The Story Behind Fantastic Comics' Most Famous Cover, Up for Auction

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A great cover can have a tremendous impact on the value of a vintage comic book.  This is not the first time we've noted that here, and it won't be the last.  The cover of Fantastic Comics #3 by artist Lou Fine and published by Victor Fox makes that issue one of the most sought-after comic books of the Golden Age.  It's a beautifully rendered and detailed cover by one of the best artists of the Golden Age on a rare issue of a historically important series.  But the Fantastic Comics series overall has a number of other great covers by Lou Fine and others, and excellent stories by the likes of Alex Blum, Don Rico, and Fletcher Hanks, among others.  And more to the point, the story that inspired that incredible Fantastic Comics #3 robot cover by Lou Fine is not in that issue at all — it's in Fantastic Comics #4.  While there's no copy of the fabled issue #3 in this particular auction, there's a chance to get a copy of issue #4 and other tough issues of the historically important Fantastic Comics series up for auction in this week's 2021 July 18-19 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122129 from Heritage Auctions.

Fantastic Comics #4 (Fox, 1940) interior Samson story.
Fantastic Comics #4 (Fox, 1940) interior Samson story.

Whether the issue #4 Samson story or the issue #3 Lou Fine cover that it matches ran out of order — or just as likely Fine simply wanted a spark of inspiration for his assignment and nobody cared much beyond that, we might never know.  But it's interesting to note that the interior story is a worthy source of that famous cover.  The Fantastic Comics #4 "The Giant Robots of Kilgor" story is tentatively credited to Will Eisner with artwork by Alex Blum.

The villain of the tale, a mad scientist named Kilgor, has convinced a dictator to fund his factory to create an army of seemingly indestructible giant red robots.  Kilgor then double-crosses the dictator and directs his army of 5,000 giant robots to conquer the world.  Samson is able to stop the robot army with the help of another scientist named Professor Brun (and it's worth noting here that the corporation that Victor Fox entered the comic book field with was called Bruns Publications).

The Fantastic Comics series is full of important and well-crafted covers and material including the Samson feature itself and the likes of Fletcher Hanks' Stardust. There's a chance to get a copy of issue #4 and other tough issues of the historically important Fantastic Comics series up for auction in this week's 2021 July 18-19 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122129 from Heritage Auctions.

 

 

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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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