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    Jumbo Comics #1-8 Mile High pedigree Group (Fiction House, 1938-39) Condition: Average VF+. Significant, scarce high-grade comics are our stock-in-trade, but seldom if ever have we offered a run of issues that brings those factors together the way this one does. Consider that these are the huge oversized issues from the early run of the title -- each one measures 10.5 x 14.5", which for today's collector means they're far too large for CGC to encapsulate, and for collectors over the past sixty-plus years, it's meant that these books are quite difficult to store and keep in nice condition. Finding any of these oversized copies in anything above VG would qualify as a triumph. But these Mile Highs took our breath away!

    Indeed, any copy of these first eight is quite a find! We had never laid eyes on #5-8 before, and issue #7 even holds the distinction of being a "10" on the scarcity index of Gerber's Photo-Journal Guide To Comic Books, a rating which Gerber assigned to comics with less than 5 known copies in existence.

    The condition is up to the usual standard for the Edgar Church books, which is amazing for comics in this unwieldy size. The page quality is white wherever white pages are possible, and what we mean by that is that some of the issues, like #1, were printed on alternating red and green paper! All that separates these copies from being NM- or above is some minor edge stress here and there, but it's of the kind that wouldn't be bothersome on even a regular-size copy, never mind one of these oversized giants.

    Issue #1, in VF/NM condition, is the most striking copy of the bunch, and of course the most valuable book in the group. It's the first published comic book work by Jack Kirby (as he is known today; he called himself "Jack Curtiss" in one story and "Curt Davis" in another). It's also got two other major premieres: the issue is the first comic book published by Fiction House, and it's got the first appearance of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (the first of many jungle goddesses in comics). These factors put it among the 100 most valuable comic books as ranked by Overstreet. It's a creation of the Eisner-Iger studio,which convinced pulp publisher Fiction House to expand into comics. Overstreet calls #1 "rare," and it's a Gerber "8."

    Issue #2, in VF+ condition, has the origin story of Sheena, and boasts two stories drawn by Kirby. Called "rare" by Overstreet, it's a Gerber "7".

    Issue #3, in VF condition, is the only comic in this group to have a defect of any significance, and that's just a ¾ inch spine split at the top. This issue has Kirby art and a Will Eisner cover. It's a Gerber "7."

    Issue #4, in VF/NM condition, continues the series of amazing firsts, with the first comic book work of the great Lou Fine! It's rated "scarce" by Overstreet and an "8" by Gerber.

    Issue #5, in VF- condition, has a Christmas cover. It's a Gerber "7."

    Issue #6 in VF condition is a Gerber 9, and as mentioned above, #7, in VF/NM condition, is a Gerber "10!" And #8, in VF condition, is a Gerber "7". It's a special issue tying in with the 1939-40 New York World's Fair.

    No Golden Age fan could fail to lust after these books, as they have early work by Eisner-Iger stalwarts who are among the biggest names of the Golden Age, with Kirby, Eisner, and Fine joined by Mort Meskin, Bob Powell, Dick Briefer, and yes even Bob Kane, drawing a number of gag features.

    While the history of Edgar Church's "Mile High" collection is familiar enough to comic fans that we need not recap it here, it's worth noting that these desirable books stood out to such a degree that they were among the first comics to be sold off by Chuck Rozanski, who first purchased the Church collection. As Rozanski recounted in the Comics Buyers Guide, "I was still working to arrange more money to give to the Church heirs. As a result, I let Bruce [Hamilton] and Burrell [Rowe] pick out a limited number of books at a discount from the prices listed in the 1976 Overstreet Price Guide... Burrell picked out as many ECs as we could find [in the stacks of Church books in Rozanski's apartment] and some of the oversize late 1930s comics, such as early Jumbo and Master comics."

    Thereafter, these copies were acquired by the late John McLaughlin, a dealer/collector whose collection of comic books, original art, and pulps ranked among the finest ever assembled. Mile High copies were a particular point of interest for Mr. McLaughlin, and many of the superb copies printed in Gerber's Photo-Journal were photographed from McLaughlin's collection. As the distinctive pencil coding makes clear, the books in this lot are the same copies of Jumbo that Gerber pictured in his Photo-Journal book. It's intriguing to speculate if other copies of #4-8 have survived, and if so, how many, but we could scarcely imagine that any other copy could come close to the amazing condition of these Mile Highs.

    A note on the Overstreet values: the 2006 Guide does not list values for conditions above VF for any of these issues. The 2006 VF values add up to $52,700, but of course most of these copies are nicer than VF! Thus, extrapolating the values based on similar high-value books in the Guide, we put the approximate Overstreet value for the group in this condition at $70,000.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2006
    11th-13th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,432

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