Saturday, December 5, 2015

Detective December: Golden Age of Comics: History of DC 2

After taking a look at how Detective Comics Inc. started, and was it ever a brief history we move on to what happened after Superman, Batman, and Sandman(among others) ushered in the Superhero and the Golden Age.

Max Gaines

Many things brought on the Golden Age of Comics, but one big important one was National Allied Publications mergring with Detective Comics Inc to form National Comics which in turn absorbed a affiliated concern, Max Gaines and Liebowitz's All American Publications. This happened in 1944, and in that same year Gaines let Liebowitz buy him out and only kept Picture Stories from the Bible as the foundation of his own new company which would be called EC Comics.

Liebowitz's and comics

Liebowitz's quickly took charge and had a merger between All American and Detective Comics into National Comics as mentioned above but didn't stop there, He organized National Comics, Independent News, and all their affiliated firms into a single corporate entity named National Periodical Publications which would become publicly traded on the stock market in 1961. Though it had the official names such as National Comics and National Periodical Publications the company decided to brand itself as "Superman-DC" as early as 1940 and started being called DC comics, colloquially as DC comics years before the official adoption of that name in 1977.

But a I am NOT Superman
This lead to some real issues for other companies as "Superman-DC" began to move against anything it saw as copyright violating imitations from other comics or publications. It went after Fox Comics who had a hero named Wonder Man(no relation to Simon Williams who would show up at Marvel years and years later). DC claimed in court that Fox's Wonder Man started as a copy of Superman. Captain Marvel, who at the time was comics top selling character, belonged to Fawcett Comics and though he got his powers through magic and Gods but DC claimed he was a copy and the courts agreed that deliberate copying had occurred.

Sadly for Fawcett comics who were already facing declining sales in other books and the prospect of bankruptcy if it lost, it gave it and ceased comics publications in 1955. A few years later they sold the rights for Captain Marvel to DC who started using him in 1974 but under the title Shazam! with artwork by his creator, C.C. Beck. They couldn't use Captain Marvel at the time as Marvel had bought the abandoned trademarks in 1967 and created their own Captain Marvel. After all of this DC really pushed on the superhero but were quick to change with the times.

In the 1940's when the popularity of superheroes faded, the Company moved to focus on genres as Science fiction, Westerns, humor, and even romance. They had their share of crime and horror novels as well but really tame ones and avoided the whole backlash in the 1950's. But Actions Comics and Detective Comics continued to print out throughout all of this and keep some superheros alive.  But lets take a look at the overall Golden Age to see why all this was done. That will be next time...Stay Tuned!

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