Saturday, October 16, 2021

 

 

The Golden Bookshelf:

Special Edition Series

Golden Bookshelf guru Rob Salkowitz sheds light on a rare reprint collection of defunct titles. Join him for a romp into the past with titles like Whiz Comics, and Captain Marvel Junior.

In the early 1970s, an increasing number of fan-scholars were rediscovering and writing about the lost classics of the Golden Age, but finding original copies of these much-ballyhooed treasures was beginning to get difficult and expensive. Major publishers were only beginning to reprint older stories from the 1940s, often in haphazard and poor-quality formats, and some of the best-loved artists and characters came from publishers long out of the comics business.

Alan Light, one of the first fan-publishers, tried to fill this void with a series of black and white reprints in standard comic-book format. In 1975, he collected three large trade paperback volumes of the Special Edition Series, each devoted to some of the finest work of the 40s. Volume One features a run of Captain Marvel stories from the heyday of Whiz Comics. Volume Two reprints the astonishing art of Lou Fine on “The Ray” and “The Black Condor” strips from defunct publisher Quality’s Crack and Smash comics. Volume Three showcases the great Mac Raboy, one of the finest illustrators in comics history, on “Captain Marvel Junior” from Fawcett’s Master Comics.

Though the photocopied art lacks some clarity and detail (not to mention color), Special Edition Series presents a great deal beautiful and important work that, to this day, has never been reprinted and is scandalously poorly-known even among sophisticated collectors. As many of the original Quality and Fawcett copyrights now belong to DC, it is possible readers may one day see this material in pristine Archive Edition format. In the meantime, tracking down these rare and obscure volumes from the 70s remains the only option, especially for fans of Mac Raboy.


Special Edition Series

Special Edition Publishers
© DC Comics

Publication Year: 1975
Writer: Otto Binder, William Wolfolk, et al.
Artist: C.C. Beck, Lou Fine, Mac Raboy

Three trade collections.
Approx. 200 pp. each, black and white

Rob Salkowitz is a Seattle-based writer and authority on all manner of aging newsprint. You can e-mail your comments and queries to Rob at rob_comics@yahoo.com. Use "ComicBase" as the subject line.

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