62 – All-American

All-American Comics #1 in March 1939, the first comic from All-American Publications. All-American was formed by Max Gaines and funded by Harry Donenfield (the owner of National Allied Publication and Detective Comics). All-American would go on to be the home for many characters we know well today like Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Green Lantern […]

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61 – Wonder Man

Fox Feature Syndicate published Wonder Comics #1 in March 1939. Wonder Man was Fred Carson, a timid radio engineer and inventor. While in Tibet, a yogi gave him a ring which granted him super strength and invulnerability. He was created by Will Eisner. You can already see Eisner’s innovative layouts with Wonder Man’s arm extending […]

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60 – Loathsome Wretch!

In early Superman stories like Action Comics #10 (February 1939), Jerry Siegel made sure that Clark Kent was the mask, cooking up situations where Clark had to appear cowardly or have less integrity. In this story, Clark gives up his source, an escaped convict from a brutal prison where the superintendent tortured the inmates. In […]

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59 – Hiding In Plain Sight

The idea that Superman may be hiding in plain sight as a regular guy is voiced for the first time in Action Comics #9, January 1939. I like how Jerry Siegel seems to be building this world that Superman inhabits month-by-month, even if the story ideas themselves are sometimes a bit ludicrous. I also love […]

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58 – Slamming Through Time

The normally grounded Slam Bradley and Shorty encounter a scientist who has invented a time machine, joining Bobby and Binks as time travelers. They meet bird and flower men in 2 Billion A.D. I must have missed the story where Slam water skiied over a shark…

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57 – Super Hearing

In December 1938, Action Comics #8 featured the first time Superman used his super hearing power, setting the stage for what was to be a gradual widening of Superman’s powers to god-like abilities. Action Comics #8 also featured Superman deciding that the right way to set a bunch of wayward kids straight was to demolish […]

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56 – Vigilante Crimson

The Crimson Avenger was the first masked hero in the DC Universe to be a fugitive from the law, operating outside of it: A vigilante. November 1938 was special for DC because for the first time it featured two of its costumed adventures on comic book covers (Superman on Action and Crimson Avenger on Adventure […]

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55 – The Man of Steel Gets Famous

By October 1938, Superman’s fame is beginning to spread both in the real world and in the fictional world of the DC universe. The Daily Star dubs him the “Man of Steel”. It leads to a fun story where a promoter claims he is Superman’s manager and uses a fake Superman to garner promotional revenue. […]

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54 – The Crimson Avenger!

September 1938 also saw the debut of The Crimson Avenger in Detective Comics #20 by Jim Chambers. Basically the Crimson Avenger was a knock-off of The Green Hornet, having a mask, a gas gun and an Asian sidekick named Wing – but he is DC’s first masked hero, so I guess he deserves a mention.

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53 – Lois, Lois Make Up Your Mind

Lois kisses Superman for the first time in Action Comics #5 (September 1938) and their relationship shows some continuity as this is clearly their second meeting. With this story, Jerry Siegel beautifully sets up a trope that would power Superman’s supporting cast for 50 years: Lois is in love with Superman and can barely give […]

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