DC Comics Right in your Mailbox!!

DC COMICS RIGHT IN YOUR MAILBOX!!

Over the July 4th weekend I binge-read DC’s “Ghosts” (don’t judge). I came across the house ads asking readers to subscribe to their favorite issues.
I noticed something.
I had seen it before in my comics from the early 1970s, but since I had a stack of comics ranging over a seven year period, I decided to compare the ads.
Each comic had a number. Action Comics, for example, was #1. And it stayed at #1 through the decade. Say that in a Casey Kasem voice…
Where did the numbers come from? Apparently it was divided into genres and listed alphabetically; except for Forever People and Flash. Perhaps Forever People was just slid into the line-up replacing a comic that started with a D, E or F.
Superman’s titles were first. Those were the single-digit comics.
DC’s other stable of stars made up the tens, starting with Batman (hard as it is to believe in this day and age, Superman outsold Batman for many decades – vastly outsold Batman, in fact…).
Horror titles made up the 30s and love stories were the 40s (how the Shadow snuck into that number scheme …).
War titles were in the 60s and adventure or other the 70s.
Whither the 50s? Was it their comedy or teen line? Titles that they stopped publishing in the 70s like Jerry Lewis, Scooter, Binky and Debbi?

It interested me in my own OCD way. What were the numbers of other comics and why weren’t they listed? Were comics that only lasted two issues (like Man-Bat) given a subscription number at all? Anyone know?

I left some blanks on my numberings to keep Word’s Auto-numbering from making me do more work. I’m lazy that way…
Most of this information is from the ads taken from my “Ghosts binge”. If I took ads from a Google search, I will so note.

February 1972 (Google search):

ad 1972

Comics that were mailed as a subscription from the Silver and Bronze Age are easy to spot in the secondary markets – they were folded in half long-wise before mailing. Collectors still cringe at the idea…

Note these are gathered into sections by genre. The Superman titles are gathered into their own section.

1. Action
2. Adventure
3. Jimmy Olsen
4. Lois Lane
5. Superboy
6. Superman
7. World’s Finest

10. Batman
11. The Brave & the Bold
12. Detective
13. The Forever People
14. Flash
15. Green Lantern
16. Justice League
17. Mister Miracle
18. The New Gods
19. Teen Titans
20. Wonder Woman

30. Ghosts
31. House of Mystery
32. House of Secrets
33. Phantom Stranger
34. The Unexpected
35. Witching Hour

40. Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love
41. Sinister House of Secret Love
45. Falling in Love
46. Girl’s Love Stories
47. Heart Throbs
48. Young Love
49. Young Romance

60. GI Combat
61. Our Army at War
62. Our Fighting Forces
63. Star Spangled War Stories
64. Weird War Tales

70. All Star Western

75. Tarzan
76. Korak

July 1973: The cancellation of Kirby’s Fourth World books accounted for some of the holes. There were also some title changes, but the list is essentially the same. What a selection!
Notice Shazam and Wanted were given single digits to fill in the gaps. However, this was accompanied by an ad for Prez, and Prez himself is making the offer in the ad. Prez the comic book is not available as a subscription.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

1. Action
2. Adventure
3. Jimmy Olsen
4. Lois Lane
5. Superboy
6. Superman
7. World’s Finest
8. Wanted
9. Shazam
10. Batman
11. The Brave & the Bold
12. Detective
13.
14. Flash
15.
16. Justice League
17. Mister Miracle

20. Wonder Woman
21. Supergirl
22. Secret Origins

30. Ghosts
31. House of Mystery
32. House of Secrets
33. Phantom Stranger
34. The Unexpected
35. Witching Hour
36. Demon
37. Swamp Thing

40. Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion (a change in name but not number)
41. Secrets of Sinister House (ditto)
42. Weird Mystery Tales
43. The Shadow
44.
45. Falling in Love
46. Girl’s Love Stories
47. Love Stories (a change in title lasted for six more issues)
48. Young Love
49. Young Romance

60. GI Combat
61. Our Army at War
62. Our Fighting Forces
63. Star Spangled War Stories
64. Weird War Tales

70. Weird Western Tales (Jonah Hex changed the format and title)

75. Tarzan
76. Korak
77. Weird Worlds
78. Kamandi
79. Sword of Sorcery
80. From Beyond the Unknown
81. Strange Adventures
March 1974: Note the ad says the 100-pagers are wrapped flat. It presumes the other ones are still folded.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

1. Action

2. Adventure
3. Superman Family
4. .
5. Superboy
6. Superman
7. World’s Finest
8.
9. Shazam
10. Batman
11. The Brave & the Bold
12. Detective
13.
14. Flash
15.
16. Justice League
17.
18.

20. Wonder Woman

30. Ghosts
31. House of Mystery
32. House of Secrets
33. Phantom Stranger
34. The Unexpected
35. Witching Hour
36. .
37. Swamp Thing

42. Weird Mystery Tales

60. GI Combat
61. Our Army at War
62. Our Fighting Forces
63. Star Spangled War Stories
64. Weird War Tales

75. Tarzan

78. Kamandi

Where was Weird Western Tales?

February 1976: the subscription ad only offered 16 comics, but the numbering is unchanged. And note the old-fashioned-even-at-the-time illustrations of the Caped Crusaders; I’ll bet they are over a decade old at this point.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

1. Action
3. Superman Family
6. Superman
7. World’s Finest
8.
9. Shazam
10. Batman
11. The Brave & the Bold
12. Detective
13.
14.
15.
16. Justice League
17.
18.

31. House of Mystery
32. House of Secrets
33.
34. The Unexpected
35. Witching Hour

48. Young Love

61. Our Army at War

75. Tarzan

Why just these 16 comics? There were dozens more being published – the war comics from the 1973 and 1974 lists were still being published, as were Weird Western Tales and, at this time (early in the year) the six “Adventure Line” comics.

December 1978: Just after the massive DC Explosion guaranteed DC’s place of dominance in the comic book field (who’s giggling?) Note some of the new titles – Warlord, the excellent Men of War. Interestingly, Superfriends – with its notable inclusion of Superman – was given #8, replacing Wanted. Note also the lack of Detective Comics as a choice. At the time, it was facing the chopping block of cancellation!

(from a Google search)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

1. Action
5. Superboy/Legion (note the addition of the Legion)
6. Superman
8. Superfriends
10. Batman
11. Brave and Bold
14. Flash
16. Justice League
18. Green Lantern (by now GL is back but given #18 instead of its old #15)
20. Wonder Woman
22. DC Comics Presents
30. Ghosts
31. House of Mystery
34. The Unexpected
35. The Witching Hour
44. Secrets of Haunted House
45. Jonah Hex
61. Sgt. Rock (renamed from “Our Army At War” but with the same number)
62. Our Fighting Forces
63. Unknown Soldier (renamed from “Star Spangled War Stories”, same number)
64. Weird War Tales
66. Men of War
69. Warlord
70. Weird Western Tales (this title’s first appearance in a subscription ad in many years)

The Dollar Comics were listed separately …

2. Adventure Comics
3. Superman Family
7. World’s Finest
52. Batman Family
60. GI Combat

So … where are all the titles from the DC Explosion … ? What did they know that we didn’t? Well, at least what did we not know for another month or two?

I wonder who decided which comics went into the ads. Would it have helped a flailing title to include it? Or would it be too much trouble for the sales department to keep track of subscriptions to cancelled comics?

I found a subscription ad from the 1960s on Google. This was from 1966-1968, as Superhip debuted in 1965 and both Bob Hope and Fox & Crow were cancelled in 1968. Note some of the wonderful comics available – Metal Men, Blackhawk …

ad 1960s

And notice Showcase is no where to be found on any of the ads. Not a one. Why?

I searched a few comics from the 1980s and did not find many subscription ads except for things like this (these are Google-found ads, btw). Note these ads do NOT list comics available from DC, but focus only on one or two specific comics.

superman subscription detective subscription
So maybe subscription numbers was purely a Bronze Age thing …

Original Material copyright 2015 Michael Curry
Artwork and Layout from the ads are copyright their respective holders and used here under the Fair Use Act as commentary and critique.

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Weird Western Tales #35

DC SALUTES THE BICENTENNIAL

#3

Weird Western Tales #35

wwt35

Published bi-monthly, thirty cents, August

Cover Artist: Ernie Chua (Chan)

Editor: Joe Orlando

            The modern era has forgotten how huge the western genre was. In the 1950s television was as thick with western programs as it was with sitcoms in the 1980s, with cop shows in the 1970s and with utter crap now.

            Comic books reflected this craze. Westerns sold well in the 1950s into the 1960s. Marvel and DC each had several titles still running into the 1970s.

            The comic Weird Western Tales was a direct descendant to the golden age’s All Star Comics starring the Justice Society of America! All Star changed its name to All Star Western in May 1951 and continued the original numbering with #58 going to #119 in July 1961. 

            All-Star Western (with a hyphen) was revived with issue #1 in September 1970. It ran for 11 issued until it changed its title (and format) to Weird Western Tales with #12 (July 1972). Jonah Hex debuted in #10 and continued as the star of the series until #38 (February 1977) when he was spun off into his own series. The comic then featured Scalphunter until the series was cancelled with #70 (August 1980).

            The change in title and format was due to the success of Weird War Tales, another DC comic that combined two (obvious) genres.

            Jonah Hex was introduced in the still-called All-Star Western #10. As a child he was sold into slavery to an Apache tribe, but was made a full tribe member when he saved the chief. He was left for dead while fighting the chief’s son over a woman.

            As an adult, he joined the US Army during the Civil War, eventually shifting loyalties and joining the Confederate Army. He turned himself in after Lee’s surrender.

            (From Wikipedia): Jonah then locates his old tribe and tells the chief how the chief’s son, Noh-Tante betrayed Jonah years before. The chief decrees that this must be settled by a tomahawk battle. Noh-Tante secretly sabotages Jonah’s tomahawk so that the handle will break. In an act of desperation during the fight, Jonah pulls a knife and kills Noh-Tante. As punishment for breaking the rules, Jonah is bound and the chief presses a heated tomahawk to the right side of Jonah’s face giving him “The Mark of the Demon.” The tribe banishes Jonah.

            Jonah then became a bounty hunter, with a reputation as the most fierce and deadly gunslinger in the west.

            The character was thrust into a post-apocalyptic future in the 1980s. He was revived in the 2000s as a successful western comic. A Jonah Hex series (in a thrice-revived All-Star Western) was introduced in 2011 as part of DC’s “New 52” line for 34 issues.

***

            “The Hangman!”, Michael Fleisher (w), George Molintorni (a)

            Hex is ambushed by the Yellow Mask Gang and left for dead in the Arizona desert to die. He is rescued by “Red Eye” Charlie. Hex accompanies Red Eye to the town of Hall Valley.

            When they arrive, Hall Valley is having a town fair – highlighted by the hanging! The woman to be hung took $10.00 from a drunken cowboy. The Marshall of the town certainly keeps stern law and order, it seems.

            Red Eye is later arrested for public drunkenness.

            The Yellow Mask Gang robs the Hall Valley bank. Hex captures one member (Bill) and goes into the countryside after the rest. We find out the Marshall is in cahoots with the Yellow Mask Gang, but shoots the captured gang member before he reveals all. Red Eye overhears Marshall’s conversation with Bill and witnesses the shooting from his cell. To shut him up, the Marshall plants evidence that Red Eye is a member of the Yellow Mask Gang and sentences him to hang (the Marshall is also the justice of the peace in these parts, ya see…).

            Hex dispatches the Gang and returns with some live prisoners and asks for the reward. He returns just in time to save Red Eye from the gallows and Red Eye reveals the Marshall’s shooting of Bill.

            Bill’s brother, Jed, is shocked and angry at his brother’s death and tells everyone the truth about the Marshall!

            The Marshall is hanged as the festivities continue. Popcorn! Hot fudge! Cold Beer!

            Hex is offered the job of marshal for good, steady pay as long as he keeps up the hangings every few weeks like the old marshal did. Good for morale, good for business, ya know.

            Hex rides away in disgust.

 

            Thet lingo the karkters tawk in thet the rahters spell out foh-neticly shore gits noyin’ after whahl…

 

Trail Talk (letter page): comments for WWT #32 – Mark Schmeider, Concord, Mass (positive), Matthew Elyosin, Madison, CT (negative) and John Elliot, New York, NY (positive).

 

***

Original Material copyright 2015 Michael Curry

 

            Images used are copyright their respective holders and and reproduced here under the “fair Use” doctrine of 17 USC 106 & 106a for the purposes of criticism and comment.