PEP COMICS #22
CGC VG/F: 5.0
While the superhero craze was booming across newsstands, up and coming publishers like MLJ were looking for ways to stand out from the pack by creating new twists on existing tropes. In the case of MLJ, pay dirt had already been struck with Wilbur, the original comic-book teen craze, leading Bob Montana to pitch his idea for an awkward, girl-crazy teen based on his own experiences and sketches from his teenage years in small-town Massachusetts. As with his predecessor, the character's first appearance was an instant hit with readers, but unlike the rather cartoonish and limited Wilbur, Archie's personality and social circle were completely relatable to contemporary American youth, and proved to be not only resilient, but arguably the most commercially successful comic book creation of all time after Superman. This first appearance is incredibly rare, even more so than the first Action Comics, and invariably sells for record numbers on the few occasions it is offered on the market. This is probably one of the two or three most important comics ever published.
This key belongs in a category all to itself. It's one of those books that we're lucky to see every few years, and whose rarity and legendary status causes ripples throughout the office as we clamor to get a chance to look at this elusive treasure. One of the scarcest of major Golden Age keys, this first appearance of Archie Andrews has attained iconic status in recent years, as collectors have cottoned to its importance, value, and scarcity. Bob Montana turned his gangly adolescent past into universally-relatable four-color fodder, launching an entertainment juggernaut in the process.
One of the scarcest of major Golden Age keys, this VG/FN example is in great condition. The cover belies its grade as minimal wear is apparent and the primary color-scheme maintains its vibrancy and clarity.
Overstreet Guide 2018 VG/F (5.0) value = $67,500.
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