Science & the Supernatural in Rare Captain Battle Comics 2, at Auction


Posted in: Comics, Heritage Sponsored, Vintage Paper | Tagged: captain battle, Jack Binder, otto binder

The creation of Jack Binder and Carl Formes, Captain Battle was another wild take on Golden Age superheroes from publisher Lev Gleason.

Article Summary

  • Explore Captain Battle’s Golden Age origins by Formes and Jack Binder in Lev Gleason’s comics.
  • Uncover the supernatural vs. science theme in the rare Captain Battle Comics #2.
  • Delve into the comic’s unique publication history and its shifting production teams.
  • Discover the scarcity and collectible nature of Captain Battle issues, with a focus on #2.

Captain Battle debuted in Lev Gleason Publications’ Silver Streak Comics #10, the creation of Carl Formes and Jack Binder.  He was the youngest combatant in World War I and lost his left eye fighting in that war.  He subsequently gave his life over to “the scientific perfection of inventions which he uses to overcome evil and aggressive influences.  His arch nemesis is the Black Dragon, a sorcerer hellbent on destroying democracy and civilization itself. The Captain Battle Comics series has the look and feel of a Timely comics series that’s even less restrained than the Timely series of the era, and Captain Battle Comics #2‘s multi-part saga is a good example of this.

Captain Battle Comics #2 (Lev Glesason, 1941)
Captain Battle Comics #2 (Lev Glesason, 1941)

After the initial Silver Streak Comics appearances by Formes and Binder, Captain Battle Comics #1 was created by Funnies Inc comic production studio members including Frank Borth, George Mandel, and possibly Kermit Jaediker. Issues #2 and #3 returned to the Binder shop, mostly Jack Binder and Otto Binder.  The first two issues of Captain Battle Comics were published by known Lev Gleason publishing company New Friday (no doubt named after the left-wing tabloid magazine Friday that Gleason was associated with).  Issue #3 contains reprints of Silver Streak material but for unknown reasons, carries the line Harry “A” Chesler Jr. Features Syndicate, N.Y. on the cover.  There is no issue #4.  Issue #5 was published by Picture Scoop, Inc. which was also the publisher of Gleason magazines Reader’s Scope and Picture ScoopCaptain Battle Jr. was then published by the familiar Comic House, Inc. publishing company often used by Gleason.  It’s also widely assumed that Boy Comics, which started with issue #3, was a continuation of the original Captain Battle Comics numbering despite the sporadic continuation of that title.

All this is probably why the Binder issues of the series have a sort of unrestrained quality.  At that point, it was the Binder shop working from a Funnies Inc template to produce a Lev Gleason comic book.  Captain Battle Comics #2 is a spectacular example of that dynamic, and it’s a much rarer issue than one might think, with only eight entries on the CGC census, and according to Heritage, this  Captain Battle Comics #2 (Lev Glesason, 1941) CGC VG/FN 5.0 Off-white to white pages is the highest graded copy they’ve ever offered.  It’s up for auction in the 2024 May 30 Adventures in the Golden Age Comics Showcase Auction #40261 at Heritage Auctions.

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