DC COMICS


DC COMICS
   US COMIC-book publishing company, based in New York, owing much of its commercial success to its ownership of the copyrights in the SUPERHEROES Batman, who is not quite an sf figure, and SUPERMAN, who is.In Feb 1935 Major Malcolm WHEELER-NICHOLSON published the first US comic book to contain all-new material rather than reprints from newspaper comics sections. His comic book, New Fun, ran for 5 issues Feb-Oct 1935, and was reborn in 1936 as More Fun (June 1936-Dec 1947). By 1938 Nicholson was publishing New Adventure Comics and Detective Comics; these were the first comic books to feature regular characters in a series of adventures. However, they didn't pay the bills, and Nicholson eventually settled his debts by handing his company, National Comics, over to his printers, Harry Donenfeld and Jack Leibowitz. Its next publication was Action Comics, \#1 of which (June 1938) featured the first appearance of the character Superman, created by Jerry SIEGEL and Joe Shuster. In May 1939 Detective Comics \#27 saw the debut of The Batman, drawn by Bob Kane and written by Bill Finger. The future of the company was assured.Detective Comics was the first all-new comic book of which each issue was devoted to a single theme. This approach was an instant success, and so the company adopted the initials DC as a trademark, featuring it boldly on (eventually) all of its covers. It bought up Max Gaines's All American Comics in 1945. Donenfeld pioneered the distribution of comic books in the USA, and his efforts were backed up by those of National's stable of editors, writers and artists, who included Alfred BESTER, Otto Binder (Eando BINDER), Gardner FOX, Edmond HAMILTON and Mort WEISINGER. These produced a flood of memorable characters and series including Aquaman, Enemy Ace, The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Sgt Rock, Sugar \& Spike and WONDER WOMAN, and Mystery in Space, Rex the Wonder Dog, Robin the Boy Wonder and Strange Adventures.The 1950s saw a change of name to National Periodical Publications and the introduction of romance titles (Girls Love), sf (Strange Adventures), Westerns (Hopalong Cassidy) and licensed character humour (Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason and Dean Martin \& Jerry Lewis). In the mid-1950s there was a resurgence in the popularity of superheroes, and many characters abandoned in the previous decade were revived and revamped. This popularity burgeoned in the 1960s and 1970s, and such material constituted a substantial proportion of the company's output, even though there were new titles in the horror, gothic romance and SWORD-AND-SORCERY genres. In 1968 the company was taken over by Warner Bros., and in the early 1980s its official name finally became DC Comics Inc.The 1980s saw a great expansion of new publishing formats, including limited-series books, softcover and hardcover collections, and GRAPHIC-NOVEL adaptations of the works of leading sf writers such as Larry NIVEN and Robert SILVERBERG. A major contributing factor to the company's recent success has been its exploitations of The Batman (now usually known just as Batman), allowing artists and writers - including Frank MILLER, and Alan MOORE and Brian BOLLAND - to evolve a number of highly individual interpretations of his character and milieu. Batman's popularity has, of course, benefited from the films Batman (1966), Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992).
   RT/SW

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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