A true crime tale of comic books, corruption, and a $9 million vanishing act

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You don’t see an All Star Comics #3 every day. Published in 1940, it’s a milestone in what’s known as the Golden Age of comic books: the debut of the first bonafide superhero team, the Justice Society of America. There’s hardly a plot, only a meeting of some of DC’s biggest stars — Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman — taking turns sharing tales as if they were telling ghost stories at a campfire. Spectre recounts a battle with a monster from the moon; Hawkman remembers a crisis on the island of Krakatoa. The masked vigilantes on the cover are a friendly lot, decades removed from the gritty realism that would come to dominate the industry later. The Flash wears a slightly over-sized long-sleeve shirt, emblazoned with a yellow lightning bolt….

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