Jack Kamen Covers the Controversial Claire Voyant, Up for Auction

The newspaper strip saga of the adventures of an entertainer named Claire Voyant was published as a comic book by the founder of The Hill.

Claire Voyant was the creation of Jack Sparling and debuted in the tabloid newspaper daily PM on May 9, 1943. Claire was found drifting on a life raft by a U.S. Navy ship, and it was soon discovered she had amnesia.  The ship's cook suggested the name "Claire Voyant" by paging through a dictionary, cleverly reasoning that a name suggesting knowing the future is the very opposite of not knowing your past.  After the war, more of her backstory was revealed as she discovered that she was a chorus girl touring overseas with the USO when the Nazis sank the ship she was traveling on.  In the meantime, Claire became a well-known singer and entertainer, and the strip chronicled the adventures of the beautiful women and dangerous men in her orbit.  The strip was reprinted in comic book form most famously by publisher Leader Enterprises (and associated imprints), including covers by Jack Kamen and George Muhlfield.  A particularly interesting example of the early so-called Good Girl comics era, there's a copy of Claire Voyant #2 (Leader Enterprises, 1946) CGC VG 4.0 Cream to off-white pages up for auction in the 2023 March 5-6 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122310 at Heritage Auctions.


Claire Voyant #2 (Leader Enterprises, 1946)
Claire Voyant #2 (Leader Enterprises, 1946)

After launching in PM, the strip was initially syndicated to a relatively small number of newspapers by PM, and then went wider when the Chicago Sun Syndicate took over syndication of the strip in October 1944.   Infamously, one issue of the comic book series attracted the attention of notorious comic book critic Gershon Legman in his book Love and Death.  Ironically, the Jack Kamen cover of Claire Voyante #3 is based very specifically on the September 23, 1946, episode of the newspaper strip, which is part of the material reprinted in that issue.  While Legman did note that the character originated in PM, he proceeded to use it as part of his argument targeting comic books specifically.  The strip is arguably more graphically violent than the comic book cover that it inspired.

Publisher Leader Enterprises released a handful of comics during this period and was primarily the publisher of trade-focused newspaper publications such as The Civil Service Leader and Fashion Trades, among others.  Leader Enterprises Publisher Jerry Finkelstein founded The Hill in 1994.


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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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