Sunday, January 13, 2008

DC Comics

DC Comics is an American comic book and related media company. A subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment (part of Time Warner) since 1969, DC is one of the world's largest English language publisher of comic books. DC Comics produces material featuring a large number of well-known characters, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and their teammates in the Justice League, who are among the medium's most popular and influential.

DC Comics was founded as National Allied Publications in 1934 by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. The initials "DC" were originally an abbreviation for the company's popular title Detective Comics, and later became the official name. DC has been successively headquartered at different areas of New York City, including: 432 Fourth Avenue; 480 and later 575 Lexington Avenue; 909 Third Avenue; 75 Rockefeller Plaza; 666 Fifth Avenue; and 1325 Avenue of the Americas. DC moved to 1700 Broadway in the mid-1990s, relocating there with Warner Bros. Entertainment's Mad, which had moved from 485 Madison Avenue.

The corporation is an amalgamation of several companies. National Allied Publications was founded by Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson in 1934 to publish New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1 (Feb. 1935), later known as More Fun. This groundbreaking comic book was the first such periodical consisting solely of original material rather than reprints of newspaper comic strips. Retitled New Fun after the first issue, it was a tabloid-sized, 10-inch by 15-inch, 36-page magazine with a paper, non-glossy cover. Issue #6 (Oct. 1935) brought the comic book debut of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the future creators of Superman, who began their careers with the musketeer swashbuckler "Henri Duval" and, under the pseudonyms "Leger and Reuths", the supernatural crimefighting adventures of "Doctor Occult".( Doctor Occult is the earliest character created by DC Comics still currently in use in its shared universe fiction.) Wheeler-Nicholson added a second magazine, New Comics, which premiered with a Dec. 1935 cover date and at a size close to what would become comic books' standard size during the period fans and historians call the Golden Age, with slightly larger dimensions than today's. That title evolved into Adventure Comics, which continued through issue #503 in 1983, becoming one of the longest-running comic book series.

His third and final title was Detective Comics, advertised with a cover illustration dated Dec. 1936, but eventually premiering three months late, with a March 1937 cover date. The themed anthology series would become a sensation with the introduction of Batman in issue #27 (May 1939). By then, however, Wheeler-Nicholson was gone. In 1937, in debt to printing-plant owner and magazine distributor Harry Donenfeld — who was as well a pulp-magazine publisher and a principal in the magazine distributorship Independent News — Wheeler-Nicholson was compelled to take Donenfeld on as a partner in order to publish Detective #1. Detective Comics, Inc. was formed, with Wheeler-Nicholson and Jack S. Liebowitz, Donenfeld's accountant, listed as owners. Major Wheeler-Nicholson remained for a year, but cash-flow problems continued, and he was forced out. Shortly afterward, Detective Comics Inc. purchased the remains of National Allied, also known as Nicholson Publishing, at a bankruptcy auction.

Detective Comics Inc. shortly launched a fourth title, Action Comics, the premiere of which introduced Superman (a character with which Wheeler-Nicholson was not directly involved; editor Vin Sullivan chose to run the feature after Sheldon Mayer rescued it from the slush pile). Action Comics #1 (June 1938), the first comic book to feature the new character archetype soon to be called superheroes, proved a major sales hit and ushered in the period fans and historians call Golden Age of comic books. The company quickly introduced such other popular characters as Sandman and Batman.

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