Project Description

2017+ DC CLASSIC COMIC COVERS by the New Zealand Mint

Part of the New Zealand Mint’s premium foil range, DC Comic Covers reproduces some of the most iconic, and expensive, comic covers of all time. From the debuts of such modern day giants as Superman, Batman and the Flash, to a beautiful Batman: The Killing Joke issue, these are the perfect way to display some truly fine comic artwork, without the huge expense.

As with the Star Wars and Star Trek movie poster series, these are 175 x 262 mm in size, with a weight in fine silver of 35 grams. They’re actually quite similar to the original comic covers in size, so lose little in the transition, unlike a standard one-ounce silver coin. The reproductions are very true to the original, although the mint has often left off a background colour so that the original silver can shine through – a very nice touch. Detective Comics #27, and Batman #1 are perfect examples.

While some of the other series are denominated coins, these aren’t, just carrying a mint pattern on the obverse side. The packaging is neat and makes the foil very easy to display. Due to its ultra-thin form, the foil is sealed in to prevent tarnishing, and then slipped into an acrylic frame that can display the foil standing on a surface, of be wall-mounted. A comic fan is going to love these as part of a collection, we think.

To date, there have been seven issues, with an eighth imminent. DC Comics have been publishing for decades, and there are literally tens of thousands of covers to choose from, although only a tiny fraction of that number of sufficient importance or artistic merit to warrant the foil treatment. We originally assumed the series would stick with the Golden Age and Silver Age for inspiration, but the recent release of the Killing Joke cover means the more modern portfolio is open for use. There has been some truly superb artwork produced over the last couple of decades. We’d love to see The Watchmen get done, for example, especially with a new HBO series due to launch shortly. Retailing for a recommended $130.00 USD, these don’t have a set mintage.

The first seven foils are detailed below, and the article is set up so that the eighth will be revealed automatically on September 10th. For those curious, it’s a late 50’s Superman cover.

ACTION COMICS #1

The comic chosen to launch the series is certainly a classic one. Action Comics #1 from 1938 contains the first appearance of Superman, one of the worlds most popular fictional characters of any sort and one that remains just as popular today. It’s an image by Joe Shuster, quite widely known and one that only a very few will ever be able to see in original form. In 2014, a 9.0 graded copy of this comic considered the first true superhero comic, sold for a staggering $3.2m at auction. Action Comics continues to this day and is about to hit issue 1,000.

SUPERMAN #1

Published in June 1939, it was the first true Superman comic, although not his debut, which happened in Action Comics #1 in 1938. Another comic that sells for ridiculous money, the cover by Leo O’Mealia has been a super-iconic classic and an obvious choice for reproduction in silver.

Originally, this wasn’t meant to be the first in a new regular publication, but its popularity meant it was upgraded to an ongoing series, and the character has multiple titles in publication to this day. The comic contains five different short stories, including his employment as a reporter for the Daily Star.

DETECTIVE COMICS #27

The first appearance of Batman, or ‘The Batman’ as he was known back in May 1939 for his debut in the famous Detective Comics #27. Amazingly, there were nine stories in this issue of the comic, and although the Batman story made the cover, it’s fascinating to think what might have been had the stories been given different priority. With cover art by Bob Kane, the character captured the imagination of the kids of the time and the character is now an integral part of popular culture.

Written by Bill Finger and illustrated by Bob Kane, this comic is considered one of the most valuable of all time. In 2010, a good quality copy sold for a record-breaking $1.075m, since then bettered only by a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (First Spiderman) at $1.1m, and a copy of Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, which sold for a phenomenal $3.2m.

BATMAN #1

Not the first appearance of Batman (that honour belongs to Detective Comics #27), it was his first solo title. Many of the characters we know today appeared in it. The Joker and The Cat (Catwoman) have their debuts, and Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Hugo Strange, Gotham City and Wayne Manor, are all here as well.

As was practice at the time, there are multiple stories within – five in this case. The plot from one of the stories – The Joker – was heavily leaned upon for that brilliant movie, The Dark Knight.

SHOWCASE #4

Showcase #4 was published in October 1956 and was the first appearance of The Flash, AKA Barry Allen. A police scientist doused with chemicals, then struck by lightning, he becomes endowed with super-speed. Wearing a costume that hides away in his ring, his first mission is to take on the world’s slowest criminal, Turtle Man (whatever drugs the writer was on, I want some…).

The second story involves the time travelling Mazdan, a criminal from the future. It’s in this story that the Flash first uses his power to time-travel.

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE

Batman: The Killing Joke is a 1988 DC Comics one-shot graphic novel featuring the characters Batman and the Joker written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland. The Killing Joke provides an origin story for the supervillain the Joker, loosely adapted from the 1951 story arc “The Man Behind the Red Hood!”. The Joker’s origin is presented via flashback, while simultaneously depicting his attempt to drive Jim Gordon insane and Batman’s desperate attempt to stop him.

Created by Moore and Bolland as their own take on the Joker’s source and psychology, the story became famous for its origin of the Joker as a tragic character; a family man and failed comedian who suffered “one bad day” that finally drove him insane. Moore stated that he attempted to show the similarities and contrasts between Batman and the Joker. The story’s effects on the mainstream Batman continuity also included the shooting and paralysis of Barbara Gordon (a.k.a. Batgirl), an event that laid the groundwork for her to develop the identity of Oracle.

Many critics consider the graphic novel to be the definitive Joker story and one of the best Batman stories ever published. The comic won the Eisner Award for ‘Best Graphic Album’ in 1989 and appeared on The New York Times Best Seller List in May 2009. In 2006, The Killing Joke was reprinted as part of the trade paperback DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore. In 2008, DC Comics reprinted the story in a deluxe hardcover edition, which features new coloring by Bolland, with a more sombre, realistic, and subdued palette than the original. Elements of The Killing Joke have inspired or been incorporated into other aspects of Batman media.

The book explores Moore’s assertion that, psychologically, “Batman and the Joker are mirror images of each other” by delving into the relationship between the two. The story itself shows how the Joker and Batman came to terms with their respective life-altering tragedies, which both eventually lead to their present lives and confrontation. Critic Geoff Klock further explained that “both Batman and the Joker are creations of a random and tragic ‘one bad day’. Batman spends his life forging meaning from the random tragedy, whereas the Joker reflects the absurdity of life, and all its random injustice”.

DETECTIVE COMICS #31

Detective Comics #31 is the first appearance of a character called The Monk. The leader of a cult of vampires called The Brotherhood, The Monk (Niccolai Tepes) attempts to kidnap Bruce Wayne’s fiancee, Julie Madison, and manages to trick her to go to Paris, and then to Hungary. After becoming suspicious in Gotham, Batman follows her and eventually battles The Monk, which results in the death of the vampire after getting struck by lightning.

This issue from September 1939, almost as the Second World War started, marks the first appearance of the famed Batarang, as well as the less familiar Batgyro. The Monk reappeared in 2006. He was created by Gardner Fox, Bob Kane, and Sheldon Moldoff.

ACTION COMICS #252

Action Comics #252 was published in May 1959 and included three stories. The first appearance of Metallo, and his death, took place in the story ‘The Menace of Metallo’. The character Congorilla, or Congo Bill, stars as a man-ape at war with some hunters in the story ‘Congo Bill Dies at Dawn!’.

The main attraction of this episode, however, is the first appearance of Supergirl. Crash landing on Earth just like Superman, but as an adult, Supergirl. Named Kara, she was saved by her father when the city she was living in, which had been blasted from of Krypton when it exploded (sorry, I don’t write this stuff…), was itself destroyed. Kara’s father, Zor-El, was the brother of Superman’s father, and thus they were cousins. What are the odds..?

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #28

First published on December 29, 1959, although carrying a cover date of March, 1960, The Brave & the Bold issue #28 is the first ever appearance of the Justice League of America. The JLA comprised of seven major characters in this issue – Aquaman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

The story is about the JLA teaming up to fight Starro the Conqueror and his giant starfish hordes (trying to keep a straight face here…) and it starts with Aquaman bumping into Peter the Puffer Fish (okay, I failed…LOL). There’s lots of fighting and mental control, and it’s filled with the bizarre characters and situations that characterised Golden Age comic books.

ALL AMERICAN COMICS #16

Another iconic character of the Golden Age made its debut around the start of the Second World War, this time Green Lantern in July 1940. Written by Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman, but created by graphic artist Martin Nodell, this is a very different Green Lantern to the one we know today. The modern character is one of the Green lantern Corps, an intergalactic force dedicated to fighting evil, but its origins were much smaller and different to that.

The first Green Lantern was Alan Scott, an engineer that came across the lantern when the only survivor of the destruction of a train crossing a brdige he had built. The lantern is said to have been carved from an alien rock by an old Chinese occultist, Chang, and he was told the rock would grant death, life and power. Chang was killed, with the lantern eventually ending up in the hands of a mental patient called Billings many centuries later.

Billings fashioned the Chinese lantern into a railway lantern which then went on to restore his sanity – thus granting life, the second prophecy. Scott’s finding of the lantern fulfilled the third prophecy – power. After solving the crime that was the bridge demolition, Scott vowed to use his new powers to fight crime. All American Comics ran with that title over 102 issues from 1939 to 1948. Just three issues after the debut of the Green Lantern, issue #19 saw the debut of Atom. Outside of that, the titles run was fairly uneventful.

SENSATION COMICS #1

Running for 107 issues between 1942 and 1952, Sensation Comics is most famous for its portrayal of the iconic superhero, Wonder Woman. While not the characters first appearance (even though she debuted at the same time as this issue, it was in All Star Comics #8), she did appear throughout the decade long run of Sensation Comics.

Like many other comics released at the time, it was an anthology title, but still, Wonder Woman got the cover. In it, she is depicted leaving Paradise Island (as it was known then) to enter the world of man, returning Steve Trevor to his people. It was actually the debut of Wonder Woman’s invisible plane. One of six stories in this launch issue, it’s a fairly pedestrian affair – nothing like the huge multi-issue stories that were to come in later decades, but the cover art is a classic of the period.

OBVERSE

SPECIFICATION

DC COMICS COVERS
DENOMINATION None
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 35.0 grams
DIMENSIONS 175.0 x 262.0 mm
FINISH Brilliant uncirculated
MODIFICATIONS Colour
MINTAGE To order
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / On-foil
NEW ZEALAND MINT