Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and eighteenth week of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
In the early days of cable television, there was a television show where DC Comics would be read out loud to viewers.
In the late 1970s, Warner Bros. made one of the earliest forays into widespread cable television with the 1977 launch of the “Qube.” The Qube was a system of thirty channels that subscribers would have access to via a special Qube box. There would be ten pay-per-view movie channels, ten channels for local programming and ten “community” channels, which would be specialty channels. These community channels were the backbone of what would become the national explosion of cable television at the beginning of the 1980s, with specialty channels like MTV and Nickelodeon. Initially, Qube was just based in Columbus, Ohio.
One of the community channels was pretty much just the TV show, “Pinwheel, a kids show that would later become the backbone of Nickelodeon when Warner Cable launched that channel nationally in 1979, as the network basically just aired tons of “Pinwheel” episodes in a row.
Warner Bros., of course, owned DC Comics, so one of the channels on the Qube aired a show called Video Comics. Video Comics featured a narrator literally reading a DC Comic issue from panel to panel, so kids could read along at home.
Here are two episodes of “Video Comics.” One is “Swamp Thing” #1…
And here’s another one with a “Hawkman” back-up story from “Detective Comics” #428…
When Warner then launched Nickelodeon, Video Comics went national! Video Comics came on every weekday at 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm; and every weekend at 2pm, 3:30pm, and 5pm.
It was re-named “Video Comic Books” in the second season in 1980, and aired less frequently. It was pretty much done by 1981, as the network had enough new content.
Pretty amazing little piece of forgotten comic book history! Thanks to the anonymous reader who wrote in to me suggesting that I feature this one!
Due to the Swamp Thing connection, Mike Sterling (who famously digs ol’ Swampy), did a fun write-up of the series at his awesome site, Progressive Ruin, here!
Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at CBR: What Animal Actually Inspired King Kong’s Creation?
OK, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
Here’s my most recent book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).
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Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends. — half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).
The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…
If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…
See you all next week!