One Panel #318-320: Having Your Own Title in the Golden Age

Now launching into books that were on the stands in January of 1941...
From "Out West" by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby and Dick Briefer, Captain Marvel Adventures #1 (1941)

Having your own book in the Golden Age was a rare thing. At the close of 1940, only the following characters had their own book: Batman and Superman (National), Buck Rogers (Eastern Color), Green Hornet (Holyoke), Blue Beetle, Samson, the Green Mask and the Flame (Fox), Donald Duck , Little Orphan Any and Dick Tracy (Dell), and Captain America and Human Torch (Timely). Flash Comics was NOT all-Flash, and other headliners (like Blue Bolt at Novelty or Amazing-Man, the Arrow, the Masked Marvel and Fantoman at Centaur) had to share their comic with other strips. Even the Shadow had to share (Street and Smith).

As 1941 dawned, Fawcett decided to go that route with their cash cow, Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel Adventures would last 150 issues (through 1953) where he could stretch his wings and do such things as (in the first issue alone) fly rocketships to other planets, fight vampires and some guy named "Z", and... ride a horse? It happened! Evidence above! And look at that byline! Simon and Kirby! (They did the whole issue!)

From "Joe Gatson, Racketeer" by Jerry Siegel, Paul Cassidy and the Shuster Shop, Superman #9 (March 1941)

Of course the first future DC star to get his own book was Superman, whose adventures were much more tame. I see that he was trying out a new S-shield at this point.

From "Blackbeard's Crew and the Yacht Society" by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, George Roussos and Jerry Robinson, Batman #4 (December 1940)

Batman #4 establishes that we're in Gotham City. Seminal issue! It almost makes it clear that Batman doesn't kill, and certainly doesn't use guns. Paradigm shift! And then the Bat-plane turns into a Bat-boat, and Batman fights sharks and pirates, so you know this is important comics.


Brendoon said...

A great post, teacher!
Thanks fer the info once again.


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