Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Kirk and Spock, the Planet of the Apes: what an eclectic gathering! It’s almost a bizarre idea. In an age where kids watched broadcast TV, first played video games at home, and listened to FM radio, Power Records produced a series of audio stories. The 1970s may seem long ago, practically the stone age, to many of you. But as a kid who grew up in the “Wonder Years”, I can absolutely guarantee that the average family didn’t sit around the radio on Friday evenings listening to the Shadow, Jack Benny, or Fibber McGee and Molly. Yet, that’s what Power Records did, comics and a 45 rpm record. So kids could sit around the turntable while “The Action ‘COMES ALIVE’ As You Read!!”
Is Vinyl Making a Comeback?
As a guy with a lot of old albums, but no working record player, I marvel at the comeback of vinyl. Will Peter Pan/Power Records make a comics comeback? I doubt it. And just to clarify, Peter Pan Records introduced their educational and entertaining series of book and record sets in the late 1940s. Early books followed a typical children’s reader format rather than comic format. Speaking of formats, the record sets came in 45, 33 1/3, and even 78 rpm during the years.
The Power Records “bronze age” premiered DC and Marvel Comics licensed characters during the 1970s. Also, a plethora of TV show-based comics added to the lineup including Star Trek, Kojak, Planet of the Apes, Space 1999, and the Six Million Dollar Man. A listing is provided at the end. I was able to verify numbers and titles for all except a few of the classics.
At the time of this writing, the highest-priced individual set on eBay listed Power Records PR 31. The high-grade comic book and record featured Conan the Barbarian in The Crawler in the Mists. The seller asked $100. The Neal Adams Studio (including Adams) illustrated many of the Power Records comics making the visuals spectacular. More on the art as we go.
Power Record Comics on GoCollect
It’s not easy to find a complete listing or a price guide value on these audio and visual collectibles. Unless they’ve been added to the latest guide, they don’t appear in Overstreet. GoCollect does attempt to list them. Search on Book and Record Set. Interestingly, only a few show up with a CGC Census. The audio portion may have been produced as individual 45 rpm AND also as a collection on LP. For the comics, I think many may have only been produced once, but look at the price tag. Note the pictured Captain America has a $1.98 price tag. Many copies are listed on eBay with a $1.49 price tag. Find the earliest edition if speculating. Coupling the nostalgia, novelty, and high-quality art of the Power Records comic and record sets, I suspect they are great candidates for slabbing.
On GoCollect, I found Captain America and Falcon PR 12 and Amazing Spider-Man PR 10 as the only two showing up in the CGC Census. But numerous raw copies list on eBay for mostly modest prices. Conditions vary widely but it is possible to get ‘reader’ quality sets cheap. Buy a high-grade set and slab it–chances are you will own the highest-graded copy!
High-End Art by Neal Adams and Friends
We’ve praised the art. Neal Adams illustrated many, and his studio did more. The DC art is stylistically Adams, but many pages were likely done by others. Rich Buckler has been credited on Wonder Woman art. Ernie Chan on Planet of the Apes. Russ Heath received credits on Space 1999. And Dick Giordano worked on Spider-Man and others. The Marvel illustrations mimicked the Marvel style for the most part.
Conan cover art by Neal Adams sold for $26,400 in 2021. Also, Rich Buckler’s Hulk cover art sold in 2021. The cover for Hulk at Bay PR 11 fetched $5,160.
Besides the superheroes, the popularity of Science Fiction television and movies created the opportunity for shows like Star Trek, Space 1999, the Six Million Dollar Man, and Planet of the Apes to provoke and entertain as Power Records. For example, Russ Heath ably illustrated Martin Landau and Barbara Bain of Space 1999 for PR 29. It sold for $1,140 in 2019. Some of the TV and movie-based sets were distributed with photo images as well as illustrated covers.
Finally, what should you do with this informative and entertaining article? 😉 Well, if nostalgia drives you, the complete set of Power Records can be obtained for relatively little money in fair to very good condition. However, if you are a speculator, considering rarity and limited CGC supply, there could be an opportunity here to own the highest graded. Of course, if fine art is your obsession, terrific published works by Neal Adams and others have reached the market!
45 rpm Power Records Comics Sets
So, here’s the list!
- PR10 – Spider-Man: Mark of the Man-Wolf
- PR11 – The Incredible Hulk: The Hulk at Bay
- PR12 – Captain America and the Falcon: A Phoenix Shall Arise
- PR13 – The Fantastic Four: The Way It Began
- PR14 – The Monster of Frankenstein
- PR15 – Dracula Terror in the Snow
- PR16 – The Man-Thing: Night of the Laughing Dead
- PR17 – The Curse of the Werewolf
- PR18 – Planet of the Apes: Planet of the Apes
- PR19 – Planet of the Apes: Escape from the Planet of the Apes
- PR20 – Planet of the Apes: Beneath the Planet of the Apes
- PR21 – Planet of the Apes: Battle for the Planet of the Apes
- PR24 – Spider-Man: Invasion of the Dragon Men
- PR25 – Star Trek: Passage to Moauv
- PR26 – Star Trek: The Crier in Emptiness
- PR27 – Batman: Stacked Cards
- PR28 – Superman: Alien Creatures
- PR29 – Space 1999: Breakaway
- PR30 – Batman: Robin Meets Man-Bat
- PR31 – Conan the Barbarian: The Crawler in the Mists
- PR32 – Space 1999: Return to the Beginning
- PR33 – Superman: The Man from Krypton
- PR34 – Superman: City Under Seige
- PR35 – Wonder Woman: The Secret of the Magic Tiara
- PR36 – The Amazing Adventures of Holo-Man
- PR37 – Robin Hood
- PR38 – Moby Dick (Can’t find)
- PR39 – Huckleberry Finn
- PR40 – Davy Crockett
- PR41 – Robinson Crusoe
- PR42 – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
- PR43 – The Last of the Mohicans
- PR44 – Gulliver’s Travels (Can’t find)
- PR45 – Star Trek: The Dinosaur Planet
- PR46 – Star Trek: The Robot Masters
- PR47 – Little Women