Captain Courageous in the Elusive Banner Comics #5, Up for Auction

Ace Periodicals' Banner Comics title starts off with a little bit of a mystery: the series begins with issue #3.  Typically, this would mean that the series changed titles after the first two issues, sometimes even from a non-comics title, but there's no apparent match for that scenario on the Ace Periodicals timeline.  The debut of Captain Courageous in that issue isn't much less of a mystery.  The character may have been created by Jim Mooney, but that is far from clear. Captain Courageous's origin and powers are vague.  He is super strong and durable, and appears to defend Democracy when needed — kind of a patriotic force of nature.  This sort of superheroic shorthand was not uncommon outside of major publishers like DC Comics, Marvel/Timely, and Fawcett.  After the Golden Age had progressed for a bit, some publishers relied on the assumption that the readership understood the conventions of superhero stories, and given that stories might be 8-16 pages long in this era, they just got down to the business of setting up a storytelling conflict and rolling with it.  With a name like Captain Courageous, perhaps that all makes sense after all, and there's one of the rarest Ace Periodicals comics ever published available here with Banner Comics #5 (Ace, 1942) Condition: GD/VG up for auction along with Banner Comics #3-4 in the 2022 July 31-August 1 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122231 at Heritage Auctions.

Banner Comics #5 (Ace, 1942) featuring Captain Courageous.
Banner Comics #5 (Ace, 1942) featuring Captain Courageous.

The name Captain Courageous might have been inspired by a 1937 MGM movie of that name, which was itself based on an 1897 Rudyard Kipling novel, though certainly, it's an obvious enough name for a heroic character.  The Banner Comics title lasted #3-5 and was then retitled Captain Courageous for the final issue #6.  The title also included the seemingly Captain America and Bucky-inspired Lone Warrior and Dicky among others throughout the series. Captain Courageous himself subsequently appeared in Ace's Four Favorites.

The extremely brief Banner Comics run certainly implies a lack of sales success for the title, and like many Ace Periodicals comics, this short run is tough, with issue #5 considered among the most difficult to obtain Ace titles by knowledgable collectors.  But there's a Banner Comics #5 (Ace, 1942) Condition: GD/VG featuring Captain Courageous along with Banner Comics #3-4 up for auction in the 2022 July 31-August 1 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122231 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.  It's a particularly good week to take a look with lots of rare Ace Magazines comics, Champ and Champion Comics, Lev Gleason comics, and much more.

Banner Comics #5 (Ace, 1942) featuring Captain Courageous.
Banner Comics #5 (Ace, 1942) featuring Captain Courageous.

Banner Comics #5 (Ace, 1942) Condition: GD/VG. Featured in our list of the ten rarest Ace Comics issues, this is a book we've offered just once before in our history, and CGC has certified just five copies. Last issue before title changed to Captain Courageous Comics. Warren Kramer cover. Harry Sahle and George Wilson art. Spine split from bottom to bottom staple, and bottom staple detached. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $187; VG 4.0 value = $374.

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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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