The Shield and the Wizard vs Russia in Top Notch Comics #7, at Auction

Two weeks after Timely/Marvel's landmark crossover between the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner in Marvel Mystery Comics #9, publisher MLJ Magazines paired up two of their top characters of that moment, the Wizard and the Shield in Top-Notch Comics #7. Marvel Mystery Comics #9 is one of the most sought-after comics of the Golden Age, and while Top-Notch Comics #7 obviously isn't in the same league, it probably deserves a little more credit than it gets. Not only do we get an MLJ superhero crossover, but we also get the Wizard transforming from pulp-style character into full-on superhero. This issue is an underappreciated moment in a series full of them, and there's a Top-Notch Comics #7 (MLJ, 1940) Condition: FR and several other issues of the Top-Notch Comics series up for auction in the 2022 May 15-16 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122220 at Heritage Auctions.

Top-Notch Comics #7 (MLJ, 1940)
Top-Notch Comics #7 (MLJ, 1940)

The storyline here continues the "Moscovians" saga that began in Top-Notch Comics #5. The Shield made a brief appearance in that issue and gets fully involved to stop their sabotage of the Golden Gate Bridge here. Meanwhile, the obvious Soviet stand-in villains have thrown acid at the Wizard's face, causing him to go blind. He recovered and vowed to avoid such weakness in the future by developing a super-suit that made him nearly invulnerable. Combined with "strength-reviving capsules" which gave him incredible strength, the character turned to a decidedly more physical style of superheroics beginning with this issue. Notably, this saga also marked the end of his WWII plots against America political intrigue storylines, and his subsequent adventures were largely of the crime-fighting variety.

Equally as interesting, Russia was somewhat rehabilitated in the MLJ universe in Top-Notch Comics #12, as Fran Frazer, the star of a regular wartime news reporter series in the title, uncovered information that broke up the Soviet's conference to discuss joining the Axis powers. The story was obviously inspired by real-world events that had unfolded during Fall 1940, and even included an analog of then-infamous Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.

Top-Notch Comics #7 also seems to have been positioned to promote the new Sheild-Wizard Comics series, which debuted about two weeks later. Overall, the issue is a fascinating turning point for both the Wizard and the series itself, and there's a Top-Notch Comics #7 (MLJ, 1940) Condition: FR and several other issues of the Top-Notch Comics series up for auction in the 2022 May 15-16 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122220 at Heritage Auctions.

Top-Notch Comics #7 (MLJ, 1940)
#7 (MLJ, 1940)
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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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