Wood, Gaines & Feldstein's Historic Shock SuspenStories #6 at Auction

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As we mentioned when the original art went on the auction block recently, Wally Wood's potent work for the cover of EC Comics' Shock SuspenStories #6 is among the most reproduced pieces of cover art in American comic book history. And there's a historic story behind that cover to match: the cover story by Wood, Bill Gaines, and Al Feldstein is a forceful condemnation of hate groups in America. As Steven Spielberg noted in the 2017 Shock SuspenStories collection containing this issue, "For the first time, Gaines attacked subjects like racial and religious prejudice" in the Shock Suspenstories title, and "confronted these controversial topics head on." There's a Shock SuspenStories #6 (EC, 1952) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Cream to off-white pages up for auction in this week's 2021 July 18-19 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122129 from Heritage Auctions.

Shock SuspenStories #6 (EC, 1952)
Shock SuspenStories #6 (EC, 1952)

The interior story behind this cover of Shock SuspenStories #6 is a tale titled Under Cover!, co-plotted by Bill Gaines and Al Feldstein, scripted by Feldstein, and drawn by Wood.  A caption blurb makes the intent of this story clear: "Safe behind their masks of prejudice, these hooded peddlers of racial, religious, and political hatred operate today. Mind you, they are shrewd and ruthless men such as those in our story. How long can we stay cool and indifferent to this threat to our democratic way of life? It is time to unveil these usurpers of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms."

The white supremacist group of the story, called the "Black Vigilante Society", is typically compared to the Ku Klux Klan in analyses of this tale, but it may also be a more specific reference to a similar group from mid-20th century American history called the Black Legion.  A domestic white nationalist terrorist organization typically described as an even more extremist version of the KKK, the Black Legion rose to such infamy by the 1930s that they were the subject of a Humphrey Bogart film of the same name in 1937.  The group was again making newspaper headlines around the country during the early 1950s era when this story was created.  And as the above-quoted caption from the story implies, it was certainly not the only such group making headlines during this period.

A historically important comic book by masters of the art form, there's a Shock SuspenStories #6 (EC, 1952) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Cream to off-white pages up for auction in this week's 2021 July 18-19 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122129 from Heritage Auctions.

Shock SuspenStories #6 (EC, 1952)
Shock SuspenStories #6 (EC, 1952)

Shock SuspenStories #6 (EC, 1952) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Cream to off-white pages. Overstreet describes Wally Wood's cover as a "classic hooded vigilante bondage cover". Wood, Jack Kamen, Joe Orlando, and Graham Ingels art. Overstreet 2020 VF/NM 9.0 value = $2,258; NM- 9.2 value = $3,100. CGC census 7/21: 9 in 9.0, 16 higher.

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 220833029 and purchase grader's notes if available.

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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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