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Adventure Comics

Comic Books

Publisher: DC

Adventure Comics #40 features the second appearance of the Sandman of the Golden Age of Comics, published in July 1939, barely a year after Action Comics #1 introduced Superman. The issue’s desirability as a “key” Golden Age comic is enhanced by its rarity. The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide notes this and ranks the issue #19 on its Top 100 Golden Age Comics list. Two other issues of the title (#48 and 73) also make the Golden Age list, while #247 makes the Top 50 Silver Age Comics list. The Golden Age issues were geared towards crime, noir, suspense, and all-around adventure. No fewer than 11 stories, mostly short ones, occupy the pages of issue number 40, with Sandman featured only in the opening story “The Tarantula Strikes” and on the cover, which is rendered by Creig Flessel, one of the most renowned comic artists of the Golden Age’s earliest days. Some very famous names appear in #40. Batman co-creator Bob Kane writes and draws a story called “The Pirate Ship.” Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster write and draw, respectively, a story called “The Tarryville Counterfeiters.” Gardner Fox co-writes the Sandman story with Bert Christman. Adventure Comics #40 claims the first comic book incarnation of William Shakespeare. It also registers the second official appearance of Sandman, but the events of the story predate chronologically his first appearance in New York World’s Fair Comics #1. The words “The Tarantula Strikes” don’t actually appear on the original title page — it's listed as such in the opening volume of the reprint title Sandman Archives. The villain Tarantula who appears here bears no relation to three other characters that appear later in DC Comics publishing history. Other highly collectible issues in the long-running title’s history include #48 (first Hourman), #61 (first Starman), #73 (first Manhunter), and #247 (first Legion of Super Heroes). The latter ranks #16 on Overstreet’s Top Silver Age Comics list. Other superhero stars featured in the title regularly over the years included Superboy, Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Supergirl.

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