Undervalued Spotlight #415

DC 100 Super Spectacular #4 Weird Mystery Tales, DC Comics, 1971.

In today’s Undervalued Spotlight we go back in time to Bronze Age big comics, I mean 100 pages big, and the very beginning of DC’s 100-page comic era that began in the summer of 1971 and produced 118 one hundred page comic books over the next 3-4 years.

Our spotlight book today DC 100 Super Spectacular #4 Weird Mystery Tales was the first book published in this new format. I know it seems a little odd a title beginning with a #4, but this is the first issue of the series. DC 100 Super Spectacular ran until issue #22 November 1973 and was cancelled. The DC 100 format then moved into the regular continuity of nineteen DC titles including House of Mystery, Batman, the Justice League and many others. Besides being a pseudo number one issue, in this very popular series of books, our spotlight book has other positive attributes as well.

First and foremost a truly horrific and terrific monster cover by artist Bernie Wrightson. This monster does evoke a bit of a visceral, gut-churning feeling when you first look at the death scene on the cover. I love it when horror covers can do that to me. A big bonus for me here is that this book and all of the first series of DC100’s come with a wrap-around cover. On the back page is the matching cover to the front cover without any lettering, even darker and creepy looking than the front cover. Simply awesome! As an aside, all of the wrap-around covers are pretty cool and are tailor-made for slabbing or those new transparent backer boards. The book is also a very good read. It contains twelve different stories from House of Mystery, House of Secrets, early My Greatest Adventure comics and others.

DC 100 # 4 Weird Mystery Tales is now an established minor key in the very popular and collectible DC Bronze Age horror genre. It almost cracked Overstreet’s newly expanded Bronze Age Top 25 in this year’s guide. This book’s popularity is a somewhat recent event given that it is forty-seven years old. You could buy a mint copy of the book in 1993 for less than five dollars (I did and later traded it away -doh!). The book seemed to be “discovered” in the late ’90s and has risen steadily since then. The combination of popular art and artist and horror comics seldom goes out of style in the comic book medium.

There are just a little over one hundred universally graded copies of DC 100 Super Spectacular #4 Weird Mystery Tales in the CGC census. The likelihood of finding more high-grade copies is going to be tough given the all-black front and back cover on this book. Try and find an 8.0 and move up when you can. Good Luck! Current 48th Overstreet Price guide splits are 8.0 $168, 9.0 $372, 9.2 $575. Reasons to buy this book:

  • First issue in DC’s popular 100 Page Super Spectacular format.
  • Firmly embedded as a minor key in DC’s popular and collectible Horror genre.
  • Awesome Bernie Wrightson cover front and back.
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Mike Huddleston
Mike was born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario. He has read and collected comics for over 40 years. A Marvel Zombie specializing in the Silver, bronze and early copper age of comics.
Articles: 101

4 Comments

  1. i really like this pick Mike! The 118 DC 100 pages is a great collecting strain onto itself – or at least if should be – and this is the 1st one you need to start the whole thing off.

    I’ve been talking to a lot of collectors lately jumping deep into the “covers” market of the Golden Age. People aren’t paying insane prices just because books were drawn by Schomburg, Cole or Eisner, no, they’re paying insane prices for the “covers” that make people go “wow! I want that one!”

    I think this Wrightson book will be there as well, the fact that it’s a Bronze Age book is only delaying the inevitable.

  2. Thanks Walt – hope your enjoying your little “mini break” at the end of the convention season. A couple of other notes on this book I didn’t put in the post.

    Books grading 8.0 or higher were getting 1.5 – 2x Overstreet. Price guide values. I have seen many 4.0 – 7.0 type books ungraded in comic shops over the years, but only one high grade copy.

    The book has a very love/hate type relationship with collectors. Those who love it think the book in 9.2 should be over a $1000 in value in Overstreet. Those who don’t like it see it as fully valued or overvalued compared to other Berni Wrightson work. Interestingly of the 10-12 people I asked about the book only two knew (or remembered) it had a wrap around cover. A big deal for me but apparently not for others.

  3. Very small point of order… a wraparound cover is typically one piece of artwork that continues from front to back. This back cover is simply a copy of the front, so maybe we would call it an “ad free” back cover? (The first few Gold Key Star Trek issues come to mind.) Regardless, it a cool feature of this comic and greatly adds to the scarcity of high grades with all that black ink on both front and back covers!

  4. Hey Eric – The complete wrap around art is how I remember them as well. A real mixed bag of back cover art on all these books. A few with the traditional wrap around one piece art, some with two totally different pages front and back, and DC 4 Weird Mystery Tales with the front cover reprinted with no lettering. My black cover obsession works overtime on this book… and your right very tough to find in grade.

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