Best of the Golden Age

BATMAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, ALEX SCHOMBURG GET NODS AS COLLECTORS SELECT THEIR FAVORITE COVERS OF THE ERA

By The Intelligent Collector Staff

A group of top comic collectors has chosen Detective Comics No. 31 as the greatest cover of the Golden Age.

Detective 31 captures perfectly the menacing, vengeful and mysterious spirit of the Dark Knight,” says Collectors Society member Keston Fulcher, a survey methodology expert who managed he poll. “Given Batman’s popularity today, it’s no wonder this cover is No. 1.” 

The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide already lists the cover by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson as a “classic.” The 1939 DC comic includes the first appearances of the Batplane and the Monk, Batman’s first super-powered foe.

With seven credits in the Top 20, the poll reinforces the argument that Alex Schomburg (1905-1998) is the greatest cover artist of the Golden Age.

Schomburg’s Timely covers aren’t hard to recognize, says Heritage Auctions’ director of comic operations Barry Sandoval. “If it’s a melee involving five to 40 people yet all of the chaos can be taken in at a glance and is pleasing to the eye, that has to be Schomburg’s work,” Sandoval says. “But he wasn’t limited to one style. Some of his best covers for other publishers were powerful in their simplicity, like Startling Comics No. 49. He was one of the great geniuses of Golden Age cover design.”

“Hail, hail Alex Schomburg, king of the GA covers,” adds Keston. “His range was incredible.”

Golden Age experts of the Collectors Society participated in the Heritage Auctions-Certified Guaranty Company poll, conducted by Society members Benjamin J. Labonog, Keston Fulcher, Robert “Cat” Conrad, and Matt Nelson. The goal was identifying Golden Age comic books (1937-1949) with the most impressive covers. The full results of the survey are scheduled to be posted on the Certified Guaranty Company website.

Heritage Auctions-CGC Top Golden Age Covers

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Detective Comics No. 31
No. 1
Detective Comics No. 31
By Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson
DC, 1939

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Suspense Comics No. 3
No. 2
Suspense Comics No. 3
By Alex Schomburg
Continental Magazines, 1944

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Fantastic Comics No. 3
No. 3
Fantastic Comics No. 3
By Lou Fine
Fox, 1940

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Punch Comics No. 12
No. 4
Punch Comics No. 12
Attributed to Gus Ricca
Chesler, 1945

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Phantom Lady No. 17
No. 5
Phantom Lady No. 17
By Matt Baker
Fox Features Syndicate, 1948

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More Fun Comics No. 54
No. 6
More Fun Comics No. 54
By Bernard Baily
DC, 1940

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Superman No. 14
No. 7
Superman No. 14
By Fred Ray
DC, 1942

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Startling Comics No. 49
No. 8
Startling Comics No. 49
By Alex Schomburg
Better Publications, 1948

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Detective Comics No. 29
No. 9
Detective Comics No. 29
By Bob Kane
DC, 1939

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All Select Comics No. 1
No. 10
All Select Comics No. 1
By Alex Schomburg
Timely, 1943

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Detective Comics No. 35
No. 11
Detective Comics No. 35
By Bob Kane
DC, 1940

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Silver Streak Comics No. 6
No. 12
Silver Streak Comics No. 6
By Jack Binder
Lev Gleason, 1940

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Captain America Comics No. 3
No. 13
Captain America Comics No. 3
By Alex Schomburg
Timely, 1941

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Marvel Mystery Comics No. 9
No. 14
Marvel Mystery Comics No. 9
By Bill Everett and Alex Schomburg
Timely, 1940

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USA Comics No. 7
No. 15
USA Comics No. 7
By Alex Schomburg
Timely, 1943

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Batman No. 11
No. 16
Batman No. 11
By Fred Ray
DC, 1942

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Captain America Comics No. 37
No. 17
Captain America Comics No. 37
By Alex Schomburg
Timely, 1944

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Great Comics No. 3
No. 18
Great Comics No. 3
Artist unknown
Great Comics Publications, 1942

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Wonderworld Comics No. 7
No. 19
Wonderworld Comics No. 7
By Lou Fine
Fox, 1939

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Detective Comics No.18
No. 20
Detective Comics No.18
By Creig Flessel
DC, 1938

Methodology
The Heritage Auctions-Certified Guaranty Company Poll surveyed Golden Age (1937-1949) fans who were asked to identify comic books with the most impressive covers. Organizers intentionally omitted famous-character first appearances from Timely/Marvel and DC/Fawcett to make it easier for those taking the poll to separate less familiar “cool covers” from familiar first-appearance covers. The top 100 nominated covers were identified for initial vetting. Four subsequent polls were created of 25 books apiece and survey participants were asked to select their favorite 10 from each poll. Forty books emerged and were included in the final poll. One hundred thirty (130) participants rank ordered these covers. The top 20, in order, are featured here. For each stage, fans were encouraged to select or rank order books to represent a variety of genres, publishers, artists, titles and characters. Final poll participants were primarily members of the Collectors Society who identified themselves as hardcore collectors (55.2 percent), collectors (42.4 percent) and casual fans (2.4 percent).

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