Keen Detective Funnies: Day at the Spa

by Norman Robinson III

100059_c498e6ab4c6558053710a191a9ade7a4407e6992-211x300 Keen Detective Funnies: Day at the SpaBondage covers are usually fairly brutal but this may just take the cake. Frank Thomas designed the cover and it is known for its disturbing images. The cover shows, a man shackled to a brick wall, the torturer with a burning cross about to inflict pain, one weird gent in the lower right corner looking at the audience. As if he was wondering: why we don’t stop this? Finally, the “All-Seeing Eye” which is a big part of the Masonic belief system, which was incredibly popular back in the day.

Many such fraternal organizations grew after WWII but the Masons had been around longer. Modern times have seen the drop off in interest in this secret fraternity. However, they did leave us the “All-Seeing Eye” which is on the dollar bill and on the cover of Keen Detective Funnies #18. Literal armies of scriptwriters and pencilers created this comic including inks. My guess is they worked cheap back in the day. Still, the creation of titillating covers was definitely worth the cost. For instance, take a look at Keen Detective Funnies #18 with three days to auction closes on the CommicConnect website.  Apparently, these bondage covers were even more popular after WWII. But is this comic book a good buy?



kee1.254a-192x300 Keen Detective Funnies: Day at the SpaKeen Detective Funnies #18

The blood-red cover and stark violence depicted can give you some idea about how the Comic Code eventually came to be. This book has enough sales to allow for a small GoCollect analysis of the current trend and returns.

  • Grade 5.5 has seen a solid return of positive +41.8% trend
  • Grade 5.0 even higher with a positive +107.3% trend
  • Grade 7.0 sold for $1000 had 25 bids in 2017
  • Current price for the 5.0 pictured to the left is $267 with 3 days to go and 14 bids! Not a bad price, for now, see auction piece here.



Remember the “All-Seeing Eye” is aware of your every move; so you better check out the auction. These Centaur Publishing beauties are rare and little slices of history that shaped the Golden, Silver, Bronze, and even the Modern Age of comics. They won’t come around again in one collection being sold like this by a Mysterious Golden Age Collector Selling Everything (my earlier blog about this auction for rare Centaur Publications) at this auction. Prices are high but not unreachable…

arr1.36a-188x300 Keen Detective Funnies: Day at the SpaArrow #3

This is one of my favorite Public Domain characters. The Arrow would obviously usher in archery heroes like Hawkeye, and the intrepid Green Arrow. If you are more into the Bronze Age superheroes check out the blog by Michael Vlachakis. The link is here for quick access (You Want How Much? The Cover Says 25-Cents!). The Arrow was the first archery hero in comics. I think he still looks cool today; after all, hoodies are in! This cover has a ton of action. Also, this is a bondage cover check out the hot blond with her mouth gagged and hands possibly tied. The Arrow personally takes on one Nazi out with a knee to the throat. Then at the same time stops the other Nazi from spewing hatred on the old school radio mic by shooting an arrow through it. This book is currently selling for $2118 but it won’t stay there with 18 bids. This Public Domain character is truly an inspiration as the hero that takes on fascism on the cover. The Arrow #3 has a classic timeless cover that is WWII, anti-fascism, and a bondage cover rolled into one; you can see it here at auction.


Trivia Question: Can you find Hitler in the Arrow #3 cover crescendo?


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