Scott's Classic Comics Corner: In the Thick of the Golden Age

This week, I’m taking a look at a handful of books that dwarf the so-called ‘giants’ from the 70s. The DC 100 Page Super Spectaculars and the Marvel Giant Size books have nothing on these guys:

Dell Giant Comics - Christmas Parade #1 (Dell, 1949) This book was the very first Dell Giant. Collectors of Dell Giants drool over the prospects of getting their hands on a copy of this book, as it features a Donald Duck story with Carl Barks art and a wraparound cover by Walt Kelly. Also included are a pre-movie Cinderella story is featured and appearances by the The Seven Dwarfs, Mickey Mouse and Dumbo. At 132 pages, it may not be the biggest Dell Giant (see below), but it is arguable the most important.

Tops In Adventure #1 (Ziff-Davis, 1952) I have actually owned this terrific 132 pager from Ziff-Davis – a beautiful copy with just a small chunk missing from the cover. I sold it a few years back, and have regretted it every day since then. I have always assumed that the stories were all reprints from other Z-D titles, but I could never confirm. It features artwork by both Everett Raymond Kinstler and Bob Powell. This 132 pager includes appearances by He-Man, Crusader from Mars and The Hawk.

Picture Stories from the Bible Complete Old Testament (EC, 1943) As many of you know, EC Comics were initially more focused on education than thrills and chills. One of their most interesting efforts was the attempt to adapt the bible to the Four Color world. This was published as a regular series, and later repackaged as Giant. This tome comes in at 232 pages, and contains issues #1-4 of the series in bound format.

Xmas Comics #1 (Fawcett, 1941) This enormous book contains a whopping 324 pages. It contains the content to Whiz Comics #21, Captain Marvel Adventures #3, Bulletman #2, Wow Comics #3, and Master Comics #18. Unlike many ‘giant’ books of the 40s, these are not remaindered copies rebound into this collection, but are reprints – printed for the book, concurrently with the original books. If you were to find a copy, you need a thick wallet. A nice copy of it sold a few years ago for nearly $3,000.

Book of All-Comics (Wm. H. Wise & Co., 1945) Although this one purports to have 194 pages – it only comes in at 192. It is not a rebound collection of remaindered books, but it may contain reprints, especially the Green Mask and Bouncer stories

America's Biggest Comics Book #1 (Wm. H. Wise and Co., 1944) This 196 page squarebound is quite scarce, with a Gerber rating of 7. 50 cents would have been quite a shocking price in 1944, but it would have been a great purchase to keep kids quiet during a long car ride. It is a mish mash of strips from different genres and publishers, including the Grim Reaper, Commando Cubs, Zudo, Thunderhoof, and Jocko and Socko. Personally, I’d but it for the Grim Reaper story.

Dell Giant Comics Peter Pan Treasure Chest #1 (Dell, 1953) This 212-page doorstop is the thickest Dell Giant at 212 pages. It also happens to be the Dell Giant with the highest value in the Overstreet Guide. It is tough to find in high grade, as it includes several pages for coloring and some to be cut out for arts and crafts. The cover price of 50 cents was twice as much as a Dell Giant. It features an adaption of the movie, along with another story in which Peter Pan shares an adventure with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Treasure Chest of the Word’s Best Comics (Superior, 1945)This one is such an oddity that I cannot even find a proper image of it to post. All I’ve got is this ad from 1951. Superior was a Toronto-based publisher during the 1940s and 1950s. Mainly, they reprinted American comic books due to a temporary ban on foreign comics. I’ve never actually seen a copy of this 500 page (yes, I said 500 pages) hardcover book, but the Overstreet Guide notes that the contents can vary, but can contain Blue Beetle, John Wayne and Lil ‘Abner. This ad suggests that Captain America, Heckle and Jeckle and Mighty Mouse all might appear. I can only guess that these were printed on an annual basis. The Overstreet lists it as a 1945 book, but this obviously ran well into the 50s. You’ll see from this ad, that the book cost a dollar C.O.D. I live fairly close to the old Superior address in Toronto and, as far as I can tell, it is now a used car lot.

I’ve excluded the Fox Giants, as I may cover those as a separate topic one day. I’ve also focused only on North American books here – but I am aware that many other countries have giants and annuals well beyond the 100 or even 200 page threshold. I can’t speak to those, so you will have to forgive me for my Americancentricity.

For more comic book talk, stop by my blog Seduction of the Indifferent

Black Panther Leads Avengers Spinoff with the Agents of Wakanda

More in Comics