Blackstone was inspired by the 1885-1965 shooting of Harry Kellar in Chicago, where he later appeared in numerous musical acts. He was well-known for his appearance in the United States and Canada, especially as a magician. Gibson, according to the VG, suggested that Blackstone enter the comic book business with Street & Smith, and the result was released. The auction will take place in the2022 September 11-12 Sunday & Monday Auction #122237at Heritage Auctions.
In his 1985 issue, Blackstone''s son described how the original Street & Smith Blackstone comic book series came about. "In the past, Gibson offered to make a press run of 50,000 copies at five cents per copy, but the publishers would pay half the newsstand cost for the comics. "It was also very fortunate for me to have my father purchase a copy of the books in the movies," says Gibson. "It was great to see that his father had paid the proceeds for the book before."
While the younger Blackstone''s book asserts that the title changes to "to put more emphasis on Blackstone," it''s likely that the first issue had received some objections from rival comic book publishers following the first issue. Most recently, David McKay Company had been publishing a successful monthly comic book series, which featured highly popular comic strip magician Mandrake among other King Features Syndicate strips since 1939.
Not only did Fox Feature Syndicate have a backup feature called Rex King, Black Fury, and no fewer than three comic features were launched in early 1941. Street & Smith''s, a comic strip, were launched on newsstands around March 14, 1941. And June Tarpe Mills'' Black Fury was also launched on February 31, 1941. While we can''t seem to know how any of these events unfold, however, he had been previously renamed Rex King, Adventurer. He was
In a 1972 letter, Gibson claims that he had a contract dispute with Street & Smith at that time and "quit and went on the road with Blackstone the Magician for that season and part of the next," which appears to be the cause of Blackstone''s departure from the publisher. A historically odd sequence of events for the comic book property of that time would follow.
The first issue of Vital Publications was first published by Julien J. Proskauer, a magician known for debunking fraudulent mediums, and the president of William C. Popper & Co. The following year, the three men signed a deal for a proposed publication. Both are apparent to William C. Popper and his brother, Elmer C. Stoner, the artist of the Vital Publications comic series.
Despite Proskauer''s ongoing connections with Blackstone and Gibson, the Vital Publications comic book series was difficult to complete when it first appeared on EC Comics. This series, for example, continued with a Marvel/Timely series for three additional issues. This appears to be possible and perhaps probable because, although, this issue would not have been the sole course change made at EC Comics during this period. However, the indicia of this issue identifies Gaines as the publisher.
Proskauer had somewhat unusual business connections with both Street & Smith and Timely, which might suggest that he had some influence on the comic title throughout the period. Beyond the 1946 Vital Publications comic series and the William C. Popper & Co.-published articles, Vital Publications published at least two Blackstone comic book giveaways in 1948 and 1949, one of which includes Timely-published material. Proskauer was also active in the Blackstone publishing business throughout this entire period.
After Blackstone''s departure, Street & Smith''s lasted nine issues. Two of the last three issues included legendary magician Houdini, and each of the three issues included Red Dragon, a magical adventure character with a seemingly Doctor Strange origin. Street & Smith had the short-lived volume one in 1943, but briefly tried the title again.
The VG and a slew of issues of up for auction at Heritage Auctions in the2022 September 11-12 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122237 are in progress. For additional information, please check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related issues.
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