The Man-Eating Plant and Other Baffling Mysteries, Up for Auction

Aaron A. Wyn's Ace Magazine's comic book line is one of the most underappreciated comics publishers of any era of American history.  Wyn started as a pulp publisher, transitioned to comics, and then launched Ace Books, which became legendary as a publisher of science fiction and fantasy, and is still an imprint of Penguin Random House to this day.  The Ace comic book line, which spanned 48 series combining for 668 individual issues over the 1940-1956 time frame, had an editorial consistency and quality which generally reflected Wyn's business acumen.  While the Ace Pre-Code Horror titles are perhaps not as unrestrained as some other publishers of the era, they make up for that with their creativity.  The Baffling Mysteries series is a good example of this, and there are 16 issues of this remarkable 22-issue run up for auction 2022 July 10-11 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122228 at Heritage Auctions.

Baffling Mysteries #19 (Ace, 1954)
Baffling Mysteries #19 (Ace, 1954)

It's essentially impossible to take a look at any of these Baffling Mystery covers without wanting to read the story behind it.  Unfortunately, despite their very specific set-ups, the chances of an interior story to match is hit and miss.  The Secrets of the Goat People are indeed explained in Baffling Mysteries #5, as is the Queen of the Lizard Men in issue #8.  Sadly, the Man-Eating Plant on the cover of issue #19 and the Slaves of the Flame Queen of issue #22 are left unexplained.  Nevertheless, the cover art and with its gloriously neon color is worth the price of admission throughout the run.  I doubt any reader in the mid-1950s was disappointed then, and you certainly won't be now.  The Baffling Mysteries series is a good example of this, and there are 16 issues of this remarkable 22-issue run up for auction 2022 July 10-11 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122228 at Heritage Auctions.

Baffling Mysteries #19 (Ace, 1954)
Baffling Mysteries #19 (Ace, 1954)

Baffling Mysteries #19 (Ace, 1954) Condition: FR. The man-eating plant on the possibly-George Roussos cover sure looks a lot like Audrey Jr. from Little Shop of Horrors, but this book was on the newsstands a full six years before the movie's release… coincidence? Binding holes through spine, tape repair inner pages, and centerfold detached. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $39.

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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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