A great cover can have a tremendous impact on the value of a vintage comic book. The cover of Fantastic Comics #3 by artist Lou Fine and published by Victor Fox makes that issue one of the most sought-after comic books of the Golden Age. It's a beautifully rendered and detailed cover by one of the best artists of the Golden Age on a rare issue of a historically important series. But the Fantastic Comics series overall has a number of other great covers by Lou Fine and others, and excellent stories by the likes of Alex Blum, Don Rico, and Fletcher Hanks, among others. And more to the point, the story that inspired that incredible Fantastic Comics #3 robot cover by Lou Fine is not in that issue at all — it's in Fantastic Comics #4. While there's no copy of the fabled issue #3 in this particular auction, there's a chance to get a copy of Fantastic Comics #4 (Fox, 1940) CGC VG 4.0 Off-white to white pages and 21 of the 23 issues of the historically important Fantastic Comics series up for auction in the 2022 December 1 Fox Comics Showcase Auction #40214 at Heritage Auctions.
Whether the issue #4 Samson story or the issue #3 Lou Fine cover that it matches ran out of order — or just as likely Fine simply wanted a spark of inspiration for his assignment and nobody cared much beyond that, we might never know. But it's interesting to note that the interior story is a worthy source of that famous cover. The Fantastic Comics #4 "The Giant Robots of Kilgor" story is tentatively credited to Will Eisner with artwork by Alex Blum.
The villain of the tale, a mad scientist named Kilgor, has convinced a dictator to fund his factory to create an army of seemingly indestructible giant red robots. Kilgor then double-crosses the dictator and directs his army of 5,000 giant robots to conquer the world. Samson is able to stop the robot army with the help of another scientist named Professor Brun (and it's worth noting here that the corporation that Victor Fox entered the comic book field with was called Bruns Publications).
The Fantastic Comics series is full of important and well-crafted covers and material including the Samson feature itself and the likes of Fletcher Hanks' Stardust. One of the core Fox Feature Syndicate titles, there's a chance to get a copy of Fantastic Comics #4 (Fox, 1940) CGC VG 4.0 Off-white to white pages and 21 of the 23 issues of the historically important Fantastic Comics series 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.
Fantastic Comics #4 (Fox, 1940) CGC VG 4.0 Off-white to white pages. Gerber rates this comic a "7" ("scarce") on the Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books' Scarcity Index. Samson deathtrap cover by Lou Fine. George Tuska, Alex Blum, Hank Fletcher, and Don Rico art. Overstreet 2022 VG 4.0 value = $686. CGC census 11/22: 2 in 4.0, 11 higher.