The Mystery of Mr. Manhattan in EC's International Comics, at Auction

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EC Comics title International Comics (continued for one issue as International Crime Patrol, then as simply Crime Patrol) doesn't get as much attention as the New Trend titles, or even many of the other Pre-Tend titles, but it's an utterly fascinating and underappreciated series from a historical perspective.  The series hit the newsstands in February 1947, less than a year and a half after the formation of the United Nations was announced, and including four separate stories in each issue featuring heroes from various nations fighting crime in their own countries.  As the debut inside front cover states, "ONE WORLD at last becomes a reality as we follow the exciting adventures of our new friends, in far-off places."  The lead feature of each issue was Van Manhattan, American Supersleuth.  The United Nations connection was made explicit with the formation of the International Patrol in International Comics #5. There's an International Comics #5 (EC, 1947) CGC FN 6.0 and International Crime Patrol #6 (EC, 1948) CGC FN+ 6.5 up for auction in this week's 2021 August 1-2 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122131 from Heritage Auctions.

International Crime Patrol #6 (EC, 1948)
International Crime Patrol #6 (EC, 1948)

The introduction of the International Patrol brings the United Nations connections of the series into focus: "Fighting world-wide crime wherever they find it, the representatives of the Big Four… Van Manhattan of America, Igor of Russia, the Chessmen of England and Madelon of France… join forces to protect the United Nations."  This language is a clear reference to the "Big Four" and the "Four Policemen" terminology of the Post WWII council that U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt proposed as a guarantor of world peace, which in turn led to the formation of the United Nations itself.  It's worth noting, however, that the International Crime Patrol leaves out China but includes France in the group. The original "Four Policemen" were the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China.  France was added to that original group as one of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council when the United Nations was formed.

Whatever EC Comics' plans for this U.N.-centric group may have been, it appears likely that those plans ended with the death of Max GainesInternational Comics #5 featuring the debut of the group hit the newsstands one week after his death on August 20, 1947.  The group appeared for the last time a few months later in International Crime Patrol #6, although the issue was rounded out with a Moon Girl story.  The title was renamed Crime Patrol, a more traditional type of crime comic book, with the next issue.  It's also worth noting that there are no Gaines file copies of these issues International Comics / International Crime Patrol issues.  But there are copies of International Comics #5 (EC, 1947) CGC FN 6.0 and International Crime Patrol #6 (EC, 1948) CGC FN+ 6.5 up for auction in this week's 2021 August 1-2 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122131 from Heritage Auctions.

International Comics #5 (EC, 1947)
International Comics #5 (EC, 1947)

International Comics #5 (EC, 1947) CGC FN 6.0 Cream to off-white pages. Last issue of the title before the change to International Crime Patrol. Lee Bachelor cover and art. Sheldon Moldoff art. Overstreet 2021 FN 6.0 value = $159. CGC census 7/21: 2 in 6.0, 4 higher.

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 28268011 and purchase grader's notes if available.

International Crime Patrol #6 (EC, 1948) CGC FN+ 6.5 Off-white to white pages. The only issue with this title, becomes Crime Patrol with the next issue. Contains a Moon Girl story. Lee Bachelor cover. Bachelor and Sheldon Moldoff art. Overstreet 2021 FN 6.0 value = $387; VF 8.0 value = $826. CGC census 7/21: 2 in 6.5, 6 higher.

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 2054214001 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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