Four Color #386

In the early 1990s, I was a serious collector of comic books. I was reading an issue of Hero Illustrated magazine and one of the reviews was of Uncle Scrooge #285 published by Gladstone in April 1994 and written and drawn by someone named Don Rosa. The reviewer highly praised it, suggesting that adults would enjoy it. I bought a copy of it and became a Don Rosa fan ever since. I plan to blog more about Don Rosa in the future. But before Don Rosa, there was Carl Barks.

According to I.N.D.U.C.K.S., Carl Barks “[c]reated the entire Duckburg universe (including characters such as Uncle Scrooge, the Beagleboys and Gyro Gearloose).” Although the first appearance of Uncle Scrooge is in Four Color #178 (published by Dell in 1947), his first full cover appearance is in Four Color #386 (published by Dell in 1952). (The image below was taken from here.)

Uncle Scrooge appeared in two more Four Color issues and was then given his own title, starting at Uncle Scrooge #4. So Four Color #386 is treated as Uncle Scrooge #1.

It was only a few years ago when I was researching this that I realized that I had seen the cover of Four Color #386 before. When I was a child, I had a November 1980 issue of Dynamite Magazine containing a one-page article about comic book collecting. I am no longer able to access the article, but part of its message was that comic books could be good investments. It showed a comic book dealer holding out a worn-out copy of Four Color #386, presenting it as an example of a highly collectible comic book.

Unfortunately, comic books such as these are way beyond my budget. A CGC NM 9.4 Four Color #178 was sold for $10,157.50 in 2010 by Heritage Auctions. A CGC NM+ 9.6 Four Color #386 was sold for $26,290.00 in 2012 by Heritage Auctions. (Prices here are in U.S. dollars and include buyer’s premium).

Some time ago, I discovered that the story in Four Color #386 (“Only a Poor Old Man”) had been reprinted as Uncle Scrooge #195 (published by Whitman in 1982). This issue is more affordable. A CGC NM+ 9.6 copy of it was sold for $35.00 last May 3, 2020 by Heritage Auctions. (The image below is taken from here.)

The buyer of the lot was pretty lucky considering that previous prices for a CGC NM+ 9.6 Uncle Scrooge #195 were $39 in 2010 and $47 in 2012.