What to Buy For the Man Who is Still Thinking About the Roman Empire

Posted in: Comics, Heritage Sponsored, Vintage Paper | Tagged: Fox Feature Syndicate, Roman Empire

A regular cover-feature of Fox Feature Syndicate’s Weird Comics, the Dart has his origin in the pre-Roman Empire era of Sulla.

On TikTok, the observation that men think about the Roman Empire a lot has proven a source of fascination and hilarity for women who don’t. And had no idea that every man in their life did. And, yes, I’ll put my hand up, but then I do cycle through London a lot, a city that was founded by Romans, and bits of that still stick up. There’s a lot of Latin still around. But some, who don’t actually live in a post-Roman city, they still find reason to think about the Romans multiple times a week. Lots of reasons have been proferred up for this.

Fortune quotes Scott Lyons, telling them, “Every time I work out, and I think about getting bulkier or more defined, the image I’m holding, even though I don’t consciously know it, can be that image from the Hollywood movie 300, or Gladiator as what I’m trying to ascend to. That reminds me of this image of this idealized male I want to be or this idealized shape I want to be.”

Jo Ellison of the Financial Times writes “At a time when the politics of gender are explosive, the Roman empire question redraws ancient boundaries about “the differences” between the girls and boys, reinforcing ancient stereotypes and gendered behaviours in a safer, more benign, discussion space. Showing an outsize interest in violence, war and bloodsports is not really fashionable at this time. For those who feel their masculinity imperilled, the Roman empire is a portal through which men can bathe freely in pure testosterone.”

Which sounds a little like classic superheroes too. And the people crafting superhero comics in the thirties and forties were thinking about the Roman Empire – or rather, the Republic that led up to it – as well. Superman was, after all, famously based on the novel Gladiator by Philip Wylie, which made that comparison clear in its name. Weird Comics from Fox Comics featured Dart as a superhero who was actually hailed from Roman times, so naturally, he fought criminals and gangsters on the streets of New York, using his gladiatorial combat skills.

A copy of Weird Comics #15 featuring Dart and his sidekick Ace is up for auction from Heritage Arts, CGC graded at 4.0 and has bids currently totalling $46.

Weird Comics #15 (Fox Features Syndicate, 1941) CGC VG 4.0 Off-white pages. Bert Whitman art. CGC notes, “Piece re-attached with tape. Tape on interior cover. 2 staples added after manufacturing.” Just two copies have earned higher grades from CGC to date. Overstreet 2023 VG 4.0 value = $296. CGC census 9/23: 2 in 4.0, 2 higher. CGC Grader Notes: extra staple not manufacturing, multiple bend bottom of front cover, multiple crease right top of front cover breaks color, small piece out right center of front cover, tape bottom of interior cover, tape left center of interior front cover, tape top of interior cover

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