The theme of this post is atomic bomb explosion scenes on comic book covers [see Atomic Comics (Part I)]. My focus is on Golden Age titles, and in this continuation I’ll take a look at some cold war covers. The end of World War II may have seen the first A-bomb detonations, but it was during the cold war that the possibility of global nuclear conflict became a real possibility and a comic cover motif.
By the later 1950s Atomic Covers were far more frequent. Fago comics even launched a title, Atom-Age Combat, that regular featured nuclear explosions on its covers. These 1950s Atomic Comics are easier to find and correspondingly less expensive. Preceding them by several years, we can cite Weird Science. Especially issues #’s 5 and 18 from EC comics. A futuristic atomic explosion perfectly fits the sci-fi theme of this publication. Hence, the rocket on issue #5 with the cover heralding an ‘all-out’ nuclear war: that’s great Cold war fun kids! 54 copies of this are listed on the census. Last sale: Heritage auction on February 23, 2019 where a 9.2 sold for $1, 560.00. That’s slightly above Overstreet value for this comic in that grade.
Weird Science #18 (March 1953) – UFO and Nuclear Blast, by contrast portrays a UFO like craft causally flying off, as behind it a mushroom cloud rises. 45 copies of this on the census. More common than issue #5 with an 8.0 selling on eBay on 04/01/2019 for $241.50, below Overstreet price.
Here’s an Atomic explosion cover from the cold war that you can hang on your wall. This series was a no holds barred take on nuclear disaster published for a year by Ace Comics. The prospect of World War III was the inspiration, but the covers show atomic devastation at home on a large scale- making them great atomic comics. Atomic War #1 has 37 copies on the census. Last recorded sale: 05/23/2019 on eBay a graded 4.5 which sold for $330.00. A year later, Ace released World War III giving us even more of the same.
World War III #1 (February 1953) the first issue of Ace’s WW III title features a great cover, this time with a nuclear blast decimating Washington, DC. With 32 copies on the census and a recent sale of a 3.5 graded copy January 30, 2019 [on eBay] for $450.00. This is a comic worth seeking out.
Preceding Ace Comics, WW III series by a month, was this title. Issue #5 is the cover to get, as we see a horrific scene communicated with expressionistic verve, chronicling nuclear devastation. Few sales recorded and not enough copies on the CGC census to know how common this is, but the few sales from 2017 (last recorded exchanges) show that it averages around $200.00 in 3.5 grade. That’s far above Overstreet suggested value.
Atom-Age Combat #2 (December 1957)- Silver Age Nuclear Sub Cover. By the Silver Age, nuclear war covers became commonplace. The occasional Silver Age title can still fetch money at auctions, such as Atom-Age Combat #2 with a mushroom cloud on its cover which sold on 10/22/2018 on eBay in 6.0 graded condition for $73.09. Obviously in higher grade this comic is also more valuable, but Silver Age war comics are not as scarce.
Golden Age war comics, on the other hand, and World War II comics featuring nuclear themes from that era, are more actively collected and sold for higher prices.
Some sales on these comics are very high indeed [again, see Atomic Comics (Part I) for details]. Cold war comics, by contrast, especially those from the Golden Age in the early 1950s, are to a large extent an overlooked niche. Many of these titles may gain in value over time given their quality and collectible status.
Did I miss any of your favorite atomic bomb covers in these posts? Are there atomic comics out there that you think are more collectible than the ones I listed? If so, write me and let me know.