Nostradamus’ Time Machine and UFOs in Operation: Peril #4, at Auction


Richard E. Hughes and Ken Bald’s science fiction saga Time Travelers hits the spotlight in Operation: Peril #4 with cover by Ogden Whitney.

The American Comics Group series Operation: Peril hit newsstands at a time when Cold War era fears and the onset of the Korean War combined to command the attention of the media and the public, and these influences show through in the eclectic contents of the title.  The short-lived series hit its stride with Operation: Peril #4, with its science fiction cover by Ogden Whitney, which put the focus of the series on the Time Travelers feature by Richard E. Hughes and Ken Bald.  This unique little series is also quite a bit more difficult to get than one might think, but there’s a copy of Operation: Peril #4 graded VG/F  up for auction in the 2023 March 19-21 Sunday, Monday & Tuesday Comic Books Select Auction #122312 at Heritage Auctions.

Operation Peril #4 (ACG, 1951)

The Time Travelers were Tom Redfield and Peggy Foster, two young Americans who traveled through time using a machine called the “Tempus Machina” they found in an old manuscript by Nostradamus. They met Nostradamus himself in their first adventure and learned that he had predicted a nuclear war that would destroy the world in 1956. Throughout the Operation: Peril series they also encountered various historical figures and events, such as Cleopatra, King Arthur, Marco Polo, the French Revolution, and the American Civil War.  Operation: Peril also featured other characters, such as Typhoon Tyler, a seafaring adventurer who fought pirates and smugglers, and Danny Danger, a private detective who solved mysteries and crimes. The first three issues of the series had war covers inspired by the Korean War, but the series pivoted to emphasize the Time Travelers until war-themed covers returned with issue #11, lasting until the end of the series with #16.

American Comics Group, which published newsstand comic books from 1943 to 1967, was owned by Fred Iger, with DC Comics owner Harry Donenfeld becoming a co-owner in the early 1960s. Writer/editor Richard E. Hughes ran the line. The publisher is best remembered for the launch of the first ongoing horror-comics title, Adventures into the Unknown, and the satirical-humor hero Herbie Popnecker who was introduced in the Forbidden Worlds series. ACG is underappreciated for its ability to navigate the transition into the Comic Code era which ended many other publishers of its kind.

Adding to the desirability of Operation: Peril #4 is its relative rarity. With only six copies on the CGC census, it is a surprisingly scarce issue, but there’s a raw copy of Operation: Peril #4 graded VG/F  up for auction in the 2023 March 19-21 Sunday, Monday & Tuesday Comic Books Select Auction #122312 at Heritage Auctions. For prospective bidders new to Heritage Auctions, be sure to check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters. Please note that the weekly Select Auctions have been expanded to three days, with Comic Books (pre-1956), Pulps, Memorabilia, and Magazines Session 1 on Sunday, Comic Books from 1956-1969 Session 2 on Monday, and Comic Books from 1970-Present Session 3 on Tuesday.

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Posted in: Comics, Heritage Sponsored, Vintage Paper | Tagged: American Comics Group, golden age, ogden whitney, Richard E. Hughes

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