Sunday, January 21, 2018

TIME BUBBLES: Comics on-sale 60 years ago this week (Jan. 13-19, 1958)



Golly, is this the third week of January already. Time sure flies by in a time bubble, doesn’t it. Well, Bubblenauts, this week we’re going back in time 60 years to behold what new four-color wonders awaited our gaze on newsstands from January 13-18, in 1958! 

Yes, new comics were not just a Wednesday phenomenon back then, and new issues were liable to go on sale any day of the week, courtesy of any one of dozens of national and regional distributors. However, consolidation was already beginning to happen thanks, in part, to the federal government, which in 1957 busted up American News Company for engaging in unfair trade practices. Marvel had just suspended its own distribution efforts to throw in with ANC, and was devastated by the result. It ended having to go hat in hand to Independent News Company, a sister-company to DC Comics, which refused to circulate more than eight titles per month from a competitor that had been churning out as many as 40 or 50. That’s why you see no Marvel comics for our spotlight week, below, and only eight for the entire month of January, 1958. 
 
As always, on-sale dates herein are taken from Mike's Amazing World of Comics, a great resource you should definitely check out if comics are at all your thing.

But before we begin, one quick note to observe that most comics in 1958 still sold for 10¢ — that equates to 86¢ in 2018 dollars. So, a pretty great deal, considering the cheapest comic books you can find today go for $2.99 a pop. In a few places below you’ll see Charlton comics that sold for 15¢, and even on Dell that asked for whole quarter. That the same as $1.29 and $2.15, respectively, in buying power today. So, also a bargain. All comics below are 32 pages for 10¢ unless otherwise noted. The 15¢ Charltons were 64 pages, while the lone 25-center was an 80-page behemoth. 

Oh, and one more thing before we begin our tour — you may wish to check out our most recent time bubble trips:

• To the first week of January, 1978 (40 years ago), when we took a look at what comics were on sale alongside SPIDER-WOMAN #1, and,
• To the second week of January, 1968 (50 years ago), when we witnessed the first appearance of Guy Gardner in GREEN LANTERN #59 and mulled what comics he had to compete with for buyers’ attention.

So, what was the big whoop for this outing, 60 years ago, in January 1958? Well, nearly 30 years after her debut in ACTION COMICS #1, Superman’s girlfriend, Lois Lane, that intrepid girl reporter, finally landed a byline all her very own!


SUPERMAN’S GIRLFRIEND, LOIS LANE, No. 1
DC Comics — 32pgs for 10¢
On-sale Tuesday, January 14, 1958 

If you don’t count the early Atom Age adventure stars, Fireman Farrell, Kings of the Wild, The Frogman, and Manhunters, Lois was just the third character to get a turn in DC’s then-new tryout series, SHOWCASE, following The Flash (in #4), and the Challengers of the Unknown (#6). Lois got her own two-issue shot at stardom in SHOWCASE #9 (on-sale May 16, 1957) and #10 (July 16). 

The first SHOWCASE issue featured an “imaginary tale” of Mrs. Superman — with the cover showing an exasperated Lois trying to deal with a super-powered baby boy — while the second had Lois inadvertently opening a Pandora’s ton of danger in, “The Forbidden Box from Krypton!” Both issues are examples of the box Lois would be locked into for much of the run of her solo series — either pining away to be Superman’s wife, or else doing something stupid. And, more often then than not, doing something stupid because she was pining away to be Superman’s wife.

But we can presume Lois’ SHOWCASE tryout sold well, as she beat both Flash and the Challs to her own solo series. Those features would each require four SHOWCASE issues, with Flash taking 29 months to graduate from his first outing to solo status, and the Challs waiting 15 months. Lois accomplished the same feat in just eight months! (ASIDE: Yes, the Challengers also beat The Flash to headline status. The Silver Age of super-heroes took a little longer to catch fire than most people today realize.)

But be that as it may, why wouldn’t Lois beat them all to the punch? After all, to that point, she was the only member of the SHOWCASE roll call who was a known quantity. In Lois' case, her SHOWCASE issues really were a test to see if kids would buy a book starring her, whereas all the other SHOWCASE offerings were tests of an actual character concept.

Lois Lane, of course, made her debut in ACTION COMICS #1, on sale May 3, 1938. So, it might also be said that she took the longest of them all to graduate to her own series — nearly 30 years! In the early years, when Superman was a social justice warrior, Lois was a female spitfire straight out of pre-code Hollywood. Had Superman been made into a feature film during the Golden Age of cinema, the one-and-only person who could have portrayed her properly (in my ever so humble opinion) would have been Katherine Hepburn. Even today, any actress who strays too far from the Hepburn mold just doesn’t feel right to me. 

Hepburn never did get the part, as we know. Conventional wisdom, and thus Wikipedia, tells us Lois look was modeled on Joanne Carter, who hired by Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to model for the character. Having placed an ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Carter (originally Kovacs) would do the job and move on to other gigs, but end up changing her name to Siegel after crossing paths with Jerry again in 1948 at a New York costume party. It was the second marriage for both, but the union would last the rest of Jerry's life and result in the only child each would have.
But that’s the look. As to the character, Lois is said to have been based on Torchy Blane, a gutsy headline hunting reporter most often portrayed by actress Glenda Farrell in a series of nine short B-movies between 1937 and 1939. Said to bolster this theory — despite the fact that Carter did her modeling job in 1935 (according to most sources), while Torchy did not debut until 1937, by which time Siegel and Shuster are said to have been shopping Superman as a comic strip for a at least a year — is the fact that, in one 1938 outing, the character was played by actress Lola Lane. Well, ain’t that a coinkidink? 

Only problem is that the Lola Lane outing, “Torchy Blane in Panama,” hit theaters on May 7, 1938 — four days after ACTION COMICS #1 went on sale. Siegel may indeed have taken the name of his female lead from Lola — she was perhaps the most prolific of the four singing, acting Lane sisters, having made 23 movies by 1938 — but it certainly was not because of her spin as Torchy.

Siegel is also said to have been influenced by the example of real life lady reporter Nellie Bly, best known for proving Jules Verne wrong by traveling around the world in 72 days (!), and for helping to expose the deplorable conditions within 19th century mental asylums. But Bly retired from journalism in 1904 and died in 1922. Siegel was not known to be a particular student of history, his eyes being more set toward the future, and I expect it’s more correct to say he was inspired by other works of fiction that took their inspiration from Bly, then being directly influenced himself by the famous female journolist.

The Bly connection is made in the 2013 book, Examining Lois Lane: The Scoop on Superman’s Sweetheart, edited by Nadine Farghaly But, really, that book is a dense, jargon-filled academic navel-gazer on Lois as a figure in women's studies. It’s about Lois as an idea, and not so much on the  history of the character, actual and factual. Thus, it doesn’t let itself get too carried away with facts on the ground, as it were.
Lois was first portrayed on radio in 1940 by actress Rolly Bester, wife of noted sci-fi author Alfred Bester. However, it was Joan Alexander who held the role for the bulk of the show’s run, reportedly voicing Lois in more than 1,600 episodes. Alexander also gave voice to Lois in the famous Fleischer Studios Superman cartoon shorts.

However, it was Noel Neill who played Lois first in live action, starting with the SUPERMAN movie serial in 1948, and its 1949 follow-up, ATOM MAN vs. SUPERMAN. Phyllis Coates got the call for the 1951 feature film SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE MAN, often said to have been a stealth pilot for the ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN tv series. Coates then played Lois during season one of that syndicated program, in 26 episodes broadcast from September 1952 to February 1953. The role then reverted to Neill for the balance of the show's run — 78 episodes released from September 1953 to April 1958. 

So, why is this talk of Lois on screen the thing to do when discussing her comic book? Well, it has been said that Jimmy Olsen got his solo series in 1954 largely on the strength of the character's popularity on TV, as portrayed by Jack Larson. Jimmy was invented as someone for Superman to talk to on his radio show, in order to give young listeners a character with whom they could identify, but most just to ask questions as a way of helping Superman actor Bud Collyer explain the plot and action. Jimmy quickly made the leap to comics, but then just as quickly faded away. Although Jimmy appeared in the movie serials — played by former Little Rascal Tommy “Butch” Bond — it was not until the TV show that Jimmy really re-appeared in comics, after an absence (according to some sources) of nearly 10 years. 

It’s tempting to think Lois also got her own mag. on the strength of the TV show. And it’s possible. The first Lois issue of SHOWCASE appeared just as Season 5 of the TV show was winding down, the second during the mid-season hiatus. The final 13 episode season ran from February 3 to April 28, 1958. Thus, the show was over before issue #3 of Lois’ comic book hit stands. If DC was responding to the popularity of the live-action program, finally pulling the trigger more than five years into its run, it certainly snuck in just under the wire on that crossover appeal. 

By this time, however, Lois had regressed somewhat from her crusading ways into a safe and staid version more proper for how America (or at least, "The Man") saw itself during the 1950s. Sure, she was a professional woman in her pearl earrings and perky cap, but her true calling was to be a wife and mother. Oh, joy! And, of course, she was a total Daphne, always in danger and in always need of saving by Superman.

Under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye (possibly DC’s best inker, ever), this issue features three tales drawn by the incomparable Kurt Schaffenberger, who would be at the helm for much of Lois’ solo run, contributing to #1-28, and #30-81. The lead tale was written by Leo Dorfman, the latter two by Otto Binder. The first story, “The Bombshell of the Boulevards” sees Lois disguising herself as a famous actress in order to get a story, causing a duel between Superman and the actress’ royal boy toy — along with the apparent death of said toy — after he overhears Lois in disguise refusing a marriage proposal from Clark Kent, by saying she loves Superman. Of course, Superman made the Clark proposal as a way of teaching Lois a lesson for impersonating someone to get an interview. This sort of pins down the other great, ongoing theme of Lois’ solo series — if a story didn’t involve Lois wanting to marry Superman, or Lois needing to be saved by Superman, it was all about Superman being a total dick to Lois. Really, it was a terrible, abusive relationship by modern standards (or, any standards, really). Honestly, you'd think most issues were Don Draper writing LOIS LANE comics on the side.

The other two tales in this debut issue involve Lois hoping to win Supeman over with her super-cooking, and being turned into a hag at night, thus obviously assuming she has magical powers during these transformations. The powers are really the result of Superman humoring her until the ugly wears off.
LOIS LANE remained on a publishing schedule of eight (and occasionally nine) issues per year for much if its run. It actually published 11 issues in 1971. 
Her appearance would remain virtually unchanged until #80 (Nov. 9, 1967) when she ditched the Harriet Nelson school marm look and suddenly started sporting mini-skirts and go-go boots. By #124 (May 23, 1972) her Jackie O cut was replaced by a long-haired look more in keeping with the free-flowing ‘70s.

During these more liberated years, Lois lost her previous all-consuming urge to ditch her career in favor of the presumably better life of happy homemaker at the drop of a pillbox hat. And, as the middle-aged men who crafted her adventures sought out some other thing for her to do, they veered into social relevancy. Their intentions were pure, we can be assured (I think), but the results were often reviled, and, among the most infamous story was, “I am Curious (Black),” from issue #106 (Sept. 24, 1970), in which transforms her skin color in order to better understand life as a black woman. 

This change in look and tone corresponded to a marked downturn in sales, although, as we know, correlation does not mean causation. Circulation of all comic books began to plummet in the early 1970s.  During much of the 1960s, despite her stories being silly, and even, in retrospect, damn near misogynistic, Lois sold like Kryptonian hotcakes. She outsold Jimmy Olson after 1961, and everything save SUPERMAN and SUPERBOY across the entire industry in 1962 and 1965, at least (DC did not print circulation numbers in many of its comics for 1963 and 1964). According to Comichron.com, Lois’ numbers ranged from an average of 458,000 copies sold per month in 1960 to as high as 556,091 in 1965. But that average dropped to 448,400 in 1967, got a slight blip up to 461,725 in 1968, and then nosedived to 397,346 in 1969. 
According to Comichron’s John Jackson Miller, by 1972, the last year DC published sales stats for Lois, given the title's 1973 cancellation, average monthly sales had fallen to 232,067 — off 58.3 percent from the 1965 high. 

Miller attributes much of the circulation slide to the 56-page giant-size format employed in 1971 — from #112 (June 24) to #123 (April 23, 1972 — when the book, along with several others in the DC line, sold for 25¢. It was a not inconsiderable hike versus the standard 15¢ entry fee for most comics of the day. This “pricing misstep,” he says, “[was] a major factor in DC's woes.”

By 1973, LOIS LANE was selling so poorly that it actually warranted cancellation. According to an Oct. 24, 1997, article in the COMICS BUYERS' GUIDE by John Wells, entitled "Lost DC: 1971-1975," there was a national paper shortage in 1973 that drove up the price of newsprint and prompted DC to cancel several low-selling titles. Also getting the ax were SUPERGIRL and SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN — all titles that sold less well as the fanbase for comics came to be dominated by hardcore fanboys of a type who only wanted serious super-heroes. And so, SUPERMAN’S GIRLFRIEND, LOIS LANE ended at #136, on stands Oct. 11, 1973. 

In its wake, DC combined the three Superman-related books cut from the schedule into one new giant-sized title, SUPERMAN FAMILY. Launched with #164 on Jan. 24, 1974 (having retained the Jimmy Olsen numbering to prevent having to buy a new postal mailing permit) this new title was initially released in DC's 100-page super-spectacular format. So, the company really wasn’t saving anything on raw page count, versus the three individual titles. However, the series started out with just one new story per issue, with the rest being reprint filler. The consensus on the Comic Book Historians Facebook group is that this allowed DC to keep its high profile properties in the public eye while saving it a ton of money. After all, in this era, the company was under no obligation to pay royalties on any material used a second time.

But this was not quite the end of Lois Lane, the title. By the summer of 1974, sky-high paper prices had abated a bit, and DC released four comics it had in the can when it lowered the boom. And, so, one final issue of LOIS LANE (#137) saw print on June 27, 1974. 

Naturally, Lois has not gone anywhere in the absence of her own titular title. Still, her name has been out front only rarely since 1974. In 1986 DC issued a two-issue LOIS LANE mini-series, one that, by most accounts, was . . . well, let’s just say, “Not good,” and move on. The passage of more than a decade did nothing for well-meaning attempts to give Lois the socially-relevant, ripped-from-today’s-headlines bent. The story by Mindy Newell is all about missing children, and in it we learn that Lana Lang not only had a previous husband and child we knew nothing about, her son was murdered. And, not only that, she keeps the dried and shriveled ear of her son, sent to her by his kidnappers, locked away in a safety deposit box. Yeah, this revelation hasn’t been mentioned too many times since. 

Lois then got a 1998 one-shot, SUPERMAN: LOIS LANE, as part of DC’s skip week “Girlfrenzy!” event, as well as a three-issue alt.reality series in 2011 entitled FLASHPOINT: LOIS LANE AND THE RESISTANCE. Finally, there was a second SUPERMAN: LOIS LANE one-shot, issued for no particular reason I am aware of, in 2014. So, If Lois were to get her own comic again, and if it were to be adorned with a legacy number, she’d only be up to #145. Still, that's a bigger number than most super-heroes have managed.

At lastly, before we move on to look at what Lois had to compete with on the newsstands during this week in January, 1958, let’s mention that if you did not happen to pick her over any of the 150-some-odd also-rans that month, she’s the one that will set you back the most to obtain now. And by a goodly margin. According to ComicBookRealm.com, a high grade copy of SUPERMAN’S GIRLFRIEND, LOIS LANE #1 will set you back anywhere from $8,400 in Very Fine-minus condition, up to $12,000 in Near Mint.

Prices fall quickly from there, however, to just $2,700 in NM for #2, under $1,000 after #5, and under $100, after #71. But even the cheapest issues in the run are said to retail for at least $50 in NM. Don't tell anyone, but I’ve scored many of my copies in Fine of less off eBay for less than the cost of a new comic.



And now, let’s take a quick run-through of all the other options young readers had on the stands, this week in 1958:


On-sale Monday, January 13

EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS’ TARZAN, No. 102
Dell Publishing 

A staple of the comic book industry from its earliest days, Tarzan was launched in his own series by Dell on Dec. 16, 1947. Photo covers were the norm from #13 (Dec. 6, 1949) to #54 (Feb. 2, 1954), and again from #80 (April 5, 1956) to #110 (Dec. 2, 1958). None featured the most famous Tarzan, Johnny Weismuller, however. The earlier photos are of Lex Barker, while the second group, including thisish, all feature Gordon Scott. According to a 2007 obituary, Scott, born Gordon Wershkul, was, “discovered" poolside, and offered "a 7 year contract, a loin cloth, and a new last name.” He and Barker were, respectively, the 10th and 11th actors to portray the Lord of the Jungle. And, so far as looks go, you can’t fault this issue. The first two stories in thisish are drawn by Jesse Marsh, with the second by Russ Manning. All three were written by Gaylord Du Bois. After the split between Dell and Western Publishing, which had packaged most of its books, Western continue the series under its Gold Key brand, starting with #132 (on-sale Aug. 8, 1962). DC Comics then took over the property with #207 (Feb. 29, 1972). It continued the title until #258 (Nov. 30, 1976), with only that final issue carrying the classic circle & stars DC bullet. After that, Marvel Comics started over with a new #1, having a go for 29 issues, from March 22, 1977 to July 24, 1979. Starting in the 1990s, Dark Horse Comics has issued more than a dozen Tarzan limited series, the most recent in 2013. [$56–$80]


FOUR COLOR, No. 883 [THE LITTLE RASCALS]
Dell Publishing

As most folks know, Dell pumped out licensed properties in a series of one-shots known best to fans collectively as FOUR COLOR, a tagline that appeared on many covers, but was never an official title. If you look in the indicia for this issue, it will say THE LITTLE RASCALS No. 883, and you might well wonder why the heck you never say the other 882 issues. Actually, the terror tykes did have their own series under their original and actual name. OUR GANG COMICS began on June 30, 1942, but by #37 (July 1, 1947) they’d been booted off their own cover by MGM cartoon stars Tom and Jerry, originally only a back-up feature in this title. The cove title quickly became OUR GANG WITH TOM AND JERRY and by #60 (May 17, 1949) by with time the Gang had disappeared from the book, simply TOM AND JERRY COMICS. But in 1949, MGM sold Out Gang creator the rights to the shorts he had produced before they bought him out in 1938. Starting in 1951 in theaters, and 1955 on television, Roach began distributing these shorts under the LITTLE RASCALS banner, and that is how we know the entire series best today. As THE LITTLE RASCALS, the kids headlined 12 FOUR COLOR comics between #674 (March 29, 1956) and #1,297 (Jan. 9, 1962). This fourth outing features four stories, all drawn by David Gantz. In 1994 Dark Horse published a limited series called RASCALS IN PARADISE, but that is something much, MUCH different. [$60–$85]


FOUR COLOR, No. 884 [HAWKEYE AND THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS]
Dell Publishing 

Based on the syndicated TV show that starred one-time Lone Ranger John Hart as Hawkeye and Lon Chaney Jr. as Chingachgook, from the James Fenimore Cooper novel. That’s them on the cover of thisish. The 1957 series only lasted or a single season of 39 episodes. A two-disk “best of . . . “ DVD of 10 episodes was released in 2006. The entire run came out in 2011, but only in the U.K. This was the only comic book adaptation of the show. It features two tales drawn by Bob Jenny, who worked for DC Comics as early as 1939, depicting adventures of pilot Gary Hawkes in MORE FUN COMICS, and eventually produced pages for most of the major publishers though the late 1960s.  [$80–$115]


FOUR COLOR, No. 885 [FURY]
Dell Publishing 

FURY was a western themed TV series that aired on NBC from 1955 to 1960, lasting 116 episodes, then continuing in reruns there until 1966. It starred Peter Graves as Jim Newton, owner of the Broken Wheel Ranch, Bobby Diamond as his adopted son Joey, and William Fawcett as ranch hand Pete Wileky. Oh, and Highland Dale as Fury, a wild stallion that would not allow anyone but Joey to ride on his back. That’s the three actors, plus Highland Dale, on the cover of thisish. Highland Dale, for what it’s worth, had a featured turn in the final James Dean movie, GIANT, in 1956, and worked through the end of his life in 1972 on tv shows ranging from BONANZA to THE MONKEES. Reruns of FURY were syndicated throughout the late ‘60s and ‘70s as BRAVE STALLION. The show was treated to nine FOUR COLOR issues, from #781 (Jan. 29, 1957) to #1,296 (Jan. 9, 1962). The brave stallion also got a #1 one-shot from Dell on April 5, 1962, and one under the Gold Key banner Aug. 16, 1962. This issue was the second of the nine FOUR COLOR outings. Sadly, the Grand Comics Database does not know who worked on it.  [$63–$90]


KING OF THE ROYAL MOUNTED, No. 28
Dell Publishing 

Based on the works of Zane Gray, and carrying his name as part of the title through #21 (May 3, 1956), this series started at #8 (May 2, 1952), with the first seven one-shots in the FOUR COLOR series, starting with #207 (Nov. 16, 1948). This was actually the last issue. Interestingly, however, this was one of the few Dell comics (actually, the only, so far as I know) to get an additional FOUR COLOR outing after it was canceled. That was #935, on July 31, 1958. This issue has two stories by Gaylord Du Bois, both drawn by Bob Fujitani, who’s work for a host of publishers included stints on Black Condor and Doll Man for Quality Comics  [$42–$60]


On sale Tuesday, January 14, 1958

ALL-AMERICAN MEN OF WAR, No. 55
DC Comics 

A Joe Kubert cover tops his lead story art on, “Split-Second Target!” written by Robert Kanigher, as well as two six-pagers written by Bob Haney“No Trail for a Frogman,” drawn by Russ Heath, and “A Sergeant is Nobody’s Friend,” by Jerry Grandenetti. After two issues that continued the numbering from ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN, which in turn had carried on from ALL-AMERICAN COMICS, this series started over with a new #1 on Oct. 31, 1952. The series ran until #117, on July 12, 1966. Unlike most DC war series, this one never gave over the masthead to a lead feature, except for four issues near the end of the run, when the actual title was minimized in favor of Lt. Steve Savage, The Balloon Buster.  [$280–$400]


BATMAN, No. 114
DC Comics 

Ah, those crazy Batman comics of the 1950s. Aliens, bug-eyed monsters, and an ever-growing tree of the Batman family. We got Batwoman, Batgirl, Bat-Hound, and, in this, the one and only appearance of Bat-Ape. An unknown writer gives us the take of a circus ape who teams with Batman to prove his trainer is innocent of stealing box office receipts, but the visuals are by Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. The same team, again with an unknown author, also illustrates another tale that gives is the only appearance of illusion-casting baddie, The Mirage Maker. Meanwhile, the lead tale, written by Bill Finger and penciled by Dick Sprang.  [$665–$950]


THE FOX AND THE CROW, No. 47
DC Comics

This is a comic book that had a surprisingly long life, from Oct. 10, 1951, all the way to #108, on Dec. 26, 1967, after which it would transform into STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER for four additional issues. So, we’re about mid-run at this point. I believe no less a luminary that Mark Evanier has called this one of his favorite comic book series of all time. So, it might be surprising then that the GCD has no idea who created any of the stories in this issue. Our titular characters were the refined by gullible Fauntleroy Fox and his pal, the streetwise Crawford Crow. The pair was created by animator Frank Tashlin for the Screen Gems studio, and released via its parent company, Columbia Pictures. The pair starred in 24 cartoon shorts, the last three done by UPA, between 1941 and 1950. As the popularity of super-heroes started to fade toward the end of the Golden Age, DC licensed the Columbia cartoon characters. As the most popular stars in the stable, Fox & Crow appeared in REAL SCREEN COMICS from 1945 and COMIC CAVALCADE from 1948. So, through to the end of that series in 1954, Fox & Crow were nearly besting Superman, as they were cover featured on three different DC Comics titles!   [$67–$95]


PAT THE BRAT, No. 25
Archie Comics

Back in its early days, even after they ditched the super-hero set, Archie Comics were not all about Archie and the Riverdale gang. And the company, which saw its teen humor motif ripped off by every publisher under the sun, was not above offering its own flattery by way of imitation. This comic is pretty much a carbon copy of Dennis the Menace, who was red-hot in the late 1950s. Launched in newspapers by cartoonist Hank Ketcham in 1951, the character would land his own live action CBS-TV series about a year after this Time Bubble trip. Pat bas basically a meaner Dennis, looking like a cross between the Ketcham character and Alfalfa, from the little rascals, while acting like the worst horror stories you ever heard about Carl Switzer, the child actor who played Alfalfa. The character’s only real redeeming characteristic is that his early adventures were drawn by Bob Bolling, the artist later famous for LITTLE ARCHIE. The character started with four issues of his own series, PAT THE BRAT COMICS, starting on June 17, 1955. After #4, the numbering skips to #15 without missing a month, while the title is truncated to simply, PAT THE BRAT. Why? No one seems to know.  [$11–$15]


TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED, No. 23
DC Comics

Launched Dec. 13, 1955, this title was a DC staple for weird sci0fo for a number of years, while also serving as home to DC’s now forgotten hero of the future, Space Ranger, who graced issues #40 (June 6, 1959) to #82 (Feb. 13, 1964). The title took a turn into the supernatural and shortened its name to THE UNEXPECTED with #105 (Dec. 7, 1967). It would enjoy a short seven-issue stint as a giant-sized dollar comic starting with #189 (Oct. 12, 1978), having absorbed the two canceled titles, THE WITHING HOUR and THE HOUSE OF SECRETS, as a result of the infamous DC Implosion, but the spook fest would end at #222 on Feb. 25, 1982. This early issue features four fantastic genre tales, including, “The Invitation from Mars,” by John William Ely, “Who Am I?” by George Roussos, “The Atomic Sled,” by Jim Mooney, and the cover-featured, The Giants from Outer Space,” by Jack Kirby. No writer has ever been identified for these tales and, to my knowledge, only the Kirby yarn has ever been reprinted.  [$385–$550]


WILBUR, No. 77
Archie Comics

Pity poor Wilbur Wilkin. He actually beat Archie Andrews to the team humor game, first appearing in ZIP COMICS #18 (July 10, 1941) three months before the more famous redhead. Although it would be Archie who captured readers’ fancy, and later commandeered this publisher’s corporate identity, Wilbur nonetheless earned his our title, starting May 15, 1944. But by this issue he was closing in on the end of his run. The series would end at #87 on Aug. 17, 1959. There would then be three encore issues, released in the summers of 1963, 1964, and 1965, boosting the final tally to 90 issues. Archie Comics would then publish 52 issues of THAT WILKIN BOY from Oct. 29, 1968, to July 20, 1982. However, what relationship there was between that lead character, brown-haired aspiring rocker Bingo Wilkin, and blond Wilbur Wilkin, if any, was never established. By the end of Wilbur’s run, the character had become practically and physically indistinguishable from Archie. The CW-TV show RIVERDALE made light of this similarity in episode 17 of season 1, with an easter egg featuring Wilbur Wilkins as the name on Archie’s fake ID.  [$42–$60]



On-sale Wednesday, January 15

ARCHIE’S JOKE BOOK, No. 33
Archie Comics 

I honestly have no idea what difference there was between the JOKE BOOK magazine and any other ancillary Archie title. The series started as a semi-annual on June 30, 1953. Then, after #3 it jumped to quarterly status and, like PAT THE BRAT, advanced inexplicable to #15. The title ran forever, to #288, on Sept. 7, 1982.  [$98–$140]







BABY HUEY, THE BABY GIANT, No. 10
Harvey Comics 

Created by Martin Taras for Paramount Pictures’ Famous Studios animation unit, Baby Huey appeared in 12 cartoon shorts between 1949 and 1957. He’d have just one more theatrical outing, released in 1959, the same year Harvey would purchase the entire Famous Studios stable of characters. Launched July 15, 1956, this series would last 97 issues, to July 15, 1971. There would be a #98 in 1972, and a #99 in 1980, followed by #100 and #101 in 1990.  [$74–$105]



BLONDIE COMICS MONTHLY, No. 112
Harvey Comics 

The Chic Young comic strip made its debut in newspapers courtesy of King Features Syndicate on Sept. 8, 1930. She started out as a flapper on the arm of Dagwood, then heir to a railroad fortune. Yes, it was a long way from the middle class domestic bliss we’ve come to know, and which we solidly in place even by the time Blondie & Family made their first appearance in comics. Of course, that dive into suburbia was a bit of a necessity, given that Dagwood got himself disowned for marrying beneath his station. Blondie made her first appearance in comics ACE COMICS #1 (March 3, 1937) from David McKay Publishing. Her first solo outing as a headliner was in McKay’s FEATURE BOOK #12 (April 15, 1938). Those were all strip reprint, however. McKay launched this title on Feb. 26, 1947. Harvey then took over the series with #16 (Jan. 11, 1950) and kept it going all the way to #163 (Aug. 5, 1965), by which time it had lost the “COMICS MONTHLY” part of the title. King Features then took over the title during a brief foray into comic book publishing, from #164 (June 2, 1966) to #175 (Dec. 4, 1967). After that it was Charlton’s turn, which skipped #176 for reasons unknown, and ran the series from #177 (Dec. 1, 1968) to #222 (Aug. 17, 1976).  [$25–$35]


CASPER, THE FRIENDLY GHOST, No. 66
Harvey Comics 

Casper was, of course, the most famous of the Famous Studios stars. The child ghost was created in 1939 by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo, who intended the character as a children’s picture book. Unfortunately, the concept did not draw much in the way of interest and, while Reit was away at a little thing called World War II, Oriolo sold the character to Paramount, which released the first Casper theatrical short in 1945. Casper made his first comic book appearance in five issues of his own title, thanks to St. John Press. His first appearance in a Harvey comic came in LITTLE AUDREY #25 (June 20, 1952), which, incidentally was also the comic book debut of Baby Huey. After counting a Casper outing in HARVEY COMICS HITS #61 (Aug. 25, 1952) as #6 of his own series, Harvey took over from St. John with #7 (Oct. 24, 1952), running the series until #70 (on May 15, 1958). So, we’re nearly at the end of the run with this month’s issue. But that wasn’t really the end. For some reason Harvey restarted the series with a new #1 as THE FRIENDLY GHOST, CASPER, on June 15, 1958. Under that title, the series ran until #260 (Oct. 1, 1990), although it reverted back to CASPER, THE FRIENDLY GHOST for its final seven issues.  [$53–$75]


CHIC YOUNG’S DAGWOOD COMICS, No. 87
Harvey Comics 

At about the same time Harvey took over Blondie, it launched a companion book with Dagwood in the title role. The series began on June 30, 1950 and ran to #140 (July 29, 1965). [$25–$35]



DICK TRACY, No. 121
Harvey Comics 

Like Blondie, Tracy was a comic strip mainstay who had been a main part of the line-up in comic book from their earliest days. Distributed by what came to be known for most of its existence as Tribune Media Services (now Tribune Content Agency) Dick Tracy began his newspaper run not long after Blondie, on Oct. 4. 1931. The hard-boiled detective quickly exploded, crossing over to radio in 1934, comic books in 1936, and movie serials in 1937. In comics, Tracy began his run, like most of his strip brethren, with collected reprints of his newspaper adventures. In his case, making his debut in Dell’s POPULAR COMIC #1, on Jan. 2, 1936. He got his first solo turn in David McKay’s FEATURE BOOK #4 (Aug. 15, 1937). On April 1, 1938, Dell moved Tracy over from POPULAR, making him the cover star of its newest title SUPER COMICS. Trademark proof by having beaten Superman into print by one month, SUPER ran until #121 (Jan. 11, 1949). By that time, Dell had already launched Tracy into his own title, DICK TRACY COMICS MONTHLY, which first graced newsstands on Dec. 16, 1947, one month after Tracy’s last SUPER outing, in #115 of that mag. Dell gave up the license with #24 of the solo mag, however, and Harvey picked up the reins with #25, on Jan. 6, 1950. But unlike Blondie, who evolved with the times, Dick Tracy soon began to feel quaint and old-fashioned. His title, which lost “. . . COMICS MONTHLY” from the moniker with #105 in Sept. 1956, rounded up its last baddie with #145, on stands Dec. 28, 1960.  [$67–$95]


FELIX THE CAT’S NEPHEWS, INKY AND DINKY, No. 4
Harvey Comics 

Well cover more on Felix below, but as to his nephews, they made their black and white bow in the 1926 cartoon short, Felix the Cat Weathers the Weather. They then appeared in several more times, except they were generally known as Inky and Winky. Only when a third kitten was used was the third one known as Dinky. But in comics is was always WInky who got the short shrift. But none of the lasted long as solo starts. This mag, their one and only, lasted just seven issues from July 15, 1957, to Aug. 15, 1958.  [$39–$55]


KATY KEENE, No. 39
Archie Comics 

Perhaps the biggest non-spandex star of the Archie universe who was not actually a part of the Archie universe, the triple-threat model/actress/singer created by Bill Woggon in issue #5 of the above-mentioned WILBUR COMICS, on June 7, 1945. She got her own mag on Feb. 1, 1950, and was such an icon that the cover of this first issue would later grace the cover of the OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE in 1985. Katy would last 62 issues, to July 28, 1961. At one time, the fashionista was headlining three regular titles, including KATY KEENE FASHION BOOK MAGAZINE (13 issues from July 1, 1955, to Nov. 28, 1958) and KATY KEEN PIN-UP PARADE (15 issues from Jan. 2, 1955, to June 8, 1961). Archie would later give Katy another 33 issues, from July 21, 1983, to Oct. 24, 1989. [$217–$310]


LITTLE LOTTA, No. 15
Dell Publishing

Ah, for those golden days when it was still fashionable to tell fat-giel jokes. And Lotta, from her full name (Lotta Plump) to her super-human appetite, which somehow fed acts of super-human strength, was one walking, talking fat joke form beginning (Sept. 6, 1955) to end (#120, Dec. 18, 1975). For a time, she was popular enough to warrant a second regular title, LITTLE LOTTA FOODLAND, which ran 29 issues from June 20, 1963, to July 15, 1972. Not seen much except for a brief revival during Harvey’s last gasp in 1992, Lotta, like all of Harvey’s classic kiddie characters, in now owned by DreamWorks Animation. She is slated to make her return later this year alongside Little Audrey and Little Dot in the new Netflix cartoon series HARVEY STREET KIDS.  [$63–$90]


PAT SULLIVAN’S FELIX THE CAT, No. 93
Harvey Comics 

Created during the silent film era and first appearing on screen in 1919, Felix has long been subject to controversy over just who created him. Australian animator Pat Sullivan, who gets credit here, owned the rights, but animation partner Otto Messmer often claimed to be the Jack Kirby of this particular collaboration. In comics, Felix got six outings in Dell’s FOUR COLOR series, starting with #15 (Dec. 15, 1942). Rather than count the FOUR COLOR issues in his numbering when Felix graduated to his own title, Dell started the mischievous feline with the Cheshire grin with his own #1, on Dec. 30, 1947. Toby Press took over the title with #20 (in May 1951). Harvey then laid claim to the cat, slapping Sullivan’s possessionnary prefix on the property, with #62 (June 23, 1955). The series ran to #118 (Aug. 15, 1961), although Sullivan's name, while still carried in the indicia, was replaced on the cover with #77 by the phrase, "Worlds most famous cat." After it’s split with Western Publishing, Felix was seemingly one of the very few licensed properties Dell could gain access to — the vast majority of the marketable characters staying with Western and seeing publication under the Gold Key brand — and the company made a go with a new #1 on July 26, 1962. The title lasted just 12 issues, to May 11, 1965. [$35–$50]


SAD SACK AND THE SARGE, No. 4
Harvey Comics

We kind of covered Sad Sack in our review of comics on sale the first week ofJanuary, 1978. So, I’ll direct you there if this is the sort of thing that interests you. [$63–$90]

SAD SACK COMICS, No. 80
Harvey Comics

Same-same. [$32–$45]






SPOOKY, THE TUFF LITTLE GHOST, No. 18
Harvey Comics

And the same goes for Spooky. There’s really not too much more to add.  [$84–$120]




On-sale Thursday, January 16

ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN, No. 94
ACG Comics 

ACG was kind of an interesting little example of comic book nepotism. The company was founded in 1943 by Benjamin Sangor, father-in-law to comic book publisher Ned Pines (of Standard Comics/Nedor fame), and brother-in-law of magazine distributor Paul Sampliner. At the time, Sangor, a Russian immigrant, was only a few year from an 18-month prison stretch for          real estate fraud and embezzlement. The ACG books were distributed by Independent News Company, a sister-company to DC Comics, which was co-owned by Sampliner and DC owner Harry Donenfeld. Sangor had a history with Sampliner, including co-ownership from 1939 of Cinema Comics, an outfit that packaged promotional giveaways for movie theaters. From 1940, Sangor ran Sangor Studios, which created and packaged material for his son-in-laws comics. Independent probably fronted Sangor the money to launch out as publisher as well as packager, with ACG. In 1946, Donenfeld bought his son-in-law, Fred Iger, fresh out of college, into ACG as co-owner and business manager. Iger would then get installed as a co-owner of DC in 1948. Sangor remarried to Sampliner’s sister and retired to Florida in 1951, where he died in 1953. In the early ‘60s, Donenfeld bought out the widow Sangor to become co-owner with his son-in-law. Launched on July 30, 1948, ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN is widely regarded as the first ongoing horror series in comics. The series lasted to ACG’s demised, with the final issue, #174, published on June 13, 1967. The ACG line was edited, and mostly written by Richard E. Hughes (real name: Leo Rosenbaum), who had created The Black Terror and The Fighting Yank for Standard Comics out of the Sangor Shop. It’s not known o Hughes wrote any of the stories in this issue, but all three artists, John Forte, John Rosenberger, and Pete Constanza, either were, or soon would be, regulars in the pages of DC comics.  [$53–$75]


ALL FOR LOVE, No. 7
Prize Publications 

Prize, also known as Crestwood Publications, jumped into the world of pulp magazines in 1940, in the wake of Superman’s success. The company started out with super-heroes, but quickly began chasing, and soon even establishing trends. It launched the first ongoing romance comic, Simon & Kirby’s, on July 15, 1947. This series began on Dec. 24, 1957 and ran for 17 issues, to Aug. 27, 1959. Prize then changed the title to YOUNG LOVE, the title of its second ongoing romance book, which it had published from Nov. 1, 1948 to #73, Aug. 27, 1956. In 1963, DC Comics took over both YOUNG ROMANCE and the v.2 of YOUNG LOVE, picking up the latter at #39, on July 18, 1963. The last issue of the title, #126, on stands April 19, 1977, has the distinction of being the last DC romance comic. This issue sports a cover by future DC VP Joe Orlando, and a story with full art by George Klein, best known as a stalwart inker of the Superman line, from 1955 to 1968.  [$49–$70]


CONFESSIONS OF THE LOVELORN, No. 91
ACG Comics 

Launched as simply LOVELORN on June 30, 1949, the title tacked CONFESSIONS OF THE . . . on coves starting with #52 (June 23, 1954), before making the tell-all nature of the stories official in the indicia as of #77 (Nov. 15, 1956). The title lasted to #114, out on April 19, 1960. This issue, mostly written by Richard E. Hughes, features artwork by Pete Constanza, Kurt Schaffenberger, and Al Williamson.  [$74–$105]




DENNIS THE MENACE, No. 27
Standard Comics 

We mentioned Dennis under the listed above for PAT THE BRAT. The character’s run in Ned Pines’ Standard Comics (also mentioned above, under ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN), was on stands from June 23, 1953, to #31, Sept. 16, 1958, as one of the last books published by the company.   [$88–$125]



G. I. COMBAT, No. 58
DC Comics 

Just over a year after the title was taken over by DC Comics, thisish features three stories written by Bob Haney and one by Bill Finger. Artists of the genre stories include Irv Novick (“The Flying Saddle”), Jerry Grandenetti (“No Hill for Easy”), and Jack Abel, (“A Carrier Has Nine Lives”), while the Finger tale, “The Last Man Out,” is handled by Ross Andru. G. I. COMBAT began its battle under the auspices of Quality Comics, on July 2, 1952. When DC bought out Quality, this was one of four titles the company kept on the stands, starting with #44 (Nov. 20, 1956). The others, with the first DC number, were BLACKHAWK (#108), HEART THROBS (#47) and ROBIN HOOD TALES (#7). Outlasting all other DC war comics, G. I. COMBAT would make it to #288, on stands Dec. 11, 1986, with a good portion of the run — #201 (Jan. 13, 1977) to #275 (Dec. 13, 1984) in the giant-sized dollar (later $1.25) format. [$595–$850]


GIRLS’ ROMANCES, No. 51
DC Comics 

We covered the history of thus title in our Time Bubble trip to the second week ofJanuary 1968. This issue features a couple of tear-jerkers drawn by unknown artists, as well as a couple by John Forte, who tackes, “Promise My Heart,” and “Someone to Love Me” — writer(s) unknown.  [$53–$75]


JUSTICE TRAPS THE GUILTY, No. 92
Prize Publications 

It’s the final issue of the long-running crime comic launched by Simon & Kirby on July 1, 1947. But it’s not quite the end. Prize would continue the numbering for three final issues, as THE FARGO KID. While Simon & Kirby set many trends, they were clearly used this second effort for Prize, after overhauling HEADLINE COMICS, to follow on the successful crime spree begun on Lev Gleason Publication’s CRIME DOES NOT PAY. The crime genre was one of the most excessive and, in certain circles, reviled examples of what kept Dr. Freddie Wertham up at night. Perhaps because its title, JUSTICE TRAPS THE GUILTY managed to limp along for four years after the imposition of the Comics Code Authority seal of approval, the signal of good wholesome entertainment. [$53–$75]


LASSIE, No. 39
Dell Publishing

Although Lassie is most often thought of as a movie or TV property, she actually first saw life a short story by Eric Knight in the Dec. 17, 1938 issue of THE SATURDAY EVENING POST. Knight expanded the story into a 1940 novel, LASSIE COME HOME, which was then turned into a movie by MGM in 1943. Five more films would follow by 1949. The CBS-TV series ran from Sept. 12, 1954 to 1971, and was followed by two more seasons in syndication, ending its run on March 23, 1973.  The Dell comic book series predated the tv show, having begun on May 16, 1950, as M-G-M’s LASSIE. Although most people associate Lassie and the TV show with Farmboy Timmy Martin, l’il Timmy did not fall down a well until the start of the 1957 season, when the show was re-tooled. After excising MGM from the title with #37, Dell introduced Timmy and his family into comics with this issue, in an update of the first episode of the fourth season, which introduced actor Jon Provost as Timmy. The art in the story is by Jerry Robinson, of Batman fame. Western Publishing’s Gold Key brand would take over the title at #59 (July 12, 1962) publishing between one and three issues per year, and none in 1968, until the final outing, #70, issued on April 10, 1969. [$63–$90]


NANCY, No. 152
Dell Publishing

In 1922, cartoonist Larry Whittington began a United Features comic strip about a free-wheeling flapper named Fritzi Ritz. Ernie Bushmiller took over the strip in 1925 and, in 1933 had the now maturing matron take in an orphan niece named Nancy. And that was pretty much the end of Fritzi, who’d fade into the background and finally lose title billing to the plump and precocious preteen within five years. When United Features got into the comic book game, it would feature Nancy and her boy toy Sluggo in COMICS ON PARADE, SPARKLER COMICS and TIP TOP COMICS. Yup, time was, that comic strip you can barely read today was a big enough deal is headlined three comic books each month. Truly, Nancy was a kind of l’il Wolverine. United Features got out of comic books in 1954, ending TIP TOP at #188 (July 16), SPARKLER at #120 (Sept. 1) and COMICS ON PARADE at #104 (Dec. 24). St. John Publishing then picked up Nancy for new adventures. Strangely, although COMICS ON PARADE had minimized its official title in favor of Nancy’s own logo as early as #60 (Feb. 6, 1948) and didn’t have the wording on its over at all by the end, having given the book over entirely to NANCY AND SLUGGO, St. John chose to continue the SPARKLER numbering, starting its NANCY AND SLUGGO comic at #121, cover-dated April 1955. Dell then took over the series, changing it to just NANCY, with #145, on July 25, 1957, although SLUGGO was in the title as of #174 (Sept. 17, 1959). After the Dell run ended at #186 on Jan. 11, 1962, Western Publishing’s Gold Key brand picked up the book for five more issues, starting on July 19, 1962, and ending with #192 on July 18, 1963, well into the Silver Age of comics, with Nancy now 30 years old (in real time) [$84–$120]


ROY ROGERS AND TRIGGER, No. 123
Dell Publishing

Time was, Roy Rogers was a pretty big deal. And it’s a testament ot hat popularity that his Dell comic book was still going strong years after his ventures in other media had petered out. Roy first appeared on movie screens as a member of the Sons of the Pioneers in 1935, and by 1938 the cowboy crooner had nabbed top billing. But as 1958 rolled around, it had been nearly eight years since he’d had a hit song, six since he’d been in a movie, and six months since the end of his long-running TV show, which aired 100 episodes on NBC from Dec. 30, 1951, to June 9, 1957. But there were chinks in Roy’s comic book armor as well. After 14 outings in FOUR COLOR from #38 (Feb. 15, 1944), to #329 (April 3, 1951), Roy got his own title, starting with #1, on Nov. 28, 1947. But by #92 (June 23, 1955) he’d needed a little help to draw in the young buckaroo readers, and the title was changed from ROY ROGERS COMICS to ROY ROGERS AND TRIGGER. Dell would end the title with #145 on July 20, 1961. Of note, every single issue of the series bore a photo cover and, in fairness, Trigger did not appear on the cover of most issues that bore his name. [$70–$100]


SUGAR AND SPIKE, No. 14
DC Comics

One of the most charming comics every published, Sheldon Mayer’s SUGAR AND SPIKE (loosely based on his own children) ran from Feb. 23, 1956, to #98, out Aug. 19, 1971, spanning the entire Silver Age, having begun in the Atom Age and ended in early Bronze. The title probably could have kept going, but was canceled primarily due to Mayer’s failing eyesight. After cataract surgery, Mayer returned to the drawing board, producing new Sugar & Spike material for the overseas market. Most of that material has not been reprinted in the U.S. to this day. The exceptions are the Sugar & Spike Stories in THE BEST OF DC digest comics, issues #29, 41, 47, 58, 65, and 68, published between July 1, 1982, and Oct. 3, 1985. In addition, when DC memorialized the end of its long-standing relationship with Sparta Press in Illinois, which had printed DC comics for decades, by issuing a series of reprint special under the banner DC SILVER AGE CLASSICS, its “reprint” of SUGAR AND SPIKE #99 was all new material, culled from those overseas comics. There’s nothing in the comic itself to indicate it’s not a reprint, you just sort of have to know there never was a SUGAR & SPIK #99.  [$368–$525]


SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN, No. 27
DC Comics 

And, finally, after celebrating Lois to start this column out, we get to Jimmy. This issue includes, “The Boy from Mars,” by Otto Binder, with art by Curt Swan and Ray Burnley, in which Jimmy pretends to be from Mars, as part of a hoax designed to boost circulation at the Dailey Planet, only to get arrested for his efforts by the FBI. The second story, “A Date with Miss Metropolis,” by the same team, sees Jimmy pretending to be an English nobleman in order to get out of date with Miss Metropolis, winner of an ugly contest. So, year, there’s a stoty they wouldn’t do today. And lastly, the cover tale, “The Outlaw Jimmy Olsen,” again by the same team, pits Jimmy against an evil duplicate of himself, inadvertently created by infrequent Jimmy co-star, Professor Potter.  [$350–$500]


TOM AND JERRY, No. 164
Dell Publishing

We discussed the cat-and-mouse duo during the Time Bubble trip to January 1978, when they were, at long last, winding down their continual contest of wits. The stories in this issue are illustrated by long-time Hanna-Barbera animator Harvey Eisenberg, who is often cited as the Carl Barks of cats (and mice). There also are a couple of stories by a Lynn Karp (who is a boy named Lynn), a former Disney animator who worked on PINOCCHIO and FANTASIA, who here takes a turn on bulldog pup Big Spike the Little Tyke, as well as Fuzzy& Wuzzy, nephews of Barney Bear.  [$35–$50]


WALT DISNEY’S DONALD DUCK, No. 58
Dell Publishing

Donald also got a run-down in our 1978 review. There no Barks in this issue. Instead we get two tales of Donald former Disney animator and almost Superman co-creator Tony Strobl, and well as a four-page Goofy feature by another Disney alum, Jack Bradbury, plus other short features and gags.  [$70–$100]


WALT DISNEY’S SPIN AND MARTY, No. 5
Dell Publishing

Spin and Marty were characters played by child actors Tim Considine and David Stollery in 78 shorts (each 11 minutes long) set at a western-style summer camp for boys. The episodes aired as part of THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB TV show between 1955 and 1957. The due got four outings in FOUR COLOR (issues #714, 767, 808, and 826) between May 15, 1956, and Aug. 1, 1957. They then enjoyed five issues of their own title, of which this is the first, having counted the FOUR COLOR one-shots as issues #1-4. The series ended a year later at #9 on Jan. 15, 1959, but was followed by two more FOUR COLOR outings, in #1,026 (July 16, 1959) and #1,082 (Jan. 14, 1960). So, the boys were popular enough to still be selling comic books even three years after their last appearance on television screens. [$84–$120]


WALTER LANTZ NEW FUNNIES, No. 253
Dell Publishing

One of the earliest comics books, this title started out as THE FUNNIES on Sept. 10, 1936. All strip reprints published, oddly enough, under generic covers. Dell soon wised up an began pushing known characters like Alley Oop out front. During this era the title also featured Sheldon Meyer’s boy cartoonist Scribbly, who’d later find a more lasting home at DC Comics. During the Golden Age of Super-heroes, THE FUNNIES went in for adventure, featuring John Carter of Mars, and later, Dell’s very own super-hero, the nearly naked (and even more near than not on some covers, due to coloring errors), Phantasmo, Master of the Universe. But as super-heroes made their early swan song at Dell, this title tried a few covers with aviator Captain Midnight, before giving over to Andy Panda, a character from the Universal Pictures cartoon shorts of Walter Lantz, with #64. That change was solidified with a title change to THE NEW FUNNIES with #65, on April 1, 1942. Subsequent issues are hard to take today because of the black stereotype character, L’il Eightball. A newer character from Latnz studio, Woody Woodpecker, began appearing with #86 (May 29, 1944). The title changed to WALTER LANTZ’ NEW FUNNIES #109 (Feb. 1, 1946) as Woody began appearing on the cover more and more, eventually supplanting Andy for good as of #181 (Jan. 22, 1952). As a new medium for disseminating cartoons came to be ubiquitous in American households, this series changed its name once more, to WALTER LANTZ NEW TV FUNNIES, with #259 (July 17, 1958), before reverting back at #274 (Oct. 15, 1959). The series finally came to and end a short time later, #288, on Jan. 11, 1962.  [$49–$70]


YOUNG ROMANACE, No. 93
Prize Publications

We’ve mentioned this title already. Here’s we’re closing in on the end of the Prize era, which would see it’s final issue (#124) on April 1, 1963. It just seems to weird to be that, so deep into the Silver Age, romance comics were still big enough that DC would chose to take ove a couple of titles from defunct Prize. But that it did, publishing YOUNG ROMANCE from #125, June 13, 1963, to #208, Aug. 5, 1975. Thisish features work by Vince Colletta, Jack Kirby, Marvin Stein, and Doug Wildey, all under a cover by Joe Simon. [$56–$80]


ZANE GREY’S STORIES OF THE WEST, No. 37
Dell Publishing

And last but not least, it’s the anti-penultimate issue of this Zane Grey series, which started at #27 on July 19, 1955, having carried its numbering from a series of 26 issues of FOUR COLOR featuring Zane Grey tales, from SPIRIT OF THE BORDER (FC #197, Aug. 13, 1948) to FIGHTING CARAVANS (FC #632, April 21, 1955). None of the FOUR COLOR Zane Gray issues actually carried the title STORIES OF THE WEST. That story ended at #39 on July 15, 1958. Thisish adapts the Zane Grey story, “Knights of the Range,” with art by Bob Correa, with many of the hands and faces said to be swiped from the comics strips RIP KIRBY, by Alex Raymond, and THE HEART OF JULIET JONES, by Stan Drake.  [$46–$65]


            
Well, that's just about it, kids, everything that came out the same week as Lois Lane #1.

And you may be thinking, wow, Lois really didn’t have a lot of super-heroes to compete with. That’s true. So, just for fun, here’s a list of what else his stands during the month of January 1958, a few of which may have remained on sale when Lois hit stands, some which might have arrived with any still unsold copies of her solo debut still looking for a suitor.


On-sale, Thursday, January 2
• THE ADVENTURES OF REX, THE WONDER DOG, No. 38
(DC)
ARCHIE’S PAL, JUGHEAD ANNUAL, No. 6 (Archie)
FORBIDDEN WORLDS, No. 64 (ACG)
THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY, No. 72 (DC)
MY ROMANTIC ADVENTURES, No. 87 (ACG)
OUR ARMY AT WAR, No. 68 (DC)

• WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES, No. 209 (Dell)
WALTER LANTZ WOODY WOODPECKER, No. 46 (Dell)
WESTERN COMICS, No. 68 (DC)
Featuring Pow-Wow Smith, Nighthawk, and the Wyoming Kid.

On-sale Tuesday, January 7
• ANGEL, No. 13 (Dell)

FOUR COLOR, No. 869 (Dell)
Walt Disney’s Old Yeller
FOUR COLOR, No. 880 (Dell)
Steve Donovan, Western Marshall
FOUR COLOR, No. 881 (Dell)
The Captain and the Kids
MR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY, No. 62 (DC)

MUTT & JEFF, No. 101 (DC)
Anti-penultimate issue.
SECRET HEARTS, No. 46 (DC)
SUPERBOY, No. 63 (DC)
Includes the tale of Superboy’s first meeting with Perry White and Lois Lane, in “Clark Kent, Cub Reporter,” by Otto Binder and John Sikela.

On-sale Thursday, January 9
ARCHIE’S GIRLS, BETTY AND VERONICA, No. 35 (Archie)
BEETLE BAILEY, No. 13 (Dell)
• BLACKHAWK, No. 122 (DC)
DINKY DUCK, No. 18 (DC)
Penultimate issue.
FOUR COLOR, No. 890 (Dell)
Wyatt Earp

HOPALONG CASSIDY, No. 128 (DC)
THE LONE RANGER’S COMPANION, TONTO, No. 30 (Dell)
MARGE’S LITTLE LULU, No. 116 (Dell)
MY GREATEST ADVENTURE, No. 10 (DC)
OUR FIGHTING FORCES, No. 31 (DC)
TIP TOP COMICS, No. 212 (Dell)
Second Dell issue.

On-sale Friday, January 10
ARCHIE COMICS, No. 91 (Archie)

On-sale Saturday, January 11
• PEP COMICS, No. 126 (Archie)

On-sale Tuesday, January 21
• BIG TOWN, No. 50 (DC)
Last issue. Based on the radio show that ran from 1937 to 1952.

FRITZI RITZ, No. 57 (Dell)
Second of for Dell issues.
THE HOUSE OF SECRETS, No. 9 (DC)
JACE PEARSON’S TALES OF THE TEXAS RANGERS, No. 19 (Dell)
Penultimate issue.
ROBIN HOOD TALES, No. 14 (DC)
Last issue.

• SHOWCASE, No. 13 (DC)
3rd appearance of The Flash (Barry Allen)
• WALT DISNEY’S SCAMP, No. 5 (Dell)
WORLD’S FINEST COMICS, No. 93 (DC)
Robin becomes “The Boss of Batman and Superman,” with help from Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. Plus stories of Green Arrow and Tomahawk.

On-sale Thursday, January 23
ABRAHAM LINCOLN LIFE STORY, No. 1 (Dell)
96pgs for 25¢
THE LONE RANGER, No. 117 (Dell)
LOONEY TUNES, No. 197 (Dell)
MARGE’S TUBBY, No. 27 (Dell)
TUROK, SON OF STONE, No. 11 (Dell)

• WALT DISNEY’S UNCLE SCROOGE, No. 21 (Dell)
Cover and classic story, “The Money Well,” by Carl Barks.

On-sale Tuesday, January 28
• BATTLE, No. 58 (Marvel)
Looks like all eight Marvel comics for January came out on this day.
DETECTIVE COMICS, No. 253 (DC)

Batman & Robin battle The Terrible Trio of, “The Fox, The Shark, and The Vulture,” for the first time, thanks to Dave Wood and Sheldon Moldoff. Plus tales of The Martian Manhunter and Roy Raymond, TV Detective.
GUNSMOKE WESTERN, No 46 (Marvel)
LOVE ROMANCES, No 75 (Marvel)
MARINES IN BATTLE, No. 23 (Marvel)
Anti-penultimate issue.

MY OWN ROMANCES, No. 63 (Marvel)
• PATSY AND HEDY, No. 58 (Marvel)
Starring the future Hellcat.
REAL SCREEN COMICS, No. 120 (DC)
Starring The Fox and The Crow.
SERGEANT BILKO, No. 6 (DC)
Based on the Phil Silvers TV show.
STRANGE ADVENTURES, No. 90 (DC)
Featuring, “The Day I Became a Martian,” by Otto Binder and Carmine Infantino, cover by Gil Kane. Yes, Binder was turning a lot of people into Martians this month.
STRANGE TALES, No. 63 (Marvel)
WYATT EARP, No. 17 (Marvel)

On-sale Thursday, January 30
ACTION COMICS, No. 238 (DC)

While Batman was teaming up with Bat-Ape this month, Superman was facing off against, King Krypton, the Super-Gorilla. Plus tales of Tommy Tomorrow and Congo Bill.
ADVENTURE COMICS, No. 246 (DC)
Stories featuring Superboy, Green Arrow, and Aquaman.
COMIC ALBUM, No. 1 (Dell)
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck
FALLING IN LOVE, No. 18 (DC)

REX ALLEN, No. 28 (Dell)
STAR-SPANGLED WAR STORIES, No. 67 (DC)
TOMAHAWK, No. 55 (DC)
WALT DISNEY’S CHIP ‘n’ DALE, No. 13 (Dell)
• WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES, No. 210 (Dell)

Also on-sale in January 1958 (exact date uncertain)
ALARMING TALES, No. 4 (Harvey)

ATOMIC RABBIT, No. 11 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
BATTLEFIELD ACTION, No. 18 (Charlton)
• BLACK CAT MYSTIC, No. 62 (Harvey)
Last issue before the return of super-heroine The Black Cat.
THE BRAIN, No. 7 (ME)
Last issue.

COWBOY WESTERN, No. 67 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢. Last issue. Becomes WILD BILL HICKOK AND JUNGLES in June.
FIGHTIN’ AIR FORCE, No. 11 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
FIGHTIN’ ARMY, No. 24 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
FIGHTIN’ MARINES, No. 25 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
FIGHTIN’ NAVY, No. 82 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
FIRST LOVE ILLUSTRATED, No. 86 (Harvey)
HARVEY HITS, No. 7 (Harvey)
Wendy, the Good Little Witch
HI-SCHOOL ROMANCE, No. 73 (Harvey)
Anti-penultimate issue.
I LOVE YOU, No. 17 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
JOE PALOOKA, No. 105 (Harvey)
JUST MARRIED, No. 2 (Charlton)
L’IL TOMBOY, No. 98 (Charlton)
LITTLE DOT, No. 31 (Harvey)
THE MAN IN BLACK, No. 4 (Harvey)
Last issue.
MAZIE AND HER BOY FRIENDS, No. 26 (Harvey)
Anti=penultimate issue.
MIGHTY ATOM, No. 3 (ME)
Last issue. A child super-hero.
MY SECRET LIFE, No. 22 (Charlton)
RACE FOR THE MOON, No. 1 (Harvey)
RACKET SQUAD IN ACTION, No. 29 (Chalton)
64pgs for 15¢. Last issue.
ROBIN HOOD AND HIS MERRY MEN, No. 36 (Charlton)
Anti-penultimate issue.
ROCKY LANE’S BLACK JACK, No. 22 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
ROMANCE STORIES OF TRUE LOVE, No. 50 (Harvey)
Anti-penultimate issue.
ROMANTIC STORY, No. 39 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
SIX-GUN HEROES, No. 45 (Charlton)
The Adventures of Kit Carson
SPEED DEMONS, No. 10 (Charlton)
Last issue. Numbering continues as SUBMARINE ATTACK in March.
STRANGE SUSPENCE STORIES, No. 36 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
SWEETHEART DIARY, No. 41 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
TOM-TOM, No. 3 (ME)
Last issue. A child Tarzan.
SWEETHEARTS, No. 42 (Charlton)
Ricky Nelson photo cover.
TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER, No. 7 (Charlton)
Totally not The Phantom Stranger.
UNUSUAL TALES, No. 11 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢
WAR AT SEA, No. 24 (Charlton)
WARFRONT, No. 33 (Harvey)
WYATT EARP, FRONTIER MARSHALL, No. 20 (Charlton)
64pgs for 15¢. The third of three different Wyatt Earp comics this month from three different publishers. And perhaps surprisingly, the longest-lived, surviving all the way to Oct. 1967






And THAT is it, Bubblenauts, everything on sale the third week of January 1958, as well as a few bonus bits that might have been (but probably hit stands before or after). 

Be here next week when we set the Time Bubble controls closer to home, to the fourth week of January in 1978! There we’ll witness, among other wonders, the Marvelous first issue of MACHINE MAN!


See ya then!
 
 
 
 
 

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