Scott's Classic Comics Corner: 1949 - A Year in Review Part 1

I decided that it was high time I took a look at a year from the 1940s, and randomly selected 1949. At first, I did not think that it was a particularly momentous year, but after a bit more consideration I came to realize that quite a bit did happen in that particular year. So much so, that I had better divide my summary into two parts. Here’s Part One:

1949 was a huge year of transition at DC/National. The shift away from superhero book and towards other genres such as romance and westerns was well underway. The final issues of Flash Comics and Green Lantern both bore cover dates in 1949, and Boy Commandos ended their run with issue #36. Over at Star Spangled Comics, Tomahawk replaced Robin as the cover feature. It is also worth noting that the final issue of Real Fact Comics was published in 1949, as that genre had fizzled out.

The only real exception to the move away from superheroes was Superboy #1, which would prove to be the only significant superhero title launched by DC between the end of World War Two and the Silver Age. In addition DC/National launched loads of successful titles in 1949. In the Romance area, the first issues of Secret Hearts, Miss Beverly Hills of Hollywood, Girls’ Love Stories and Romance Trail all hit the spinner racks. The company also took on some significant licensed properties, launching The Adventures of Alan Ladd, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Jimmy Wakely. Even the first issue of long running Adventures of Bob Hope would have hit stores just before the end of the year.

Similar changes were underway at Fawcett. While most of the Marvel family of titles had a few more years to live, Fawcett had already begun its transition to western and romance. In the western real, Lash Larue Western began its 46 issue run, and Rocky Lane Western was launched, lasting a healthy 55 issues. Fawcett also added to its growing stable of romance titles with Romantic Secrets, Life Story and Sweetheart Diary. The company was still a couple of years away from its entry into the horror genre.

1949 is a very significant year for LB Cole fans, as Star Publications was launched. Initially, Star continued many of the titles published by Novelty Press, such as Blue Bolt and Target Comics (now Target Western Romance). Novelty had been a significant publisher during the 40s, and its demise signaled the end of an era. LB Cole would produce some of the best loved comic book covers of all time during the short life of Star Publications.

A trio of minor publishers also got their start in 1949. Toby (aka. Minoan) published a lot of pre-Code horror, but really made its name with licensed properties, beginning with a number of Lil Abner related titles. Youthful published fewer than 100 comic books during its life, and is likely best remembered for work done by the likes of Graham Ingels and Wally Wood. Final, Cross published only 3 series, only one of which, Perfect Crime, lasted more than 5 issues. That title featured some particularly lurid pre-Code crime covers.

That’s it for this week, feel free to stop by my blog for more comic book blathering: Seduction of the Indifferent

Next Week: The Timelys, They Are A Changin’

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