Mike Sekowsky's Obscure Atomic Age Hero Captain Flash, Up for Auction
We tend to think of the mid-1950s era between the publication of the last Fawcett Captain Marvel comics in 1953 and the reboot of the Flash in 1956 as a superhero wasteland, but this is not quite true. The success of the Superman TV show beginning in 1953 sparked a new superhero boom. Marvel took a shot at bringing back its foundational heroes, Robert Farrell and Jerry Iger brought back a number of Fox superheroes (and soon launched new ones) and DC Comics wisely expanded the franchise with Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. While many of these characters were either reboots or extensions of Golden Age heroes, Sterling Comics' Captain Flash was among the first of this period with a new superhero character, and with powers firmly rooted in the atomic age. Created by well-regarded longtime artist Mike Sekowsky and Sterling Comics editor Martin Smith, there's a complete run of the short-lived Captain Flash series up for auction in this week's 2022 April 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122214 from Heritage Auctions.
Captain Flash has an origin of the type that would become familiar in the subsequent Silver Age. A professor working at "Atom City" has an accident with atomic material which should have killed him but instead gave him strange powers. Interestingly, clues in the story make it clear that "Atom City" is based on Los Alamos, New Mexico — the location of Los Alamos National Laboratory. In another interesting touch, the plane that Captain Flash flies is clearly the distinctive and experimental Douglas X-3 Stiletto. All in all, these sorts of details make the Captain Flash series a fascinating example of mid-1950s Cold War-era comic books. There's a complete run of the underappreciated Captain Flash series up for auction in this week's 2022 April 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122214 from Heritage Auctions.
#1 (Sterling, 1954) Condition: GD/VG. Origin of Captain Flash is featured. Tomboy (female superhero) begins. Only pre-Code issue. Atomic rocket cover. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $52; VG 4.0 value = $104.
#2 (Sterling, 1955) Condition: VG/FN. Mike Sekowsky cover and art. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $64; FN 6.0 value = $96.
#3 (Sterling, 1955) Condition: VG-. Mike Sekowsky cover and art. Stain throughout. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $64.
#4 (Sterling, 1955) Condition: VG+. Last issue. Mike Sekowsky cover and art. Rust on staples. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $64.
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