The Mighty Seventh and Harvey's Speed Comics #38, Up for Auction

The raising of the U.S. Flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima almost instantly became one of the most iconic moments of World War II. The flag-raising by six men of the 5th Marine Division took place early in the afternoon after the mountaintop was captured and a smaller flag was raised early in the day.  The famous photograph of this moment was taken by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press on February 23, 1945. It was published in thousands of newspapers and other publications within days. The photograph of the raising of the U.S. Flag on Iwo Jima would also be the inspiration for a famous War Loan poster painted by artist C. C. Beall.  Beall was a magazine and pulp artist who painted covers paint covers for Munsey Publications pulps, such as Argosy, All-Story Love, and Detective Fiction Weekly. It's commonly said that Beall was also a comic book artist, although I've found no specific credits for him as of this writing.  It would appear Beall's son was briefly a Mad Magazine cover artist in the next decade.  Weeks after the famous photograph hit newspapers the Iwo Jima flag-raising moment also inspired artist Bob Powell for the cover of Speed Comics #38, among other comic art. There's a Speed Comics #38 (Harvey, 1945) Condition: GD and a bunch of other issues of Speed Comics up for auction in the 2022 August 28-29 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122235 at Heritage Auctions.

Speed Comics #38 (Harvey, 1945)
Speed Comics #38 (Harvey, 1945)

This symbolic moment would be one of a number of hugely important events of early 1945 which would influence the world — including the artists, writers, and publishers who create comic books — in the subsequent months of 1945.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a massive stroke on April 12 of that year.  Adolf Hitler committed suicide as Soviet troops approached his bunker on April 30.  Germany would surrender within the week.  Perhaps most influential of all on the world of the decades to come, atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, leading to Japan's surrender on September 2. While the beginning of the end could be seen by early 1945, there was still a war to finish, and the monetary cost of winning the war would continue to be substantial to that end.

"The coming Seventh War Loan, justly called the 'Mighty Seventh,' will be the first of two great War Loans in 1945," noted the Southwest News of Chicago, Illinois in May 1945. "In these two drives, we as a nation will raise just about as great a sum as we raised in the three drives of 1944. Half of the total Seventh War Loan goal of $14 billion has been set as a quota for investment by individuals; of this sum $4 billion has been allotted to 'E' bonds, the type of bond most popular with the average American. The task of meeting the increased goals for individual investment in the Seventh War Loan Drive is great but not insurmountable."

As it had since the first war bond drive in 1941, comic books would again ask their readership to do their part, reminding them to support the war effort by buying bonds, likely at the behest of the Writers' War Board.  It's also likely that the Seventh War Loan is featured more prominently on the covers of this period than previous campaigns had been, because the campaign goal of $14 Billion was considered daunting.  "At the beginning of the Drive it looked like a Herculian task to meet the unprecedented quotas," a U.S. Treasury Department report of the period openly wondered.

Just as C.C. Beall's 7th War Loan poster was based on the photo of the iconic Iwo Jima flag-raising moment, so was Bob Powell's Speed Comics #38 cover for this same War Loan drive.  Other prominent 7th War Loan comic book covers from this period include Star Spangled Comics #47, Detective Comics #101, Batman #30, More Fun Comics #104 and Action Comics #86 among others.  Part of the closing era of the war in American comic books, there's a Speed Comics #38 (Harvey, 1945) Condition: GD and a bunch of other issues of Speed Comics up for auction in the 2022 August 28-29 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122235 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.

Speed Comics #38 (Harvey, 1945)
Speed Comics #38 (Harvey, 1945)

Speed Comics #38 (Harvey, 1945) Condition: GD. Classic Iwo Jima flag cover. Joe Kubert and Bob Fujitani art. Spine is completely split, pages are brittle. Overstreet 2022 GD 2.0 value = $55.

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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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