Sempronius Pitio Roman Republic Denarius (minted 148 BCE)

Sempronius Pitio Roman Republic Denarius (minted 148 BCE)
“Sempronia 2” Mint in Rome (scarce issue)
3.3 g silver, 18.0 mm
Sears (1) 91; Crawford 216/1; Syd 402
Provenance: Antiek (Marijn Kruijff)
Coppola Collection

Rarity 95/100

The  Sempronia was a Roman family of great antiquity. It included both patrician and plebeian branches. The first of the Sempronii to obtain the consulship was Aulus Sempronius Atratinus in 497 BC, the twelfth year of the Republic. The patrician Sempronii frequently obtained the highest offices of the state in the early centuries of the Republic, but they were eclipsed by the plebeian families at the end of the fourth century BC. The glory of the Sempronia family is confined to the Republican period. Very few persons of this name, and none of them of any importance, are mentioned under the Empire.

This coin marks the fundamental change in the denarius, with the mark of value being moved in front of the helmeted head of Roma (mark X below chin) replaced by the moneyers cognomen (“Pitio”) running counterclockwise.

Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux) on horseback galloping right, each holding horizontal spear. Part of moneyer mark in field below horses with MP ligatured. “L • SEMP” for Lucius Sempronius

Grendel #16 “Interlude p 1” (1988)

Grendel #16 Interlude p 1 (1988)
by Matt Wagner (1961-)
13 x 17 in, acrylic on paper
Coppola Collection

30 years ago!

In between Mage: The Hero Discovered (Feb 1984 – Dec 1986) and Mage: The Hero Defined (Jul 1997 – Oct 1999), creator Matt Wagner published two Interlude stories featuring his hero, Kevin Matchstick. The first of these interludes, a 24-page story, ran serially for 4 issues as a backup in Grendel #16-19 (Jan-Apr 1988).

This is the first page from the first installment of the story, told in French, in which Etienne and Marie rendezvous. Etienne becomes a horse from a sculpture in the fountain.

All things considered, these pages are treasures of comic art.

 

“Iron Man and Sub-Mariner” #1 p 2 (April 1968)


“Iron Man and Sub-Mariner” #1 p 2 (April 1968)
by Gene Colan (1926-2011) and Johnny Craig (1926-2001)
13 x 20 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

50 years ago!

“Call Him Destiny… or Call Him Death!”

See prior posting – this is the second of two pages from this special, one-shot issue, this being the second page of the Sub-Mariner story.

The villain, Destiny, and the Sub-Mariner continue to battle one another in the frozen tundra of Antarctica. Destiny uses his Helmet of Power to hurl sharpened icicle at the Atlantean Prince, but Namor easily deflects them. He then chides Namor, taunting him with the knowledge that he defeated him once before. Namor reasons that this incident must have taken place during the years that he wandered the globe as an amnesiac, but Destiny gives little information in regards to this.

“Iron Man and Sub-Mariner” #1 p 10 (April 1968)

Iron Man and Sub-Mariner 1 p 10 (April 1968)
by Gene Colan (1926-2011) and Johnny Craig (1926-2001)
13 x 20 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

50 years ago!

“The Torrent Without — the Tumult Within”

In the pre-superhero 1950s and early 1960s, Marvel had a set of Twilight Zone-esque comics called Tales to Astonish, Tales of Suspense, Amazing Fantasy, and Journey into Mystery. When they began, the stand-alone, team-based books all started new, with premiere issues (Fantastic Four, Avengers, X-Men), while the books with individual heroes were dialed into the existing titles, first as 12-page features nested into the mystery/suspense anthologies, and then as paired-hero books. Amazing Fantasy is where Spider-Man got his start, and then got his own book after only one issue. Journey into Mystery is where Thor started and the numbering remained intact after the title of the book changed to The Mighty Thor. Ant-Man started off in Tales to Astonish, a book that was eventually shared between the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner. Tales of Suspense featured Iron Man, and then rolled in the newly-thawed Captain America. In 1968, Marvel expanded its line. Tales of Suspense continued (retitled) with Captain America and Iron Man got a #1 issue, as did Sub-Mariner. Tales to Astonish was retitled and featured the Hulk.

During the rollout, Captain America and the Hulk got their first solo issues in the retitle Suspense and Astonish books, the month before Iron Man and Sub-Mariner got their new #1 issues. Consequently, in April 1968, the publication of a title with only one planned issue took place: Iron Man and Sub-Mariner. It’s an oddity in the history of comics, and I have a page from each of the two stories.

This is page 10 of the 12-page Iron Man story: a 4-way fight is in progress, between organized crime (the Maggia, and its super-villain Whiplash), the SHIELD law enforcement organization (and its agent, Jasper Sitwell), the tech-terrorists Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), and Iron Man. The Maggia has just set the ship into oscillations to prevent AIM from its looting spree, and AIM actives a counter-weapon that rocks the cruise ship.

No one was ever as good as Stan Lee in coming up with dramatic, literate, and alliterative titles for stories: “The Torrent Without — the Tumult Within”

I know for sure that this title sent the 9-year-old me to the dictionary to learn the meaning of the word “tumult” (and that may be as close as I will ever get to actually ever using the word “tumult” in a sentence, after seeing it and learning its meaning 50 years ago. Just for fun, I searched the ca. 2 TB of files on my hard drive, and I have never used the word “tumult” in a single document on my drive, although I did publish one paper with the word “tumultuous” in it, appearing once).