Undervalued Spotlight #427

Tally-Ho Comics #nn, Swappers Quarterly, December 1944.

My friend Christian was so excited about a recent comic he picked up that he had to call me and tell me all about it. At about the 8-minute mark, I was starting to come around and after about 15 minutes he had me convinced, Tally-Ho #nn was going to be this week’s Undervalued Spotlight.

We’ve just started a new feature on Comic Book Daily called Covered, 365 and in it, we celebrate all things great about covers. Tally-Ho #nn then has to be noted as an anti-cover pick since the meat of my argument hangs on the fact that this book contains the first comic book work by Frank Frazetta.

One can argue that Frank Frazetta may be the greatest talent ever to work in comics, while he didn’t produce a lot of volume he sure made up for it in quality. And speaking of covers he’s certainly left a legacy of great covers.

After doing a bit of research I was strongly considering picking Treasure Comics #7 from 1946 for my pick. As far as I can tell Treasure Comics #7 contains Frank’s first inks and pencils while Tally-Ho has young 16-year old Frank Frazetta’s inks on John Giunta’s 8 page Snowman story. John Giunta was no slouch, he produced a lot of pre-code horror art for titles like Chamber of Chills and Tomb of Terror. So I’ll definitely add Treasure Comics #7 as the extra add on Undervalued this week.

As I noted above my pick of Tally-Ho #nn goes a bit against the grain of the current climate of cover worship but it satisfies the still strong and perpetual strain of idol worship. Frazetta is a beast, an absolute monster of an artist, a comic book god who has a limitless supply of casual fans and an enormous amount of hardcore fans.

The best and most interesting comic book collections are those rich in a variety of eras and genres. Owning Frazetta’s first published work instantly raises the profile of any comic book collection.

Tally-Ho #nn is scarce but it does trade and it trades surprisingly light in my view. In 2017 there was a CGC 5.0 that sold for $335 and a CGC 6.5 that sold for $406. The bargain of the year though had to be back in 2015 while some lucky stiff picked up the CGC 9.6 Signature Series (signed by Frank Frazetta) Mile High copy for $6500. There are 17 CGC graded as of this post. While There are no sales in the last decade for any copy of Treasure Comics #7.

The 48th Overstreet price break for this book is $371/$636/$900 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment:

  • 1st Frank Frazetta work in comics
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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Chris Meli
5 years ago

So I used to work with this affable guy who I knew was very smart, but he didn’t flaunt his abilities as long as you were friendly and/or professional in a discussion. But if he was challenged rudely or dismissively the gloves would come off, he would absolutely dominate, and the challenger would be publicly humiliated. I think that’s fair – start with civilized, but if necessary work at the level of pure strength.

This pick reminds me of that situation, although (hopefully) without the rudeness or humiliation. Sure Walt will genially entertain criticism of Captain America Annual #8 or Marvel Team-Up #62, but every now and then it’s time to lift the veil and demonstrate mastery. Frazetta’s first inks, and by the way, another incredibly cool and important book that hasn’t traded in a decade!

So I am out of my depth and will only offer one comment, which is that the vast majority is also probably out of their depth on this one, and that could mean finding a buyer for the book could be challenging. Even I peruse the Silver Age bids on eBay and shake my head, so once again this could be a situation where we need to strongly distinguish “value” from “price”. I think this pick is a bet on the collecting community becoming more sophisticated in its tastes, and it seems to me that it is trending in the other direction, with herd mentality and meat-and-potatoes titles the order of the day. Note that that Mile High copy tripled in price within a month in 2008 upon signing (what did Frazetta charge to sign it?), and then sold for a thousand dollars less seven years later. On the other hand $400 for a 6.5 seems just absurd – would you rather have this or Amazing Spider-Man #42 9.0 (305 in population down through this grade)? (To my point about community sophistication.)

In sum a big thumbs-up from my position of limited knowledge.

5 years ago

Nice pick Walt. Love Frazetta books.

5 years ago

Well Walt, I’m not sure if it was a full 15 minutes but the book deserves all the time in the world! Check out the @frazettagirls Instagram they posted the full story on their page around the holidays. The story is great and SnowMan was Frazetta’s creation!