OK, so I'm doing research for my book about journalism in comics, with an April 15 deadline and zero vacation time (thanks, Gannett). It will be peer reviewed, so even if I was inclined to be sloppy, I can't be.
I'm focusing on the interregnum between superhero regimes for now. I'm pretty much ignoring funny animal, teen humor and science fiction, since those generally don't have reporters in them. So it's mostly horror (and whatever EC's SuspenStories were) that I'm looking at.
I'm plowing through all my 1950s collections looking for stories where journalists or journalism play an important role. (Such as the lead character being a reporter, even if he/she doesn't do much reporting.) I'm also interested in stories that simply end with a reporter/editor hearing the tale and saying "I can't print that!" because it happened a lot, and I'm interested in counting those times.
A lot of this horror material is in public domain or has been reprinted by PS Artbooks, Luke Blanchard has pointed me to some online sites that might have some material PS hasn't gotten around to yet. (Thanks, Luke!)
So that's where I am (and if anyone wants to suggest some reporter story out of the blue, I won't turn it down). Where I've got a problem is with EC books that haven't been reprinted by Gladstone/Dark Horse yet. I think I've got a complete Tales from the Crypt, but both Haunt of Fear and Vault of Horror are at Vol. 4, at least one volume (six issues or so) from completion. Both Crime SuspenStories and Shock SuspenStories are at Volume 3, and I don't think that's near the end. There might even be some good material in the war books, but Frontline Combat is only at Vol. 1, and Two-Fisted Tales is at Vol. 2. Of the "New Direction" books, only Valor and Aces High are out.
Fortunately, I've got the B&W reprint of Extra! around here somewhere. But all those other books would be costly and time-consuming to find in any format.
So, I'm asking the Legion: If you have any reprints that haven't been collected in EC Archives yet, can you flip through them and see if there's anything I should know about? I'm especially concerned about prose stories, since the Grand Comics Database doesn't do summaries of those.
I don't know what to do about crime comics. DH collected nine volumes of Crime Does Not Pay!, but that's only about half the run. That's really the only one I'm familiar with, so I guess I'll just go through Luke's sites and look for the words "crime" and "police" in the title.
Oh, man! I'd love to hear more about this, but I'm pretty much a novice in this area of comics vast history.
In just the past couple years, I've gotten into the Warren Publishing books like Creepy and Eerie, and to a lesser extent, Vampirella. But all of my reading has been done after the fact. I love that the horror comics have such a rich tapestry of history, though. Good luck with this project!
The GCD's Advanced Search has a Genre field. The tags are attached to the stories and covers.
Genre searches can miss things as not all stories and covers have been tagged. For example, if you fill in "Heck" under Pencils and "western" under Genre you probably don't get every Western story Don Heck drew.
But if you set Search For to "Series" and fill in "crime" under genre you should, in theory, get a list of every title that ran at least one crime story that's been tagged. This should include most crime comics.
So many titles ran crime stories you might find it best to search one Publisher at a time.
The genre tags used include crime, mystery, detective, suspense, adventure.
There were reporter features in American comics into the 1960s (or 1980s, counting Lois's and Jimmy's features). You can find a number of these by doing GCD searches for features with "scoop", "headline", "reporter", "photographer", "correspondent" or "newsreel" in the feature name.
Others include "King O'Leary", "Lucky Wings", "Ray Hale-News Ace",(1) "Joan Mason",(2) and DC's "Lady Danger" and "Astra, Girl of the Future". You could also count Roy Raymond's feature.
The hero of "Lucky Coyne" was reportedly a reporter in some stories. Some "Lucky Coyne" stories were recycled with the hero renamed in St. John's Crime Reporter.
DC published Big Town, licensed from the radio/TV show, through much of the 1950s.
Journalist superheroes other than Superman include the Press Guardian, Captain Marvel, the Wizard once he became a newspaper publisher, Archie's Bob Phantom, the Fox, the Face, Green Lantern once he became an announcer, Fighting American, Quality's Miss America (until she quit and joined the FBI), Liberty Belle, and the Destroyer (in his origin story, before he became a superhero). The Comet's girlfriend, later the Hangman's, was reporter Thelma Gordon.
Reporter heroes from newspaper strips include Hap Hopper, Steve Roper, Jim Hardy, Connie (for a time), Jane Arden, and Brenda Starr.
My acknowledgements to this Wikipedia list and Toonopedia.
(1) The GCD sometimes includes a dash in the feature name and sometimes doesn't.
(2) The GCD variously lists this as "Joan Mason", "Joan Mason, Reporter" and "Joan Mason Reporter".
Crack Western carried a feature without regular characters called "Dead Canyon Days". (It was evidently named after the radio show Death Valley Days, which was later a TV show.) The first instalment, from Crack Western #63, was about a journalist who starts a paper in Dead Canyon.
The protagonist of It Rhymes with Lust was a newspaperman.
In Daredevil Comics #42 Daredevil's true identity was uncovered by a reporter. So he gave up his superhero ID and became a crusading newspaper publisher. Within a couple of issues he resumed being Daredevil, gave up his identity as Bart Hill, and gave the paper to the reporter. But this may have been a flirtation with a permanent de-costuming, parallel to Spy Smasher's makeover into Crime Smasher and the Black Hood's transformation into a PI in the last issue of Black Hood Comics.
The Face/Tony Trent was a war correspondent during WWII until he was captured by the Japanese. This separated him from his mask, and others used it. The final war storyline wrote the mask out, and the feature became "Tony Trent". Trent had become a serviceman late in the war, and didn't return to radio journalism until Big Shot #81 (1947).
Here are a couple that sneak into the Silver Age so they may not fit your interregnum criteria. Both from Dell: Johnny Jason, Teen Reporter, and Target: The Corruptors (based on a tv show).
Much later is Friday Foster. She is photographer. Does that count?
Did any of the teen humor comics ever have stories centered around the school newspaper? Seems like a natural, but I’m drawing a blank.
Thanks, Luke, for all the advice!
And thanks to you, Dave. I’m thrilled to get suggestions outside of my current focus. I just mentioned that to explain what I was doing and why I neede help on specific EC issues.. The book will cover 1938 to present, so all suggestions are gladly received.
I had counted on my vacation time from my newspaper job, but that evaporated when I was laid off. I have no vacation time on my new job at all, and it will require me to work Sundays in March and April. So I’ll take whatever help I can get!
Don Lomax’s Vietnam Journal was about a war correspondent.
Cary Burkett’s Dateline: Frontline (Men of War, Unknown Soldier) also featured a war correspondent.
Crime Reporter, Jane Arden by St. John.
You mention that this will be peer reviewed, maybe the journal Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture out of the University of Southern California might have some useful articles. Specifically, “Comic Book Journalists Beyond Clark Kent” by Bill Knight.
Moonstone’s various Kolchak series. Also Arrgh #4 had a Kolchak parody.
Dave Palmer said:
Crime Reporter, Jane Arden by St. John.
Apparently the issues reprinted newspaper strips. There were a lot of comics like that in the Golden Age. In other cases comics based on strips had original stories. Sometimes they had strip reprints and a non-strip second feature. Avon's The Saint initially ran new stories and then switched to strip reprints.
A lot of features were multi-media properties. They appeared in comics, as newspaper strips, on radio, as films, as serials, in books, as TV series.