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The Centuries-Spanning Cimmerian Tales of Garth and Malu, at Auction


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Slave Girl Comics is an obscure and very short-lived 1949 title from Avon Periodicals that has a fascinating set of influences combined with well-crafted story and art which serves to make it an under-rated gem.  The story centers around an archeologist and a socialite who have a chance meeting and realize that their lives have been intertwined for 4,000 years. In their past lives, they were Princess Malu and Garth, who lived in a very Robert E. Howard-inspired era.  There’s a copy of the first issue of this series in Slave Girl #1 (Avon, 1949) CGC FN- 5.5 Cream to off-white pages up for auction in the 2021 September 5-6 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122136 at Heritage Auctions.

Slave Girl #1 (Avon, 1949) featuring Garth and Malu.
Slave Girl #1 (Avon, 1949) featuring Garth and Malu.

Avon’s Slave Girl Comics and its saga of Malu and Garth seems most directly influenced by the long-running British newspaper strip Garth which ran in the Daily Mirror 1943 to 1997.  Garth featured time-traveling sword and sorcery (among other things) adventures which Rich Johnston describes as “Barbarella meets James Bond“.  There’s also a pretty obvious Conan influence throughout the story, and Garth even swears “by the ancient gods of Cimmeria” at one point.  The art is by the underappreciated Howard Larsen, whose long stint on Jungle Comics, Rangers Comics, and other Fiction House titles made him well suited for Slave Girl Comics.

Slave Girl Comics only lasted two issues, with the final story of the Garth and Malu saga appearing in Avon’s Strange World’s #3. An overlooked 1949 gem in the mold of Robert E. Howard’s Conan, there’s a copy of the first issue of this series in Slave Girl #1 (Avon, 1949) CGC FN- 5.5 Cream to off-white pages up for auction in the 2021 September 5-6 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122136 at Heritage Auctions.

Slave Girl #1 (Avon, 1949) featuring Garth and Malu.
Slave Girl #1 (Avon, 1949) featuring Garth and Malu.

Slave Girl #1 (Avon, 1949) CGC FN- 5.5 Cream to off-white pages. Howard Larsen cover and story art. Overstreet 2021 FN 6.0 value = $474. CGC census 8/21: 7 in 5.5, 42 higher.

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 222738002 and purchase grader’s notes if available.

Posted in: Comics, Heritage Sponsored, Vintage Paper | Tagged: Avon Periodicals, garth

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