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The SILVER AGE's greatest hits, misses and ground outs:6837

Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
Regardless of what comics you collect, each era has it's own strengths and weaknesses. In some instances there are questions as to what prompted publishers bothered trying out certain titles. In others, apparent sure winners failed and were unceremoniously cancelled.

This thread may not answer every question, but will probably raise a few for those who've wondered about the tumultuous 15 plus years following the establishment of the CCA until the imposed Code was effectively weakened toward the end of the SA.

I'll start this off with a mid-60's publishing experiment that ultimately failed. Tower Comics lasted all of three short years. Their superhero lines should've been a home run. Several of the artists (Reed Crandall, Wally Wood & Al Williamson among them) had worked for EC during that publisher's hey-day in the early 50's. The concepts, writing and art were strong.

Tower Comics differed from most current SA comics in that the publisher increased the page count & charged 25 cents per copy. Most SA comics during this period were 15 cents and under 30 pages.

So, what went wrong? Was it the higher 25 cent price tag? ...Less than stellar superheroes? ...Poor timing? ...Weak marketing and/or distribution? Or are there other variables???

In retrospect, Tower produced some pretty cool books, with above average stories and art. For the first comic publisher discussed, the Tower story seems like an interesting mystery worth tackling. Feel free to comment, share opinions or provide knowledge if you have the inside track.

Here is the first issue of the earliest Tower comic, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 with an absolutely stunning Wally Wood cover...



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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
Here's Dynamo #1, with another superb Wood cover...



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Collector esaravo private msg quote post Address this user
@CatmanAmerica - I am a big fan of the Tower Comics you posted, and agree that they should have a bigger fan base. Here’s a few from my collection.

More wonderful Wally Wood.


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Collector esaravo private msg quote post Address this user
The great Gil Kane.


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Collector esaravo private msg quote post Address this user
The entire run of Noman - #1 has an awesome caveman cover by Williamson and Wood, but Wood did both pencils and inks on #2.





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Collector esaravo private msg quote post Address this user
Almost the whole set of Undersea Agent. See if you can guess the cover artists.










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Collector esaravo private msg quote post Address this user
I’d have to call this comic by MF Enterprises a big, fat miss. Yes, another Captain Marvel, but his super-power is the ability to break into pieces by yelling “Split!” What’s next, the human sea cucumber who is able to puke out its internal organs when attacked?


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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
@esaravo Good call on what seems to be a bizarre aberration. This title may fit into the "exploited characters with unclear copyright protection at the time of publication" class of comics.
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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
Here's a great early Marvel title that should've been a hit. Lasting only five issues in '58/'59, Strange Worlds title was borrowed from an earlier pre-code series published by ME (Magazine Enterprises). As an SF title, Marvel/Atlas's SW hit all the right marks, with great covers by Kirby and Ditko and a nice mix of stories with science fiction themes and excellent interior art.

Maybe Marvel's failure to support the title had something to do with the word "World(s)" as two other early SA Marvel titles, World of Suspense and World of Mystery, were tried out and dropped in fairly short order, although those were somewhat lackluster titles. This is the only copy of Strange Worlds in my collection, but if I choose to complete the run it'll only require four more issues...



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Collector esaravo private msg quote post Address this user
@CatmanAmerica - Fantastic Ditko cover on that Strange Worlds!

Here’s a one-shot from 1956 that has stories about the Little Wise Guys who appeared in Lev Gleason’s Daredevil Comics. I have no idea why it only ran one issue, and there is only one on the CGC Census (a 7.0). I should probably see if @Earthshaker has one, because he seems to have all of these kinds of comics.


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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
@esaravo Fascinting! It might be worth checking out the date that Lev Gleason shuttered their doors as a publisher.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if "Slugger" and LG fell victim to the industry-wide imposition of CCA oversight.
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Collector esaravo private msg quote post Address this user
@CatmanAmerica - It appears Lev Gleason Publications closed shop in 1956. What is also interesting is that Daredevil, staring the Little Wise Guys, was appearing monthly up until issue #131 (March 1956), and then did not appear again until June 1956 with issue #132. That series then ended with issue #134 (October 1956). So it appears to me (all speculation) that the company might have thought about discontinuing Daredevil after issue #131 and used stories that were for Daredevil #132 in Slugger #1 (April 1956). Then for whatever reason, only published Slugger #1 because they continued with Daredevil #132 in June 1956. Then the whole company shut down a few months later.
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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
@esaravo Excellent research. I'd assume that Slugger #1 sales were no better than Daredevil Comics at this point. The Little Wise Guys had been the main feature in Daredevil for years as the adult character hung up his costume in the mid-40's. Looks to me like Lev Gleason may have been dumping finished stories ...perhaps padded by reprints... while selling off assets and shutting down their remaining comics lines.
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Collector 00slim private msg quote post Address this user
Not sure if this fits, seeing how it’s a matter of preference, but I never liked Black Widow’s “new costume” in Tales of Suspense #64. I’d call it a huge miss.





The one from Spidey #86 is a huge improvement.
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COLLECTOR Foghorn_Sam private msg quote post Address this user
Probably more of a ground out. Was fresh, edgy and funny at first, but lost steam in the long run. Still, it's something I have fond memories of.


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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
Here's a series that was a definite hit, but for some reason that eludes me it ran out of steam after 6 or seven years (40 plus bi-monthly issues). Mystery In Space featuring Adam Strange was among my favorite D.C. hero strips and I've always wondered why this one ended and was never pitched and picked up for a syndicated live action TV series.

Adam Strange had all the elements for a successful space series on a distant unchartered world. The periodic zeta beam transport lent itself to series television, the unrequited love interest with Alanna would keep the audience connected with Both leading characters, the alien world under attack by periodic forces of evil that Adam became adept at fighting, and so on.

As a comic book the Mystery In Space had magnificent covers and interiors supplied by Carmine Infantino who was at his creative peak in the early 60's. Adam Strange was a solid hit that just never made it past third base. To this day, the demise of this series remains a mystery...



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COLLECTOR Foghorn_Sam private msg quote post Address this user
Adam Strange sure had a convoluted run. I wasn't sure of what his first appearance was until now. By the time I got into comics in 1966-67, he had all but disappeared from DC comics.



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Collector doog private msg quote post Address this user
When I first started collecting, 8 years or so ago I got all the Spaceman, and a lot of Konga and Gorgo, just because.
You guys are showing a lot of books in my collection in this thread!


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Collector 00slim private msg quote post Address this user
I really like the ‘Gorgo’ movie. It’s a well paced kaiju film.
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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
Plastic Man survived the CCA, but Quality was barely treading water. Only Blackhawk and Plastic Man were still reliable in 1956 and those titles were surviving partially on reprints, at least those reprints that could survive the censor's cuts.

After awhile Quality's Busy Arnold threw in the towel and sold his most popular properties to D.C. National continued Blackhawk, but promptly killed the Plastic Man title, only to revive the character a decade later, ...but in a more humorous and arguably less artistic fashion... and, as I seem to recall, absent Plas's sidekick Woozy Winks.

The reality was that Plastic Man would never rise to the heights of it's GA fame without the talents of the late Jack Cole's unique artistic style. So, even though the resurrected character remained marginally popular, he didn't fare well in the SA. Here's one of the final year's issues of Quality's version of Plastic Man...



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Collector esaravo private msg quote post Address this user
@CatmanAmerica - Loved the Quality version of Plastic Man, and Blackhawk had some of the best covers from the early SA. Here’s a few Quality Blackhawks.




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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
Here's another great D.C. concept that got a try out, first in Brave & The Bold then moving over to Showcase, but apparently never built a strong enough following to move into the big leagues via a series of it's own. Cave Carson, Adventures Inside Earth had all of the right stuff adventure-wise, similar in some respects to Challengers of The Unknown.
Nice SA art & logo, too.



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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
@esaravo Blackhawk should see a resurgence in popularity given the talk of a Spielberg movie in the works.
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Collector CaptainCanuck private msg quote post Address this user
@esaravo
Quote:
Originally Posted by esaravo
Almost the whole set of Undersea Agent. See if you can guess the cover artists.



I would have guessed Norman Mingo.

Dr. Fang looks like Alred E. Newman in disguise.

“What—Me Worry?”.
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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
So, here's Marvel's Strange Worlds #5 with a Kirby cover (Wow, I have 2/5 of the run)...




After this issue, Strange Worlds would vanish as well!
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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
Still hoping someone will bring up short lived series like Marvel's Amazing Adventures that turned into a showcase for Steve Ditko's Amazing Adult Fantasy before the final issue became Amazing Fantasy and introduced Spider-Man or D.C.'s Showcase and Brave & The Bold tryouts that didn't quite make the cut. These are all interesting and discussion worthy.
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Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user
The monster books are all pretty similar.


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Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user

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Collector esaravo private msg quote post Address this user
@CatmanAmerica - Speaking about Showcase, the Spectre was another Golden Age character that was resurrected in that title. After a few appearances in Showcase, he as given his own (short-lived) series. He then appeared in various titles over the years, and was given lead status again later in (Weird) Adventure Comics (with some killer covers by one of my favorite Batman artists Jim Aparo).

Here’s the first issue of his SA series.


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Collector doog private msg quote post Address this user
I find Magnus, Robot Fighter a failure, although it was my favorite read as a very young kid. 46 issues, 22 by the great Russ Manning. His mini skirt was a bit weird, though.
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