Superman #1

By Jacobus Dixon

Now what’s better than one story starring Superman? Try four. And that’s exactly what readers got with Superman #1 in June 1939. Ever since he exploded onto the newsstand scene in 1938, Superman was a big seller, and giving the guy his own book was the best way to honor that achievement. As great as his appearances were in Action Comics, fans just couldn’t wait a whole season for only one Superman story. So National gave their readers what they wanted: more Superman!

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Marvel Comics #1

By Jacobus Dixon

By late 1939, comic book sales were dominated by Superman and Batman — both characters which happened to be owned by National Comics. What was a rival comic publisher to do? While many publishers decided to piggy-back off of the continuous popularity of Superman, there were a few who decided to stick with their particular characters. Timely Comics was one of those publishers. True, their magazine didn’t outsell Superman or Batman, but it was enough to attract a group of readers large enough to make a name for Timely Comics.

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Batman No. 27

By Jacobus Dixon

Now as much of a smash that Action Comics #1 was, it was by no means the first comic book cover. And Superman was not the first recurring famous character. Characters like Doc Savage, The Shadow, Slam Bradley (also a Siegel and Shuster creation), Buck Rogers, and Flash Gordon were quite famous already and had their own fan bases to boot. However, none equaled Superman when it came to sales. The simple-but-appealing back-story, combined with amazing powers to take on current societal ills, wrapped in a dynamic costume really stuck out for readers. What happens when you’re digging and strike gold? Well, you’re gonna mine that vein till it’s dry! Which is exactly what National Comics (remember they weren’t DC just yet) were going to do.

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