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The Supernatural Mysteries of Ken Shannon, Up for Auction

1950 was a turning point of sorts for publisher Quality Comics.  Everett "Busy" Arnold bought out his longtime partners in the business John Cowles, Sr and Gardner Cowles, Jr not too long after the comic book industry had shifted from a focus on superheroes to a variety of other material.  Long-running Golden Age titles like Smash Comics, Hit Comics, National Comics, and Modern Comics would come to an end around this time.  Many titles started in 1949 like Campus Loves, Hollywood Diary, Hollywood Secrets, Range Romances, and Secret Loves would end within a year.  Crack Comics would transform to Crack Western, and similarly, Plastic Man would lose his place in Police Comics, to be replaced on the covers and in the feature story by a hardboiled detective named Ken Shannon.  Ken Shannon's debut in Police Comics #103 was quickly followed by his own series, which included work by Quality Comics stars like Reed Crandall and Jack Cole, both at the peak of their artistry.  Ken Shannon was a comic book version of what Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine called the "guts-gore-and-gals-school" of this era, featuring Mickey Spillane-style detective action with a healthy dose of Good Girl art in the form of Ken Shannon's assistant Dee Dee Dawson.  His cases also often included supernatural elements — or so it seemed.  An interesting example of the hardboiled detective fiction of the 1950s done in comic book form by stand-out artists, there are several issues of Quality Comics' Ken Shannon series , plus Police Comics #109 featuring Ken Shannon up for auction in the 2022 July 24-25 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122230 at Heritage Auctions.

Ken Shannon #6 (Quality, 1952)
Ken Shannon #6 (Quality, 1952)

Ken Shannon #1 (Quality, 1951) Condition: GD. Jack Cole story and art. Reed Crandall art. Both staples popped, spine splitting, moisture damage, and subscription crease. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $52.

Ken Shannon #2 (Quality, 1951) Condition: GD/VG. Reed Crandall cover and art. Jack Cole story and art. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $39; VG 4.0 value = $78.

Ken Shannon #6 (Quality, 1952) Condition: GD. Reed Crandall cover and art. Jack Cole and John Daly art. Piece missing from front cover. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $47.

Ken Shannon #7 (Quality, 1952) Condition: FR. Cover detached, 3/4" spine split, tape repair to outer spine, moisture damage, and mold. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $40.

#9 (Quality, 1953) Condition: FR. Bottom staple detached, top staple popped, tape repair interior cover, glue reinforcement to interior cover and spine, and moisture damage. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $24.

Police Comics #109 (Quality, 1951) Condition: VG. Reed Crandall bondage cover and art. Atomic bomb story. Chuck Cuidera art. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $44.

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Mark SeifertAbout 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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