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 an affordable Underworld Crime #7 (Fawcett Publications, 1953) CGC GD- 1.8 Cream to off-white pages up for auction in Monday's 2022 January 9-10 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122202 from Heritage Auctions.
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 art work 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.
Considered by many as one of the best crime comic book covers of its era, there a chance at an affordable copy of Underworld Crime #7 (Fawcett Publications, 1953) CGC GD- 1.8 Cream to off-white pages in Monday's 2022 January 9-10 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122202 from Heritage Auctions.
Underworld Crime #7 (Fawcett Publications, 1953) CGC GD- 1.8 Cream to off-white pages. Bondage/torture cover by Edd Ashe. This was the last issue of the title. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $295. CGC census 1/22: 1 in 1.8, 35 higher.