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Bill Allison's Target Comics Vol. 6 #6 Cover in High Grade, at Auction

Important Golden Age creator Bill Allison contributed a classic cover featuring the Target for underappreciated title Target Comics in 1946.

Article Summary

  • Bill Allison's art shines on Target Comics Vol. 6 #6 cover, an overlooked gem.
  • Golden Age Target Comics featured iconic heroes like The Target and White Streak.
  • Bill Allison impacted early comics, including important DC, MLJ/Archie, Centaur and Charlton.
  • Novelty Press' legacy included legends Kirby, Simon, and Cole's contributions.

Target Comics is best remembered for a run of great covers from issues #2-7, which featured Bill Everett's take on the Carl Burgos character White Streak and Bill Wolverton's Spacehawk.  But much of the rest of this 105 issue series is underappreciated, particularly for the long-running superhero character The Target. The Target announced his warning to criminals that "Crime Does Not Pay" in an advertisement in the pages of  Target Comics #10, released by Novelty Press in 1940.  The hero soon mounted an entire marketing campaign around this theme. That warning was particularly interesting because co-creator Bob Wood would later go on to become an editor for publisher Lev Gleason, co-creating the notorious comic book title Crime Does Not Pay. — not to mention other notoriety.  But in 1940, Bob Wood and one of his brothers, Dick Wood, created a superhero in The Target that was, in a sense, similar to Batman.  Intimidation was a significant part of his game, and he was driven by revenge against the criminal underworld that had caused the death of a loved one.

Artist Bill Allison isn't as famous as the likes of Everett, Burgos, and Wolverton, but perhaps he should be.  Allison contributed to some of the pre-1940 Golden Age's most important comic books, such as the 1936 DC Comics release New Book of Comics #1, Comics Magazine Company's The Comics Magazine #1 and Funny Picture Stories #1, Centaur's Amazing Mystery Funnies #1, the first MLJ/Archie comic book Blue Ribbon Comics #1 and numerous others.  He also contributed to a number of issues of Target Comics, including the classic cover of Target Comics volume 6 #6.  There's a beautiful CGC 9.0 copy of this issue up for auction in the 2024 May 30 Adventures in the Golden Age Comics Showcase Auction #40261 at Heritage Auctions.

Target Comics V6#6 (Novelty Press, 1945)
Target Comics V6#6 (Novelty Press, 1945)

As explained in Target Comics #11, Niles Reed's brother, District Attorney Bill Reed was framed for murder by the organized crime syndicate "Protection Incorporated" in a matter that eventually resulted in his death.  Later, Reed prevented two other men from being killed at the hands of the same gang.  Niles, often described as a metallurgist, develops bulletproof costumes for the three friends who vow to strike back at organized crime as the Target and the Targeteers.

During the Golden Age, Novelty Press established itself as a noteworthy publisher by releasing a diverse range of titles, including Blue Bolt, Target Comics, 4Most, Frisky Fables, and others. As a subsidiary of Curtis Publishing Company, renowned for its popular magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Novelty Press worked with notable artists and writers, such as Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Bill Everett, Carl Burgos, Basil Wolverton, and Mickey Spillane. Eventually, in 1949, legendary artist L.B. Cole and partner Gerhard Kramer acquired Novelty Press's assets and went on to co-found Star Publications.

Bill Allison would continue to contribute to Target Comics for three years after this issue.  He would also continue his work on important Golden Age releases by contributing to the debut of Yellowjacket Comics, considered the first Charlton comic book, as well as other early Charlton titles, Catholic Comics, and Cowboy Western Comics.  His cover credits include iconic moments in comic book history such as Detective Picture Stories #1 and Western Picture Stories #1.  The cover of Target Comics volume 6 #6 is among his most memorable covers as well, and the second highest graded copy of this issue is up for auction in the 2024 May 30 Adventures in the Golden Age Comics Showcase Auction #40261 at Heritage Auctions.

Target Comics V6#6 (Novelty Press, 1945)
Target Comics V6#6 (Novelty Press, 1945)
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Mark SeifertAbout Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press since 1996. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler, and has been with Bleeding Cool since its 2009 beginnings. Wrote extensively about the comic book industry for Wizard Magazine 1992-1996. At Avatar Press, has helped publish works by Alan Moore, George R.R. Martin, Garth Ennis, and others. Vintage paper collector, advisor to the Overstreet Price Guide Update 1991-1995.
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