One Panel #145-147: Feature, Smash, and Flash!

The superhero explosion is about to begin. The stands in November 1939 would have included the first of Archie's superheroes, the Shield and the Comet, in Pep Comics #1 at this time, the Arrow was featured on the cover of Centaur's Funny Pages #34, Quality's Feature Comics (below) would finally debut a superhero, and the company we think of as DC Comics today would launch a new series headed by two of its most enduring legacies (also below). Other companies had superheroes on their covers that month too, including Fox, Harvey, and Timely/Marvel.
From  "The Origin of Hawkman" by Gardner Fox and Dennis Neville, Flash Comics #1 (January 1940)

DILEMMA! Flash Comics #1 introduces both the Jay Garrick Flash AND the Carter Hall Hawkman, and despite the title, we'll normally see the two heroes alternate on the cover. Well, with all due respect to Harry Lampert, his art is pretty primitive and Hawkman offers a better visual in his first outing. The issue also introduces Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt, and the Whip! The heroic age has begun in earnest (I just wish the Whip had been a bigger part of the Golden Age than Johnny, y'know?).

From "Meet the Dollman" by Will Eisner and Jerry Iger, Feature Comics #27 (December 1939)

Over at Quality Comics, the first of the heroes who form the Freedom Fighters at DC premieres: Doll Man! Hey, you know I love diminutive superheroes!

From Hugh Hazzard and his Iron Man: "The Emerald of Erin" by George E. Brenner, Smash Comics #6 (January 1940)

Over in Smash Comics, the Iron Man and Hooded Justice are still the only "super-heroes" in sight, and they never became household names. Well, not THAT Iron Man anyway



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