In their Focused Auction, which is currently open, ComicLink is offering several fine existing examples from Crime Does Not Pay and other Golden Age crime titles. “To say these crime comic books are rare in the conditions offered is an understatement,” ComicLink CEO Josh Nathanson said. “The majority are either single highest graded, the only graded example or among the top two graded examples! Several hail from pedigree collections including Edgar Church/Mile High, Davis Crippen, and Crowley. There are also some rare crime pulp magazines with fantastic Good Girl Art covers.”

Examples currently available for bidding are Crime Does Not Pay #27 (graphic cover of body disposal) CGC 9.2 (top 3), #28 CGC 9.4 Crowley Pedigree (top 2), #29 CGC 9.0 (top 2), #35 CGC 9.2 Mile High Pedigree (highest one of two), #40 CGC 9.2 (top 2), #51 CGC 9.0 (top 4), #52 (Baby Face Nelson cover) CGC 9.0, #55 CGC 8.5 (top 3), #60 CGC 9.4 (single highest graded), #68 CGC 8.5 (top 3), #71 CGC 9.0 (single highest graded), #91 CGC 9.4 Davis Crippen Pedigree (single highest graded), #92 CGC 9.2 (single highest graded), and #94 CGC 9.2 (single highest graded).

The auction includes All-Famous Police Cases #15 (L.B. Cole cover) CGC 6.0 (top 2), Crime Can’t Win #7 CGC 7.0 (only graded example), #8 CGC 7.0 (one of only two CGC-graded), #42 CGC 7.5 (only graded example), and #43 CGC 6.5 (only graded example), Crime Cases Comics #5 CGC 6.0 (one of only two CGC-graded), #6 CGC 8.0 (one of only two CGC-graded), #8 CGC 7.5 (only graded example), #9 CGC 7.0 (one of only two CGC-graded), #12 CGC 8.0 (one of only two CGC-graded), #25 CGC 8.5 (one of only two CGC-graded), and #26 CGC 9.2 (one of only three CGC-graded), and Crime Exposed #3 CGC 6.5 (only graded example), #5 CGC 8.0 (only graded example), #6 CGC 7.0 (one of only three CGC-graded), #13 CGC 8.0 (one of only three CGC-graded), and #14 CGC 7.0 (one of only two CGC-graded).

Crime Fighters #8 CGC 7.0 (only graded example) and #11 CGC 7.0 (one of only two CGC-graded), Crime Must Lose #5 CGC 8.0 (only graded example), #6 CGC 7.5 (only graded example), #8 CGC 7.5 (only graded example), and #10 CGC 8.0, (one of only two CGC-graded), Crime on the Waterfront #4 CGC 8.0 (one of top two graded overall), Dynamite #7 (pre-code crime) CGC 4.5 (single highest graded), Perfect Crime #7 CGC 6.5 (top three), Private Eye #4 CGC 8.5 (only CGC-graded), Saint #2 CGC 9.0 Davis Crippen pedigree (single highest graded), Spy Fighters #5 CGC 7.5 (only graded example), and Underworld #1 CGC 6.5 (top four) are also in the auction.

“While the pre-Batman issues of Detective Comics and reprints of the Dick Tracy comic strip that ran in comic books starting in the late 1930s could be considered a form of ‘crime comics,’ the first true crime comic book title was Lev Gleason Publication’s Crime Does Not Pay which began in 1942. By the mid-1940s, Crime Does Not Pay claimed a readership of six million on its covers. As sales for superhero comic books declined in the years after World War II, other publishers began to emulate Crime Does Not Pay, leading to a host of crime-themed comics including Crime Can’t Win, Crime Cases Comics, Crime Exposed, Crime Fighters, and several others,” Nathanson added.

The genre remained popular throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s until crime and horror comics came under scrutiny and were essentially put out of business by the establishment of the Comics Code Authority in 1954. Lev Gleason released the final five issues of Crime Does Not Pay with the Comics Code Authority seal and watered-down content, but the writing was on the wall and the publisher canceled the long-running title and went out of business the following year. 

Bidding for all of these and hundreds of other rare Golden Age comic books ends on Friday, June 22. 

ComicLink is now accepting consignments for the Summer Featured Auction, which begins on August 15, the July Focused Auction which starts on July 11, and other upcoming auctions. Upfront cash advances are available upon receipt of seller consignments. To reserve upcoming auction placement within any of the ComicLink’s future auctions, email buysell@comiclink.com with a prospective sale list or call (617) 517-0062 (option 1). ComicLink is also always accepting new sellers for the ComicLink exchange marketplaces, brokering private placement deals, and buying outright.