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The notorious 1950s issue of Crime SuspenStories sold at Comic Book Auctions as the key attraction in a mixed lot that made £1200.

The big attraction it seems was a 1954 copy of Crime SuspenStories.

Auctioneer Malcolm Phillips explained the background to its success. “When Johnny Craig drew the initial [cover] illustration it showed the decapitated head dripping blood from the neck wound and was looked upon as too gory by EC, or Entertaining Comics publisher and editor, Bill Gaines.

“Consequently the illustration was lowered to ‘just’ show the head. This did not stop the issue’s cover becoming the centrepiece of a Senate sub-committee hearing on Juvenile Delinquency, from which Dr Frederick Wertham’s Seduction Of The Innocent became a staple in every public library in North America and Crime SuspenStories #22 the most infamous and horrific cover of its time.

“As a direct result, Gaines discontinued EC’s horror titles, changing tack to found MAD magazine, its ‘Humor In A Jugular Vein’ tagline a pithy reference to CSS #22. Some would later argue that MAD was even more subversive, mocking and lampooning the political and artistic leaders of the day as it did, while going on to run for over 40 years and making Gaines a fortune.”

Short-lived magic

Other highlights from the CBA sale that ended on March 1 included a lot offering the first five issues of the short-lived DC comics stablemate of Beano and Dandy. Previewed in ATG No 2430, those rare copies of Magic Comic, which ran only in the years 1939-41, sold at £4100.

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Frank Bellamy original artwork for TV21 sold by Comic Book Auctions at £3550.

Two artworks produced by Frank Bellamy for consecutive 1968 issues of TV21 sold at £3550.

Showing tape repairs, a re-stapled spine and numerous other faults a copy of the 1963 first issue of Amazing Spider Man comic sold at £2900 in the CBA auction.

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An exceptionally high grade copy of a Marvel comic of 1962 that featured the first appearance of Spider Man, sold by Heritage for $662,500 (£513,565).

However, in a March 5-8 comics auction held by US saleroom Heritage (20% buyer’s premium), a copy of the Amazing Fantasy Marvel comic of 1962, in which the comic book writer, editor and publisher Stan Lee’s most famous creation was seen for the first time, was bid to $662,500 (£513,565).

Billed as far and away the most valuable, in-demand comic book of the what is known in the ‘Silver Age’, this near-mint copy, said Heritage, rivalled the finest it had ever seen: “Jack Kirby did the classic cover, and Steve Ditko began his legendary tenure as Spidey’s primary artist.”