02/05/05
DC's "Other" Comics

American Comics Group

The American Comics Group was an obscure comics publisher whose main claim to fame was that it managed to hang on almost to the end of the sixties, never quite making the big time, but always having a few titles on the stands.  For most of this time it appeared to be a one man operation, staffed solely by editor Richard Hughes.  It's relationship to DC/National is also cloudy and controversial. A lot of the following information came from a series of articles Michael Vance wrote in the Comics Buyers' Guide and later collected into a book, Forbidden Adventures.  Some of it comes from  Men of Tommorrow by Gerard Jones.  And the usual gang of kibitizers from the Grand Comic Book Database (Steve Rowe, Michael Feldman, Jerry Bails, Robert Beerbohm) contributed information.  All opinions given are mine, however,  and probably can't be changed.  Factual errors will be thankfully corrected. Comments

 
   
1939
 
Fred Iger works for Robert Maxwell on the Superman radio program before going into the army.
   
1941
 
  Ben Sangor opens up a comic shop targetted to getting work in comic books for moonlighting animation artists working for the Fleisher Studios.  Richard Hughes (Leo Rosenbaum) was the editorial director. Material was supplied to Pines, DC, Rural Home and LaSalle.  Among the features created were the Black Terror by Richard Hughes and Dave Gabrielson and Fighting Yank by Hughes and Jon Blummer both featured in Ned Pines'  Nedor Comics line.  Ned Pines was Ben Sangor's son-in-law.
May Richard Hughes creates Fighting Yank for Pines' Startling Stories.
1942
Feb Richard Hughes creates theBlack Terror for Pines' America's Best Comics.
Oct Pines' Coo Coo Comics debuts featuring Richard Hughes' Super Mouse.
1943
Giggle 1 Oct  Ben Sangor decides to use the shop to publish his own comics under the Creston Publishing Co label, with Gerald and Andrew Albert as co-owners. They apparently have the paper allotment.  He gets funding from his old Gin Rummy partner, Harry Donenfeld.  Ha Ha and Giggle are their first titles. Eventually there would be many companies: including Creston, Michel, B & I and Best Syndicated Features. All would be distributed by Donenfeld's Independent News. Ha Ha 1
   
1944 
 
Gerald and Andrew Albert sell their interest in Creston to Harry Donenfeld (says Michael Vance).  Editor Richard Hughes begins soliciting material from a west coast group of animators headed by Jim Davis.  These same animators are supplying strips to DC. 
Mar The Duke and the Dope begins in Giggle Comics 6.
Jun  Superkatt by Dan Gordon begins in Giggle Comics 9. Also a Columbia Pictures cartoon series, although the only one I know of was made in 1947.  That's Superkatt on the cover of Giggle 26 to the right. Giggle 26
   
1945
 
Spr National offers Real Screen Comics, featuring the Columbia Animated Characters Fox and Crow. The material is provided by Creston's California shop headed by Jim Davis.  Fox and Crow is drawn by its creator Bob Wickersham. Hubie Karp is the main writer.
Topsy Turvy May  R. B Lefingwell's Topsy Turvy features the first appearance of Dan Gordon's Cookie.  It is unclear as to whether this should count as an ACG title.  Lefingwell was a "surrogate publisher" of comics only insofar as he had a war paper allotment that he could allocate for another publisher's use.
Aug First appearance Spencer Spook in Giggle Comics 21. by Hubie Karp and Ken Champin according to Ron Frantz. Spencer Spook- Giggle 57
   
1946
 
Fred Iger marries Sonia Donenfeld. He becomes business manager of American Comics Group.
Cookie 1 Apr  Cookie begins in his own comic from Michel (a Sangor Company). 55 issues.
   
1947
 
May TeePee Tim begins in Ha Ha 41.
Kilroys 1 Jun  The Kilroys 54 issues- advertised in National titles.
Jul  Hi-Jinx, a teen age funny animal comic, begins. 7 issues. Hi-Jinx 1
Dec  Moon Mullins  Six issues of newspaper reprints
   
1948 
 
  Sangor stops acting as a shop for other publishers.  .  ACG purchases its art directly from the artists.  Former middle- man, Jim Davis, goes to work directly for National, drawing Fox and Crow.

Business Manager  Fred Iger buys into the companies' ownership (per Steve Rowe).

Lovelorn 21 Aug  Lovelorn- 51 issues
Blazing West 3 Fall  Blazing West- 20 issues. Features Injun Jones, Tenderfoot, and Buffalo Belle

Adventures into the Unknown- 1st Horror comic? Most of the first and second issue were written by Frank Belknap Long (per Steve Rowe/Will Murray)

Adventures Into the Unknown 1
   
1949 
 
  Fred Iger listed on DC ownership statements from 1949-1961
Feb American Comics Group bullet begins appearing on covers.
Mar  Romantic Adventures 67 issues Romantic Adventures 2
Spy and Counterspy 1 Aug  Spy and Counterspy #1 features Jonathan Kent, Counterspy.
Sep  Funny Films- 29 issues. Featuring Puss An Boots,  Blunderbunny, Who Doodit and Alkali Ike. Funny Films 08
Spy Hunters 8 Dec  Spy Hunters #3 -24, formerly Spy and Counter-Spy.
   
1950 
 
Feb  Search for Love- 2 issues
Operation Peril 2 Oct  Operation Peril- 16 issues. Features the Time Travelers, Danny Danger by Leonard Starr and Typhoon Tyler.
Nov  Hooded Horseman intro in Blazing West 14 Blazing West 16
   
1951
 
Mar  Soldiers of Fortune- 13 issues: featuring Captain Crossbones by Sheldon Moldoff, Ace Carter and Lance Larson Soldiers of Fortune 4
Jun Leonard Furman becomes assistant editor and writer as recorded in Adv into the Unknown 20. First story 'The Raven Sisters". (appears in Out of the Night 3) Furman continued to work for them until Fall 1957.
Forbidden Worlds 1 Jul Forbidden Worlds 145 issues
1952
Out of the Night 1 Feb Out of the Night - 17 issues.

Hooded Horseman 21-27 (formerly Blazing West) featured work by Ogden Whitney and Leonard Starr.

Hooded Horseman 21
Sep  Dizzy Dames- with covers by Ogden Whitney. 6 issues. Introducing Moronica by Owen Fitzgerald, Knothead Nancy by Lynn Karp, and Screwball Sal by Brown and Gantz.

Skeleton Hand- 6 issues

 
1953
Ben Sangor dies.  Frances Sangor, his widow, is listed as co-owner for the next year.
Jun From the Committee on Evaluation of Comic Books report June 1953:  (supplied by Lee Randall)

B. & M. Distributing Co. 45 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y.; Dizzy Dames ,   Skeleton Hand

Best Syndicated Features, Inc., 45 East 45th Street, New York, N. Y.:   Adventures Into the Unknown , Romantic Adventures, Spy-Hunters , The   Kilroys. (This address must be wrong.)

Creston Publications, Inc., 45 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y.: Giggle Comics, Ha Ha Comics, Soldiers of Fortune.

Michel Publications, Inc., 45 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y.: CookieFunny Films, Lovelorn, Operation: Peril, The Hooded Horseman

Preferred Publications, Inc., 45 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y.: Forbidden  Worlds
 

   
1954 
 
Hooded Horseman 18 Jan  Hooded Horseman 18-20 (formerly Out of the Night).

Adventures into the Unknown 51 introduces a fake 3-D effect called TrueVision.

Adventures into the Unknown 51
Clutching Hand 1 Jul Commander Battle and the Atomic Sub- 7 issues by Kenneth Landau.

The Clutching Hand- one issue.

Commander Battle 4
   Aug  Last TrueVision Adventures into the Unknown.

Lovelorn becomes Confessions of the Lovelorn 52 thru 114 (6/60)

Confessions of the Lovelorn 58
 
 1955
 
cc Harry Donenfeld and Fred Iger buy out Frances Sangor's share of the company (per Steve Rowe).
Jan Adv into the Unknown 61- last pre code issue
Tee Pee Tim 100 Feb Young Heroes 35 replaces Forbidden Worlds- 3 issues

HaHa becomes TeePee Tim: Heap Funny Indian Boy 100-102

Young Heroes 35
Spencer Spook 100 May
 

Giggle becomes Spencer Spook for two issues 101-102

Jun Adv into the Unknown 63 returns, now with Comics Code approval.
Oct  Forbidden Worlds returns starting again with 35
   
 1956
Aug My Romantic Adventures 68 to 138 (3/64) adds My to original title
1957
Richard Hughes becomes sole writer for ACG, using hoards of pseudonyms, fake pictures and fake biographies to give the  impression of a large staff of contributors. Only one story after this date is known not to actually have been written by Hughes.
1958
Herbie in Forbidden Worlds 73 Dec "Herbie's Quiet Saturday Afternoon" appears in Forbidden Worlds 73, by Richard Hughes (Shane O'Shea) and Ogden Whitney.
1960
Aug Unknown Worlds- 57 issues unknownworlds01
 
1961
Midnight Mystery 1 Jan Midnight Mystery- 7 issues
Mar "Herbie and the Spirits" in Forbidden Worlds 94
Dec Herbie appears in "1000 Years Ago in 1962"  in Unknown Worlds 20.
 
1962
Jan John Force, Magic Agent- 3 issues. Art by Paul Reinman Magic Agent 1
Somewhere around here Fred Iger and Sonia Donnefeld get a divorce and Fred later marries Irwin Donenfeld's, ex-wife Arlene.
 
1963
Mar Herbie in Forbidden Worlds 110
Forbidden Worlds 114 Sep  First Herbie Cover: Forbidden Worlds 114
Oct
Nov  2nd Herbie cover Forbidden Worlds 116 Forbidden Worlds 116
1964
Herbie 1 Apr Herbie gets his own comic.  Herbie went on to win Comics Fandom's Alley Award as Best Humor Comic of 1964 and 1965.
   
1965
 
Jan  Magicman debuts in Forbidden Worlds 125 by Chic Stone Forbidden Worlds 125
Adventures Into The Unknown 154 Feb  Nemesis begins in Adventures into the Unknown 154 by Pete Costanza

February, 1965 Harry Donenfeld dies after a long illness. 

Mar  Herbie becomes a super-hero in "Make Way for the Fat Fury."  Herbie 8. Herbie 8
Herbie 14 Dec  ACG's three "heroes" "team-up" for the only time in Herbie 14.
   
1966
 
Sonia Iger now listed as Sonia Mondschein on National's Statements of Ownership.
Jul Nemesis meets Magicman in Forbidden Worlds 136.  Of course they already met six months ago. Forbidden Worlds 136
Sep  Last Nemesis in Adv into the Unknown 168.
Last Magicman in Forbidden Worlds 138.
1967
Feb last Herbie (23)
Mar  Gasp 4 issues Gasp 1
Aug  Last Gasp 4. 
Last Forbidden Worlds 145.
Last Unknown Worlds 57.
Last Adventures into the Unknown 174.
Bibliography