Book of the Day - 1/23/05

Gun-Slinger #2 April 1973

- Overstreet 2006 9.2 (NM-) Price: $20 -



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Yep.  After a thorough scouring of the AWE4ONE archives (also known as the Black Hole Collection - comics quickly go in and rarely again see the light of day), careful debate, and general procrastinating, it's time again for another Book of the Day!

Today's Book of the Day is one I believe to be among the hardest Bronze Age comics to find in true Near Mint condition: Gun-Slinger #2 released in 1973 by Marvel Comics.  Bronze western comics in general are difficult to find in higher grades.  Gun-Slinger #2 and #3 are the most difficult Marvels to find in high grade, period.

Marvel released a range of new western titles in late 1972 and early 1973 to include reprints titles such as Western Kid and Wyatt Earp and those with completely new material such as Gunhawks and Red Wolf.  All would be canceled by the end of 1973.  Gun-Slinger was released as part of this new "western" wave.

Gun-slinger originally started as "Tex Dawson, Gun-Slinger" with issue #1 cover dated Jan 1973 which sported a great cover by Jim Steranko.   The title featured 1950s Atlas' Western Kid reprint stories drawn by a pre-Spider-Man John Romita Sr.   Of all the western titles released in the same timeframe, Gun-Slinger had the shortest publishing lifespan; 3 issues.  Of those three, #1 is the easiest to locate in high grade probably, in my opinion, due to collectors coveting the Steranko cover.  The next two issues on the other hand are a completely different story.  Rarely do you see Near Mint copies offered for sale.  In fact, you rarely see any copies for sale, in any condition, on the world's comics flea market, eBay.  Also, when I was searching for the Fantastic Four #60 newsstand variant, I placed an ad in Comics Buyers Guide asking for the FF as well as Gun-Slinger #2 and #3 in NM.  The ad ran for months and despite some feelers for the FF variant, I received no bites whatsoever on the Gun-Slingers.  Considering the print runs on Bronze comics were considerably higher than the FF variant I was looking for, you'd expect the opposite reaction would occur.  The copy you see on the right was recently bought from and is the first NM copy I've seen for sale in three years.

Now just because I can't find a copy doesn't make it's apparent rarity a fact.  I'm of the belief that no Marvel comic released after 1968 is truly rare in high grade.  It very well could be high grade copies are hidden in collections or dealers back rooms and the general demand for these issues isn't enough for them to reappear.  Based on my search for these issues for the last couple of years though, I'm starting to have my doubts there are many HG copies out there...