Undervalued Spotlight #90

Captain America #117, Marvel Comics, September 1969

There’s an old saying that goes ‘timing is everything’ and the time seems right for me do dig this one out of my “Future Undervalued Spotlights” file.

I read with sadness today of the passing of Gene Colan. My personal love for Colan came from his work on Tomb of Dracula. It’s funny, as a kid I loved reading Tomb of Dracula but as a 10/11 year old kid I was quite oblivious to the fact that Colan’s art was one of the main reasons I loved the book so much. The man was one of the Marvel giants standing shoulder to shoulder with Kirby, Ditko, Steranko and Adams.

Colan of course penciled other titles including Doc Strange, Howard the Duck and his celebrated run on Daredivil. Gene Colan also penciled Captain America from issue #116 through #137.

Captain America #117 features one of Colan’s more famous and important creations (co-created with Stan Lee),the Falcon. Chronologically we can look at Dell’s Lobo #1 (12/66) as featuring the African American 1st heroic lead then Fantastic Four #52 (7/66) featured Marvel’s 1st African hero. Captain America #117 introduces Falcon, the first African American superhero.

The Captain America title at this time was a revolving door of iconic hall of fame creators. Just look at this penciler line up, #112 – Jack Kirby, #113 – Jim Steranko, #114 – John Romita, #115, John Buscema, #116 – Gene Colan, #117 – Gene Colan. Writing this makes me want to re-read these issues just to dissect the different art styles.

Marvel’s Captain America feature film hits cinemas July 22nd and interest in Captain America has increased greatly. Captain America may be a character much more in the public eye if this movie and next year’s Avengers movie are both successful. Look for more Cap movies with strong potential for Faclon appearances though I do think for this movie they should have Cap run into “Private Sam Wilson reporting sir”! True fans will have grins from ear to ear.

The 40th edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $78/$139/$200 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.

Strengths that make this comic book a good long-term investment are:

  • 1st appearance of a historically significant character
  • Embedded in the most collectible era of Captain America
  • Seems undervalued next to comics like Fantastic Four #52 or even Hero for Hire #1 (same Guide value as Cap #117)
  • Strong black and white cover makes it tough to find in higher grades
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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