The Debut of Kismet, the First Muslim Superhero, Up for Auction

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In a 2014 article about Kismet, Man of Fate, a character that first appeared in Bomber Comics #1, scholar A. David Lewis (who has also continued Kismet in recent times) noted, "Kismet, however, bears recognizing and reclaiming, not only for the fact of his being Muslim but also for the uncommon subtlety of his character in a time of ham-fisted, gimmick-dependent heroes. Whereas other do-gooders had only a vague or passing rationale for their escapades, Kismet was situated right in the heart of '40s Europe, fighting Nazi forces in their many forms. From Southern France to the Czech Underground, to the German Bavarian Alps, Kismet journeyed to wherever his Mission expressed itself."  There is a Bomber Comics #1 (Elliot, 1944) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction at this afternoon's session of the 2021 June 17 – 19 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction coming up from Heritage Auctions.

Kismet, Man of Fate title splash from Bomber Comics #1, (Elliot, 1944).
Kismet, Man of Fate title splash from Bomber Comics #1, (Elliot, 1944).

Bomber Comics was launched featuring Kismet and Wonder Boy, among others, by a now-obscure company called Elliott Publications in 1944.  Elliott is perhaps best known as the publisher who in 1941 helped Albert Lewis Kanter launch the Classics Illustrated title before he split his Gilberton Company, Inc off into its own entity.  The same year, Elliot became embroiled in a legal conflict with rival comics publisher Fawcett over Elliott obtaining second-hand copies of Wow Comics #2, packaging them with other material, and reselling that package under a new cover using the title Double Comics.  In addition to Bomber Comics, Elliot also published another short-lived series Spitfire Comics in 1944.

Kismet is believed to be the creation of writer/editor Ruth Roche (under the pseudonym Omar Tahan) along with artists that may have included Chuck Winter, Paul Cooper, and inker Alex Blum, or Henry C. Kiefer and Matt Baker.  Roche was a writer for the Eisner-Iger studio who worked on Phantom Lady, Senorita Rio, and Sheena, among numerous other comic features.  She eventually became Iger's associate editor and business partner.  Roche is listed as the editor of Bomber Comics (under the pseudonym Rod Roche).

The character Wonder Boy had previously appeared in Quality Comics' National Comics title and would eventually wind up being published briefly by Ajax-Farrell.

There are 18 entries for Bomber Comics #1 on the CGC Census, with only one higher than this CGC 9.0.  An important and vastly underrated moment from the Golden Age of comics, there is a Bomber Comics #1 (Elliot, 1944) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction at this afternoon's session of the 2021 June 17 – 19 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction coming up from Heritage Auctions.

Bomber Comics #1, featuring Kismet, Man of Fate (Elliot, 1944).
Bomber Comics #1, featuring Kismet, Man of Fate (Elliot, 1944).

Bomber Comics #1 (Elliot, 1944) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages. Yes, believe it or not, Elliot, who brought out the first few issues of Classic Comics, did take a stab at the superhero/adventure genre as well. If cover hero Wonder Boy looks familiar, it may be because Aja-Farrell brought him back some ten years later! Overstreet 2020 VF/NM 9.0 value = $1,112; NM- 9.2 value = $1,575. CGC census 6/21: 2 in 9.0, 1 higher.

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 46675002 and purchase grader's notes if available.

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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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