Dr. Morphine and the Zombie Club in Crime Reporter #1, Up for Auction

Crime Reporter was a short-lived three-issue 1948 series from St. John Publications launched to take advantage of the crime comics boom of that pre-Code era.  The series is best remembered today for its Matt Baker covers on issues #2-3, and aside from the covers, is composed entirely of reprints from Chesler comic book material with some of the better-known characters renamed.  Lucky Coyne from Red Seal Comics and Dynamic Comics became Jinx Jordan in Crime Reporter, and the infamous Black Dwarf from Red Seal Comics stories became Blue Monk in Crime Reporter.  The stories chosen are a pretty wild mix of no-holds-barred material that had been a Chesler trademark.  A highly collected short St. John series made memorable due to its Good Girl art covers, there's a Crime Reporter #1 (St. John, 1948) Condition: GD/VG up for auction in the 2022 July 31-August 1 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122231 and copies of issue #2 and issue #3 in the 2022 August 11 The Matt Baker Showcase Auction #40190 at Heritage Auctions.

Crime Reporter #1 (St. John, 1948)
Crime Reporter #1 (St. John, 1948)

Jinx Jordan is the titular crime reporter of the series, working for a newspaper called The World.  In this debut issue, he investigates the release from prison of a bootlegger named Count Morphine.  While telling Jordan that he intends to become a law-abiding citizen, Count Morphine leverages his underworld contacts to threaten women with torture and death in order to coerce their husbands to commit crimes for him.  While there's no morphine involved in this process, Count Morphine is nonetheless a nasty piece of work.

Meanwhile, in the Blue Monk story, that character investigates a string of mysterious deaths of members of the toney Zombie Club.  Members of the club pay $50,000 per year for access — the equivalent of $615,000 in 2022.  It turns out the primary draw of the club is a drink called a Zombie — which contains an unspecified and addictive illicit drug.  The Blue Monk breaks up the Zombie Club and warns its members to seek medical attention because they've become addicts.

Crime Reporter is a classic late 1940s crime comic series with some great covers and more than a little dose of weirdness added to the mix. The underappreciated issue #1 cover is by artist Bob Lubbers with interior art by Charles Sultan, Paul Gattuso, and other Chesler regulars. There's a Crime Reporter #1 (St. John, 1948) Condition: GD/VG up for auction in the 2022 July 31-August 1 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122231 and copies of issue #2 and issue #3 in the 2022 August 11 The Matt Baker Showcase Auction #40190 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.

Crime Reporter #1 (St. John, 1948)
Crime Reporter #1 (St. John, 1948)

Crime Reporter #1 (St. John, 1948) Condition: GD/VG. Drug Club story. Blue Monk, K-9 and Ventrilo begin. Cover fray. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $100; VG 4.0 value = $200.

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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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