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Thursday, September 26, 2019 

The history of DC's founder

New York Newsday has some history of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, the writer who launched what would become DC Comics in 1935, although he'd been pushed out of the company early:
Operating on a shoestring, he nurtured young talent. "New Fun" No. 6 published the first comic-book work of future Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and "New Comics" No. 1 featured Walt Kelly years before Kelly's classic comic strip "Pogo." A third title followed in 1937: "Detective Comics," future home of Batman. It was published by a sister company, Detective Comics, Inc., formed of necessity when the cash-strapped Major took on two partners: Harry Donenfeld, a publisher and distributor of racy magazines, and Donenfeld's accountant, Jack Liebowitz.

Then in early 1938 — not long before Superman would change comics forever — the new partners ousted him using dubious means involving a Donenfeld-crony judge and a bankruptcy declaration while the Major was out of the country. Detective Comics, Inc. absorbed National Allied and through further mergers and name changes eventually became today's Warner Bros. division DC. [...]

But Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson and DC have always been on good terms. The publisher even bought a $12,000 copy of "New Fun" No. 1 for its archives at her urging. "He was more focused on the creative end," she says of her grandfather, "and they were more focused on the business end. Donenfeld and Liebowitz were incredible businessman. But without his vision and creativity, there wouldn't have been anything. It took all three to make it happen."
I wonder what he'd think or say about how far the company's fallen since they were taken over by Time Warner? Whether or not Donenfeld and Liebowitz were justified in their steps, it pales beside the alarming abuse their creations have suffered since the turn of the century. Wheeler-Nicholson and company certainly deserve far more credit than their modern successors do for building up the publisher.

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And you don't think there haven't been missteps since before the turn of the century?

and what makes you think the founder of DC would have done anything different if he wasn't ousted? what makes you think he wouldn't have sold DC a long time ago, for a job that is less strenuous, and dc wouldn't be advocating for content not aimed at working class straight white men today?
What about the founder makes you think he would not be aiming for a more diverse audience today? Today, most readers are more educated and diverse. Today, most readers want material that tackles the issues of the day, which are all issues of social justice.

How about legitimate social justice issues instead of artificial ones created by various forms of power for control like the government, the church, the board of education, etc.?

When have comics ever been aimed at working class straight white men? And when have working class straight white men ever been a significant share of the readership!? Boys and girls were the main focus from the 40s to the 80s, teenagers and college kids later on. But it is not like construction workers and auto assembly line guys were a large portion of the rabid fan boys, over and above other sections of the population. How many cosplaying truck drivers are there out there?

Comics were a working class straight white male space that marginalized poc, women and children until recently. If you are unfamiliar with the history of American comic books, I suggest you do some basic research and familiarize yourself.

Marginalizing children? You mean comics like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, Bugs Bunny, Sugar and Spike?

Marginalizing women? You mean like Betty and Veronica, Katy Keene, Millie the Model, Nellie the Nurse, Tessie the Typist, Young Love, Young Romance, Secrets of Young Brides, Love Tales?

Those marginalized people bought a lot of comic books aimed directly at them.

There were a lot of comics aimed at white males, but those were often white male boys, not men. The mainstream comics publishers lost their way and their circulation in the 80s and 90s, when they started selling more and more books aimed only at older male fans; they dug themselves into a rut they couldn't get out of, churning out more and more self referential books to a shrinking audience, and even when they tried to appeal to other groups they couldn't figure out how to market the product, and they lost their audience.

You are right to a large extent about poc, although that generalization ignores the many comic strips in the Black ethnic press, and a number of other significant exceptions and important artists.

Not sure why you are emphasizing working class though; generally rich kids read as many or more comics as poor kids. And there were very few working class heroes; more superheroes we're professionals or independently wealthy, or at least middle class.

The 1990s brought us the black comics imprint Milestone, the rise of lgbt creators and comics about real life.

I'm sorry that star poc, queerfolk, comics creators sharing real life situations meant comics "losing their way" to you and "lost their audience" but you couldn't be more wrong. 1980s and 1990s planted the seeds for the golden age of we are experiencing today.

and another thing--comics for kids is a recent development. captain underpants, Smile, and Bone all were things that were the ideas of creators who entered comics in the 1980s and 1990s. Until then, comics were for working class white men.

"Marginalizing children? You mean comics like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, Bugs Bunny?"

Those comics you mention are unfamiliar to me. Please, let's restrict our discussion to comics titles that we can confirm as ever existing.

Try these pages for starters, then do some research on your own time:



Those comics are clearly for working class white men. There isn't anything that would appeal to anyone under the age of 21. I'm sorry, comics' never acknowledged children existed as consumers in the past. I know you want to desperately believe that it did, but comics didn't acknowledge children as potential customers until fairly recently.

Come on, are you trying to tell me that Captain Underpants is not aimed at working class white men? There are actually a lot of adult Captain Underpants readers who devour the book and each and every sequel, and you have to be incredibly naïve to believe that the obvious coded subtext in the book was not intentional. Many white men are secretly exhibitionists and identify strongly with the character.

What do you call these comics?








Some people out there seem to have the misconception that working class men only like beer, guns and gore. This is an effete condescending limousine liberal stereotype of the over-educated. In fact, working class men do have, believe it or not, a sense of humor, and appreciate the comics you have listed above. Especially Fox And Crow, one of the best strips DC produced in the 1950s.

Those stereotypes are flattering. Rednecks are so much more evil than that. They rape and kill anyone who trespasses their space. For several decades, comics was a space exclusive for them.

Now, there is a campaign to decolonize comics and put the white men who brutally gatekept charged with the crimes they committed and you are against the campaign because you are Nazi apologist and a KKK apologist. Stop spreading fear and hatred before it's too late! Begone, bigot!

I sometimes wonder if the people who leave comments here are truly serious, or if they're just doing this for the lulz, as the younger generation puts it.

In case some of the comments are serious, I should point out that, esoteric as Bugs Bunny might sound, he is a rebel and no fascist. He often dresses in drag and plays havoc with gender stereotypes, and he has a cocky fast-talking wise-cracking New York manner that is no respecter of authority. His fur may be white, but he is poc at heart. It is worth digging out one long-forgotten comics.

This would probably explain Green's contempt for animation produced by Warner Bros.

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