Riff Raff Riff Raff

Dollar Sale Diary


Went to the dollar sale out at the secret spot. Me, Jim Rugg and Jasen Lex. It was three different buildings: an old GC Murphy store, a VFW hall, and an old smallish storefront.

I’d never been in the VFW before. Despite the warm weather outside it was freezing inside because the place hadn’t been heated all winter. We only stayed for a few minutes. I found a Frazetta romance reprint.

Over at the main building we waded through the crowded aisles and dug for hours. Then Lex and I found a stash of coverless romances from the 1940s and '50s. It was like leafing through a dank basement if such a thing could be materialized as a pile of comic books. They just stank and little bits of dried newsprint would flake off all over us when we looked through one. But it was worth it. I scored a half dozen Simon and Kirby romances and a stack of really bizarre Charles Burns-esque looking material. I never see old cheap romances anymore ever. So I was fine with smelling like a sewer for them. 

Lex found some good Charltons and pointed me in the direction of some Pete Morisis I didn’t have. Jim surfaced with a stack of cool stuff including that Connor Willumsen's Punisher issue. I encourage all makers out there to at least do one traditional-sized North American comic book so as to be included in the roll call that is the comic book dollar sale. O Ben Katchor where art thou? Not at the dollar sale. Which is probably why he's well liked by people who don't read comics (insert smiley gif here).

I reined it in and stopped at 100 dollars. I’m gonna read all of them. We were talking about how you can only buy it if you are going to read it. Lex recommended a wacky '70s sports comic from DC. It’s hilarious. Strange Sports Stories number six has a story called "The Monster in Hole 18" and it reads like a stream of consciousness romp. A monster from another dimension pulls the players into the cup and into the monster’s dimension and has the two golfers compete there. But like their feet turn into skies and then their hands turn into tennis racquets. I appreciate how in comics you can think up a crazy gag and then abandon it and the whole direction of the story, the set, the costumes, the monsters and veer left. In the movies they stay with gags and storylines and sets because it would be so expensive to veer left every minute. I’m generalizing but you catch my drift. Lines on paper, babe, lines on paper. 

Dolla, dolla bill, y'all !

Here are some of my finds. John Stanley and Barry Smith before he added that paintbrush name as his middle name. You didn't know he made that up? Barry Windsor-Newton Smith.



Track this one down folks:


I love DC comics in the early '70s. They had no idea what they were doing and so sometimes something awesome happened.



Yes! Archie Madhouse! The Owl by Jerry fucking Siegel! Pete Morisi Vengenace Squad! Six Million Dollar Man by Pat Boyette!



Girls roller derby story by Art Capello in a romance comic from the early 1950s - True Life Secrets!



Good use of the center of the page :) from Dark Mysteries number one (below) - this isn't the lead story - I couldn't track down the artist. Maybe Nadel knows.



Here's that Charles Burns looking mofo (below). I dunno who this is either. There's no cover, no indicia, and no pages with the name of the book inside that I can find.



And finally, my real score. A sampling of the Simon and Kirby romances I found. Did you know that Simon and Kirby practically invented the romance comic book? They made the first issue by themselves and didn't show it to a publisher and made this crazy deal with Prize Comics where they got fifty percent of the gross. The first issue sold 500,000 copies. And look, another girls roller derby comic!! I like seeing the original colors because some of them are really "off" and weird. Michel Gagné did a great job restoring them in the reprints but it's always more fun to find them in the raw.


Over and out. Happy digging.

14 Responses to Dollar Sale Diary

  1. steven samuels says:

    “O Ben Katchor where art thou? Not at the dollar sale. Which is probably why he’s well liked by people who don’t read comics (insert smiley gif here).”

    What, you forgot to close the comments? (insert flame war gif here)

  2. Brad M says:

    Frank, you’ve written the perfect post about comics!

  3. john says:

    DC in the 70’s was a place where beginning the story by introducing a character with the name “Murt” was the least odd element.

  4. Grand Comics Database lists the artist behind that four-pupiled, comic book-eating monster as Bill Fraccio.

  5. Dave Hartwell says:

    I’ve always had a hard time appreciating Simon inking Kirby, with that blotchy style that, for me, really took something away from Kirby. But some of these you picture were probably inked by someone other than Simon. They look cleaner, and Kirby shines through better.
    The pseudo-Burns thing reminds a little of Bill Ward’s romance style also? But maybe not the faces? Also, almost (but not) like Fred Guardineer, who I could never appreciate when I was younger, because of how “flat” or one dimensional his art appeared. But, I came to really like how cool his stuff can be.
    Also, just to bring up Barry Smith, I think many former fans of his who didn’t like his Storyteller series’ might want to look again with a fresh eye by reading one of the hardcover editions. This really is top “storytelling”! The right blend of adventure/drama/fantasy with “humor” is something not easily pulled off in entertainment. But here it is achieved with aplomb. Great reads!

  6. Frank Santoro says:

    Well Kirby generally inked the splash pages but I think Mort Meskin may have inked some interiors on the romances – I dunno though – Dylan Williams would know

  7. Dan Nadel says:

    I don’t know who that Burns-esque artist is. The hair-do inking is sublime. Hair and water really brought out the deep drawing in some of these guys, Everett being the best example. I kinda imagine them quickly cranking out panel after panel for the deadline and then stopping to lavish care on… hair. Anyhow, Dark Mysteries artist looks unfamiliar to me, but it’s damn near Jim Shaw territory. And the Burns-looking artist… dunno, maybe Feldstein? But too slick for him. Probably Jaime or Charles himself would know. Or Clowes. Basically only other artists or Jim Vadebencoeur. This post almost got me to buy a plane ticket. Comics remains the only art form around in which the best stuff is found in secret basement locations. Always refreshing.

  8. R. Fiore says:

    Almost a hint of Johnny Craig in the mystery man, isn’t there? Just from the woman’t face in the last panel. I wouldn’t come out and say it was him, any more than you’d say it was Feldstein.

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  10. Nick Marino says:

    hahaha The Monster In Hole 18 splash page is amazing. and that guy’s name is Murt! MURT!!!

  11. Tim Schmitt says:

    Great article, also super jealous because its even harder finding stuff like that over here in Europe.

  12. iestyn pettigrew says:

    Have you seen Pat Boyette’s work on Tarantula for Atlas comics – that was some lovely, creepy stuff!!

  13. Frank Santoro says:

    for those still following along – I have an update about the author of that wacky sports comic – Eliot S! Maggin – check it out here –

  14. Kristine says:

    Everyone from Matt Baker to Tallarico did hair highlights like that at some point, so it’s really hard to pinpoint the artist. However, by the stiff/awkward lettering, I’ll bet a dollar it was published by Charlton. Great post, I can almost smell the paper.

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