Charles Quinlan's Volton in Cyclone Comics #1, up for Auction

Charles Quinlan worked on characters such as Blue Beetle and Cat-Man, but static electricity-powered Volton deserves a footnote in his career

There were a lot of strange superheroes created during the Golden Age of comic books, but Volton might be in a class all his own.  Volton was apparently the creation of Charles Quinlan, perhaps in collaboration with Cyclone Comics series editor Worth Carnahan.  A distinctive stylist who is also known for some unusual and inventive stories, Quinlan is best remembered for his stint on Cat-Man Comics and the Holyoke period of Blue Beetle.  But Volton might be his most unusual work of all.  The hero was the result of a brilliant young scientist inventing a small device that could harness the forces of static electricity in the human body — in other words, every child's superheroic playtime dream.  The debut of one of the most bizarre superheroes of the Golden Age or any other era, there's a Cyclone Comics #1 (Bilbara, 1940) Condition: Apparent GD/VG up for auction in the 2023 March 26-28 Sunday, Monday & Tuesday Comic Books Select Auction #122313 from Heritage Auctions.

Cyclone Comics #1 (Bilbara, 1940)
Cyclone Comics #1 (Bilbara, 1940)

Cyclone Comics was the only actual comic book title published by Bilbara Publishing Co., a company launched around 1937 alongside better-known publisher Ideal Publishing Co by former Fawcett Publications executive William M. Cotton.  Bilbara and Ideal eventually came to publish a number of film industry magazines including Movie Life, Movie Stars Parade, and Personal Romances among others.  Bilbara also published a humor/satire magazine that included gag cartoon art called Peek Magazine. The company had acquired three non-comics titles from Ultem Publications, which is historically important to comics for publishing titles such as Funny Pages and Funny Picture Stories.  Cyclone Comics editor Worth Carnahan was apparently a family friend of William M. Cotton and his wife.

Between Quinlan and the work of Carnahan himself, the short-lived Cyclone Comics is an underappreciated bit of Golden Age comic book history.  But those Volton stories are the star of this show, and you can get the first one in Cyclone Comics #1 (Bilbara, 1940) Condition: Apparent GD/VG up for auction in the 2023 March 26-28 Sunday, Monday & Tuesday Comic Books Select Auction #122313 from Heritage Auctions. If you're new to Heritage Auctions, be sure to check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters. Please note that the weekly Select Auctions have been expanded to three days, with Comic Books (pre-1956), Pulps, Memorabilia, and Magazines Session 1 on Sunday, Comic Books from 1956-1969 Session 2 on Monday, and Comic Books from 1970-Present Session 3 on Tuesday.

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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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