Posts Tagged ‘Golden Age’

May 1st, 2015  Posted at   Special Reports

A comment on a recent episode of Wahoo! A Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos Podcast got me thinking about Nazis.

On Wahoo!, hosts Brian and Dion discuss Sgt. Fury stories taking place during World War II, but published in the 1960s, long after the end of the war. But comics had been popular for decades before then, with Superman’s debut, generally considered the beginning of the comics industry as we know it today, coming in 1938.

So as the war in Europe began heating up, what was comic books’ response? Judging by the covers, DC Comics and Marvel Comics took very different approaches to the war.

Marvel came out swinging as early as MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #4 (cover date February 1940), which featured one of their top heroes at the time, the Sub-Mariner, plowing through a trio of Nazi seamen.

Marvel Mystery Comics #4

The Submariner and Marvel’s other headlining hero, the Human Torch, continued to occasionally chop down Nazi forces on covers every few months for the next year. Then in 1941, Marvel debuted their big gun as Captain America hit the scene like a sock to Hitler’s jaw — literally (or at least visually!) on the cover to CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (cover date March 1941).

Captain America Comics #1

And with the Star-Spangled Avenger leading the way, the proverbial floodgates were opened. Until the end of the war, to not see one of Marvel’s super-heroes taking on Nazi, SS or Axis troops on a cover seems to be the rarity.

But over at DC Comics, it was a very different story.

There certainly was no shortage of pro-America covers and those promoting the purchase of war bonds and stamps. A smattering of books even featured Superman or other heroes fighting back generic and non-descript armies. But it wasn’t until more than a year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor that the specific enemy in that war was shown with ACTION COMICS #58 (cover date March 1943) and the infamous and unfortunate “slap a Jap” cover.

Action Comics #58

The next month, things spread a bit farther across the line with four covers (WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #9, STAR SPANGLED COMICS #19, BOY COMMANDOS #2 AND ACTION COMICS #59) directly addressing the Axis threat.

But afterward, things again quieted down. Through Japan’s formal surrender in the fall of 1945, covers occasionally addressed the war effort, encouraged purchasing war bonds and even featured heroes taking on Axis forces. But, such covers were mainly found on issues of titles featuring Superman (SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS) or Jack Kirby and Joe Simon’s Commandos (STAR SPANGLED COMICS and their own self-titled book).

And such covers never came with the frequency or gusto of Marvel. The majority of DC’s war-themed covered focused on supporting the troops and being pro-America, rather than taking down the Nazis and other Axis members.

And that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with either approach, and an in-depth look at the insides of books from both companies might tell yet two more stories. But I find the difference on their covers, at the very least, interesting. And I’m curious why such a difference exists, though we will likely never know.

But if you were a member of the Axis, would you want this coming at you?

Superman #23

Me, neither.

(Special thanks to Mike’s Amazing World for help with this post.)

March 11th, 2014  Posted at   Superman & Batman

Superman & BatmanWelcome to episode 11 of SUPERMAN & BATMAN, featuring your two favorite heroes in one podcast together!

The show’s premise is simple: Each episode, host Michael Bradley celebrates seven decades of the World’s Finest heroes by looking at stories featuring the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, chosen at random mostly from the pages of World’s Finest Comics.

This episode

“The Super-Newspaper of Gotham City”

ORIGINAL PUBLICATION: World’s Finest Comics #80 (cover date January-February 1956)

WHAT TO EXPECT: Superman and Batman — rivals in the Fourth Estate!.

ALSO FEATURING: Robin, Lois Lane and Perry White!

PLUS: A rundown of the book’s other features and a look at what else was on the stands!

DOWNLOAD: Directly or via iTunes

Fine print

Subscribe to the show via iTunes or the RSS Feed! Got questions or comments? Additions or corrections? How about a story suggestion? Drop a line! Share your thoughts on the episode and the issue. Seriously, I want to hear from listeners. You also can connect with show on Facebook and Twitter to send feedback and get show updates!

Superman & Batman is a proud member of the Superman Podcast Network. And don’t forget to visit the Superman Homepage!

February 11th, 2014  Posted at   Superman & Batman

Superman & BatmanWelcome to episode six of SUPERMAN & BATMAN, featuring your two favorite heroes in one podcast together!

The show’s premise is simple: Each episode, host Michael Bradley celebrates seven decades of the World’s Finest heroes by looking at stories featuring the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, chosen at random mostly from the pages of World’s Finest Comics.

This episode

“Superman & Robin!”

ORIGINAL PUBLICATION: World’s Finest Comics #75 (cover date March-April 1955)

WHAT TO EXPECT: Superman and Batman? No. Superman and Robin!

ALSO FEATURING: Poor detective skills and Commissioner Gordon (though not necessarily in that order)!

PLUS: A rundown of the book’s other features and a look at what else was on the stands!

DOWNLOAD: Directly or via iTunes

Bonus feature

This issue contain a “Supergram” brain-teaser. See if you can figure out the answers, which are in no way blatantly and obviously written at the bottom of the puzzle.

Supergram

Fine print

Subscribe to the show via iTunes or the RSS Feed! Got questions or comments? Additions or corrections? How about a story suggestion? Drop a line! Share your thoughts on the episode and the issue. Seriously, I want to hear from listeners. You also can connect with show on Facebook and Twitter to send feedback and get show updates!

Superman & Batman is a proud member of the Superman Podcast Network. And don’t forget to visit the Superman Homepage!

January 7th, 2014  Posted at   Superman & Batman

Superman & BatmanWelcome to episode one of SUPERMAN & BATMAN, featuring your two favorite heroes in one podcast together!

The show’s premise is simple: Each episode, host Michael Bradley celebrates seven decades of the World’s Finest heroes by looking at stories featuring the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, chosen at random mostly from the pages of World’s Finest Comics.

This episode

“The Mightiest Team in the World!”

ORIGINAL PUBLICATION: Superman #76 (cover date May-June 1952)

WHAT TO EXPECT: Superman and Batman team for the very first time in print!

ALSO FEATURING: Lois Lane and Robin the Boy Wonder!

PLUS: A brief history of the state of comics in 1952, a rundown of the book’s other features and a look at what else was on the stands!

DOWNLOAD: Directly or via iTunes

Fine print

Subscribe to the show via iTunes or the RSS Feed! Got questions or comments? Additions or corrections? How about a story suggestion? Drop a line! Share your thoughts on the episode and the issue. Seriously, I want to hear from listeners. You also can connect with show on Facebook and Twitter to send feedback and get show updates!

Superman & Batman is a proud member of the Superman Podcast Network. And don’t forget to visit the Superman Homepage!

September 18th, 2013  Posted at   Super-Random Super-Panel

Super-Random Super-Panel #145