The Horror of Fawcett's Underworld Crime #7, Up for Auction

Fawcett Publications is hardly the first name that one thinks of when it comes to crime comic books of the 1950s, but the publisher best known for Captain Marvel still produced one of the most notorious crime comic issues of that era.  Underworld Crime #7 has a distinctively menacing cover composition (identified as the work of artist Edd Ashe, Jr) luridly colored in a way that made it stand out among the competition near the peak of the Pre-Code era.  An infamous crime comic that's not easy to get in any grade, there's a nice copy of Underworld Crime #7 (Fawcett Publications, 1953) CGC FN- 5.5 Cream to off-white pages up for auction in the 2022 October 27 – 28 Halloween Pre-Code Horror and Crime Comics Showcase Auction #40207 at Heritage Auctions.

Underworld Crime #7 (Fawcett Publications, 1953)
Underworld Crime #7 (Fawcett Publications, 1953)

Underworld Crime #7 is not only the last issue of the series, it's part of the end of an era for Fawcett.  The publisher almost certainly knew by the time this issue hit the stands that it would exit the comic book business.  Publishing trade magazines were reporting that Fawcett was exiting the comic book business as early as mid-1953, with Author and Journalist elaborating that "Fawcett Publications, Inc., are dropping comics from their program and have sold all their comic book titles except the Marvels to Charlton Comics, Inc., Derby, Conn.  Stories and artwork will be produced by the Al Fago Studios, 1472 Broadway, New York."  The final Fawcett comic book of this era was published within four months of Underworld Crime #7 hitting the newsstands.

Fawcett had settled with DC Comics for $400,000 and a promise to stop publishing Captain Marvel & Co that year after lengthy legal battles over the character's similarities to Superman.  With their Gold Medal Books paperback line and other aspects of the publishing business booming, the publisher decided to exit their entire comic book business when their superhero line-up was ended. The publisher did reenter the field to publish Dennis the Menace comic books in the 1960s.

There's not too many high grade copies of this issue out there with only seven entries above CGC 5.5 listed on the CGC Census. Considered by many as one of the best crime comic book covers of its era, there's a nice copy of Underworld Crime #7 (Fawcett Publications, 1953) CGC FN- 5.5 Cream to off-white pages up for auction in the 2022 October 27 – 28 Halloween Pre-Code Horror and Crime Comics Showcase Auction #40207 at Heritage Auctions.  If you've never bid at Heritage Auctions before, you can get further information, you can check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.

Underworld Crime #7 (Fawcett Publications, 1953)
Underworld Crime #7 (Fawcett Publications, 1953)

Underworld Crime #7 (Fawcett Publications, 1953) CGC FN- 5.5 Cream to off-white pages. Bondage and soldering iron torture cover by Edd Ashe. This was the last issue of the title. Overstreet 2022 FN 6.0 value = $1,623. CGC census 10/22: 4 in 5.5, 7 higher.

CGC Grader Notes:
address/date/name stamp center of front cover
crease left bottom of back cover
light, multiple crease full bottom of front cover breaks color
readers crease front cover breaks color
small stain center of front cover
small stain right center of back cover

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 1236072001.

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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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