One Panel #150: What the Heck Is DOUBLE Action Comics?

From Dr. Occult: "Vampire Venom" by Siegel & Shuster, Double Action Comics #2 (January 1940) originally printed in More Fun Comics #28 (January 1938)

DOUBLE Action? What is this? No one is absolutely sure. There's no known #1, there may never have been. It contains black and white reprints from More Fun #28-29. Most people think it's an ashcan, the kind of book you print just to send to the Library of Congress for copyright purposes, though the fact copies exist in the marketplace means that at least a small print run did make it to the stands (ashcans don't normally have color covers as this does). Rights secured or not, National/DC never ended up using the title, and nothing within its covers is new. Another theory is that the publisher was floating the concept of black and white reprints; would it sell? And with no superheroes, despite the success of both Superman and Bat-Man at the time? Seems strange.

I've also read there was a pulp magazine line called Double Action Magazines that DC/National might have been going after, owned by Louis Silberkleit whose better-known publishing endeavor was Archie Comics, which earlier that year had launched its own superhero comics. Could this be the same kind of super-dickery that gave Fawcett so much (soon to come) trouble over Captain Marvel? A couple of months later, Archie, the known as MLJ, actually did advertise as the Double Action Comics Group, but never went so far as using the brand on comics covers. Archie even toyed with resurrecting the Double Action trademark in 2010.

But it's all speculation, and we may never know for sure.



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