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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Thanks to Nik Poliwko for allowing us to run his totally appropriate to this blog Christmas card! Check out more of Nik's impressive and amazing illustrations at

Adventure Comics # 48, March, 1940

 This issue marks the debut of HOURMAN, known at the time as The Hour Man aka "Tick-Tock Tyler" the Hour-Man. Created by Ken Fitch with Bernard Baily, a man who will be a longtime presence in the industry, this newest masked (or in this case hooded) hero's gimmick was that his secret pill, Miraclo, gave him super-strength for only one hour. Many of these early stories actually featured countdown clocks showing when the reader could expect the powers to run out. The character would become a major player in the early JSA stories and was revived on a low level in the sixties.

 SANDMAN still had the lovely Ogden Whitney art.
 Lost in the debut of the new superhero this issue was this new humor strip, THE DIDDLE FAMILY, by Paul Gustavson.

Friday, December 23, 2011

****EXTRA**** Recolored Adventure 73

Recently, we ran the original art for the still-upcoming ADVENTURE COMICS # 73. Here we present it again, alongside its published version and a brand new, cleaned up and recolored version from cartoonist/writer and former CRACKED editor, Mort Todd (seen here by permission). With that number 72 on a signpost, as well as the pasted over "73" on the original below, one has to wonder of, in fact, this might originally have been intended to run an issue earlier than it did.

Adventure Comics # 47, February, 1940

 Some highlights from this issue, the last with Sandman as the sole "super" hero.
 A new one page feature.
 Apparently no one had any idea who was actually drawing FEDERAL MEN at this point as it's now credited solely to writer Jerry Siegel.
 Speaking of Jerry Siegel, he also created THIS guy who appears in a tiny ad on a page of non-house ads.

 By now, each of DC's regular magazines had at least one headlining masked, caped or super-powered comics character. Note ULTRA MAN, the forgotten man in all of this. The closest thing one might say that he had to a Silver Age revival might be said to be ADAM STRANGE. But not VERY close. Soon enough, ALL-AMERICAN would get its iconic hero.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Adventure Comics # 46, January, 1940

THE SANDMAN gets his fourth cover. He'll get the next one, too, before being upstaged by THE HOUR MAN. Even then, the title had one more generic "adventure" cover before going all superhero for the next few hundred issues on the cover. 

THE SANDMAN strip itself, with Bert Christman by now in uniform, was signed this issue by Ogden Whitney and features some effective, moody work from that unsung artist.
 With Hawkman and Superman being promoted in the house ads by this point, the age of the superhero had arrived and there would be little to slow it down over the next few years as many of the other genres took a distinct back seat or faded from comic books all together.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adventure Comics # 45, December, 1939

As we near the end of the Thirties, the masked, caped and/or super-powered crimefighter is now firmly established as a selling point that separates comic books from their comic strip roots. It's been a year and a half since SUPERMAN and already DC and a number of other companies have created competition in the hero department.
 Another great logo for THE SANDMAN as well as a couple of panels from this issue.

 Bob Kane's name was still appearing on a number of these humorous fillers at DC but that would not last long. Kane's name would continue to be the sole credit appearing on BATMAN for another 25 years, much to the detriment of co-creator Bill Finger and in spite of the fact that Kane had less and less to do with the strip as time went by.
By this point the regular strips still appearing were:
And finally they were all in color, too!

And here's the back of the issue ad for the next great DC comic book--FLASH COMICS. Like all comics at the time, it would be an anthology comic. In spite of the title, the debuting hero, THE FLASH, was not necessarily meant to be the star. In fact, HAWKMAN--or THE HAWK MAN as it says here, got much of the cover time. When the Flash became popular, he was given his OWN title: ALL-FLASH.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Adventure Comics # 44, November, 1939

Another Flessel cover spotlighting The Sandman. Terrible scans again this issue, Im afraid but note the cool logo for the series. Pretty sure this is its only appearance, though.
FEDERAL MEN is still rolling off of Jerry Siegel's typewriter but Mart Bailey is now signing it and it has a very different look.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Adventure Comics # 43, October, 1939

 Looks like the mail is starting to come in on THE SANDMAN by this point because he's appearing up above the title. Oddly enough, this issue's story is yet another atypical one placing this very urban hero on a tropical isle and wearing a very different, albeit temporary look.

 Below is Steve Carson, star of FEDERAL MEN, by this point credited to Wayne Boring but looking for all the world as though he's been drawn by Bill Everett, ay that time busy creating the Sub-Mariner! Was Boring an influence on early Everett art?
Fred Schwab's BUTCH THE PUP was actually popular enough to be featured in the book as well as on the cover of the recent NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR COMICS.

 COTTON CARVER this issue is credited to Ogden Whitney, later to become the artist on the cult favorite HERBIE series for ACG in the sixties.
 Again in this ad, one sees the popularity of THE SANDMAN. This special one-shot (although a 2nd issue would come out the following year) stayed on sale for months and most likely raked in the money as the Fair was so amazingly popular. Perhaps that's why, as they say in this ad, they could afford to actually LOWER the price!
 Finally, this issue's back cover presents the first of the seemingly ubiquitous Daisy Air Rifle ads, a staple on comic book covers for the next three decades.