One Panel #431-432: Quality Quarterlies

From "Phantom Swordsman" by John Cassone, Doll Man Quarterly #1 (September 1941)

While anthology series keep running monthly, the success of quarterly series that feature the most popular heroes - Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel Adventures, etc. - is spawning more. August 1941 would have been a very pricey month for comics readers of their day, as in addition to their usual monthly purchases, they would have been tempted with issues of All-Flash Quarterly, All-Star Comics, Batman, Bulletman, Superman, World's Finest Comics, and... two new Quarterly series from Quality Comics!

So who ARE the two heroes to spring out of their respective anthologies and thus stake a claim as Quality's most popular heroes? The first is Doll Man, believe it or not. The other is..

From "The Steel Helmets" by Will Eisner, Dan Zolnerowich and Lou Fine, Uncle Sam Quarterly #1 (September 1941)

...Uncle Sam! Well, let's just say he's got good branding going for him. And look how popular he is judging from that panel!

Now, the thing about spinning a character off into his own series which will feature several stories is that you are divorcing him from his usual writer/artist. Doll Man over in the Feature Comics was, up to that point, mostly drawn by Lou Fine, John Celardo or Reed Randall, but it's really a revolving door. In the Quarterly, John Cassone is all over the map. The first story is strong, but the closer you get to the end, the worse the stories look. They're certainly not all of Quality's usual standard. It may not even be him, given how many artists used studios at the time, and stories are uncredited and unsigned. Uncle Sam Quarterly is the superior product, with Will Eisner writing the whole thing and keeping a hand on the most of the art well. With front pieces before each story, and lots of neat extras, it feels like a Bronze Age Treasury Edition, and basically improves on National Comics' Uncle Sam stories.



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