The Overlooked Artistry of Maurice Whitman's Jumbo Comics, at Auction

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We recently noted that the series Ghost Comics is in demand by vintage collectors, largely due to the covers of an underrated artist of the late Golden Age, Maurice Whitman.  But Whitman's work graced a large number of comics of the mid 1940s through the early 1950s that are undeservedly overlooked. After serving in WWII, Whitman entered the comics industry working in the mid-1940s for the likes of Harry Chesler, Lloyd Jacquet and Jerry Iger. But in 1947, he began working for the publisher with which he would make his mark: Fiction House.  Whitman worked on interior stories for the likes of Wings Comics, Planet Comics, Jungle Comics and other Fiction House titles 1947-1950 before starting to get cover work as well.  Maurice Whitman created dozens of covers for Fiction House 1950-1954, and his covers for the classic Jumbo Comics series are great examples of his many stand-outs. There are several Jumbo Comics #161-167 with Maurice Whitman covers from the very end of this important series up for auction in this week's 2021 August 1-2 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122131 from Heritage Auctions.

Jumbo Comics covers by Maurice Whitman.
Jumbo Comics covers by Maurice Whitman.

Whitman worked for Fiction House until Summer 1954, and the company ceased operations shortly thereafter, becoming a victim of the anti-comics moral panic of the mid-1950s.  He then moved onto a wide range of work for Charlton, Warren Publications, and others.  But his Fiction House work is Whitman at the peak of his abilities, and his Jumbo Comics covers are among his best work. There are several Jumbo Comics #161-167 with Maurice Whitman covers from the very end of this important series up for auction in this week's 2021 August 1-2 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122131 from Heritage Auctions.

#161 (Fiction House, 1952) CGC Apparent VG+ 4.5 Slight to Moderate (C-2) Off-white to white pages. Ghost Gallery covers begin. Jack Kamen and Lou Cameron art. CGC notes, "Restoration includes: moderate amount of glue on spine of cover." Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $25; VG 4.0 value = $50.

#162 (Fiction House, 1952) CGC VG 4.0 Off-white to white pages. Maurice Whitman cover. Jack Kamen and Robert Webb art. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $52. CGC census 7/21: 3 in 4.0, 13 higher.

#163 (Fiction House, 1952) CGC VG- 3.5 Cream to off-white pages. First appearance of The Eye. Suicide Smith appearance. Ken Battefield art. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $52. CGC census 7/21: 2 in 3.5, 16 higher.

#164 (Fiction House, 1952) CGC FN- 5.5 Slightly brittle pages. Star Pirate reprints begin. Robert Webb and Murphy Anderson art. Overstreet 2021 FN 6.0 value = $108. CGC census 7/21: 3 in 5.5, 7 higher.

#165 (Fiction House, 1952) CGC VG+ 4.5 Off-white to white pages. Robert Webb art. Sheena appearance. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $66. CGC census 7/21: 2 in 4.5, 27 higher.

#166 (Fiction House, 1953) CGC VG 4.0 Cream to off-white pages. Robert Webb art. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $66. CGC census 7/21: 3 in 4.0, 16 higher.

Jumbo Comics #167 (Fiction House, 1953) CGC GD/VG 3.0 Cream to off-white pages. Space Rangers appearance. Final issue of Jumbo Comics. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $33; VG 4.0 value = $66. CGC census 7/21: 3 in 3.0, 14 higher.

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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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