12) that Japanese leaders have little meaning for value, and Mussolini is about as meaningful as Petain. I get that Hitler is the real life Joker, but neither strain of chasing their cover appearances resonates with me.

The better side of this book is the 1943 publication date. I think mid-1942 through early 1944 is the way to go because of the additional scarcity due to war recycling.

So you want 1943 Black Terror Schomburg war? I will trade you America’s Best #7 for Exciting #27. In fact I will trade you two for one. Good luck with finding that one to trade…

5 years ago