Bill Everett's Elusive The Conqueror in Victory Comics, at Auction
When Writer's Digest announced that former Funnies, Inc editor John H. Compton would be editing two new titles for Hillman Periodicals (Victory Comics and Air Fighters Comics), they only got the details half right: "There are no super-men in these. The emphasis is on story and character values." While Air Fighters Comics, which introduced Airboy in its second issue, is certainly not a superhero comic book, Victory Comics is another matter entirely. That series features a character called the Conqueror, very decidedly a superhero, created by the legendary Bill Everett of Sub-Mariner fame. An overlooked character from one of the most important creators in comic book history, there's a Victory Comics #1 (Hillman Publications, 1941) Condition: VG/FN and Victory Comics #2 (Hillman Publications, 1941) Condition: VF- up for auction in the 2022 June 26-27 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122226 at Heritage Auctions.
Interestingly, the Conqueror's origin was told in a two-part text story in the first two issues of Victory Comics. Like the earlier superhero the Ray, the Conqueror's powers come from cosmic rays: A pilot named Daniel Lyons was attempting to fly from California to New York, but his plane crashed in the Rocky mountains due to bad weather. He was found by Professor James Norton, whom the papers of the day called "the cosmic ray professor", and taken to Norton's laboratory. Norton explains, "I was afraid you wouldn't make it. So I applied the benefits of the ray — and have been doing it now every day ever since you've been here. I've been feeding you with juices energized by cosmic rays. I've been baking your body with my special cosmic ray lamp. See it there? Your body has been absorbing the energy of this ray. Your metabolism has increased tremendously already. You'll find, once you're up and about — which should be tomorrow — that you will have improved a hundred percent, both physically and mentally."
Lyons eventually replies that this will give him a chance to fulfill his mission: "I am going after the one man in this world who is responsible for all its present troubles. Professor, I am going to rid this world of Adolph Hitler!"
Professor Norton may have been inspired by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert Andrews Millikan, who coined the term "cosmic rays" and wrote a book about the subject that generated newspaper attention in 1940. These issue have long been considered a tough get, and the short-lived series features an overlooked character from one of the most important creators in comic book history. There's a Victory Comics #1 (Hillman Publications, 1941) Condition: VG/FN and Victory Comics #2 (Hillman Publications, 1941) Condition: VF- up for auction in the 2022 June 26-27 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122226 at Heritage Auctions.
Victory Comics #1 (Hillman Publications, 1941) Condition: VG/FN. Rated a Gerber "7" or "scarce." Classic Nazi War cover by Everett. The Conqueror (by Bill Everett), the Crusader, and Bomber Burns all begin runs. Homicide Hank, Sgt. Flagg, and Steel Shark appearances. John Daly and Jack Warren art. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $728; FN 6.0 value = $1,092.
Victory Comics #2 (Hillman Publications, 1941) Condition: VF-. Gerber "7" or "scarce." Hitler appearance. Nazi war cover and art by Bill Everett. There is a full-length crease near the spine on the back cover. Overstreet 2021 VF 8.0 value = $1,242.
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