Marvel's "Publishing Companies", Early Silver Age and Before

Awhile back I brought up this question in another thread, to no reaction. I remembered being puzzled by this when the comics were new. In the indicia of all the Marvel books up until 1968 various publishing companies were listed instead of a single one. I was able to find the indicia info on the Grand Comics Database. Does anyone know the reasons for this?
Atlas Publishing: Amazing Adventures(1-6), Amazing( Adult) Fantasy(7-15) , Journey into Mystery(and Thor)(1958-on), Rawhide Kid(1960-on), Iron Man(1968), Sub-Mariner(1968)
Bard Publishing: Sgt Fury, Patsy Walker
Canam Publishing: X-Men, Fantastic Four, Journey into Mystery(1952-1957)
Chipiden Publishing: Strange Tales(1951-1958)
Cornell Publishing: Rawhide Kid(1955-1957)
Gem Publishing: Patsy and Hedy(1952-1958)
Hercules Publishing: Two Gun Kid(1953-1960)
Leading Publishing: Captain America(1968), Kid Colt Outlaw
Male Publishing: Tales of Suspense(1959-1960), Patsy and Hedy(1959-on), Millie the Model(1959-1961), Modeling with Millie
Non-Pareil Publishing: Amazing Spider-Man, Two-Gun Kid(1964-1968)
Sphere Publishing : Millie the Model(1945-1958)
Vista Publishing: Avengers, Tales of Suspense(1961-on), Tales to Astonish(1961-on), Strange Tales(1961-on), Millie the Model(1961-on)
Zenith Publishing: Incredible Hulk(1-6), Strange Tales(1959-1960), Tales to Astonish(1959-1960)

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Short answer: I don't know.

Long answer, I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that Martin Goodman owned any number of publishing companies for some sort of financial reasons I wouldn't understand.  I think it's likely there was lots of jiggery-pokery going on at the time.  If you've ever read Gerard Jones Men Of Tomorrow you'll likely have noticed that there was a fair amount of shady activity on the business end of comics, so it wouldn't surprise me that some oddity might have been going on with the books.

I own Men of Tomorrow but haven't read it yet. I'll have to move it higher in my pile.

Randy Jackson said:

Short answer: I don't know.

Long answer, I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that Martin Goodman owned any number of publishing companies for some sort of financial reasons I wouldn't understand.  I think it's likely there was lots of jiggery-pokery going on at the time.  If you've ever read Gerard Jones Men Of Tomorrow you'll likely have noticed that there was a fair amount of shady activity on the business end of comics, so it wouldn't surprise me that some oddity might have been going on with the books.

It's an excellent read.  Perhaps a little too Siegel/Shuster focused, but it definitely gives you a good idea on how things were back then and why some things are the way they are or were the way they were.

I enjoyed the Ronin Ro biobook of Jack Kirby, "Tales to Astonish"...even though I have heard a lot of criticism about inaccuracies in the text.  There are some numerical error regarding exact issue numbers, that anyone familiar with the work will spot... so I would warn others not to cite this book as a research source, but instead, to read it lightly to get the flavor or overall arc of Jack's career. (NOT the definitive work on Jack Kirby.)

Hey, hold on Robin...  I'm saying I AGREE with you.  I'm not trying to be condescending at all.  I ENJOYED the book...I'm just saying that others have pointed out some inaccuracies that should have been caught.

I haven't read Men of Tomorrow yet.  And I'm more likely to now, with your recommendation and Randy's as well.

I loved Men of Tomorrow.  There was a lot of stuff in it that I hadn't realised before, some stuff that was beautifully written and some stuff that showed that there was more to those silly comics than met the eye. I think I've lost my copy, somewhere in all my moves.  :-(

I have read Men of Tomorrow and Tales to Astonish and thoroughly enjoyed both. Are there any more books like this in this vein - a sort of Comics Babylon?

I recently finished Sean Howe's "Marvel Comics: The Untold Story," and to try to answer the original question, it said that Martin Goodman operated a number of shell companies for tax and legal reasons. I think one point the book made was that, if one company were sued, it was easy for Goodman to just make that company go away. But even the book didn't dwell on the matter too much.

I enjoyed Howe's book, and I do recommend it, although it was hardly an "untold story" at all. I knew most of it, but it was impressive how Howe presented it in a balanced, easy-to-follow fashion -- which had to be hard to do considering the egos of the various creators involved.

Another besides-the-scenes book on comics I'd recommend is "Comics Wars." But it's far removed from the Golden and Silver ages. It's about Marvel's '90s bankruptcy, but it's a really good and readable look at events that nearly collapsed the entire industry.

Now, if those shell companies had still been around in the '90s, maybe Marvel wouldn't have gone bankrupt...

Should have looked at Howe's book before posting. It's right here on Page 11:

"The flood of company names that Goodman shuffled around -- advantageous for tax purposes, and for quick maneuvering in the event of legal trouble -- were often derived from family members: there was the Margood Publishing Corp., the Marjean Magazine Corp., and soon, when [Goodman's wife] Jean gave birth to sons Chip and Iden, there would be Chipiden."


Male Publishing was probably related to Goodman's Male magazine. See a cover of it from 1953 here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/subtropicbob/4282463492/

As for the practice ending in 1968, that was when Goodman sold out to Perfect Film and Chemical (later Cadence).

After I figured the answer to my original question was too elusive, the_original_b_dog came up with it. Ironically, if I had started reading my copy of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story when I received it I would have gotten my answer a lot sooner!

Dandy Forsdyke said:

I have read Men of Tomorrow and Tales to Astonish and thoroughly enjoyed both. Are there any more books like this in this vein - a sort of Comics Babylon?



I’m glad you asked that question, Dandy. There are two books (both, coincidentally with rather long titles) I would recommend to anyone/everyone on this board.

Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers! – Writers on Comics, edited by Sean Howe

Reading Comic: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean, by Douglas Wolk

The former is a series of articles by prose fiction writers (not comic book writers), and the latter is divided into two sections: “Theory & History” and “Reviews & Commentary.”

I'm looking forward to hearing all about those "Wild nude films sweeping America"...names, titles, showing locations.
I've heard some while tales of Viet Cong Love Camps, but never heard any documentation of them...hope you will share all, George! LOL!

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