I was talking with Walter Durajlija the other day about doing an entry on the WECA keys and he suggested a good task might be to start to create a list of the top twenty WECA (1941-46) books much like the Top Twenty Silver Age books listed in Overstreet. This would be just a start to try and create a “template” and see if some of you will chime in and help me out.
One serious candidate for No. 1 spot would be the 125-page Captain America Giant compilation which Timely somehow managed to get published in Canada during this ban on American comics. The 6.0 price point is $16,000 in last year’s guide, we’ll see what the new guide gives it in a couple of weeks. By virtue of this value it should be No. 1 for the moment or should it not have the status of some of the other books because it is a cobbled together repacked compilation giant.
After this perhaps we should put all the No. 1s beginning with Better Comics No. 1 and Robin Hood Comics No. 1 (which still has to surface) on since these were the earliest with cover dates of March, 1941 (should we include the four Fox reprints that came out at this time?). If we keep going in order of cover dates, Freelance Comics No. 1 would be next, then “Union Jack”-Lucky Comics No. 1, then Hillborough Studios’ Triumph-Adventure Comics No. 1. After this we have Cy Bell’s Wow Comics No. 1 and then Grand Slam Comics No. 1. To close out 1941, we had three more No. 1s released, the first issues of Bing-Bang Comics, Name-It Comics (which is really the first issue of Rocket Comics) and Aces Three Comics. By the end of 1941, therefore, we have filled up the first 11 positions of our Top Twenty.
At the beginning of 1942 we have two Anglo-American Fawcett re-draw titles beginning, Captain Marvel Comics and Whiz Comics along with the unnumbered one-shot by Citren called Super Comics that reprints Pep Comics 22 with a few changes on the cover and to the Shield’s costume throughout. Then come the first of Dime Comics and Active Comics and the Hillborough (what looks like a) one-shot called Top-Flight Comics. What follows is Your New World Comics, another one-shot, this time from the west coast and probably Canada’s first public service comic. This brings us up to 18 places with a few No. 1s to go.
We next get the first issues of Joke Comics, The Funny Comics along with another Anglo-American Fawcett re-draw with Spy Smasher Comics No. 1. Then in October we get the first issue of the last original Bell title, Commando Comics and the first issue of a comic put out by a new publisher in Montreal called Canadian Heroes.
This already puts us well over the twenty spots we originally allotted and we haven’t included the Educational Projects apparent Classics Comics style one-shot called Famous Adventure Stories, the first Bell issue of Triumph Comics No. 7 with the initial appearances of Speed Savage and Captain Wonder or the much sought after 1945 Nelvana compilation with its iconic red cover, the 1943 Colossal Comics remainder compilation and the Anglo-American Canadian version of the Fawcett Holiday Gift Book or Rucker’s Weekender No. 1. We need at least a Top Thirty.
Also, generally, it seems that the Maple Leaf books are the least likely to show up with Anglo-American books cropping up most often. In-between are the Bell books and the Canadian Heroes with the Bell books being more sought after because of the fictional adventure and super hero content.
Here then we have thirty books mostly sequenced in the order they came out:
- Captain America Giant nn.
- Better Comics No. 1
- Robin Hood Comics No. 1
- Freelance Comics No. 1
- “Union Jack”, Lucky Comics No. 1
- Triumph-Adventure Comics No. 1
- Wow Comics No. 1
- Grand Slam Comics No. 1
- Bing Bang Comics No. 1
- Name-It Comics No. 1
- Aces Three Comics No. 1
- Captain Marvel Comics No. 1
- Whiz Comics No. 1
- Super Comics nn. (1942)
- Dime Comics No. 1
- Active Comics No. 1
- Top Flight Comics No. 1
- Your New World Comics No. 1
- Joke Comics No. 1
- The Funny Comics No. 1
- Spy Smasher Comics No. 1
- Commando Comics No. 1
- Canadian Heroes Comics No. 1
- Famous Adventure Stories No. 1
- Colossal Comics nn
- Holiday Gift Book nn
- Nelvana 1945 Compilation
- Triumph Comics No. 7
- Weekender No. 1
- Wow Comics No. 16
Comics that should move up on the list:
- Triumph-Adventure No. 1 (First Nelvana)
- Wow Comics No. 1 (First Cy Bell comic and first full colour book)
- Top Flight Comics No. 1, Your New World Comics No. 1, Famous Adventure Stories No. 1 (due to scarcity)
- Dime Comics No. 1 (First Johnny Cannuck)
- Active Comics No. 1 (First Thunderfist)
- Nelvana 1945 15 center because of its iconic cover
Comics that should move down:
- The Anglo-American redraws, Capt. Marvel No. 1, Whiz No. 1 and Spy Smasher No. 1 as well as the Citren Super Comics
Comics that don’t appear on the list but maybe should:
- The four Fox reprints (Fantastic Comics 16, Weird Comics 12, Mystery Men 20, and Big 3 No. 2) from March, 1941
- Canadian Heroes No. 5 (First Canada Jack)
- Triumph-Adventure Comics No. 2 (First Nelvana cover)
- The three public service Jewish War Heroes comics
- The three rare issues of Lightning Comics from Feature Publications
- Better Comics Vol. 3 No. 3 (First Brok Windsor)
It’s a mess, but it’s a start. We could certainly use your educated opinions and suggestions about which WECA books should be on the Top 5, or Top 10 lists, etc., and what factors need to be taken into account when we choose to place books on these lists? There are about 700 WECA books in all. How many should be on a Top – List, 10, 20, 25…. Overstreet only lists a Top 20 out of all the Silver Age books.
We are looking forward to having an index of the WECA books in Overstreet for next year and would like to include a Top ? List. What do you think this should look like?