Opera and Captain Battle’s Wild Silver Streak Comics Stories, at auction
Captain Battle debuted in Lev Gleason Publications’ Silver Streak Comics #10the creation of Carl Forms and Jack Binder. Binder is well known as the founder of a major comic book production studio active throughout the Golden Age and somewhat beyond, in addition to being the older brother of Earl and Otto Binder. On the other hand, Shapes is far from a household name – at least today. There was a time, however, when three generations of men named Carl Formes were world renowned in the entertainment business. The last of them, who co-created Captain Battle with Binder and did major comic book work in the 1940s, was world famous himself – as an opera singer. How did the grandson of the man who was considered the greatest basso profundo in the world in his time become a writer on Silver Streak Comics? It’s a standout second act in entertainment, and there’s Captain Battle’s first appearance from Binder and Formes in Silver Streak Comics #10as well as many other problems of Silver Streak Comics auctioned in the August 14-15, 2022 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122233 heritage auction.
The man named Carl Formes who came to write comics was born in Buffalo, New York around 1886 and died in 1954 at the age of 68. His mother and father were both professional stage actors, and his father achieved some notoriety as a director and actor during the silent film era (previous generations were referred to as “Carl” and “Karl” somewhat interchangeably in America). According to one account, he was a graduate of the University of Minnesota and was working as an engineer in a steel foundry when his exceptional singing abilities were discovered by the wife of the conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Newspaper accounts of his rising fame around 1918-19 consistently refer to him as the grandson of the famous and highly accomplished Carl Forms (1815-1889). and the son of director and theater director Carl Formes (1841-1939), who was sometimes called Carl Formes, Jr. as an actor. For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that there is a lack of clarity or definitive documentation regarding the relationship between the first and second generations mentioned here. By some accounts, Carl Formes, Jr. may have been Carl Senior’s nephew.
According to obituaries, Formes retired from performing around the time of his father’s death and began his career as a writer. He is listed as a magazine writer in the 1940 census, and the timeline suggests he began working with Binder and Harry A. Chesler‘s studio possibly around November 1939. Formes’ work ran the gamut of comic book stories, but given the science fiction elements of Capitaine Bataille, he could always draw on the engineering background of his early days. Creator of Jack Binder Studio Arnold Hicks named sci-fi supervillain after Shapes in the Marvel/Timely version Mystical comics #3.
Captain Battle seems to have been an interesting amalgamation of Formes’ experiences and artistic influences. He was the youngest combatant in World War I and lost his left eye while fighting in that war. He then devoted his life to “the scientific perfection of the inventions he uses to defeat evil and aggressive influences. His archenemy is the Black Dragon, a sorcerer bent on destroying democracy and civilization itself.
Formes’ Captain Battle stories were a wild amalgamation of horror, sci-fi, and superhero warfare. A wild moment in Golden Age history, you can get Captain Battle’s debut in Silver Streak Comics #10as well as many other problems of Silver Streak Comics auctioned in the August 14-15, 2022 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122233 heritage auction.
Silver Streak Comics #10 (Lev Gleason, 1941) Condition: FR. First “Daredevil vs. Claw” story. Bob Wood robot cover. Wood, Jack Cole and Fred Guardineer art. The cover is detached and the back is split. Overstreet 2022 GD 2.0 value = $239.
Silver Streak Comics #11 (Lev Gleason, 1941) Condition: GD. First appearance of Mercury. Daredevil and Claw conclude their battle with several issues. Story, cover and art by Don Rico. History and Art of Dick Briefer. The spine is largely split, there is repair and tape reinforcement on the spine, the book has been re-stapled and the center fold is loose. Overstreet 2022 GD 2.0 value = $187.
Silver Streak Comics #12 (Lev Gleason, 1941) Condition: VG. Cover of Daredevil by Don Rico. Art by Rico and Fred Guardineer. Overstreet 2022 VG 4.0 value = $336.
Silver Streak Comics #14 (Lev Gleason, 1941) Condition: FR. Jack Binder designed the cover for “Captain Battle vs. The Nazi Skull Men”. Dick Briefer and Don Rico art. Appearance of daredevils. Overstreet 2022 GD 2.0 value = $258.
Silver Streak Comics #15 (Lev Gleason, 1941) Condition: VG. Jack Binder cover and skull art. Dick Briefer and Don Rico art. This copy has a spine roll. Overstreet 2022 VG 4.0 value = $580.
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