Welcome to the DC 100 Page Super Spectacular Site!

I have loved these books since I saw the first one on a spinner rack - "WEIRD MYSTERY" (DC-4) with the first Bernie Wrightson cover I'd ever seen.  This was back in the days when I used to scout the comics at the local bus depot to find my comics.  My brother had purchased it and the next one I saw was entitled "WORLD'S GREATEST SUPER-HEROES" (DC-6).  In between these, I missed the "LOVE STORIES" (DC-5) issue, which I have only recently added to my own, personal collection (as price-gougers had previously kept me from being able to find a decently affordable version of the book...).  I will attempt to bring as much information about these books as I can here.  A great deal of my own education on Golden Age stories and works came from these volumes as they were plentiful, affordable reprints that came out regularly for the real comic book fan. 

BEGINNINGS - THE SPAWN OF E. NELSON BRIDWELL
HISTORICAL CONTEXT - DATING THE SUPER SPECTACULARS
CONTENTS - INSIDE THE SUPER SPECTACULARS
COLLECTING - RARITY OF DC 100 PAGE SUPER SPECTACULARS
ART - COVERING THE 100 PAGERS
SEQUENCING - NUMBERING THE 100 PAGERS
A SIMPLER TIME


BEGINNINGS - THE SPAWN OF E. NELSON BRIDWELL

E. Nelson Bridwell was the editor of this wonderful series and his encyclopedic knowledge of comics gave him great insight as to what stories would be the best to reprint in these tomes.  My personal favorites were always the Super Hero issues - particularly since the wraparound covers were littered with characters (often rendered by Neal Adams) and inside the back cover was a "key" to the characters with short histories included!

These comics are absolutely wonderful treasuries of great comics stories and provided a varied coverage of DC comics history, let alone treating the buyer to 100 Pages of stories and art (the only advertisements were house ads and those were only used to fill out the pages that only had panels for 1/2 or 3/4 of the page) for only 50.

E. Nelson Bridwell also compiled the first listing of every licensed character that DC (National Periodical Publications at that time) owned in 1971 - the first "Who's Who"!  In "WORLD'S GREATEST SUPER-HEROES" (DC-6) the full list appeared in the areas where 1/4 or 1/2 page advertisements would have run.  This listing included the character's first appearance information with issue, date and secret identity (if any).  [BACK TO TOP]

CONTENTS - INSIDE THE SUPER SPECTACULARS

Inside these beauties lies a vast treasure trove of great Golden Age and Silver Age stories.  These were hand-picked by E. Nelson Bridwell from his almost encyclopedic knowledge of comics.  Each cover character or team had a reprinting of several of their greatest stories and there were always guest-stars between the covers (and, usually, on the covers, as well).  Many of the Quality Comics and lesser-known American Comics heroes were given some face time in these pages.  Johnny Quick, Air Wave, Dr. Fate, Dr. Mid-Nite, the original Quicksilver (later known as Max Mercury) - the list goes on and on.

In addition, there were usually very interesting sidebar articles, such as the complete listing of all DC licensed characters mentioned above (DC-6) and the key to the cover, providing background data on all the heroes pictured on the outside of the book.

For a time devoid of the internet and with libraries concentrating on things other than the minutiae of comic book characters and their publishing history, these books were a great find for any comics enthusiast.  Short of finding a copy of Steranko's History of the Comics, these books were a gold mine of great historical material.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT - DATING THE SUPER SPECTACULARS

The first issue (DC-4 - there was no DC-1, DC-2 or DC-3) was printed in the winter of 1971 and likely arrived on stands in January of 1971.  

It was dated Ma, 1971, but the arrival stamp on my copy of DC-6 is dated July 27, 1971 (see increased size version) and the issue is cover dated November of 1971 and DC-7 (Superman #245), which is cover dated January, 1972, arrived October 16, 1971, according to arrival stamp on one of my copies of this issue, so this all falls into place rather well.  So lead time can be calculated to approximately 3-4 months on average, 5 months at the absolute outside.  The arrival of DC-4 with a publication date of May 1971 could be estimated to about January or February of 1971. [BACK TO TOP]

COLLECTING - RARITY OF DC 100 PAGE SUPER SPECTACULARS

This has been a source of much debate.  Having attempted to collect these issues from 1979 to the present, I can tell you that - for at least two decades (1975 - 1995) -  there were few dealers that were interested in carrying these books, whether they have specialized in books that were pre-1975 or not.

Further, when the interest of others my age became apparent and the privately owned issues began to surface, there were still only 2 or 3 dealers in the country who recognized early on how difficult it was to procure any of these issues in High Grade.  I procured mine from any number of sources prior to the advent of the Internet - Comic Conventions (big and small, frequent, annual or one-time events), advertisements in "Comics Buyers Guide", Comics Dealers all over the country (my quartet travels the world & logs about 50,000 - 60,000 miles per year and I always visit a comics shop wherever we stop), the Mile High Comics catalogue and other private dealers and collectors.

During my efforts in procuring all of these issues and throughout my travels and investigation, I have found that, while some collectors have indicated that "LOVE STORIES" (DC-5) is likely the "rarest comic of the Bronze Age", I would posit that this title may belong to another DC 100 Page Super Spectacular:  ADVENTURE #416 (DC-10).  

Bear with me on this - "LOVE STORIES" (DC-5) is purported to have a low print run and  it is surmised that few of those books survived after purchase.  This is extremely likely and very difficult to argue with and is excellent reason for the estimated value of one of these books in complete condition.  However, the actual collector interest and demand for this book does not support the rarity of procurement.

The low print run is due to the lack of demand at the time.  The actual collector interest in the contents is extremely low, as it is for most other Bronze Age "Romance" comic books.  There was just not a very big market for it, although DC was attempting to obtain every corner of the market that Marvel did not attempt in the 1960's and 1970's.  Currently, the actual market for the book is within the niche of those seeking to complete the 100 Pagers as a collection/run.

Prior to obtaining it, each and every time I had attempted to locate and purchase ADVENTURE #416 (DC-10), someone else had beaten me to it.  On every occasion, the seller indicated to me that they wished that they had sold the book for much more than it went for because they have had 10-15 other interested buyers for the book.  This tells me that, although
"LOVE STORIES" (DC-5) gets competing bids on eBay whenever it might show up, the actual number of collectors that are interested in Adventure #416 (DC-10) is much higher, as can be referenced on any of the auctions for this book, on those occasions that it does show up for sale.

A further indicator of rarity is availability for sale - now, one must factor in that Adventure #416 (DC-10) has not received as much hype as "Love Stories" (DC-5).  In general, the 100 Pagers have received equal hype in comparison to "Love Stories" (DC-5), as the only instance in which this particular book is typically mentioned is in the same breath as the 100 Pagers as a primary subject.  Adventure #416 (DC-10) may be available for sale or auction on a level comparative to "Love Stories" (DC-5).  In runs of Adventure Comics being offered for sale, this issue is typically missing from even the most complete strings of this title when advertised for auction or in classifieds in comic collector magazines (such as Comic Buyer's Guide).

Taking all this into consideration, the actual demand for
Adventure #416 (DC-10) and its lack of availability would place it in either an equal or even slightly higher bracket of scarceness than "Love Stories" (DC-5).

In my own experience, even with the ability to travel, the last two pieces I obtained were affordable copies of either Adventure #416 (DC-10) or "Love Stories" (DC-5).  Finding a reasonable copy of "LOVE STORIES" is difficult, but not impossible - I own both a Coverless and a Very Fine copy of this comic that I obtained from private sellers for well below guide on eBay.   Regarding Adventure #416 (DC-10), I also have a couple of copies of this issue and it was very expensive to obtain both copies, let alone the one that I own in Mint condition (here's a neat thing you don't hear enough of - when I opened the issue's cover, it "popped", indicating that it had never even been opened prior to my doing so - what a find!  This is one of those attributes that excited those who initially purchased portions of the Mile High Collection).  [BACK TO TOP]

ART - COVERING THE 100 PAGERS

As mentioned previously, "WORLD'S GREATEST SUPER-HEROES" (DC-6) sports my favorite cover of all time.  My next most favorite issues also sport Neal Adams wrap-around covers BATMAN #238 (DC-8, subtitled "World's Greatest Super-Heroes") and SUPERMAN #252 (DC-13, subtitled "World's Greatest Flying Heroes").  All three of these covers are what I consider to be the greatest collection of Super Hero renderings ever, and - in my opinion - they still stand as the best pencil and ink versions (discerning them from the paintings of Alex Ross, whose work on the pantheon of DC heroes strikes a similar chord - if not influenced intentionally by Adams' work, certainly one would not rule out subliminal influences).  Neal Adams' own influence for the cover of DC-6 was All-Star Comics #16 (as noted by Roy Thomas in the All-Star Companion from TwoMorrows Press).  Just for comparison's sake, one should admire these alongside another of my favorite artists' renderings for the 100-Pagers, ADVENTURE #416  (DC-10, subtitled "World's Greatest Super-Females") as another example of these wonderful covers.  Bob Oskner and Art Saaf never received enough praise for their wonderful renderings of Supergirl, the popularity of which finally helped launch her into her own magazine for the first time in her history.  After Curt Swan and Jim Mooney, they became the definitive artists for Supergirl in the Bronze Age.

A further treat from these comics was the key to the characters found inside the back cover with a short description of each character featured on the wrap-around renderings.

COVER OF DC-4
COVER OF DC-5
COVER OF DC-6
COVER OF DC-7
COVER OF DC-8
COVER OF DC-10
COVER OF DC-13


KEY TO DC-6

KEY TO DC-8
KEY TO DC-10
KEY TO DC-13

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SEQUENCING - NUMBERING THE 100 PAGERS

Be aware that the numbering on these books is difficult to keep up with, but if you can bend your mind around the listing, it becomes familiar after awhile:

The first three books, DC-4, DC-5 and DC-6, were under their own numbering system, and the title in the indicia inside indicates their actual title to be "DC 100 Page Super Spectacular", rather than "Weird Mystery" (DC-4), "Love Stories" (DC-5) and "World's Greatest Super Heroes" (DC-6) as indicated on the covers.  Now:  DC-7 was also Superman #245 - this numbering continues through DC-13 (AKA Superman #252).  THEN, they switched back to having the first numbering system from DC-14 through DC-22 with cover titles ranging from Superboy to Sgt. Rock and the indicia again covering their number as "DC 100 Page Super Spectacular".  And just when you thought you had the hang of it, they started putting ads in the books and simply included them as part of a regular series run (actually, a lot of books ended up with this format - some on a monthly basis!) and we lost the original numbering system altogether.

Okay, if that hasn't blown your mind, check out these pages, which list all of the 100-Pagers ever published - the first listing of Originals gives you an idea of where numbering picked up and left off:

LISTING OF ORIGINAL 100 PAGE SUPER SPECTACULARS
LISTING OF SUBSEQUENT 100 PAGE SUPER SPECTACULARS
LISTING OF EVERY 100 PAGER!

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A SIMPLER TIME

In the early 1970's, I would travel from my home in the Western part of Ypsilanti, Michigan to mid-town, where our local Greyhound Bus Depot in order to find the latest comics.  Local "Stop & Go" convenience stores would sometimes carry comics, but, truly, there were only 3 retail sites in my entire small town where one could see a significant number of the lines offered by DC, Marvel, Archie and Gold Key.  They were the aforementioned Bus Depot on West Cross Street at Hamilton, the local "Tom's Party Store" two blocks away on the corner of Perrin and West Cross Street, and "Lucky Party Store" on Michigan Avenue another mile away.  I would ride my bike a couple of miles to the first party store, hit the bus depot, then pedal another mile to the further party store before lugging all of my comics home with me.  It was only somewhat more efficient time-wise than getting on the bus and spending a couple of hours going to the only comic shop in existence in all of Michigan's Wayne County (as far as I'm aware) - and maybe the only one in three counties at that time - to gather the newest comics.  It was only moderately less expensive, but 30 was another comic book and a candy bar at the time!

It's not surprising that someone's comic book collection would be missing myriad issues over time, and a 50 comic was unusual and not typically carried by most vendors of "funny books".  When I applied myself to collecting the entire run, I was surprised by how many of the original 50-centers I actually had owned and noted that the ones missing were either low print runs, due to their focus on the smaller female market or were part of other titles that I did not really read or collect.

Noting that Adventure #416 DC-10 had eluded my grasp for so very long (much longer than Love Stories DC-5 had) and that it is almost impossible to find in High Grade, I've arrived at my rarity conclusions above.

In recent years, DC has seen fit not only to provide reproductions of the original, classic series, but to attempt to recapture the tradition with a contemporary series of 100-Page Super Spectaculars.  Sort of a "What if we'd done a Justice Society of America 100-Pager?", etc.  One of the reproductions, in particular, failed to properly reproduce the most important cover of the bunch, as outlined in this excellent blog review of the reproductive process by "Robby Reed".

That's all for now.  I sure hope you enjoyed this offering of information.  It took years of collecting to actually put together my entire collection and to be able to provide this information, and I'm glad to be able to share it!

Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Brian G. Philbin

Hope this was a fun trip for you!

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All characters mentioned within these pages and associated images are and of DC Comics, Inc.  TARZAN is and   of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.  If you have any question, comments or other items of interest to this page or DC Comics or the Bronze Age or what-have-you, please feel free to E-Mail Brian G. Philbin.  All items which are highlighted in blue text and underlined are links to the named item!

Text content is Copyright 1999 Brian G. Philbin

 

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