The opening moments of the Cold War threatened to turn into a Space War in 1947’s Wings Comics #85. In this issue, longtime feature character Captain Wings must prevent a massive military superplane from falling into the wrong hands to prevent the outbreak of World War III. This is a well-written story beautifully drawn by Bob Lubbers that anticipates the Cold War spy thrillers of the subsequent decades. The issue also includes a Ghost Squadron story by Maurice Whitman and Phantom Falcon by Charles Sultan. A well-crafted example of Cold War era comics, there’s a Wings Comics #85 (Fiction House, 1947) CGC NM- 9.2 Cream to off-white pages up for auction in the 2022 October 13 The Fiction House Showcase Auction #40199 at Heritage Auctions.
Captain Wings was the lead story (and often the cover feature) for most of the run of the Wings Comics title. The character was created by artist Dan Zolnerowich and debuted in issue #16 of the series, which was cover-dated December 1941. Captain Wings is a highly skilled fighter pilot who serves in the US Army Air Force (the USAF would be established as a formally independent branch in 1947). The Captain served with the UK’s Royal Air Force before America’s entry into the war and was sometimes associated with the RAF in later years as well. Although the feature did have a regular cast of characters they largely stayed in the background, and Captain Wings can be thought of as roughly the solo equivalent of Quality/DC Comics’ Blackhawk.
After the end of World War II, Captain Wings remained in the Air Force to help combat a new threat: regional strongmen and mercenaries who were vying for power in the post-war world. These struggles eventually transformed into the Cold War, and Captain Wings continued to fight against enemy spies and their plans which sometimes involved high-tech superweapons. He remained the lead feature of Wings Comics until the end of the series with issue #103.
The Wings Comics #85 superplane had some eye-popping specifications: the planned weapon was more akin to a flying base with a crew of 96 men and the capability to into space and even to the moon. The project had a projected cost of eight billion dollars in 1947 — roughly 106 billion dollars in 2022.
Wing Comics took a hard turn into Cold War espionage from here until the end of the series, and with the well-written narrative beautifully drawn by the underrated Bob Lubbers, this issue makes for a worthy turning point. An excellent example of war comics in the post-WWII era, there’s a Wings Comics #85 (Fiction House, 1947) CGC NM- 9.2 Cream to off-white pages up for auction in the 2022 October 13 The Fiction House Showcase Auction #40199 at Heritage Auctions. In addition to the items listed in this post, you can check out Fiction House titles such as Planet Comics, Jumbo Comics, Jungle Comics, Fight Comics, Rangers Comics, Wings Comics and much more. New to collecting Fiction House or want to learn more? Bleeding Cool is doing an ongoing deep dive into the history behind Fiction House in the run-up to this auction. If you’ve never bid at Heritage Auctions before, you can get further information, you can check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.
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