Alex Schomburg's Torch Cover on Marvel Mystery Comics #56, at Auction

Some of Alex Schomburg's most famous WWII-era covers are from 1944. Suspense Comics #3, Terrific Comics #5, and All-New Comics #8 were all published in that year and contain similar war-era themes familiar to Schomburg collectors.  But Schomburg might be best work on Timely/Marvel covers on titles like Marvel Mystery Comics, Captain America Comics, Human Torch, among others, and his cover on Marvel Mystery Comics #56 (cover-dated June 1944) is another cover that fits this mold from this time frame.  As Heritage describes it, "crazy Nazi hooded-cultists, bondage, torture cover," which is the kind of theme made most infamous on his Suspense Comics #3 cover.  An example of peak war-era Schomburg, there's a Marvel Mystery Comics #56 (Timely, 1944) CGC Qualified VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction in the 2022 July 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122227 from Heritage Auctions.

Marvel Mystery Comics #56 (Timely, 1944)
Marvel Mystery Comics #56 (Timely, 1944)

"I've always felt that Alex Schomburg was to comic books what Norman Rockwell was to The Saturday Evening Post," Stan Lee once noted. "He was totally unique, with an amazing distinctive style. You could never mistake a Schomburg cover for any other artist's. When it came to illustrating covers, there was simply no one else in Alex's league." Perhaps best known for his early pulp covers and his beautifully detailed artwork for Timely/Marvel covers, Human Torch is not the only fiery superhero character that Schomburg provided covers for.  He also created Pyroman covers for Startling Comics and America's Best Comics, and covers featuring Red Blazer and Sparky for Harvey's All-New Comics.

Although a qualified grade, this copy is otherwise tied for the highest graded copy of this issue, so you'd be hard pressed to find a better looking copy.  An example of Alex Schomburg doing the kind of cover that he's most famous for, there's a Marvel Mystery Comics #56 (Timely, 1944) CGC Qualified VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction in the 2022 July 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122227 from Heritage Auctions.

Marvel Mystery Comics #56 (Timely, 1944) CGC Qualified VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages. The crazy Nazi hooded-cultists, bondage, torture cover is by Alex Schomburg. Bob Oksner and Charles Nicholas added interior art. CGC notes, "Large tear on 22nd page, piece missing from the 23rd page, slightly affects story." Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $300; VG 4.0 value = $600; FN 6.0 value = $900; VF 8.0 value = $2,010; VF/NM 9.0 value = $3,505.

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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.
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