Monday, June 08, 2020

Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Formidable Collection

A young man writes in Action #297 (February 1963):

560 different Superman family comics may not sound like a lot these days, but back then this was very impressive.  First, I estimate that there were about 960 comics featuring Superman/Superboy or his friends, so it's almost 60% of the total.  Second, this was before there were comics shops, before there were the yellow-colored ads offering back issues for sale.  I'm sure that Ward had to scrounge everywhere to find that many comics featuring the Man of Steel.

I checked ahead in the next few issues and didn't see anybody writing in to claim they had topped his total.

Friday, March 06, 2020

I Finally Figured It Out!

Years ago, I wrote a post noting all the female characters that were introduced in DC comics starting in the late 1950s, and wondering why it all happened so suddenly:

1956: Batwoman makes her first appearance in Detective #233 (July).
1957: June Robbins makes her first appearance with the Challengers of the Unknown in Showcase #7 (March-April) Lois Lane makes her solo debut in Showcase #9 (July-August) Queen Arrow makes her only appearance in Adventure #241 (October).
1958: Lois Lane gets her own title (March). Supergirl tryout in Superman #123 (August).
1959: First Lady Blackhawk appearance in Blackhawk #133 (February). Supergirl (Kara) launched in Action Comics #252 (May). First Mademoiselle Marie in Star Spangled War Stories #84 (August). First Aquagirl (Lisa Morel) appearance in Adventure #266 (November).
1960: First Miss Arrowette (Bonnie King) in World's Finest #113 (November).
1961: Batgirl (Betty Kane) debuts in Batman #139 (April).
 I was focused on what was happening in the culture that would cause this sudden interest in female characters and I missed what was right in front of me all the time:

 1958: Lois Lane gets her own title (March).

We don't have circulation numbers for any comics before 1960, but I suspect Lois Lane sold like hotcakes right from her first Showcase appearance.  By 1960 her mag was the #11 selling title in all of comics, moving 458,000 copies per issue. So of course the DC editors realized that there was a market to be tapped, and they rushed to try to fill it.