DescriptionAll-American Men of War Ashcan (DC, 1952) Condition: GD+. Here's one for the "Big Five" DC War collector who thinks he has everything. This is the only copy of this title known to exist, with none in the DC vault. The August-September 1952 cover date is the same of the first published issue of the title (#127), which in turn tied the first issues of Our Army At War and Star-Spangled War Stories for the honor of DC's first war book. Our consignor notes that this book was purchased from Sparkle City Comics at the 1986 San Diego Comic Con, that is, it's one of the few offered here whose provenance does not trace directly back to Sol Harrison of DC. Cover: All Star Western #58. Interior: Mr. District Attorney #21. No prior sales known. Overstreet does not list a value.
In the early days of comics publishing, the most common procedure to secure a trademark for a potentially valuable title was to create an ashcan edition of the proposed comic book (not to be confused with the modern-day term which commonly refers to mass-produced promotional booklets).
Companies would simply create the title's logo, affix it to a piece of existing cover art, and then shoot a Velox of it. (A Velox is a positive photographic print typically used by newspapers as a pre-press proof, which accounts for ashcan covers being black and white rather than color.) After the cover was created, it was trimmed to comic-book size and then stapled to the interior of a previously published book, or sometimes just some loose story pages. The ashcan was now complete. For all practical purposes it had the appearance of a legitimate comic book - and since the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) apparently accepted them as authentic comic books for trademark registration, no higher authority in the country existed to dispute this claim. Nor, apparently, did anyone ever seek to try.
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