A Senate Subcommittee and the Elusive Liberty Comics #12, at Auction

Heritage Sponsored

I'll start this one off with a little inside baseball: I've been collecting and reading Golden Age comics for a long time now, and I've read the vast majority of the vintage material that I write about here.  But not Liberty Comics #12.  I don't own a copy, this particular issue of the Liberty Comics series is not on ComicBookPlus as one might expect, nor is there even any data about it on the Grand Comics Database.  A glance at the contents of other issues of the series and the CGC label notes of this issue indicates that it's probably composed largely of reprints of MLJ/Archie material (Black Hood and Suzie are noted here, with art by Bill Vigoda and Bill Woggon). All in all, it is perhaps not the easiest book in the world to get — the Liberty Comics #12 CGC 9.6 Edgar Church / Mile High copy sold for $13,800 earlier this year.  And you have a shot at getting a nice copy with the Liberty Comics #12 (Green Publishing Co., 1946) CGC FN/VF 7.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction in this week's 2021 August 1-2 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122131 from Heritage Auctions.

Liberty Comics #12 (Green Publishing Co., 1946)
Liberty Comics #12 (Green Publishing Co., 1946)

The mystery deepens when you take a look at the rest of the output of the publisher of Liberty Comics, Green Publishing Co.  The publisher's comic book output appears to be entirely clustered around two years, 1946 and 1957, and — aside from the covers — is largely if not completely composed of reprints of material from other comic book publishers.  The most famous title in its meager output is Atomic Comics which was launched about three months after the U.S. used atomic bombs in WWII.

But a little digging reveals that Liberty Comics publisher Green Publishing Co. has a relationship to another publisher named Chicago Nite Life News — another company with a brief involvement in comic book publishing in 1945.  The two publishers share an address and ownership and/or control.  A 1945 obituary for Norman Korneman, magazine and book editor of Green Publishing Co., identifies his father David Korneman as the President of Chicago Nite Life News, while a 1947 notice about paper shortages identifies David Korneman as the President of Green Publishing Co. of New York City.  The elder Korneman testified before a Senate Subcommittee on Newsprint and Paper Shortages about Post-WWII newsprint shortages that had persisted after the war for a variety of reasons.

This gives us a likely clue towards what's going on with the brief comic book involvement of both Green Publishing Co., and Chicago Nite Life News.  Chicago Nite Life News had run afoul of War Production Board paper quotas in 1945 due to involvement with notorious comic book publisher Victor Fox:

Permission to continue distribution of two comic magazines, Ribtickler and Book All Comics, was refused by the War Production Board's Appeals Board, it was announced by WPB on June 22. The magazines had been printed in violation Of order L-244 which limits the paper tonnage that can be used to print magazines and periodicals.
The decision, WPB said, may set up a precedent for cases involving many millions Of copies Of comic and detective magazines that have been printed in violation of paper quota regulations. The Appeals Board held that the "evidence at hearing failed to support claim of severe hardship other than what was apparently self-imposed". The appeal was filed by Belmont Books, Inc., and Giant Books, Inc. Victor S. Fox is president of both corporations. The two comic magazines Ribtickler and Book of All Comics were published under the imprint of Chicago Nite Life News. Inc., 250 West Broadway, New York N, Y. , which has used paper greatly in excess of its quota.
The company that printed Ribtickler and Book of All Comics used, for the account of Chicago Nite Life News. 234 tons of paper in March 1945, whereas the consumption quota of Chicago Nite Life News. Inc., under Order L-244 is only 3.8 tons per quarter.
This combined with David Korneman's 1947 Senate testimony about paper shortages points to the notion that Korneman was adroit at understanding the ins and outs of paper brokerage issues of the era and was able to leverage his expertise to obtain paper for his companies and use it to his advantage or on behalf of other publishers.  Korneman's 1947 Senate testimony is worth your time.  He informs the Senate Subcommittee that he had been a publisher of comic books and "detective stories", and then proceeds to outline how he conducted business with paper brokers and paper mills for newsprint throughout 1946 — exactly the time of Green Publishing Co's first stint in the comic book business, publishing Liberty Comics among others.  Korneman also appeared to be a familiar figure to others testifying before the Subcommittee. It's a historically fascinating exchange.
Liberty Comics #12 (Green Publishing Co., 1946)
Liberty Comics #12 (Green Publishing Co., 1946)

This is all an understudied moment in comic book industry history, and the elusive Liberty Comics #12 gives us a hook into helping to understand it. There's a copy of this historically interesting artifact of this era in Liberty Comics #12 (Green Publishing Co., 1946) CGC FN/VF 7.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction in this week's 2021 August 1-2 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122131 from Heritage Auctions.

Liberty Comics #12 (Green Publishing Co., 1946) CGC FN/VF 7.0 Off-white to white pages. Black Hood and Suzie appearances. Skull cover. Bill Vigoda and Bill Woggon art. Overstreet 2021 FN 6.0 value = $270; VF 8.0 value = $576. CGC census 7/21: 3 in 7.0, 13 higher.

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 759416002 and purchase grader's notes if available.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.