When we think of comic book collecting we think of the regular format, and at times forget that there are hundreds of magazine books out there. Magazine issues are highly collectible even if they were not 15+ years ago. Lots of these 70's books were treated like garbage so high grades are few and far between. I personally find them nice to have, but they do take up lots of room and hard to care for. Today's knowledge bank will focus on best books that are sleepers and can be had for a fraction of what they will one day be.
Crazy #1 (October 1973)
When you think of funny magazines you think of Mad and Cracked. These really were the big 2 that were available on the rack when you were younger. Mad is still around and Cracked well they just could not compete with this monster. Marvel was always trying to stay competitive with everyone, so they tried their hands with a similar product named Crazy. This magazine released the day I was born, yup I am that old, and stayed on the shelves till issue 94. Gotta give Marvel props because to last nearly a 100 issues with this magazine that is staying power considering how dominant “Mad” was on the stands and still is. Crazy #1 is still a cheap buy online and in LCS back issue bins. High grades or graded books will not break the bank, and this could be a solid investment down the road. Marvel has a habit lately of revitalizing products, and who knows we could see a “Crazy” magazine return in the future.
Mad Super Special #16 (1974)
The back cover of the book is the big reason that lots of people may have missed. To me nothing is more controversial in comics than drugs and religion, this back cover sports both of these. The picture has a hippie on a giant needle that is a take at Jesus on the cross. How does this picture not be censored prior to release for distribution to children. What was Mad thinking, seriously if this was a Marvel / DC book they would have been crucified (pun intended) by unforgiving parents. Pretty sure parents did not know about this as it was hidden on the back and not in plain sight. I know my parents would have never bought this for me if they had seen this picture, and likely would have cried foul to the nearest papers. The back cover is meant to be removed and pinned up, so not sure how many copies still have it in top shape. Let's not forget that the inside back cover has the classic Mad Fold In, making this back cover even harder to find in mint shape. I think that once more people are aware of this, we will see a bigger demand in said book. This is one of Mad's Faux Pas, and to me a worthy pick for this list.
Monsters Unleashed #5 (April 1974)
This magazine was in black and white and focused on Monsters as per the title. In 1971 the Comics Code Authority was more relaxed to allow the use of Vampires, Werewolves and other terminology. Marvel wanted to maximize the use of this and had released an influx of Monster related comics at this time such as Tomb of Dracula, Monster Frankenstein, Werewolf by night etc… Then then followed up the comic format with multiple magazines with the same nature, Vampire Tales,Dracula Lives, and Monsters Unleashed etc… The magazine was not a big hit and was cancelled after 11 issues, but during this run we had some pretty phenomenal covers. This book in particular is an all time favorite because of the cover alone. Man Thing steals the show, protecting a woman from a sizable gator. Bob Larkin the cover artist did a bang up job, and even though Man Thing is not a great character, this cover makes you want to check out the interior. Larkin was a heck of an artist back in the 70's and his style is very comparable to Bernie Wrightson, to me an unsung who should be on collector's radars now before it is too late. To give you idea how good Larkin is, check out his famous cover to Dazzler #1 in 1981 and you will see how great he was.
The Spirit #1 (April 1974)
Will Eisner pretty much sums up why you should be seeking this book. This was a #1 issue in a 41 issue run, and was done in black and white format similar to all the Marvel mags at the time. Issue one was a tad different as it had a 8 page color insert in the middle of the book, which was a nice added bonus. The Spirit has been around in comic book form since 1942 and even with Eisner's passing we will continue to see him pop up occasionally to grace us with new stories. This magazine is quite cheap in comparison to other #1 issues at the time, and unless your buying it already graded you should be able to locate one for a few bucks. Lots of potential on this book, and considering it is 40+ years old, you are getting an early bronze age with quality pages.
Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu #2 (June 1974)
You knew if a magazine list was being speculated on, that Deadly hands would have at least one mentioned book. This entire series could be mentioned and there are some goodies, however the big key ones are already being scooped up and priced accordingly the past year or so. Issue #2 has the origin of Shang-Chi and the first time it is told, so that is a pretty big key. However we are also graced with some Bruce Lee pin ups, and Bruce is highly collected by fans of all generations. This issue has flown under the radar for a while, so picking up a nice high-grade for the PC is best done now before it gets a much-needed price correction.
Mad #180 (January 1976)
My favorite movie of all time is Steven Spielberg's classic “Jaws” – I have seen this film more times than I can remember, and have read Peter Benchley's book that inspired the movie a few times. My dream collectible that I still have not found is a First Edition First Printing of that book with a dust jacket in great shape. If anyone has a copy please let me know, I would love to get one at a decent price. Sorry back to Mad #180, this book has a classic cover spoofing the Jaws poster that hit theatres back in 1975. The shark is not as intimidating when you look at this book, but still it is a classic cover in my honest opinion. I would think the shark would be violently ill after taking a bite out of Alfred E. Newman. This book is tough to find in high-grade due to white cover, and also because of the Mad fold-ins on the back of the book. Jaws is considered one of the best films of all time, and if your like me anything that pertains to it is worth having in your collection.
There are so many worthy selections for today's Knowledge Bank, and I could go on forever but time is a beautiful thing not to be wasted in one sitting. If you do want a quick suggestion, I would seek out the following books when hunting, as these mags could be hot down the road.
- Mad Super Specials (early books from 70's with pull outs such as stickers, postcards, Mini Mad Reprint Comics) as long as these are intact and covers are in great shape. These will always be wanted, and are due for a price correction in my honest opinion.
- Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu Summer Special – Very tough square bound edition to find in the wild and or online in high grade. Price is relatively low for this book right now, and will climb higher especially having an early Iron Fist appearance on the cover and inside.
- Vampirella #112 – Last issue in the Warren Run and an all white cover making high grade copies few and far between. Vampirella has a loyal following, and this book is way cheap than what it should be considering that the Harris issue #113 that follows it is over $500 in Mint.
Well it's time to say goodbye till next week, and want to thank CBSI for being the best online community anywhere. This is not just some comic book fan group, but a family who looks out for each other.
Until Next time!