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Scott’s Classic Comics Corner: 1949 – A Year in Review Pt. 3

by  in Comic News Comment
Scott’s Classic Comics Corner: 1949 – A Year in Review Pt. 3

Here’s the 3rd and final part in my overview of that wonderful, and surprisingly eventful, year: 1949

I’m not an Archive historian but, from what I can gather, 1949 was a pretty significant year for the company. The days of superheroes were long gone, and teen humour ruled. Two significant spin-offs were launched, Archie’s Pal Jughead and Archie’s Rival Reggie, both of which enjoyed great success. I can’t seem to track down a specific cover date for the first issue of Betty and Veronica other than ‘1950’, but there’s a chance it hit shelves at the tail end of 1949. Some Archie expert can perhaps provide clarity on that point. Archive also expanded their horizons by entering the romance genre with Daring Love, and some other interesting titles such as the short-lived Adventures of the Dover Boys. Another book of note is Archie Annual #1, a very early example of an Annual in an mainstream, ongoing series.

Standard/Nedor is one of my favorite publishers of the Golden Age, even if their Black Terror and Fighting Yank stories never quite lived up to the Alex Schomburg covers. Speaking of the Black Terror, his eponymous series came to an end in 1949. As you can tell by the covers here, Standard had been ‘heading out west’ even before the demise of many of their anthology and superhero titles. They launched a number of new titles in 1949, focusing on romance, funny animal and teen humour. Thrilling Romance and Buster Bunny are two personal favourites.

Hillman was another very strong, second-tier publisher during the Golden Age, and they seemed to be handling the changing landscape of comics quite well. Airboy Comics was still going strong, but his adventures were become more macabre with each passing month. Hillman had introduced some good crime and western books in 1948, so it was natural that 1949 would the year of romance and teen humor. Romantic Adventures turned out to be quite successful. Joe College, on the other hand, did not – although the cover for #2 was enshrined in the Racist Cover Hall of Fame.

The final company I’ve looked at is American Comics Group (ACG). While the end was nigh for many publishers in 1949, ACG was really just getting started. They were jumping aboard the romance bandwagon with the great Lovelorn (later to be rechristened Confessions of the Lovelorn). For my money, this is one of the most consistently entertaining romance title ever produced. ACG was also ahead of the curve in the Spy genre, with this launch of Spy Hunters. As I get older, I am more and more intrigued in old spy comic books. Adventures Into the Unknown was launched the previous year, and it was really finding its footing in 1949 paving the way for an entire genre. Overall, it was a banner year for ACG.

So, that’s it for 1949. I’ve done 3 columns on it and I’m sure that I have missed a ton. 1949 saw loads of companies producing comics in a myriad of genres. I cannot imagine how a child could possibly have decided how to spend their allowance back in those days.

For more comic book talk – stop by my blog: Seduction of the Indifferent

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