HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT ANTIQUES OR COLLECTIBLES?

Send me an E-mail
(Please, no questions
 about value.)

Instructions for sending photographs of your pieces with your question.

One of P.T. Barnum's most outlandish hoaxes was:

George Washington's nurse
Chang and Eng
the Fiji Mermaid
                     To see the answer

Comic Book Pressing and Cleaning
by Jacob Gadbois

Learn how to press and clean comic books. This how-to guide will show you the secrets of the pros. Gadbois lays out the entire process in a step-by-step easy to read format, materials list, and includes tips, tricks and a troubleshooting chapter with plenty of full color photographs throughout the book.
                                   
More Books

WATCH VIDEOS

Wurlitzer 165
Band Organ

This Wurlitzer 165 Band Organ, restored after 30 years of dormancy, played at Lincoln Park, Calif. carousel from 1924 until 1976. Tune is "Everyone I Love Lives Down In Dixie"
                   Watch video

Have Bob speak
 on antiques to your group or organization.

More Information

Can't find what
 you're looking for?

Go to our Sitemap

Share pages of this ezine with your friends using the buttons provided with each article.

Find out what's coming in the
2019 Fall

of the
THE ANTIQUES ALMANAC

"It's That Time Again"

COMING IN
October
 


Download our
Decorative Periods and Styles Chart
 


Have a comment about

The Antiques Almanac
?

Fill in our form.

Here you'll find articles about collecting antiques and collectibles. 

LATEST ARTICLE_______________________________________

Marvelous Superheroes
by Bob Brooke

 

Blockbuster movies featuring a spider man, a raging green hulk, a group of mutant humans, and a man blinded by radioactive waste brought about a resurgence in comic book collecting. And with The Hulk, X-Men, Spiderman, and Wonderwoman bursting onto the big screen, there’s a renewed interest in pulp fiction heroes.

The superhero movies are pretty faithful to their comic book roots. American comic books trace their roots back to 1933 when a syndicated newspaper published part of its Sunday comic's page on 7 by 9 inch plates. Eastern Printing employees Max Gaines and Harry Wildenberg believed two such plates could fit a tabloid-size page, producing a 7 by 10-inch book when folded. The two took newspaper strips and reprinted them in a booklet titled Funnies On Parade, which Proctor & Gamble Co. used as a premium.

Gaines convinced Eastern executives he could sell similar books to large advertising firms. Eastern then produced and distributed Famous Funnies and Century of Comics. Both were a resounding success.

Surprised with the popularity of the giveaway comics, Gaines believed children would purchase the comic if it were reasonably priced. Eastern printed Famous Funnies Series One to sell in retail stores for 10 cents. It immediately sold out, becoming the first monthly comic and continued in production until 1955.

Early comic books featured nothing more than reprinted material. In 1935 New Fun became the first comic to break the "reprinted material" barrier, by featuring the antics of Oswald the Rabbit.

The comic book industry took a gigantic leap forward in June 1938 when a man in blue and red tights took the industry by storm. In 1938, the first issue of Action Comics showcased the amazing feats of Superman. Just as his flying abilities allowed him to leap tall buildings in a single bound, this power also catapulted him to the top of the sales list.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman in 1933. They tried to market their character to every newspaper syndicate but all rejected them. They waited five years to find a buyer and signed a contract with Artist Bob Kane who modeled his creation on drawings of Leonardo da Vinci's flying machines. Da Vinci even inspired Batman's name. He wrote, “Remember that your bird should have no other model than the bat." Although Batman had no superpowers, he appealed to young readers. He wore a costume. He was smart. And he used an assortment of tech gadgets.

The Spring of 1940 witnessed the birth of Batman with the publishing of Batman No. 1. The Joker and Cat Woman also appeared for the first time in the inaugural edition.

Other main characters made their appearances in issues of Detective Comics before crossing over to the Batman title. Robin, the Boy Wonder, debuted in Detective Comics No. 38. The Penguin made his first appearance in Detective Comics No. 58. And Robin made history in 1988 when fans voted to have him killed-off. Detective Comics later became known as DC.

In the fall of 1939, Timely Comics published Marvel Comics No. 1. This comic contained the first appearances of The Human Torch. Timely would eventually become Marvel Comics, who along with DC dominated the comic book publishing industry for years.

Captain America made his debut in March 1941. He appeared in his own comic right from the start, something unheard of to this point. Previously, all new characters appeared in another comic before being granted their own title. This way, publishers could gauge reader reaction via comic sales to see if the new character would be viable on his own. Captain America began his career fighting Nazis months before America declared war.



In the spring of 1941, Wonder Woman appeared on newsstands followed by Captain Marvel and The Green Lantern. By the end of that year, over 150 different comic titles appeared on newstands.

World War II had a dramatic effect on the comic book industry. Dell published the first war comic, appropriately titled War Comics No. 1. Many super-heroes rushed into the armed forces to battle the enemy. Commando Yank, Major Victory, Jungle Jim, Spy Smasher and The Unknown Soldier all played hero to many teens on the home front.

The 1940s saw the creation of two teen idols. After debuting in Pep Comics, Archie Andrews was given his own comic title in 1942. Archie continues to draw a large following of teenage readers. Katy Keene made her first appearance in Wilbur Comics in 1945. Following appearances in three other comics, the beauty queen was given her own title in 1950.

With the end of World War II came the desire for change. Adventure writers were having problems developing new plots, while humor writers found it hard to be funny after a conflict that saw the loss of millions of lives. With the industry unable to rejuvenate itself, publishers had to create new titles, categories and formats.

One genre that found success at the end of the 1940s was the western comic. In 1948 comic publisher Fawcett had a huge hit with its Hopalong Cassidy title. Other publishers scrambled to take advantage of the new genre. All American Western, Annie Oakley, and The Two-Gun Kid all rode onto newsstands with the fury of a desperado cornered in a dead end canyon.

With the down of the 1950s, comic book readership continued to decline. Even Superman was faltered. But comic book publishers continued to press on. In an attempt to regain customers, several publishers turned to violence.

The Silver Age of comics began in 1956 with the publication of Showcase No. 4 featuring the adventures of The Flash—the fastest man alive. This character had the same name and same powers as his golden age counterpart, but the stories were completely different.

Marvel comics introduced a superhero team in November 1961 with Fantastic Four No. 1. The title's main characters obtained their super powers when their spacecraft traveled though a cosmic storm.

The most recognized Marvel superhero first scurried across the pages of Amazing Fantasy 15 in August 1962. Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, was a geeky high school student who attained the traits of an arachnid when a radioactive spider bit him. In March 1963, Spider-Man received his own title when The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 came out.

Spider-Man has been the subject of several controversial stories. In the early 1970s, a Spider-Alan story was published that showcased the harmful effects of drugs. Two years later, The Amazing Spider-Man #121 shocked the comic world when Spiderman's girlfriend was murdered.

Marvel's next superhero was the result of exposure to radiation. The Incredible Hulk No. 1 burst onto newsstands featuring the exploits of Dr. Bruce Banner.

The 1970s arrived with the birth of Conan the Barbarian, The Swamp Thing, and The Micronauts. Major publishers reprinted the most valuable comic titles from the past. However, unscrupulous dealers stripped them of their covers and sold them as originals.

With new titles being canceled as fast as they originated, publishers were hard pressed to find original ideas that would captivate and hold readers. Most collectors today search for certain writers and artists and follow them as they move from title to title.

< Back to Collecting Archives

FOLLOW MY WEEKLY BLOG
Antiques Q&A


JOIN MY COLLECTION
Antiques and More on
Facebook

LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE
The Antiques Almanac on Facebook

No antiques or collectibles
are sold on this site.

How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Book: How to Recognizing and Refinishing Antiques for Pleasure and Profit
Have you ever bought an antique or collectible that was less than perfect and needed some TLC? Bob's new book offers tips and step-by- step instructions for simple maintenance and restoration of common antiques.

Read an Excerpt

Auction News
Get up to the minute news of antiques auctions around the country and the world.

Also see
The Auction Directory

Antiques News
Read breaking news stories from the world of antiques and collectibles.

Art Exhibitions
Search for art exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world.