Fascinating thread at the MASTERWORKS board...

http://marvelmasterworksfansite.yuku.com/topic/21330/How-close-was-...

Here's a part I liked...

Doc Dynamo:
"Re Lammers article: I think one of things that gets missed about the implosion is how attractive getting distributed by ANC was. ANC had been in existance since the Civil War. It was the only distributor with 100% national coverage and the only one with its own regional distribution. This means that all the nasty things that regional distributors did to comics publishers like sending back stacks of comics unopened when their short of cash flow, ripping off the covers to get returns and then selling the coverless comics or just not putting certain comics on their trucks in a given month don't happen to you when you're with ANC. Dell was ANC's favored comics client and I think this was a hidden reason for Dell's dominance in the late 40s and 50s. Dell had an attractive product but they also were getting the best distribution that any comic company ever got. So when ANC offers Goodman distribution on favorable terms its a really, really attractive proposition.

ANC was having problems in this period and the story seems to me to really murky. The solid part is that a guy had a bought a controlling stake in ANC and apparently saw that the company's real estate (all those warehouses they had built around the country decades ago) was worth more than ANC's current value as a going concern. So he tried to jack up profits, apparently by squeezing their customers. There were rumors of a mob connection, but I've never read anything that gives specifics. Some of ANC's big customers bolted. The offer to Goodman was to replace these lost accounts.

So Goodman knew he was taking a risk. Going with ANC would probably mean a substantial sales boost. On the other hand there are the problems and the rumours. But would you really expect a company that had been in business for almost 100 years and was the biggest distributor to go bust? I think the ANC move was a reasonable gamble. I don't think Froelich's supposed games had much to do with the decision."

Thanks. This sounds right.  You know, after awhile, if one has an open mind, you can begin to tell when something is on the level, and not just total B.S. (At least, I find I do.)

I can't remember the more recent article I read, but it seems to me PLAYBOY was somehow involved, or being discussed. Earlier, I had the impression ANC may have gone under as some kind of side-effect of the anti-comics witch-hunt.  But it seems to me now it was more directly connected with a government crackdown on mob-related activities-- and that, to a much lesser degree, there were feelings among some that COMICS were partly bad because of THEIR mob relations (totally apart from their actual content-- which would mean there were more reasons for some people to hate comics than the ones usually given).

No doubt about it, the 50's must have been a strange time.  On the one hand, you have increased censorship in certain areas, and on the other, you have other areas pushing the boundaries and defying censorship. And meanwhile, you have people insisting, "There's no such THING as the Mafia!"   Wink

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After running to my Eisner graphic novels, I see what you mean, Robin. It's on page 26, for those that have THE DREAMER.

Robin Olsen said:

Did you ever read Will Eisner's story about Jack Kirby and the "towel guy" in the graphic novel, THE DREAMER, Henry? That would be right up your alley -

Would have been interesting to see what would have happened if DC had bought up the rights to Captain America, Sub-Mariner and Torch. Although they did not do a lot with the Quality heroes apart from the Blackhawks.

Seems DC only bought Quality in order to continue Blackhawks. They may have thought Captain America was as antiquated as Uncle Sam, Sub-Mariner would have stepped on Aquaman's toes (as he was Atlantian-based) and the Torch? Dunno...

I supose by buying Timely heroes they've eradicated the competition, but was Timely/Atlas a real competitor for DC at the time?

Agreed, but Aquaman was lame compared to Sub-Mariner.  Everett's art and approach to the character made him interesting, mor so than Aquaman, who was a good character, just not as interesting as was Subby.

Robin Olsen said:

Good point, Dandy.

I think Robin is correct. And that's why I think, had DC bought up those heroes, it would have been to eliminate the competition. Just an idle thought, but it's fun to speculate.

It amuses me that when Julie created Elongated Man he had not realised DC had acquired Plastic Man from Quality Comics four years earlier and said he would have used Plastic Man instead had he known.

I had a look at DC indexes to see what Quality published in its final year (Nov 1955 to Oct 1956). It had a number of romance titles, so I'll list those separately.

 

Blackhawk ##96-107

Candy ##60-64 (teen humour)

Exploits of Daniel Boone ##3-6

G.I. Combat ##33-43

Marmaduke Mouse ##58-65

Plastic Man ##58-64

Robin Hood Tales ##1-6

T-Man ##32-38 (spy adventure; the protagonist was a treasury agent)

Yanks in Battle ##1-4

 

Brides Romances ##17-23

Exotic Romances ##26-31

Girls in Love ##51-57

Heart Throbs ##40-46

Love Confessions ##48-54

Love Letters ##45-51

Love Secrets ##50-56

Wedding Bells ##14-19

 

Only Blackhawk appeared in every month. G.I. Combat only missed the final October, and Yanks in Battle, the company's last new title, was another title in the same vein.

 

DC continued Blackhawk (I think I've read it initially did this under license, but I can't confirm that), G.I. Combat, Heart Throbs (perhaps the name was thought to be good), and, for eight issues, Robin Hood Tales. It was already publishing Robin Hood stories in The Brave and the Bold and dropped the feature from that title just ahead of the DC Robin Hood Tales's final issue. Charlton published Robin Hood comics in the same period.

It would have been cool to see the Timely heroes as one of DC's "Earths". As I see this as a Silver Age revival, it could be Earth-Four where the All Winners Squad of Cap, Namor, the Torch, Miss America, the Whizzer, the Destroyer and the Vision dwell. Just imagine them gaining popularity like the Justice Society with every appearance, then bringing back the Angel, Red Raven, Ka-Zar, Marvel Boy, Venus and the rest. Especially if DC hired Stan Lee, kept Jack Kirby, hired Bill Everett and John Romita and got Roy Thomas a job with Julius Schwartz instead of Mort Weisinger.

That was by John Bryne, showing his love for these characters in their original forms, much like his under-rated Generations mini series.

Robin Olsen said:

DC and Marvel did a crossover of the Golden Age Batman and Captain America, with an epilogue taking place when Cap got revived from his stint in suspended animation. I can't see why they can't do something like that with the rest of their characters, too.

I think that's probably what would have happened eventually. Although I think Timely heroes would have appeared less frequently that the annual JSA team ups. They would have probably slotted them in before (or instead of) the Earth X story in JLA #107.

Stan Lee states that he would never have worked for DC but written his novel instead. We know Jack Kirby wasn't at DC more than a couple of years, thanks to his time with Jack Schiff. Roy Thomas of course lasted for just  two weeks. I always wonder how he ended up in Weisinger's office anyway and not Julius Schwartz's.

Philip Portelli said:

It would have been cool to see the Timely heroes as one of DC's "Earths". As I see this as a Silver Age revival, it could be Earth-Four where the All Winners Squad of Cap, Namor, the Torch, Miss America, the Whizzer, the Destroyer and the Vision dwell. Just imagine them gaining popularity like the Justice Society with every appearance, then bringing back the Angel, Red Raven, Ka-Zar, Marvel Boy, Venus and the rest. Especially if DC hired Stan Lee, kept Jack Kirby, hired Bill Everett and John Romita and got Roy Thomas a job with Julius Schwartz instead of Mort Weisinger.

According to Roy, he got a letter from Weisinger to be his assistant on a couple of week trial basis.

Dandy Forsdyke said:

I think that's probably what would have happened eventually. Although I think Timely heroes would have appeared less frequently that the annual JSA team ups. They would have probably slotted them in before (or instead of) the Earth X story in JLA #107.

Stan Lee states that he would never have worked for DC but written his novel instead. We know Jack Kirby wasn't at DC more than a couple of years, thanks to his time with Jack Schiff. Roy Thomas of course lasted for just  two weeks. I always wonder how he ended up in Weisinger's office anyway and not Julius Schwartz's.

Philip Portelli said:

It would have been cool to see the Timely heroes as one of DC's "Earths". As I see this as a Silver Age revival, it could be Earth-Four where the All Winners Squad of Cap, Namor, the Torch, Miss America, the Whizzer, the Destroyer and the Vision dwell. Just imagine them gaining popularity like the Justice Society with every appearance, then bringing back the Angel, Red Raven, Ka-Zar, Marvel Boy, Venus and the rest. Especially if DC hired Stan Lee, kept Jack Kirby, hired Bill Everett and John Romita and got Roy Thomas a job with Julius Schwartz instead of Mort Weisinger.

I think it's  interesting, even when Stan and Jack brought back the Sub-,mariner in the silver age, that somebody (Larry Leiber?) didn't seem to understand his actual powers...that is, there are at least two or t hree instances where Namor immitates the fish of the deep....a puffer fish, an electric eel, a flying fish, and such... as part of his normal powers.  Thankfully, that was forgotten rather quickly, and instead, they concentrated on his love triangle for the pale skinned surface girl and his elemental opposition to the Human Torch!

 

Does anyone know if these powers were an attempt to compete with Aquaman?


Does anyone know which issues these powers were shown or demonstrated in?

(Were they ever retconned away, or would that be a Mopee? Or a berreet?)

I don't know I've seen every instance. From memory, in Fantastic Four #5 he stores and returns the electricity from Doom's electric trap. In Fantastic Four #9 he uses a radar ability to track the invisible Sue. In the Torch story in Strange Tales #107 (plot by Stan Lee, script by Larry Lieber, art by Dick Ayers) he puffs up his body. These instances were all early on; probably they were driven by a desire to inject interesting detail into the sequences. At that stage Namor was being used as an antagonist of the heroes, so I doubt competing with Aquaman was on anyone's mind.

 

In the Sub-Mariner instalment in Tales to Astonish #80 he summons, I think, giant electric eels to help him fight the Behemoth. This might not be the only instance of him controlling sea animals in the mid to late 60s or early 70s; I haven't read the bulk of his adventures from those periods. The creators may have been consciously imitating Aquaman, or imitating him without really thinking about it.

 

After the early period the extra powers he displayed early on were usually ignored. He pulled the electricity trick again in, I think, Defenders #52. I don't know if anyone ever explained explained his extra powers, but someone like Roy Thomas or John Byrne may have done so. (Thomas wrote the 1988-89 Saga of the Sub-Mariner mini, Byrne wrote and drew the first couple of years of the 1990 Namor, the Sub-Mariner ongoing.)

 

 

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