Thursday, December 10, 2009

Golden Age Comic-Sized Special

Today's stories are Strongman & Blue Streak from "Crash Comics # 1", Cat Man from "Crash Comics # 4", Shock Gibson from "Speed Comics #2" and Cyclone from "Whirlwind Comics # 2". Images are taken from scans available at

Not only did Golden Age comic books cost only a dime, they came jam-packed with multiple features. Usually, the stories were complete and you didn't have to worry about missing an issue. Some books had a only a single superhero, some had quite a few. Today, I'm giving you 70 pages of Golden Age superhero action. I was planning to post different stories, but then I decided to take the "Pre-Holyoke Heroes" and make one big post, a sort of "Golden Age Comic-Sized Special". Don't hold your breath that I'll do something like this any time soon, because it took longer to throw this post together than I thought it would.

Before "Cat-Man Comics" and the other titles that comprise "Holyoke" & their regular group of heroes, Frank Temerson tested the waters of comic book publishing on at least two occasions. The first was when, with partner I.W. Ullman, he purchased some titles from Harry A Chesler and The Comic Magazine Company in 1937. Star Comics, Star Ranger, Funny Pages & Funny Picture Stories were published through "Ultem Publications" for only a short amount of time before the books were sold-off to Centaur Publications.

Late in 1939, Temerson returned to publishing comics through various company names. One of the books published was "Speed Comics", featuring Shock Gibson. Other books included "Whirlwind Comics" with the hero Cyclone and "Crash Comics", which by the end of its run included Strongman, Blue Streak and the original Cat Man within its pages. While each title was published by a different "company", all the books had the same editorial address.

Meanwhile ... There's a book called "Cyclone Comics" which is sometimes attributed to what's commonly referred to as "Holyoke". "Cyclone Comics" starred characters like Tornado Tom and Volton The Human Generator. The thing is, the company that published "Cyclone Comics", Bilbara Publishing, had the same editorial address as Worth Publishing, which produced the early issues of "Champion Comics", a title that ended-up being published by Harvey Comics. I always did find it odd that a character called "Cyclone" was in "Whirlwind Comics" and not "Cyclone Comics", but that was when I thought the two books were coming from the same publisher. Now, it makes more sense if Bilbara had nothing to do with Temerson.

By the end of 1940, "Speed Comics" & Shock Gibson were sold to Harvey Comics, while "Crash Comics" & "Whirlwind Comics" both ended with issue # 5. Strongman, Cyclone and Blue Streak wouldn't be seen again in a "Holyoke" book (another hero named Blue Streak would appear in Prize's "Headline Comics" for a brief period in 1943), while Cat Man would be redesigned and given his own book that would run from 1941 until 1946. Strongman returned to comics in Marvel's 1993 "Invaders" mini-series, and Cat-Man has been revived by both AC Comics and Dynamite Entertainment (as "Man-Cat"), plus DC Comics has a "Cat-Man" character who is just too similar not to be considered another version of the hero. Granted, DC's Cat-Man was originally a villain (and may still be), but it's not the only time they've taken someone else's character and made them evil.

1 comment:

  1. Today I read a 1946 book, BLUE STREAK AND DOCTOR MEDUSA by Art Elder, published by Whitman. Like another owner of that book, I'm trying to find out who the Blue Streak was. He doesn't seem to be the same as the one posted here. The other owner's comments about the book include scans of the cover and end papers.

    Do you recognize this hero at all? It is an action-packed book.

    Ann N.


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