Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Flash, or Showcase #4, is off to a fast start – No surprise there…

April 30, 2009
Posted by Noah

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear in these pages before that I am, and have ever been, an unabashed aficionado of The Scarlet Speedster. Barry Allen first, Wally West second and Jay Garrick coming along in third. Give me a little Barry Allen, throw in the time travel treadmill and some Prof. Zoom and it’s about all I can do to stay conscious. Like a good scotch, these stories just get better with age.

I’ve also written here before about the upcoming copy of Showcase #4, the most valuable Silver Age Comic of all – which, by the way, is the first appearance of The Flash, as embodied by Barry Allen – that’s featured in the upcoming May Comics Auction here in the hallowed halls of Heritage. That issue, part of the Motor City Collection, is already up to $100,000 and the auction is still three weeks away. Any way you cut it up, that’s still an impressive matzo ball. I’ve asked Barry Sandoval for comment and he is his typical sanguine self about getting excited over such things.

“I don’t really think the early bidding is that significant one way or another,” he wrote.

I can see his point, of course, as the bottom line is ultimately what it brings at auction – at least from a business perspective – and if it raises the bar higher than it already is. That’s saying something about such pricey comics. Barry veneer of comic expert cool did slip a bit in his comments regarding the Fair/Good 1.5 Detective Comics #27 – If I have to tell you why it’s a famous book then stop reading this post right now! – that’s a featured lot in this auction. It’s an unrestored, original owner copy of this second overall most popular Golden Age book, right behind Action #1.

“Look at the Detective Comics #27 at $47,801,” he wrote. “Already higher than the Overstreet value with three weeks of bidding left to go.”

That’s a great price, especially considering the relatively low grade, even for The Batman’s first appearance. Evidently Heritage Grader/Consignment Director Jerry Stephan (whose license plate is TEC 27 by the way) was ribbing him a bit after seeing Barry do the auction highlights video, because he was raving about how nice it looks and yet the grade on it is that Fair/Good 1.5.

“I don’t dispute the grade,” he wrote, “the book does have a split spine. But all 1.5 copies are not created equal.”

The run of the different Motor City Showcase comics in the May auction are quite amazing, even besides the #4. There are definitely some great titles and some choice books in the bunch that will probably go for good prices and probably won’t show up on the market again for quite some time.

“To me it’s all about the Flash issues,” Barry wrote (and with which I agree. “Maybe because he’s also named Barry, but if you ask (Chief Comic Cataloger) Jim Steele, whose nickname is Flash, I think he’s most excited about the Challengers of the Unknown. And I got an email from a bidder who thinks the Showcase #11 – Challengers again - is the cream of the crop.”

I am not one to disagree with any assessment any of these men make regarding comics – does a bug question the blowing wind? – but there’s no chance any of them will come close in price to that Superhero among Superheroes, the one – the only – The Flash.

Have I mentioned yet in this post that no one – no one – is faster than The Flash? No? Well, I’ll see about getting around to that. As an aside, I have an old and dear friend named Dechen who once gave me an old beat up comic in which Superman and Flash race, and the cover has Flash saying, “I give up, Superman. You win. You really are the fastest,” or something to that extent. The truth is, inside, the two tie, which proves nothing to me. See, Superman isn’t even a man – you know it’s true! So The Flash is, truly, the fastest man alive. I am resolute in my conviction, so don’t even bother trying to change my mind, and never speak to me of Quicksilver.

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– Noah Fleisher

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