Originally called “National Allied Publications,” what we now know today as DC Comics was founded at the end of 1934, with Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson at the head of operations. Wheeler-Nicholson’s time was short-lived, however. Monetary troubles forced him to bring in Harry Donenfeld as a partner. The issues continued to persist and as Wheeler-Nicholson got the boot, Donenfeld’s accountant, Jack S. Liebowitz, was brought in. Their branch “Detective Comics,” where the name DC Comics comes from, bought what was left of ‘National Allied Publications” and continued to produce comics.
Donenfeld and Liebowitz had originally been involved in the pulp magazine business during the 1920s. Yet during this era, the government had become more strict and the racy scenes featured in these pulp magazines were deemed unacceptable. As the film from class, Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics, explains, the government was after Donenfeld for his pulp magazines. Him and Liebowitz instead turned to comic books to make money. In 1937, Detective Comics #1 hit stands (Moshier). In it, featured material by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (Moshier). As Secret Origin explained, these are the two men responsible for creating Superman.
The inspiration of Superman himself came from a dark place. “In 1932, just a year before Superman’s first adventure was tentatively drawn on a sketchpad, Jerry Siegel’s father, Mitchell, a poor Jewish immigrant, died during an armed raid at his second-hand clothing store,” (Wigmore). This fact had been kept under wraps until recent times, but, as the film explains, the idea of a man being so strong and completely bullet proof was comforting to Siegel. Superman was the father that he had lost so tragically.
This character inspired by loss and tragedy had so much to bring Siegel, Shuster, and the world of comic books. Superman had become an icon for all of society, inspiring radio and TV shows and movies. Everyone knew who Superman was. The next superhero to see as much success was Batman. Soon after that, superheros inundated the comic book market. Even still, DC Comics has still managed to survive and thrive all this time. They constantly changed and altered their comics to stay up to date with the times and keep people reading. As we learned in class, although the comic book industry is on the wane today, they are still make about $4.5 million per year.
As for my favorite superhero, I would have to chose Wonder Woman. She has always been independent and sassy, even when women were preferred to be less involved in the world. She’s strong, beautiful, and powerful. Even as a child I really liked her. I have a Christmas ornament from my childhood that is Wonder Woman with her lasso. My favorite thing about her back then, however, was her costume! To this day, I would love to have a Wonder Woman suit. Overall, though, Wonder Woman is everything I would want to be, all while saving the world.
Carter, Mac, dir. Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics. DC Entertainment, 2010. Film.
Moshier, Christopher. “DC Comics Chronology: The Platinum Age.” ComicBookBin. 24 Feb 2008: n. page. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://www.comicbookbin.com/dcchronologyplatinumage_001.html>.
Wigmore, Barry. “Superman creator ‘dreamed up comic hero after his father died in armed raid when he was a bo’y.” Daily Mail Online [London] 26 Aug 2008, n. pag. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1049411/Superman-creator-dreamed-comic-hero-father-died-armed-raid-boy.html>.
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