One Panel #212-214: A Nickel for Your Thoughts

While everything else cost a dime, Fawcett Comics put out a bold experiment in pricing: Nickel Comics! Why yes, it was about half the size of a regular comic back then, but you know, still half again the size of one of today's issues of a regular book. And because of the smaller size, it could come out more often (technically, it's still the same three ongoing strips, so a bigger monthly work load for their creators). Three issues found their way on the stands in May of 1940.
From "The Origin of Bulletman" by Bill Parker and John Smalle, Nickel Comics #1 (May 1940)

Bulletman is the strip we still remember today, as the character has appeared from time to time in the modern DCU, mostly notably in Power of Shazam during the 90s, and through Bulleteer, as a "member" of Grant Morrison's 7 Soldiers of Victory. In every day life, Bulletman is a Barry Allen type who developed his expertise in forensic ballistics as a teenager. Unable to get into the police force because of his slight build, he concocts a serum that destroys all the germs and poisons in the human body and unleashes one's true physical and mental potential, from which point it's really easy for him to create an anti-gravity helmet and turn himself into a superhero. The best thing about Golden Age superhero comics really is getting to synopsize the origin stories.

From Jungle Twins: "The Vengeance of Ali-Bekr" by Bill Parker and Sven Elven, Nickel Comics #2 (May 1940)

The second strip is Jungle Twins, about Bill Dale searching for his twin in the "unknown heart of Africa" looking for his twin brother Steve, who has become a jungle god to the natives. It's the kind of safari strip where you can expect the big white hunter to kill innocent elephants  and lots of cringe-worthy racism.

From Warlock the Wizard: "The Tenement Firebug", creative team unknown, Nickel Comics #3 (June 1940)
The third ongoing story a nickel twice monthly gets you is Warlock the Wizard, which sounds pretty redundant to me, and not just because of the name. By this point, there are a LOT of Mandrake types running around four-color comics. No real twists, he uses a magic wand with a fist at the end that turns into a giant animated hand, and a mystical lantern around his neck, to battle evil. Oh, and a talking raven called Hugin. Hugis looks nothing like a raven.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine