Captain Marvel in the Fawcett Giants of the Golden Age, at Auction
One of the biggest characters in the Golden Age, Captain Marvel was also featured in some of the biggest comics published in the era as well.
With Captain Marvel riding high as one of the top characters in comics with a popularity that rivaled Superman throughout much of the Golden Age, in 1941-1942 and again in 1947-1952 Fawcett Publications produced a number of giant, squarebound annual editions targeting the holiday and otherwise gift-giving market. Gift Comics and Xmas Comics both topped out at a massive 324 pages, while the one-issue Holiday Comics title was 196 pages. The Heritage listings note that some issues of Gift Comics and Xmas Comics are not rebound remaindered issues of previously published Fawcett comics, and consist of issues printed the same time as the originals, but GCD disagrees with them in that regard. There is general agreement that Holiday Comics #1 is a book of reprints. These giant editions included the likes of Captain Marvel, Ibis the Invincible, Commando Yank, Phantom Eagle, Bulletman, Spy Smasher, Golden Arrow, and Mr. Scarlet.
Many of these are considered difficult to get in any condition and that's no surprise. Paper was difficult to get during the war era and for several years beyond the end of the war, and with many of these also being rebinds of unsold copies of a very popular comic line and being sold at a premium price point besides, it is incredibly unlikely that they were produced in anything resembling the average Captain Marvel print run, and probably a small fraction of that.
In 1942, Fawcett touted this line in marketing by noting, "Other original Fawcett achievements are the two largest comics in existence — Xmas Comics and Gift Comics — each with 324 pages of vibrant action, and premium priced at 50 cents and knockout sellers, both." There's a nice group of these tough Fawcett giant issues up for auction in this week's 2023 March 26-28 Sunday, Monday & Tuesday Comic Books Select Auction #122313 from Heritage Auctions.
Holiday Comics #1 (Fawcett Publications, 1942) Condition: GD/VG. Featuring Captain Marvel, Spy Smasher, Nyoka, Golden Arrow, and Ibis. Giant 196-page comic book. Water damage. Mold. Staining. Spine split 1" from top. Overstreet 2022 GD 2.0 value = $325; VG 4.0 value = $650.
Gift Comics #2 (Fawcett Publications, 1942) Condition: GD. Contains 324 pages featuring Captain Marvel, Ibis the Invincible, Commando Yank, Phantom Eagle, Bulletman, Spy Smasher, Golden Arrow, and Mr. Scarlet. Water damage. Staining. Glue loose at spine. Overstreet 2022 GD 2.0 value = $206.
Gift Comics #3 (Fawcett Publications, 1949) Condition: Apparent GD/VG. Captain Marvel cover, 324 pages of content. Spine split 2" from top. Failed glue repair. Musty. Foxing. Moisture damage. Overstreet 2022 GD 2.0 value = $148.
Xmas Comics (first series) #1 (Fawcett Publications, 1941) Condition: VG-. Gerber rates this book a "7" ("scarce") in its Scarcity Index. Contains Whiz Comics #21, Captain Marvel Adventures #3, Bulletman #2, Wow Comics #3, and Master Comics #18. Back cover by Mac Raboy. Staining. Residue on inner back cover. Overstreet 2022 VG 4.0 value = $972.
Xmas Comics #4 (Fawcett Publications, 1949) Condition: Apparent GD. Red felt on cover. Features Bill Boyd, Captain Marvel, Nyoka, Tom Mix, and other popular Fawcett characters. Tape repair to inner page tears and spine. Water damage. Foxing. Overstreet 2022 GD 2.0 value = $123.
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