Blue Beetle and the Holiday of Death in Mystery Men #30, at Auction

Like a few other Golden Age publishers, Fox Feature Syndicate titles sometimes verged into horror well before the late-1940s era which is generally considered to mark the beginning of the Pre-Code Horror era.  Such issues, particularly ones with good horror covers, can have crossover appeal among both Pre-Code Horror and superhero collectors.  Mystery Men Comics #30 with its spectacular Blue Beetle horror cover by the underappreciated Roland Patenaude is one such Fox Feature Syndicate comic that has been on the rise among collectors in recent times — if you can manage to find one.  But there's a Mystery Men Comics #30 (Fox, 1942) CGC VG+ 4.5 Off-white to white pages among the complete run of 31 issues of the Mystery Men Comics title up for auction in the 2022 December 1 Fox Comics Showcase Auction #40214 at Heritage Auctions.

Mystery Men Comics #30 (Fox, 1942) featuring Blue Beetle.
Mystery Men Comics #30 (Fox, 1942) featuring Blue Beetle.

Patenaude's cover for this issue is for the feature story, "The Holiday of Death", which begins with a skeletal personification of Death and his acolytes (as depicted on the cover) rising up from the underworld to terrify the citizens of a specific block in the city.  After plenty of action which includes Blue Beetle and the personification of Death engaging in a fistfight, Blue Beetle descends into this underworld himself to get to the bottom of this seemingly supernatural mystery.  A careful look at Patenaude's cover reveals a clue as to what's really going on in this story.

A backup story featuring the short-lived Fox character the Wraith has even more horrific overtones than that Blue Beetle tale.  Clearly inspired by DC Comics' the Spectre, the Wraith was the spirit of a dead policeman who appeared only in Mystery Men Comics #27-31.  In this issue, criminals rob the grave where the Wraith's body was buried to use it in a scheme to frighten their intended target using a mechanical method of reanimating his corpse.  The Wraith briefly repossesses his own dead body to put a stop to this terrible plan.

Like many Fox Feature Syndicate comic books of this period, CGC census numbers for Mystery Men Comics #30 are tiny, with only five unrestored listings in the census as of this writing.  What's more, it appears that no copies have traded hands at public auction in the past five years, and the CGC 9.4 Edgar Church / Mile High copy might be the only higher-graded copy to trade hands at public auction in the past two decades.  That helps explain the interest in this Mystery Men Comics #30 (Fox, 1942) CGC VG+ 4.5 Off-white to white pages copy among the complete run of 31 issues of the Mystery Men Comics title up for auction in the 2022 December 1 Fox Comics Showcase Auction #40214 at Heritage Auctions.  If you've never bid at Heritage Auctions before, you can get further information, you can check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.

Mystery Men Comics #30 (Fox, 1942) featuring Blue Beetle.
Mystery Men Comics #30 (Fox, 1942) featuring Blue Beetle.

Mystery Men Comics #30 (Fox, 1942) CGC VG+ 4.5 Off-white to white pages. One of five unrestored copies certified by CGC to date. One of only three unrestored copies we've encountered, and the first we've seen in almost five years. Overstreet 2022 VG 4.0 value = $322. CGC census 11/22: 2 in 4.5, 1 higher.

CGC Grader Notes:
stain left top of back cover
two pieces of tape interior cover
foxing to cover
light tears to cover
moderate creasing to cover
moderate scuff interior front cover
small spine split bottom of spine

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 2709418001.

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Mark SeifertAbout 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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