Lou Fine at His Best on Black Condor in Crack Comics #5, at Auction

The Black Condor story in Crack Comics #5 is a spectacular example of Lou Fine at his best. Fine was an artist that even other comic book greats admired, and while his cover work for publishers Fox Feature Syndicate, Fiction House and Quality Comics is highly regarded by collectors, his interior story artwork is sometimes overlooked. The early Black Condor stories in Crack Comics were as much fantasy stories as they were about superheroics, and issue #5 has Fine hitting his peak on the character. A stand-out example of the work of a master of the comic book form, there's a Crack Comics #5 (Quality, 1940) Condition: VG+ up for auction in the 2022 May 22-23 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122221 at Heritage Auctions.

Crack Comics #5 featuring the Black Condor (Quality, 1940)
Crack Comics #5 featuring the Black Condor (Quality, 1940)

The Black Condor was created by Fine and Will Eisner for his debut in Crack Comics #1. Eisner would once say about Fine, "I had respect for his towering kind of draftsmanship. He was the epitome of the honest draftsman. No fakery, no razzle-dazzle — very direct, very honest in his approach," while Joe Simon recalled, "My favorite artist was Lou Fine. He was also Jack Kirby's favorite artist. I know that Jack was a fan of and greatly influenced by Fine's work."

The premise of the Black Condor was straightforward even by the standards of the era, if more than a little unusual. The character was essentially a flying version of Tarzan. Taken by his mother and father on a safari to Mongolia, infant Richard Grey Jr. is left alone there when his parents are killed. The child is taken in and raised by a condor, and the young human boy learns how to fly from his condor companions by "studying the movements of wings, the body motions, air currents, balance and levitation."

The cover feature of Crack Comics #5 is the historically important character the Clock by George Brenner, while the Clock cover itself is by Gill Fox. But the Black Condor story is the star of the show here. This issue is a tough get in anything above low grade, and there's a VG+ but nice looking Crack Comics #5 (Quality, 1940) Condition: VG+ up for auction in the 2022 May 22-23 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122221 at Heritage Auctions.

Crack Comics #5 featuring the Black Condor (Quality, 1940)
Crack Comics #5 featuring the Black Condor (Quality, 1940)
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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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