The Strange History of Lev Gleason's Captain Battle Comics, at Auction

Captain Battle debuted in Lev Gleason Publications' Silver Streak Comics #10, the creation of Carl Formes and Jack Binder.  He was the youngest combatant in World War I and lost his left eye fighting in that war.  He subsequently gave his life over to "the scientific perfection of inventions which he uses to overcome evil and aggressive influences.  His arch nemesis is the Black Dragon, a sorcerer hellbent on destroying democracy and civilization itself.  The Captain Battle Comics series itself has a number of weird publishing twists which can make the various parts of it hard to come by, but there's a complete set of Captain Battle Comics and Captain Battle Jr. up for auction in the 2022 July 31-August 1 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122231 at Heritage Auctions.

Captain Battle Comics #2 (New Friday, 1941)
Captain Battle Comics #2 (New Friday, 1941)

The first two issues of Captain Battle Comics were published by known Lev Gleason publishing company New Friday (no doubt named after the left-wing tabloid magazine Friday that Gleason was associated with).  Issue #3 contains reprints of Silver Streak material but for unknown reasons, carries the line Harry "A" Chesler Jr. Features Syndicate, N.Y. on the cover.  There is no issue #4.  Issue #5 was published by Picture Scoop, Inc. which was also the publisher of Gleason magazines Reader's Scope and Picture ScoopCaptain Battle Jr. was then published by the familiar Comic House, Inc. publishing company often used by Gleason.  It's also widely assumed that Boy Comics, which started with issue #3, was a continuation of the original Captain Battle Comics numbering, despite the sporadic continuation of that title.  Captain Battle Jr. was the original's son, a WWII fighter pilot who also worked for Army Intelligence.

Whatever actually happened there with the missing #4, the Chesler involvement, and all the rest, Captain Battle is a classic patriotic hero from one of the most editorially interesting publishers of the Golden Age, and you can get all of them up for auction in the 2022 July 31-August 1 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122231 at Heritage Auctions. If you've never bid at Heritage Auctions before, you can get further information, you can check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.  It's a particularly good week to take a look with lots of rare Ace Magazines comics, Champ and Champion Comics, Lev Gleason comics, and much more.

#1 (New Friday, 1941) Condition: GD. Origin of Blackout. Hooded cultists, skull cover by George Harrison (not the Beatle). Cover detached, spine splitting, and spine roll. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $226.

Captain Battle Comics #2 (New Friday, 1941) Condition: FR. Jack Binder cover and art. Don Rico art. Cover drawn on, half of spine split, and inner pages split from top third. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $103.

Captain Battle Comics #3 (Magazine Press, 1942) Condition: GD. Skull, bondage, torture cover. Origins of the Silver Streak and Lance Hale. Joe Simon art. Cover detached, inner spine split two-inches from bottom. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $103.

Captain Battle Comics #5 (Magazine Press, 1943) Condition: FR. Gerber "8" or "rare." Al Gabrielle Japanese War, Rising Sun cover. Tape repair/reinforcement to spine, added staples, amateur trimming, reproduced bottom corner, and water damage. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $103.

Captain Battle Jr. #1 (Lev Gleason, 1943) Condition: GD. Hitler appears in the Claw story. Nazi War cover and art by Don Rico. Spine fray, staple popped, water damage, and mold. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $168.

Captain Battle Jr. #2 (Lev Gleason, 1944) Condition: FR. Second part of Captain Battle Jr.'s origin. Don Rico classic torture-on-the-rack cover and art. Basil Wolverton and Jack Cole art. Cover restapled, original staple remains, tape repair and color touch to spine, and moisture damage. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $103.

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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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