01/19/09


 


1937-45

Comments

 

1835-1936

1956-1959

1966-1969

1976-1979

 1986-1989

1996-1999

1937-1945

1960-1965

1970-1975

1980-1985

 1990-1995

2000-2005

1946-1955

 Piranha

DC's "other" comics

Vertigo

Paradox


 

 

 

1937

 

 

Jan

New Comics renamed New Adventure Comics (#12).  Siegel and Shuster slip a science fiction story starring a character named Jor-L into their Federal Men feature.

 

 

Feb

Harry A. Chesler begins Star Comics and Star Ranger Funnies.  The newsstands are starting to get crowded.

 

 

Mar

Nicholson's new printer, Harry Donenfeld, finances a new title for him.  Detective Comics is published by Detective Comics Inc.,  co-owned by Wheeler-Nicholson and Donenfeld's business manager,  Jack Liebowitz, and edited by Nicholson, Vin Sullivan and Whitney Ellsworth.  Siegel and Shuster have two features in the book, Slam Bradley and Bart Regan, Spy.

They are joined by Speed Saunders and Cosmo, Phantom of Disguise.
 

 

Apr

Independent News, Harry Donenfeld and Paul Sampliner's upstart distribution company, takes over Wheeler-Nicholson's distribution from McCall's (SM), beginning with Detective Comics 2.   New Adventure 16 and  More Fun Comics 21 follow in June.

 

June

New Book Of Comics begins- all reprints. Sold through Woolworth's.

 

 

Oct

Everett "Busy" Arnold, former printer of the Cook-Mahon line, starts his own comics line, the Quality Comics Group with Feature Funnies.

 

 

Dec

Wheeler-Nicholson puts together a black and white "ashcan" proposal for Action Comics, using interiors from Detective Comics #1.

December 30, 1937 Bankruptcy proceeding brought against Nicholson Publishing by Donny Press, World Color Press and Photochrome.  Abraham Menin appointed trustee

 

 

 

1938

 

 

Jan

Wheeler-Nicholson puts together a second ashcan, Action Funnies.

 

 

Mar

New Adventure 25 and More Fun 30 and 31 are published by A. I. Menin as bankruptcy trustee.

Whitney Ellsworth leaves to pursue new opportunities in Hollywood (like actually getting paid).

 

 

Apr

Detective Comics, Inc. moves from 432 Fourth Avenue to 480 Lexington Avenue, as Wheeler-Nicholson's name disappears from the masthead.  Vin Sullivan is now sole editor.

 

 

May

Jack Liebowitz acquires More Fun (32) and New Adventure Comics (26) for Detective Comics, Inc. at a bankruptcy auction. 

Bob Kane's Rusty and His Pals debuts in New Adventure.  His Ginger Snap debuts in More Fun 31.

Whitman/Western launches its first title: Super Comics

 

Jun

Sheldon Mayer and Charlie Gaines bring Superman to Vin Sullivan as a new feature for Action Comics.  All four titles are now published by Detective Comics Inc.  Donenfeld eventually buys out Wheeler-NIcholson's share of the company in return for ten year's royalties on the sales of More Fun. (Although this is disputed by Wheeler-Nicholson's family in Alter Ego #88).

 

 

Sep

Detective Comics 23's Statement of Ownership, dated Sept 1938 states that Harry Donenfeld is now sole owner of Detective Comics Inc.

 

 

Oct

Jim Chambers' Crimson Avenger becomes the first masked mystery man to appear in Detective Comics.

 

 

Nov

New Adventure Comics renamed Adventure Comics (#32)

 

 

1939

 

 

Jan

Superman newspaper strip begins.  Siegel negotiates the contract and then brings it to Detective. First complete origin of Superman  showing Jor-El and Lara.

 

 

 

 

 

Apr

Charlie Gaines goes into partnership with Jack Liebowitz to produce new comic book titles. All-American Comics and Movie Comics begin, edited by Sheldon Mayer. All-American is mostly strip reprints, but does feature Mayer's Scribbly and Jon Blummer's Hop Harrigan.  Many of the strips were formerly featured in The Funnies and other Dell titles that Gaines and Mayer had produced, including Ben Webster, Reg'lar Fellers, Believe It or Not, Skippy and Mutt and Jeff.

Movie Comics features short movie adaptations with photo heads pasted over cartoon bodies.  Yuchh!  It fails after 6 issues.

 

 

New York World's Fair Comics is published exclusively at the Fair Grounds for $.25.  Later issued at newsstands for $.15.  The first issue features many of Detective Comics' top characters including Superman and the new Sandman.

 

 

May

Bob Kane is asked to create a new super-hero to capitalize on success of Superman.  With help of Bill Finger he comes up with Batman who first appears in Detective Comics #27.

Fox Comics publishes the only adventure of Wonder Man in Wonder Comics #1.  Donenfeld and Liebowitz immediately secure an  injunction  preventing Fox from using Wonderman again as an infringement on Detective Comics' Superman.

 

Jul

Bert Christman's Sandman begins in Adventure 40.

The Crimson Avenger's first run ends in Detective 29.

The Black Bat appears in Black Book Detective, a pulp magazine published by Standard and edited by Mort Weisinger.  Whitney Ellsworth is one of the early ghosts who signs to the name G. Wayman Jones.  The Black Bat is a caped and cowled avenger of the night.  After fevered negotiations between Ellsworth and Sullivan, the two companies agree not to sue each other.

 

Sum

Gaines decides to put out a Mutt and Jeff collection.  Purportedly Mutt and Jeff becomes his best selling title.

 

 

Superman one shot album published, reprinting the first four Action stories. It goes back to press twice and sells so well a regular book is scheduled.

 

 

Sept

More Fun Comics 51 Statement of Ownership lists Harry Donenfeld and Paul Sampliner as owners of Detective Comics, Inc, as of September 1939.

 

 

Nov

Superman Sunday strip added.  First appearance of the Daily Planet. 

Bill Finger writes a two page origin of Batman which is pasted on to the beginning of Gardner Fox's story in Detective 33. 

 

 

 

1940

 

Jan

1/40-Vin Sullivan leaves Detective Comics in a dispute over royalties for New York World's Fair.  Whitney Ellsworth returns and becomes editor.

Gaines and Liebowitz replace Movie Comics with Flash Comics  (AA).  Gardner Fox creates the Flash and Hawkman, John Wentworth creates Johnny Thunder and the Whip.

In an experiment, Double Action Comics #2 is released to New York City newsstands only. The book is all black and white reprints from early issues of More Fun Comics.  What exactly the publishers were trying to find out is unclear, but no more black and white comics were published. Double Action is the rarest DC comic of all,  with only 7 known copies in existence.  No copies of a Double Action #1, if there ever was such a book, are known to exist.

Feb

The Adventures of Superman radio show begins, produced by former Spicy pulp writer Robert Maxwell and Alan Ducovny.  First appearance of Perry White. 

Jerry Siegel's Spectre debuts in More  Fun 52, with art by Bernard Baily.

Fawcett puts out first Captain Marvel in Whiz 2.

 

Mar

Ken Fitch's Hourman begins in Adventure 48 with art by Bernard Baily.

c. Whitney Ellsworth hires Murray Boltinoff to be associate editor of Detective Comics.

Crimson Avenger returns to the pages of Detective Comics 37, now written and drawn by Jack Lehti.

 

 

Apr

Robin debuts in Detective 38.   The addition of a young boy to the strip, allows greater reader identification from the young audience, and propels the strip to new heights of popularity.

"A DC Publication" bullet appears for the first time.

Luthor first appears in Action 23 and  Superman 4.

Jimmy Olsen 1st appears on Superman radio show.

 

May

Gardner Fox's Dr. Fate begins in More Fun 55, with art by Howard Sherman.

 

 

Jun

Batman starts own title.  The Joker and Catwoman are introduced.  One story is a pre-Robin leftover from Detective (DC).

 

Jul

All-American Comics #16 features the first appearance of Martin Nodell and Bill Finger's Green Lantern.

All-Star Comics begins (1st issue co-published by DC and AA, after that just AA).  Features two strips each from Adventure, More Fun, Flash and All-American.  Based on the success of New York World's Fair.

 

 

Aug

 

 

 

Sep

Roy the Superboy, a name which must have incensed Superman Inc,  first appears in MLJ's Top-Notch #8

Western Printing, in conjunction with Dell, issues the first comic book devoted to the Warner Bros. cartoon properties, Looney Tunes, featuring Porky, Bugs, Daffy and the rest of the gang.

 

 

Oct

The Atom by Bill O'Connor and Ben  Flinton.begins in All-American Comics #19.

Crimson Avenger finally joins the superhero age when he drops the hat and cloak in favor of the new-fangled long johns. Detective Comics 44.

Detective/All-American introduce an Editorial Review board of celebrities and educators who claim to review all of the publishers' comics to make sure they are "clean and wholesome."

Mickey Mouse Magazine becomes Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, now distributed by Dell.

 

 

Nov

Ma Hunkle becomes the Red Tornado in Sheldon Mayer's Scribbly strip  in All-American 20.

 

 

1941

 

 

 

Ted Udall becomes assistant editor at All-American Comics.

 

 

Jan

All-Star Comics #3 First app of the Justice Society of America.  At the behest of the President, Atom, Dr. Fate, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hourman, Sandman and the Spectre gather to fight the enemies of America.  Johnny Thunder and Red Tornado guest star.

 

 

Feb

 

 

 

Mar

3/28/41 Adventures of Captain Marvel movie serial from Republic Pictures.

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby create Captain America for Martin Goodman's Timely Comics, becoming two of comics early super-stars by plastering their names on every story.

 

Apr

World's Best Comics begins (DC) 100 pages for $.15 featuring Superman, Batman, Sandman and many others.  On sale Feb 10.

Chuck Reizenstein's Dr. Mid-Nite begins in All-American 25 with art by Stan Aschmeir.  Jack Burnley's Starman begins in Adventure 61.

 

 

 

May

John Wentworth's Sargon the Sorceror begins in All-American 26, with art by Howard Purcell.

Independent News adds its distributor symbol (the initials IND) to the covers of Action Comics and soon follows with all its comics.

 

 

Jun

Detective Comics, Inc. sends Fawcett a cease and desist letter over Captain  Marvel.

Whit Ellsworth hires Mort Weisinger to be associate editor of Detective Comics Inc. and puts him in charge of Batman and More Fun.  Murray Boltinoff is in charge of Adventure.  Ellsworth handles Superman himself.

 

 

Jul

World's Best Comics renamed World's Finest Comics with #2. On sale May 16. 

All-Flash Comics begins (AA).  First AA character to win his own title.

 

 

Sum

Dick Sprang begins drawing Batman stories which are stockpiled in case  Bob Kane is drafted.

Quality Comics debuts Chuck Cuidera's Blackhawk in Military Comics #1 and Jack Cole's Plastic Man in Police Comics #1.

 

 

Sep

Detective Comics, Inc. files legal action against Fawcett for copyright  infringement.

Sep 26, 1941 Fleisher Studios Superman cartoons begin.

Mort Weisinger's Johnny Quick begins in More Fun 71.  Jerry Siegel's Star Spangled Kid is previewed in Action 40.

 

 

Oct

Star Spangled Comics begins (DC) featuring Jerry Siegel's Star Spangled Kid, Tarantula, Captain X and Armstrong of the Army.  Two to three Star Spangled Kid stories in the early issues.

Weisinger continues his revamp of More Fun Comics, as Doctor Fate changes to a half-helmet and begins to spend more time punching and kicking than casting magic spells in More Fun 72.

 

 

Nov

Green Lantern gets his own title (AA).

Bullet changed to "A Superman-DC Publication".

Mort Weisinger's Aquaman (art by Paul Norris) and Green Arrow (art by George Papp) begin in More Fun 73. His Vigilante begins in Action Comics 42 with art by Mort Meskin.

Dec

Jerry Siegel's Percival Popp the Super Cop joins the Spectre in More Fun 74. Sandy the Golden Boy joins Sandman in Adventure 69. New yellow and purple costume with cape by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris.

All-Star Comics #8 features an extra 8 pages to preview  Wonder  Woman.  Starman and Sandman join the JSA.

France Herron and Mac Raboy's Captain Marvel Jr debuts in Master Comics 21 from Fawcett.

 

 

 

1942

 

 

 

Fawcett's Spy Smasher gets his own movie serial from Republic Pictures.

Sol Harrison, formerly of Strauss Photoengraving, become art director of All-American Comics.

 

Jan

Leading Comics begins (DC) featuring the 7 Soldiers of Victory,  heroes from Action, Adventure, Detective and Star Spangled featured in one story.

Sensation Comics begins (AA).  Psychologist William Moulton Marston creates Wonder Woman, whose first appearance was actually in All-Star 8.  Harry G. Peter draws.  Other features include Bill Finger's Wildcat (art by Irwin Hasen) and Little Boy Blue (art by Jon Blummer), and Chuck Reizenstein's Mr. Terrific (art by Hal Sharpe).

The Crimson Avenger's aide Wing adopts his own costume in Detective 59.

 

 

Feb

Mort Weisinger's Airwave debuts in Detective 60 with art by Lee Harris.

 

 

Mar

Green Arrow takes over the cover of More Fun.with 77.

 

 

Apr

In a contract disupute with Goodman, Simon and Kirby leave and sign with Detective Comics. They take over Sandman and create Manhunter in Adventure 73. Newsboy Legion begins in Star-Spangled 7.

Jerry Siegel's Robotman begins in the same issue, with art by the Shuster shop (Nowak and Cassidy).  These are the last new super-hero strips published by DC/All-American in the Golden Age.

Jun

Simon and Kirby's Boy Commandos begins in Detective 64. Their first cover appearance is on Detective 65, a Kirby/Robinson collaboration.

 

 

Aug

Al Bester and Stan Kaye's Genius Jones, the Answer Man begins in  Adventure 77.

8/31 Hop Harrigan, America's Ace of the Airwaves begins on the Blue Network.  Runs through 2/6/48.

 

 

Sep

Wonder Woman is awarded her own title in record time (AA).

 

Oct

Picture Stories from the Bible (AA) begins.  Bible stories illustrated by  Don Cameron (not the Superman/ Batman writer).  First four issues  feature the Old Testament.  Bullet says "A DC publication" rather than "A  Superman DC publication".  The issues are copyrighted by M.C. Gaines, personally, rather than one of the corporations belonging to the All-American group.

10/16/42 Terrytoons releases "The Mouse of Tomorrow", the first Super Mouse cartoon.  By his third appearance his name had been changed to Mighty Mouse.  Coo Comics from Nedor, cover dated October but released at  least two months earlier, also features a character called Super Mouse.  Mighty Mouse wouldn't get his own comic until 1946.

 

 

Dec

Boy Commandos graduate to their own title (DC).

Comic Cavalcade begins (AA).  A 100 page title in the World's Finest format, dedicated to the AA characters and featuring Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern on each cover.  Other features vary widely from issue to issue.

Otto Binder and Marc Swayze's Mary Marvel first appears in Captain Marvel Adventures 18 from Fawcett.

 

 

 

1943

 

 

 

Lassie Come Home is released as an MGM film starring Roddy McDowell and Elizabeth Taylor.  Six more movies and a radio show (1946-49) follow.

 

 

Jan

Superman 20 contains an announcement that Mort Weisinger and Murray Boltinoff are now in the military.  Jack Schiff, with Bernie Breslauer (another alumnus of the Standard pulps), edits all the Superman/Detective Comics titles for the duration of the war.

Jack Schiff's first story appears in Worlds Finest 8

c. Dorothy Roubichek is a story editor at All-American Comics.  She leaves for Timely in 1944.  She would return to National as a full editor in the late sixties/early seventies under the name Dorothy Woolfolk.  Larry Nadle also becomes a story editor at All-American at this time.

 

 

Feb

Hourman ends Adventure 83, replaced by Mike Gibbs, Guerrilla

 

Apr 

Alfred first appears in Batman 16.  The character was created for the movie serial.

All books cut to 60 pages due to wartime paper restrictions.  With issue All-Star 20, two JSAers lose their solo chapters due to the page cuts.  First, Sandman and Dr. Fate axed.  Then, Atom and Spectre left out of 21.  After that Sandman and Dr. Fate are gone altogether.
 

 

 

Jun

Adventure becomes bi-monthly with 86. More Fun with 92. Many books cut back to bimonthly or quarterly. All-American becomes 8 times a year.

Kryptonite first appears on the Adventures of Superman radio show.  The concept is based on an unpublished Superman story by Jerry Siegel.

The King dropped from Flash Comics 42 due to page cuts.

World's Finest cut to 92 pages with issue 10.
Comic Cavalcade cut to 92 pages with issue 3.
 

 

 

Jul

July 16, 1943 Batman movie serial appears, starring Lewis Wilson as Batman and J. Carrol Naish as Dr Daka.

Superman 23 contains the first Superman story not written by Jerry Siegel, who has been drafted.  Although Siegel continues to send in scripts throughout the war, most stories are written by other writers, primarily Don Cameron and Bill Finger.

Sargon dropped from All-American with 51 due to page cuts.

 

 

Aug

Spy dropped from Detective78 and TNT dropped from Star Spangled 24 due to page cuts.

 

 

Oct

October 25, 1943- Batman daily comic strip begins.  Bob Kane contributes almost no art to the comic books after this point, which are primarily handled by Dick Sprang and Jerry Robinson.

Al Bester creates the classic "In brightest day, In blackest nIght" oath in Green Lantern #9.

 

Nov

Whitney Ellsworth and Henry Boltinoff's Dover and Clover begins in  More Fun 94.

 

 

Dec

Picture Stories from the Bible-Complete Old Testament (AA) 50  cents, 232 pages.  Reprints all 4 earlier issues.

 

 

 

 

1944

 

Jan 

All Funny Comics begins (DC- but no DC bullet on cover. Tilsam is listed as the publisher.  Tilsam formerly published a cheesecake magazine called Real Screen Fun that was apparently shut down by the postal authorities.  Possibly this publisher was used because they still had a paper allocation.)  Edited by Whitney Ellsworth and Bernie Breslauer.  Hayfoot Henry and Buzzy begin.  Genius Jones, Dover and Clover, and Penniless Palmer move in from Adventure, More Fun and Star Spangled.

 

 


Feb

Science fiction agent Julie Schwartz interviews with Sheldon Mayer for a job as an editor at All-American (replacing Dorothy Roubichek).

 

 

Apr

World's Finest cut to 84 pages.
Comic  Cavalcade cut to 84 pages with issue 6.

Roy the Superboy makes his final appearance in Shield-Wizard #13. 

 

 

May

May 8, 1944 Wonder Woman comic strip begins. Runs until August  1945.

 

 

Jun

Gil Kane takes over Sandman as ghost for Jack Kirby in Adventure 92.

 

 

Jul 

Sheldon Mayer's Funny Stuff begins (AA), introducing the Three Mouseketeers, McSnurtle the Turtle, The Terrific Whatsit, Bulldog Drumhead and many others.

 

Aug 

With issue 99 More Fun drops to 52 pages, as do all the other DC titles. Dr. Fate ends.  Other features that get the ax due to the page cut are Manhunter in Adventure 93, Crimson Avenger in Detective 90, Scribbly in All-American 60 (and Atom in 62), Americommando in Action 75,  and The Whip in Flash 56.

 

 

Dec

Alvin Schwartz and George Storm's Buzzy begins (DC) from All Funny.  A teen age strip ostensibly set in the present, it looks suspiciously like the Jazz Age, but that doesn't stop the book for lasting over 10 years.

Gaines releases  Big All-American Comic Book and Ed Wheelan's Joke Book through surrogate publisher William H. Wise.  Wise was a publisher which had large paper allocations and licensed material from others to produce comics in the almost fail proof market caused by paper rationing

 

 

1945

 

Jan 

Superboy begins in More Fun Comics 101, hidden in the back, with nary so much as a cover mention.  The first adventure is written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Joe Shuster, but the publisher does not include the Siegel and Shuster by-line that graces their other work.  Although Don Cameron takes over as writer with the second story, Shuster continues to provide the artwork.  When Siegel returns from military service, he files suit against Detective Comics, claiming they used his story without credit or remuneration.

(Apparently, Detective originally intended to issue a Superboy comic book, but decided against it and used More Fun as a dumping spot for the completed pages.  The feature was an unexpected success. Siegel's original Superboy script featured young Clark Kent doing super-feats sans costume.  A last minute art change added 2 pictures of Superboy in costume- the splash and the last panel.)

Gaines publishes Picture Stories from American History #1. First comic attributed to Educational Comics Inc.

 

 

Feb

All-American Comics splits away and begins using AA symbol on covers, beginning with All-Flash 17, Sensation 38, Comic Cavalcade 9, Flash 62, Green Lantern 14, Funny Stuff 3, and Mutt and Jeff 16.

Superman meets Batman on the radio show for the first time (though they met in All-Star #8). 

Joe Kubert draws Hawkman for the first time in Flash 62.

 

Apr

Starman and Spectre dropped from the JSA in All-Star 24.  From now,  on only AA heroes appear in the book.

 

May 

Whitney Ellsworth goes to Hollywood and comes back with the rights to the Columbia cartoons. Real Screen Comics begins (DC), produced by the Sangor Comic Shop. Fox and Crow, DC's longest running and most successful humor strip begins.

Bob Kanigher begins at AA, writing Wonder Woman stories for  Sensation Comics.
 

 

 

Jun 

Comic Cavalcade cut to 76 pages with issue 11.

 

 

Aug

Leading Comics 15 converts to a funny animal comic. Edited by Bernie Breslauer, it's DC's first in-house animal book.   Features Nero Fox (Ed Dunn?), Spylot Bones (Otto Feuer) and King Oscar's Court (Rube Grossman)

 

Sep

World's Finest cut to 76 pages with 19.

 

 

Fall

With the end of the war, drafted cartoonists begin returning to look for their old jobs back.  Many are not successful.  Mort Weisinger and Murray Boltinoff return to editorial positions at DC, but find themselves now working for Jack Schiff.  Simon and Kirby sign a new contract with Harvey and do not return to DC, but Kirby continues to produce new art sporadically for the Boy Commandos on a free lance basis.

 

 

 

Oct

Oct 1, 1945 The War Production Board lifts the ban on production of television sets for commercial use.

 

 

 

Nov

The All-American titles issued this month have blank spaces in the indicia where M. C. Gaines' name is supposed to be.  Gaines has sold his half of the company to Detective Comics, Inc sometime prior to  September 25, 1945.  There was just barely time to scrape his name off the books but not to replace the AA symbol on the cover.

 

 

Dec

The All-American titles once again bear the DC symbol, starting with  Sensation 48, and Flash 68. 

Superman vs. the Atom Man is a spectacular serial running well over a month on the Superman radio show.  Atom Man is a kryptonite powered Nazi who battles Superman to a collossal airborne climax, in what some have called the "Greatest Superman story ever, in any medium."

 

 

 Bibliography

 


 

All characters and artwork copyright by DC Comics Inc.