Fans of Superman may want to check out two rare opportunities to buy copies of British adventure titles featuring the superhero’s earliest appearances published outside the United States, in the long-running weekly adventure paper, Triumph.
First published in 1924, Triumph, published by Amalgamated Press, was a hugely successful adventure paper of the period, the title now owned by Rebellion Publishing. 21 issues featured reprints of Superman, the character first making his debut in Britain only a year after the publication of Action Comics #1, June 1938.
Reprints of early Superman stories were, largely, adapted into the picture and text format presentation that was very much the norm of the day in British children’s and teenage titles of the time, and ran in Issues 772 – 792 (with a house advertisement featuring Superman in Issue 771), the Kryptonian hero returning in Issues 807 – 814.
Silver Acre Comics is offering a copy of Triumph No. 784, one of four issues of the title to feature a cover credited to John “Jock” McCail, the price tag set at just over £1900.
Meanwhile, collector Ewan Brownlow is offering a rare copy of Triumph and The Gem No. 807, cover dated 6th April 1940, its masthead reflecting a recent title merger, featuring an early Superman story by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
Copies of the second Superman run are much rarer, due to paper rationing and recycling of comics, newspapers and magazines to help the war effort.
Proclaiming “Superman Returns!” and the arrival of “Marvellous New Adventures of the World’s Wonder-Man!”, very few copies of this particular edition are known to have survived, so it’s little surprise there’s a price tag of £650 for this gem.
All issues from the Superman / Triumph run are extremely rare with only a handful of copies still in existence, with the Comic Book Price Guide noting bound copies of the issues have sold for tidy sums in the past.
John McCail (1894 – 1962) was an artist who worked mainly for the Amalgamated Press, but also for some smaller publishers in the 1940s. There’s more information about his long career, which began at DC Thomson, here on Lambiek and here on UK Comics Fandom.
With thanks to Richard Sheaf