by Jimmm Kelly
. . . fantasy as you like it for the first week in March . . .
Oops! . . they did it again. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman made someone very angry and this is the result: THE INCREDIBLE HULK No. 1 (May ’62). Watch out for the Gamma rays on March 1 ’62. You won’t get green with envy if you find the grey guy on this cover–by “King” Kirby and George Roussos–at your newsdealer.
Catch the first appearance of Simon & Kirby’s iteration of the Manhunter in ADVENTURE COMICS No. 73 (April ’42), on newsstands March 3 ’42.
Do you believe in leprechauns? Have you ever seen elves or goblins with your own eyes? Perhaps one is looking over your shoulder at the printed page this very moment. Turn quickly! If you’re fortunate you may catch a glimpse of him before he scampers from view.
—Meet the Squiffles. The Squiffles are like smurfs but green, led by Ixnayalpay (if I know my Latin, that’s pig for nix pal). Ixnayalpay and his Squiffles are on the side of the enemy–Herr Schnikelgruber, aka Hitler, and his lot. Against them are the orange Gremlins. This all happens in SUPERMAN No. 22 (May-June ’43)–on sale March 3 ’43.
ADVENTURE COMICS No. 61 (April ’41) features the Amazing Starman‘s first appearance, on sale March 5 ’41–story: Gardner Fox; art: Jack Burnley–from an idea by story editor Jack Schiff.
In the last of Alfred’s tales of the future, an old flame is rekindled when the former Bat-Girl (Betty Kane) becomes Batwoman II and crosses paths with Batman II (Dick Grayson). Bat-Girl–Batwoman II is by Bill Finger with Bob Kane ghost Chic Stone and inker Charles Paris. And The Joker Jury, meanwhile, is set back in the present day, as the Joker puts Batman on trial in a kangaroo court, with himself as judge and his hirelings as jurors (made up to look like the Clown Prince of Crime), rendering final judgement on the Dark Knight–by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. It all happens in BATMAN No. 163 (April ’64), scheduled to appear March 5 ’64. This is the last issue of BATMAN edited by Jack Schiff. Also the last turn for Charles Paris as inker on a Batman comic–although he does ink the New Look Batman-Green Lantern team-up in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD No. 59 (April-May ’65). All things must pass.
On March 7 ’52, SUPERMAN No. 76 (May-June ’52) is not the first time that the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader have met for the first time, nor will it be the last. In this adventure of the Mightiest Team in the World, the two heroes discover each other’s alter egos–story by Edmond Hamilton; pencils by Curt Swan; inks by John Fischetti and Stan Kaye.
All manner of creatures are flocking to your local newsdealer on March 7 ’63: Having done his time in prison, the Penguin is goaded into returning to crime after he gets no respect from gangland–it’s The Return of the Penguin, in BATMAN No. 155 (May ’63). [The Penguin last appeared in BATMAN 99 (April ’56).] Then Dr. Henry Gault summons beasts using science and the supernatural in The Beasts of the Supernatural, in WORLD’S FINEST COMICS 133 (May’63).
. . . for the second week in March, “you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din” . . .
From Picture Comics, Inc.–aka All-American Comics, Inc.–MOVIE COMICS No. 1 (April ’39), goes on sale March 9 ’39. Included in this issue, an adaptation of GUNGA DIN using photographic stills from the movie airbrushed and corrected by Jack Adler and Emory Gondor. The movie, directed by George Stevens and released on February 17 ’39, stars Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Joan Fontaine; loosely based on the Rudyard Kipling poem.
March 10 ’66, those Abominable Brats are at it again, as the sons of Superman and Batman get up into all kinds of mischief, giving their parents a few grey hairs. The super-pranksters are in the May ’66 issue of WORLD’S FINEST COMICS (No. 157).
No. 10 (May ’65) in the 80 PAGE GIANT series features classic adventures of Superboy. At the newsstand on March 11 ’65.
Direct Currents for March 12 ’64: The “I” Who Defeated the Justice League— a disembodied entity called “I” undermines the teamwork of the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA in their May ’64 issue (No. 27). The story references an unrecorded Robin adventure called The Case of the Headless Statues. Next: The Olsen-Robin Team Versus the Superman-Batman Team in WORLD’S FINEST COMICS No. 141 (May ’64)–the first WF issue edited by Mort Weisinger, taking over from Jack Schiff. Batman has the yellow spot, but not on the cover and not in some flashback scenes. The artwork by Curt Swan & George Klein is much more in the New Look style; however, Robin has his traditional haircut. In this tale, Jimmy and Robin first form their alliance and establish their own secret headquarters at the Eyrie.
SHOWCASE No. 74 (May ’68) presents Anthro, by Howie Post, and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS 175 (May ’68) presents the Superman-Batman Revenge Squad, with artwork by Neal Adams. Both can be found on spinner racks March 12 ’68.
The Martian Manhunter takes an extended leave of absence from the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA in their May ’69 issue (No. 71), on the racks March 13 ’69. And while you’re there . . . men call him THE PHANTOM STRANGER and he’ll be calling this ongoing title home from now on as a new No. 1 (May-June ’69) gets the launch.
Street and Smith’s SUPER-MAGIC COMICS No. 1 (May ’41) arrives on newsstands March 14 ’41–the title becomes SUPER-MAGICIAN COMICS with the second issue.
On sale March 14 ’72: Flash Thompson is being held captive by Vietnamese monks and Peter can’t save him without revealing his Spidey powers to Gwen– Enter Dr. Strange, in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 109 (June ’72), by Stan Lee and John Romita; with a cover by Romita. And Neal Adams and Bernie Wrightson provide the cover art for the May ’72 issue of BATMAN (No. 241), which sports a brand new title logo.
. . . for the third week in March, beware the ides of March . . .
MARVEL CLASSICS COMICS Nos. 19 and 20 present ROBINSON CRUSOE and FRANKENSTEIN–both tomes are available on March 15 ’77. High fives to Daniel Dafoe and Mary Shelley, you made it into the big time kids.
INFERIOR FIVE No. 2 (May-June ’67) sets its sardonic sights on the Fantastic Four in the form of the parodic Kookie Quartet. And the Old Electrician tells us it will come out on March 16 ’67.
At the spinner racks on March 16 ’71, be sure to find MISTER MIRACLE No. 2 (May-June ’71)–forget every kind thought you had about grandmothers, when “King” Kirby introduces Granny Goodness! And issue 237 (May ’71) of the Amazing New Adventures of SUPERMAN [as it says on the cover] has a full-length story about the Man of Steel getting infected by an alien plague and exiling himself to space so he won’t infect the rest of humanity–meanwhile Lois Lane is on assignment in Central America and in the path of man-eating army ants. Enemy of Earth–has these credits: story–Denny O’Neil; art–Curt Swan & Murphy Anderson; editor–Julius Schwartz [for more about this comic and others in the Sand Superman Saga see MY SUPERMAN SUMMER].
Wonder Man, we hardly knew ye! The star of Victor Fox’s WONDER COMICS No. 1 (May ’39) and the creation of Will Eisner, the super-hero is soon shut down by legal action from the good fellas at Detective Comics, Inc., in order to protect the Superman brand. Don’t they know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Oh well, get it while it lasts–the offending defendant goes on sale March 17 ’39.
Jonathan Frid was just a struggling Canadian stage actor until his soap opera role as a colonial vampire catapulted him into fame, making him the unlikely heart-throb of millions. The brooding visage of John Frid’s alter ego–Barnabas Collins–graces the cover of Gold Key’s DARK SHADOWS No. 1 (June ’70), on sale March 17 ’70.
On March 18 ’40, at the Brenner Pass, Hitler and Mussolini form an alliance against the United Kingdom and France.
While the original Captain Marvel lives on Earth S! and stars in his own DC comic–SHAZAM!–the Man of Steel meets up with another hero on Earth-One who shows a lot of similarities to the World’s Mightiest Mortal, in SUPERMAN No. 276 (June ’74). Make Way for Captain Thunder (by Maggin/Swan/Oksner) on March 19 ’74.
Centaur Publishing debuts its flagship title THE COMICS MAGAZINE No. 1 (May ’36) , on March 20 ’36. The bulk of the content came from the inventory of National Allied (aka DC) for NEW COMICS and MORE FUN COMICS–including a Dr. Occult story by Siegel and Shuster, here posing as a Mr. Mystic story, which introduces Zator–that story continues in MORE FUN COMICS 14 (October ’36).
. . . Mars is in Aries for the last week in March . . .
Coming to Earth on March 23 ’51—The Boy from Mars, in SUPERBOY 14 (May-June ’51), introducing the young Martian hero who would serve as a prototype for the Legion’s Starboy. Story by William Woolfolk, with inside art and cover by Swan and Fischetti.
In MILITARY COMICS No. 12, Blackhawk pursued the secrets of a briefcase more than halfway around the world until he found it and the almost as mysterious Xanukhara, now MILITARY COMICS 29 (May ’44) picks up where that strange adventure left off with an even more astounding tale of Xanukhara and that weird briefcase. Ask your newsdealer to reserve you a copy when it goes on sale March 24 ’44.
Vying for your March of dimes on the 24th of ’59: That strange imp called Bat-Mite meets Batman for the first time in DETECTIVE COMICS 267 (May ’59). And Pat Boone meets SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND, LOIS LANE--will it lead to April Love? Find out in the May ’59 issue (No. 9).
New editor Julius Schwartz has assembled his celebrated team of John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella to tell you a Batman story unlike any you’ve seen thusfar. The Mystery of the Menacing Mask comes your way in the May ’64 DETECTIVE COMICS (No. 327), on newstands March 26 ’64. This issue marks the 25th anniversary of the Caped Crusader’s original appearance in DETECTIVE COMICS 27 (May ’39) and begins a whole “New Look” for the Dynamic Duo. And look for futher developments next month, in BATMAN 164. Meanwhile, the Elongated Man strides out of the pages of THE FLASH and into the second position as the resident Ductile Detective: Ten Miles to Nowhere, by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino, will keeping you guessing. [For more, go to FIRST DAYS OF A “NEW LOOK.”]
WORLDS OF FEAR No. 10 (June ’53) is the final issue from Fawcett and features a freaky painted cover by Norman Saunders; inside Sheldon Moldoff illustrates The Fleshless Ones. On sale March 27 ’53.
On the stands March 28 ’63, the 300th issue of ACTION COMICS (May ’63) features one of Edmond Hamilton’s favourite Superman stories–Superman Under the Red Sun (illustrated by Al Plastino). While the Supergirl story, by Leo Dorfman and Jim Mooney, brings back Comet the Super-Horse. Cover by Swan and Klein.
March 29 ’50, Clark flashes back to when he was a Superbaby in SUPERBOY No. 8 (May-June ’50)–written by Bill Finger with art by Curt Swan and John Fischetti [this is the first such tale of the Tot of Tomorrow].
In ACTION COMICS 252 (May ’59), the lead story has Superman facing the Menace of Metallo. While in the second story Supergirl arrives on Earth and meets her Kryptonian cousin for the first time. This milestone issue hits the stands on March 31 ’59. Don’t wait until the next morning to pick it up, or you’ll be a fool!
8 More Days Louise! for March, it’s about time . . .
The first issue of FAMOUS FUNNIES (May ’34) [first series] from Eastern Color, on sale on or about March 1 ’34.
COMICS ON PARADE No. 1 (April ’38) from United Features, on sale on or about March 1 ’38.
About March 1 ’51, WITCHES TALES 3 (May ’51) arrives from Harvey–with a wicked cover by Al Avison and dig the contents page, grave dig I mean.
On sale about March 1 ’55 from EC: first issues of IMPACT, EXTRA, PSYCHOANALYSIS and VALOR–all have March-April ’55 cover dates.
About March 1 ’63–Dell’s ROBIN HOOD (May-July ’63) is a one-shot title about the man in Lincoln green. No credits available for the cover painting, but the inside artwork is by Gerald McCann.
It’s the Night of March 31st in SUPERMAN No. 145–can you spot all the things going wrong for Clark Kent in this story by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff? Don’t be a fool and wait until April–be the first in your neighbourhood to read this yarn–and the other two in the May ’61 issue when it goes on sale the day of March 16th ’61.
Jonathan Barclay gets a lesson in accepting those that are different, when he visits Robot Town, U.S.A. in the Robotman feature for DETECTIVE COMICS 147 (May ’49), at newsstands on March 23 ’49.
On March 29 ’55, Gotham City’s Strangest Race begins in DETECTIVE COMICS 219 (May ’55)–cover by Win Mortimer–and where it will end only time will tell.
. . . get your motor running, head out on the highway, looking for adventure and whatever comes our way for the first week in April . . .
Linda Turner is drawn into battle by an Ambush in Afghanistan, when Hollywood’s Glamourous Detective Star graduates from SPEED COMICS to her own title: BLACK CAT COMICS No. 1 (June-July ’46) hits the newsstands on or about April 1 ’46. Black Cat first appeared in the digest-size POCKET COMICS No. 1 (August ’41), written by her publisher Alfred Harvey and illustrated by Al Gabriele. Black Cat then moved to SPEED COMICS–with issue 17 (April ’42) where she remained for many years.
On newsstands April 1 ’59: In Archie’s THE DOUBLE LIFE OF PRIVATE STRONG No. 1 (June ’59), Joe Simon and Jack Kirby attempt to revive the concept of the Shield with a totally new character–Lancelot Strong–assuming the patriotic identity. However, this version of the super-hero is too on the nose in his similarities to Superman for people at National Periodicals and, under the threat of legal action, the revival is stopped after the second issue.
Educational Comics (EC) presents PICTURE STORIES FROM WORLD HISTORY No. 1 (Spring ’47), coming out April 2 ’47. In this issue: the Ancient World up to the Fall of Rome.
PHANTOM LADY has quite a pair on her hands for Matt Baker’s cover of her June ’48 magazine (No. 18), which goes on sale April 2 ’48. Inside, Sandra Knight involves herself in a mystery of Ghosts, Galleons and Gold–by Ruth Roche and Matt Baker. [The stories in this issue were published for a Canadian audience in REMARKABLE ADVENTURES No. 65 (from Bell Features) on sale at about the same time.]
First issues of HIT COMICS and NATIONAL COMICS from Quality (both cover dated July ’40) come out on April 3 ’40. HIT features the Red Bee, Neon the Unknown and Hercules in their inaugural outings. While NATIONAL features the debut of Uncle Sam–created by Will Eisner and Lou Fine, although the inside story is by Eisner and Dave Berg. The cover art for both comics is the work of Lou Fine.
Don’t let the big head fool you, that’s the Flash on the cover (by Gil Kane and Joe Giella) and he’s come to visit GREEN LANTERN in the June ’62 issue of the Emerald Crusader’s own book (issue No. 13). In their first team-up–outside of the Justice League–Barry Allen and Hal Jordan must share their most guarded secrets, to which even their girlfriends (Iris and Carol) are not privy. It all comes your way on newsstands April 5 ’62.
On sale April 6 ’39: Andy Devine is featured on the cover for MOVIE COMICS No. 2 (May ’39)–and he’s one of the featured players in STAGECOACH which is adapted in this issue. John Ford’s STAGECOACH had its theatrical release on March 2 ’39. The film has an ensemble cast, led by John Wayne in his breakout role as Ringo Kid. Andy Devine went on to play the sidekick in many other western movies and is most closely associcated with his role as Jingles Jones in the television series, ADVENTURES OF WILD BILL HICOCK. Also on sale April 6 ’39, from Fiction House, is JUMBO COMICS No. 8 (June-July ’39)–a New York World’s Fair Special Edition featuring a cover by Lou Fine and Will Eisner.
Coming Super-Attractions for April 6 ’61: SUPERBOY No. 89 (June ’61) introduces the character of Mon-El as Superboy’s Big Brother. This story is based on the earlier Superman’s Big Brother, SUPERMAN No. 80 (January-February ’53). Elsewhere in the Superman family, SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN becomes the Giant Turtle Man in the June ’61 issue (No.53) of the cub reporter’s mag.
. . . hitting it right out of the park for the second week in April . . .
Don’t overlook STRANGE TALES No. 110 (July ’63) on April 9 ’63–Stan Lee and Steve Ditko have a surprise for you when they introduce Dr. Strange Master of Black Magic. Meanwhile, Ditko and Lee present Dr. Octopus in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 3 (July ’63)–you’ll need eight arms to hold back this villain.
Make Way for Medusa on April 9 ’68 as she dominates John Romita’s cover for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 62 (July ’68), while inside Stan Lee, Don Heck and Mike Esposito flip their wigs for the dame. And on the same day celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Man of Steel with his friends and foes in SUPERMAN No. 207 [80 PAGE GIANT G-48] (June-July ’68)–Curt Swan and Neal Adams serve up the birthday cake on their cover.
The Dynamic Duo hold the high card in their battle with the Joker on Fred Ray’s cover for BATMAN No. 11 (June-July ’42). While inside this issue–in addition to the Clown Prnce of Crime–the Penguin continues his larcenous ways. At your newsdealer April 10 ’42.
Gardner Fox and Jim Mooney show how BATMAN becomes an Interplanetary Policeman in the June-July ’47 issue (No. 41) of the Masked Manhunter’s mag, which goes on sale April 11 ’47. Also on this day or close to it, Rulah, Jungle Goddess, makes her first appearance in ZOOT COMICS No. 7 (June ’47)–Jane Dodge crashes her plane somewhere in an African jungle–cover art by Jack Kamen.
Did you see Jackie Robinson hit that ball? It went zoomin’ cross the left field wall. Yeah boy, yes, yes. Jackie hit that ball!
The sixth and final issue of JACKIE ROBINSON from Fawcett hits the stands on April 11 ’52.
DID YOU SEE JACKIE ROBINSON HIT THAT BALL?
–written by Buddy Johnson; sung by Natalie Cole:
Hawkman meets THE ATOM for the first time in issue No. 7 (June-July ’63) of the Tiny Titan’s comic magazine, coming April 11 ’63.
Dig these Dynamic Concepts for April 12 ’66: The Batman-Superman of Earth X (by Bill Finger and Pete Costanza) is featured in the June ’66 issue (No. 93) of SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN–cover art by Curt Swan and George Klein. And Dolby Dickles, the cabby and sometimes sidekick of Earth-Two’s Green Lantern, finds himself in a cosmic courtship for the hand of Princess Ramia (by John Broome, Gil Kane and Sid Greene) in GREEN LANTERN No. 45 (June ’66).
The Origin of the Batman by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Charles Paris is featured in BATMAN No. 47 (June-July ’48), on sale April 14 ’48.
. . . coming to blows for the third week in April . . .
Not only Daredevil but many other characters from the Lev Gleason publishing house–the Silver Streak, Dickie Dean, Cloud Curtis, Zip Todd, Lance Hale, the Pirate Prince, Mercury, Captain Battle, Presto Martin and the Claw–challenge the power of der Führer, when DAREDEVIL BATTLES HITLER No. 1 (July ’41) hits the newsstands on the 15th of April ’41–story and art by Charles Biro (cover by Biro and Bob Wood). This title becomes DAREDEVIL COMICS with issue No. 2. Appearing initially in a story by Don Rico and Jack Binder for a story in SILVER STREAK COMICS No. 6 (September ’41), the Daredevil was revamped by Jack Cole for his powerhouse battle against the Claw, in the following issue SILVER STREAK No. 7 (January ’41).
Although the “New Look” got its start in the previous month with DETECTIVE COMICS No. 327 (May ’64), many of the changes for the Dynamic Duo are introduced in BATMAN No. 164 (June ’64)–which was possibly supposed to be the first “New Look” comic had scheduling worked out differently. Not only are there changes to the Batcave and the Batmobile, but a new Hotline phone is introduced and Commissioner Gordon’s look is updated. As well, in the issue’s second story, we’re introduced to the Mystery Analysts of Gotham City–armchair detectives (of a sort). The mag arrives at drugstores April 16 ’64.
Street and Smith gives their popular pulp action hero his own comic book, when DOC SAVAGE COMICS No. 1 comes your way on the 17th of April ’40.
DETECTIVE COMICS No. 27 (May ’39) arrives at your local newsdealer on April 18 ’39. In this issue, a new mystery man detective.
In THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE No. 9 (June-July ’51), Bob meets his creepy relations when he has to spend the night in a haunted house–on sale the 18th of April ’51.
Run don’t walk to your newsstand April 18th ’63 for these instant classics: First up, it’s the most shocking chapter in the lives of the Dynamic Duo–in BATMAN 156 (June ’63). While Batman is away, Robin the Boy Wonder encounters the Secret of the Ant-Man. Meanwhile, in the second story, Robin Dies at Dawn–Batman believes he is on an alien world where Robin has died. Both are by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. Then, get ready for the Band of Supervillains in WORLD’S FINEST COMICS 134 (June ’63), as our three heroes visit Science City–a model city of the future–but are trapped within its forcefield and menaced by three alien creatures. Next, it’s another meeting for the Fastest Men Alive of Two Worlds, in THE FLASH 137 (June ’63), when Barry and Jay encounter the Immortal Villain–in a tale that reintroduces those heroes from yesteryear, the Justice Society of America. Finally, from Gold Key, THE MIGHTY HERCULES appears in issue No. 1 (July ’63) of his own Gold Key magazine–based on the Saturday morning cartoon produced in Canada in the early ’60s.
Murdis Steals the Silver Arrows–THE MIGHTY HERCULES–theme sung by Johnny Nash; story by George Kashdan & Jack Miller.
Timely’s U.S.A. COMICS No. 1 (August ’41) debuts with a whole host of new heroes, including the Whizzer, the Defender and Jack Frost. At newsstands the 20th of April ’41.
. . . leading the league in scoring for the last week in April . . .
BATMAN No. 232 (June ’71) sets the Detective on a farflung search for the League of Assassins and the Daughter of the Demon–an instant classic by Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano–on sale the 22nd of April ’71.
The Dark Night Detective and the Boy Wonder are happy with 64 pages of story and art in BATMAN No. 1 (Spring ’40). In this issue the first stories of the Joker and the Cat (aka the Cat-Woman); cover by Bob Kane (backgrounds by Jerry Robinson). Reserve a copy at your newsdealer for April 25 ’40.
Broadcast on the 26th of April ’70, the elaborate TV special RAQUEL! starring Raquel Welch, with guest stars Tom Jones, Bob Hope and John Wayne–filmed mainly in Mexico and featuring Bob Mackey fashions–this super spectacular cost 350,OOO in 1970 dollars.
RAQUEL! (1970)–space girl dance at Ruta de la Amistad public sculpture project at the site of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico.
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD No. 30 (June-July ’60) presents the Justice League of America in battle against Professor Ivo and his super-android, Amazo. Then prepare yourself for the tragic tale of the Superman from Outer Space in ACTION COMICS 265 (June ’60). The Man of Steel encounters the champion of another world with an uncanny resemblance to himself–story by Otto Binder with art by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. Both comics are at newsstands the 28th of April ’60.
On April 30 ’39, the New York World’s Fair opens on President’s Day (George Washington’s birthday). Available at the fair is DC’s 1939 edition of NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR COMICS featuring Superman (with blonde hair on the cover), Zatara, Butch the Pup, Sandman, Ginger Snap and others.
In ADVENTURE COMICS No. 261 (June ’59), Superboy meets Lois Lane by Otto Binder and George Papp. When young Lois goes away to summer camp, she shares a cabin with Lana Lang of Smallville and ends up meeting Superboy [presumably for the first time, although this isn’t the first story where Superboy and Lois met for the first time]. Also in this issue, Lee Elias illustrates Curse of the Wizard’s Arrow and Ramona Fradon depicts Aquaman Duels the Animal-Master (written by Robert Bernstein). Cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye; on sale April 30 ’59.
Direct Currents for the 30th of April ’64: Bob Haney, Bruno Premiani and Sheldon Moldoff bring together Kid Flash, Robin and Aqualad for a team-up adventure in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD No. 54 (June-July ’64), but the kid sidekicks are not yet called the Teen Titans. Meanwhile, Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella provide the final chapter in the life of Alfred, for DETECTIVE COMICS 328 (June ’64)–cover art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. Also in this issue, Ralph and Sue set out to solve the Curious Case of the Barn-Door Bandit, by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino.
8 More Days Louise! of World Champions for April . . .
The all new BLUE BEETLE–Ted Kord, created by Steve Ditko and first introduced in CAPTAIN ATOM No. 83 (November ’66)–graduates to his own new No. 1 (June ’67). Also in this issue, Ditko debuts another new mystery man creation, the Question. The answer comes your way on April 1 ’67.
The Dynamic Duo of Kandor, by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and George Klein–in SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN No. 69 (June ’63) and on sale April 4 ’63–is the second Nightwing and Flamebird team-up–the first was in SUPERMAN No. 158 (January ’63). This time the crimefighters are on the trail of an evil Superman.
Get out your handkerchiefs on April 19 ’66, when Rita marries Mento in issue 104 of DOOM PATROL (June ’66)–and everybody is there for the celebration–catered by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani–with a way-out cover by Bob Brown. While over in BATMAN No. 181 (June ’66), there’s a new femme fatale in town and her name is Poison Ivy (story by Robert Kanigher; art by Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella; cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson)–and in that same issue the Mystery Analysts must solve a plot against one of their own members, Kaye Daye (story by Gardner Fox; art by Sheldon Moldoff and Sid Greene)–plus a special pull-out pin-up of the Dynamic Duo by Infantino and Anderson.
The July ’53 DAREDEVIL COMICS celebrates its milestone 100th issue–on newsstands April 21 ’53–cover by Charles Biro. The title character himself has long since vanished from the comic–presumably the Little Wise Guys will have a birthday cake in his honour.
The Tiny Titan gains his own title when THE ATOM No. 1 (June-July ’62) hits the stands on April 24 ’62. Meanwhile, a future foe of the Mighty Mite, Dr. Light launches his freshman assault on the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA in the June ’62 issue of their magazine (No. 12).
The Super-Key to Fort Superman in ACTION COMICS No. 241 (June ’58) introduces the Fortress of Solitude and sets a new course for Superman in the future. At newsstands on April 29 ’58.
For the 400th issue celebration of DETECTIVE COMICS (June ’70), Frank Robbins, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano introduce the Man-Bat–but is he friend or foe? While Denny O’Neil, Gil Kane and Vince Colletta feature Robin and Batgirl in a contest of wits–inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, S.S. Van Dine and Rex Stout. Cover art by Adams; on sale April 30 ’70.
SOONER OR LATER–the Grass Roots (with Mary Arnold from the First Edition)
. . . sooner or later love is gonna getcha in the first week in May . . .
The first regularly published comic book for sale in the standard format, FAMOUS FUNNIES No. 1 (July ’34) goes on sale May 1 ’34–featuring Mutt & Jeff, Joe Palooka, Donald Dare, Dixie Dugan, Pam, Connie, Hairbreadth Harry, and others. The brainchild of Harry I Wildenberg, a sales manager for the Eastern Color Printing Company of Waterbury, Conn., modern comic books were initially conceived as advertising premiums, given away at Gulf Oil gas stations. Along with salesman M.C. Gaines, Wildenberg enlisted other advertisers into using Eastern Color’s comic books as promotional giveaways.
Wildenberg and Gaines then considered sticking a 10c price tag on comic books and selling them directly to children. They approached the Woolworth’s chain as a possible outlet but were told 64 pages of old comics wasn’t good enough value for a dime. Eventually, in 1934, Wildenberg persuaded the American News Company to distribute a monthly comic book to newsstands across the country. He called this magazine FAMOUS FUNNIES, a title he originally thought up for a soap company premium. The intial issue sold 90 percent of its 200,000 copies. Eastern Color lost over $4,000 on that one, but by issue 12 FAMOUS was starting to net $30,000 a month.
–RON GOULART’S GREAT HISTORY OF COMIC BOOKS (Contemporary Books ’86), p. 7.
At newsstands on May 1 ’66, the 25 cent Giant-sized SUPER HEROES VERSUS SUPER VILLAINS (1966) is the best saddle-stitched collection of stories you’ll ever find. [See SUPER-HEROES BY ANY OTHER NAME WOULD . . .]
On sale May 2 ’41, MILITARY COMICS No. 1 (August ’41) presents the first story of Blackhawk (story by Will Eisner and Bob Powell; art by Chuck Cuidera)–plus Quality’s version of Miss America and Jack Cole’s Death Patrol. And BULLETMAN (along with his partner, Bulletgirl) gets his own title when Fawcett releases the Summer ’41 issue (No. 1).
Fawcett tries to undercut the competition by publishing a five cent funny book, NICKEL COMICS No. 1 (cover date: May 17 ’40), on sale May 3 ’40, which features the first appearance and origin of Bulletman (story by Bill Parker; art by Jon Smalle). At 32 pages plus cover, this comic anticipates the standard format for modern comic books.
On newsstands May 5 ’48, SUPERMAN 53 (July-August ’48) provides a full telling of the Caped Kryptonian’s origin story, ten years after his original appearance–written by Bill Finger with art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.
On display May 6 ’42, three covers from three competing publishers, all in support of the Allies’ effort against the Axis powers, each in their own manner: MASTER COMICS 27 (June ’42) has Captain Marvel Jr. flashing the V for victory sign, art by Mac Raboy. WINGS COMICS 23 (July ’42) gives a dramatic portrait of the war in the Pacific theatre, art by Gene Fawcette with Dan Zolnerowich. And SUPERMAN 17 (June-July ’42) shows the Man of Tomorrow taking on Hitler and Tojo in person, art by Fred Ray cover. The story inside the latter funny book features Man or Superman? where Lois Lane first suspects that Clark Kent might be the Man of Steel.
On May 7 ’74, DC publishes two more tabloid sized collectibles. Joe Kubert’s adaptation of THE RETURN OF TARZAN by Edgar Rice Burroughs is collected in LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITION C-29. And SENSATION COMICS No.1 (featuring Wonder Woman, Wildcat, Mr. Terrific and others) is given a facsimile reprint in FAMOUS FIRST EDITION C-30. Meanwhile, the Punisher forms an uneasy alliance with the THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN in issue 135 (August ’74) of the Web-Slinger’s Marvel mag–story by “Gwen-killer” Gerry Conway; art by “War-artist” Ross Andru and “Frantic-fixer” Frank Giacoia; cover by “Romantic-poet” John Romita.
FLY LITTLE WHITE DOVE FLY–the Bells (1970)
. . . fly little white dove fly, spread your wings, sing out your cry, to the second week in May . . .
The first issue of MISS AMERICA COMICS from Timely (Marvel) debuts on May 8 ’44–in comic book format. The next issue is in magazine format and the title changes to MISS AMERICA MAGAZINE (with photo covers).
Ten cents and no taxes will get you SUPERMAN 114 (July ’57) on May 9 ’57–but the Man of Steel can’t escape the taxman when the IRS tries to recupe Superman’s Billion Dollar Debt [this story is rehashed as Superman Owes a Billion Dollars in SUPERMAN 148 (October ’61)].
Talk about your baby-talking toddlers! No, this is not a plug for SUGAR AND SPIKE–on May 9 ’63, it’s SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND, LOIS LANE 42 (July ’63)–where the Girl Reporter and the Man of Steel have reverted to infants! Also in this ish, the curse of the monkey’s paw.
On sale May 9 ’67, BATMAN 193 (July-August ’67) [80 PAGE GIANT G-37] features 6 Suspense Thrillers! And another complete newspaper syndicated story never before published in any magazine!
Mystery and mayhem lurks on the spinner racks for May 13 ’71, as Bernie Wrightston provides yet another evocative cover for HOUSE OF MYSTERY 193 (July-August ’71). Meanwhile, a blind mystic hopes to save a SUPERMAN in the 240th (July ’71) issue of the Metropolis Marvel’s Amazing New Adventures (story by Denny O’Neil; art by Curt Swan and Dick Giordano) [For more see Maybe I’m Amazed, MY SUPERMAN SUMMER.]
On sale May 14 ’41, POLICE COMICS No. 1 (August ’41). Several Quality heroes were introduced in this issue–Phantom Lady, the Human Bomb, Firebrand–but the comic is best remembered for the first appearance of Jack Cole’s Plastic Man. Also on the newsstand, yet another Fawcett hero gains his own title, when MINUTE MAN No. 1 makes its timely debut.
. . . gotta catch a moon train, gotta be there on time, for the third week in May at the end of the line . . .
Beginning on May 15 ’48, the voluptuous vision called VENUS leaves her home on the second planet from the Sun to dwell among us mere mortals on Earth, in issue No. 1 (August ’48) of her Timely magazine.
On May 15 ’60 the newsstands feature three new No. 1 titles from Harvey, with August ’60 cover dates: HOT STUFF SIZZLERS, MUTT AND JEFF JOKES and WENDY, THE GOOD LITTLE WITCH.
Now it can be told, the cosmic origin of THE SILVER SURFER, in a 38 page epic from Stan Lee, John Buscema and Joe Sinnott, in issue No. 1 (August ’68) for the Sentinel of the Spaceways–a big 64 page magazine, on sale May 16 ’68.
ALL WINNERS COMICS No. 1 (Summer ’41) is a congress of Timely’s top selling players, hitting the stands on May 20 ’41.
Coming out May 20 ’59, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby collaborate on [ADVENTURES OF] THE FLY No. 1 (August ’59). Joe Simon created Tommy Troy, who has much in common with Billy Batson and Peter Parker.
They sing, they tell jokes and now they have their own comic magazine–THE ADVENTURES OF DEAN MARTIN AND JERRY LEWIS No. 1 (July-August ’52) hits the stands on May 21 ’52–cover, story and art by Howie Post, Kitty Karr back-up by unknown.
ROCK ME GENTLY–Andy Kim
. . . rock me gently, rock me slowly, the last week in May . . .
The first issue of Hal Jordan’s ongoing series, GREEN LANTERN (July-August ’60), goes on sale May 24 ’60.
On or about May 27 ’38, KEEN DETECTIVE FUNNIES No. 8 arrives at newsstands, from Centaur Publications, Inc. This is really the first issue of the title despite the issue numbering. This issue’s contents are reprinted from funny books published a year earlier by Centaur [aka the Comic Magazine Company].
DAREDEVIL COMICS No. 2 (August ’41) is the first issue with that name (the previous issue having been called DAREDEVIL BATTLES HITLER. This issue introduces several new features, including Pat Patriot (written by Charles Biro and Bob Wood; illustrated by Frank Borth). On newsstands May 27 ’41.
Gold Key gets away with publishing ASTRO BOY No. 1 (August ’65). But if you buy this comic on May 27 ’65 (or thereafter) when it goes on sale, don’t hold your breath for a second issue. Created in Japan by Osamu Tezuka, Astro Boy [aka Atom-Taishi–Ambassador Atom–or Atom-Tetsuwan–Mighty Atom] has appeared in anime, as well as manga. It was this anime version of Astro that NBC used for their English language ASTRO BOY series on TV. This NBC then licensed to Gold Key–a kind of third hand version of Tezuka’s original concept. And as such, intended for little North American children in the ’60s, the Gold Key comic has none of the angst or morbidity of the original manga. Tezuka has denounced the GK book for being unauthorized and unfaithful to his work. But it’s a fun read!
On May 28 ’39, Fox’s WONDER COMICS becomes WONDERWORLD COMICS with issue No. 3 (August ’39) and introduces the Flame–cover by Will Eisner and Lou Fine. Also: read the latest Movie Memos by Glenda Carol.
The July ’41 issue of REG’LAR FELLERS HEROIC COMICS (No.7) presents the debut of Man O’ Metal illoed by H.G. Peter—also in this ish another Hydroman adventure from Bill Everett and Star Flashes by Charles Bruno, published by Eastern Color and on the stands May 29 ’41. Cover by Everett.
Editor Mort Weisinger continues to expand Superman’s universe with ACTION COMICS 242 (July ’58), which introduces the space-villain Brainiac, his space-monkey Koko, and the bottle city of Kandor. Come for the Brainiac, stay for the Koko on May 29 ’58.
Direct Currents for May 31 ’67: In ADVENTURE COMICS 358 (July ’67)–he hunts the worlds’ most dangerous game, he is the Hunter, and the Legion of Super-Heroes are his prey (by Jim Shooter and George Papp). In ACTION COMICS 352 (July ’67)–Zha-Vam continues his challenge to the Man of Steel (by Otto Binder and Wayne Boring. In DETECTIVE COMICS 365 (July ’67)–in the face of crass commercialism what is a costumed crook to do but get in the act, which is what happens in the House the Joker Built (by John Broome, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella).
8 More Days Louise! for May, it’s more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling) . . .
On sale about May 1 ’52, Charlton unveils its own science fiction anthology, SPACE ADVENTURES No. 1 (July ’52).
At newsstands May 2 ’51, STRANGE AVENTURES No. 9 (June ’41) introduces a mutant, a man of the future in our presentday, Captain Comet–created by writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino, with inks by Bernard Sachs. Cover by Infantino.
SUPERMAN meets the three Supermen from Krypton, in issue No. 65 (July-August ’50) of his popular magazine, out on May 3 ’50.
SUPERMAN 162 (July ’63) goes on sale May 2 ’63, featuring the Greatest Imaginary Novel of them all–The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman Blue–by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Klein. Cover art by Kurt Schaffenberger. Also in this issue: Super-Turtle by Henry Boltinoff.
On sale May 20 ’58, SHOWCASE 15 (July-August ’58) presents the debut of Space Ranger.
Coming May 26 ’42, on the cover pencilled by Jack Kirby, with inks by Joe Simon and Jerry Robinson, for DETECTIVE COMICS 65 (July ’42), Batman and Robin welcome the Boy Commandos (although, in fact, the first BC story was in the previous issue, on sale April 26).
May 29 ’53. Captain Comet has to choose the Lady or the Tiger-Man in STRANGE ADVENTURES 34 (July ’53)–at newsstands on May 29 ’53.
All on sale dates might be approximate, as provided by Mike’s Amazing World of Comics (The Newsstand) and by other sources.
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