Here’s the latest installment of Maggie Thompson’s ongoing look at important beginnings, middles, and ends, this time for November 27 through December 5, 2019...
130 years ago December 1, 1889 Golden Age writer-artist Fletcher Hanks is born. He works in the Eisner & Iger studio and creates Stardust the Super Wizard, Tabu, and Fantomah.
115 years ago December 1, 1904 Artist A.L. Jansson dies, age 38.
105 years ago November 28, 1914 Writer, artist, and editor Vincent Fago is born. His career starts in the Golden Age.
100 years ago November 29, 1919 Artist Gill Fox is born. With a career beginning in the Golden Age, he’s known for Side Glances and political cartoons.
95 years ago December 2, 1924 Artist Jack Davis is born. He’s especially known to comics buffs for his work for EC comics, and his work on movie posters, magazines, and advertising art is even more widely appreciated.
95 years ago December 5, 1924 Writer-artist Sam Glanzman is born. He’s best known for “The Lonely War of Willy Schultz” for Charlton and the “USS Stevens stories” for DC – and for writing and drawing A Sailor’s Story for the Marvel Graphic Novel series.
70 years ago November 30, 1949 Artist Lester J. Ambrose dies, age 70. He was known for Simp Simpson.
70 years ago December 3, 1949 Pecos Bill by Guido Martina and Raffaele Paparella is introduced.
70 years ago December 3, 1949 Artist Frank Miller dies of a heart attack at age 51. He creates the Barney Baxter strip for King Features.
65 years ago November 30, 1954 Peanuts introduces Charlotte Braun.
60 years ago December 3, 1959 Artist Mike Saenz is born. He’s best known for using a computer to draw Shatter, developing ComicWorks (software for creating comics), and creating Donna Matrix.
55 years ago December 1, 1964 The Italian comics magazine Satanik begins, introducing Satanik by Max Bunker and Roberto Raviola.
40 years ago November 30, 1979 Prolific animator, director, and writer Dick Huemer dies at age 81. His career began with silent cartoons, and he went on to work at the Walt Disney and other animation studios.
35 years ago November 28, 1984 Letterer Ben Oda dies of a heart attack at age 68.
35 years ago November 30, 1984 Dutch artist Frans Mettes dies at age 75. He drew the comic strip Het Huis aan ’t Water.
35 years ago December 1, 1984 Artist Al Avison dies at age 64. He co-created The Whizzer and drew such characters as Captain America, The Vision, The Blonde Phantom, Marvel Boy, and Casper.
35 years ago December 3, 1984 Fleetway’s War Picture Library ends with #2103.
35 years ago December 3, 1984 The weekly Shōnen Jump introduces Son Goku in the first installment of Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama.
35 years ago December 4, 1984 Animator, writer, and voice artist Jack Mercer dies at age 74 of stomach cancer related problems. He originated the movie voice of Popeye.
25 years ago November 28, 1994 Writer-artist Frank Robbins dies at age 77. He created the Johnny Hazard strip and comic book.
25 years ago December 2, 1994 British artist Tony Weare dies, age 82.
20 years ago December 1, 1999 Artist Thornton Robyn Utz dies at age 85. He was known for his Saturday Evening Post work, which included cover paintings of sequential stories.
15 years ago November 29, 2004 DC editorial director and publisher Irwin Donenfeld, son of DC founder Harry Donenfeld, dies of heart failure at age 78.
15 years ago December 3, 2004 Swedish artist-editor Hans Nordenström (also known as “Brul”) dies at age 77.
10 years ago November 27, 2009 Artist Irving Tripp dies of cancer and heart disease at age 88. He was especially known for inking John Stanley’s pencils for Little Lulu comics.
10 years ago November 28, 2009 The first Genghis Con is held in Cleveland, Ohio.
10 years ago November 29, 2009 Award-winning cartoonist Don Addis dies of lung cancer at age 74. His work included editorial cartoons, and his strips included Bent Offerings.
5 years ago November 28, 2014 Animator and artist Brumsic Brandon Jr. dies of Parkinson’s disease at age 87. He created the Luther comic strip with a focus on black protagonists.
5 years ago December 4, 2014 British artist Peter Woolcock dies at age 88 after being hit by a car. He was known for funny animal comics and for political cartoons.
And here are the anniversaries spanning the month of December…
110 years ago December 1909 Rose O’Neill’s Kewpies comics feature begins in Ladies’ Home Journal. “The Kewpies’ Christmas Frolic” features a page of verse with cartoons. “Kewpie means a small Cupid, just as puppy means a small dog.”
80 years ago December 1939 Silver Streak Comics #1 is “a brand new comic magazine,” the first release from Lev Gleason. Action! Thrills! Adventure! It’s the first comic book with a metallic logo, the first with a “villain cover” original to comics (The Claw’s first appearance, by Jack Cole), and the first appearance of Captain Fearless. (Oh, in case you wondered: The goal of The Claw is world conquest.) (By the way, the issue contains an ad for Marvel Mystery Comics #2. Interesting.)
80 years ago December 1939 Yep, December 1939 also saw the publication of the first newsstand issue of Marvel Mystery Comics, even though it’s #2. And it features the first appearance of American Ace. (Marvel Comics is renamed with this issue. Hence, #2.)
80 years ago December 1939 He’s called “the Marvel Man” but Martan is introduced (“far off in space on the planet Antaclea”) in a story by G. Ellerbrock and William Kent. And that introduction occurs in Dell’s Popular Comics #46. It’s as if that month is Marvel month. Just saying.
80 years ago December 1939 You can “Meet The Champ” in Champion Comics #2, the first issue (yes, I know) of the first sports comic. (Well … Yes, it’s a little weirder than that. There was a black and white #1 of the Worth Carnahan series, priced at 5¢. But it doesn’t seem to have been put on sale.)
80 years ago December 1939 The first appearance of Doll Man by Will Eisner (and maybe others from the Eisner-Iger studio) is in Quality’s Feature Comics #27.
80 years ago December 1939 The first comic book to feature Pinocchio and his cricket conscience, Jiminy Cricket, is Mickey Mouse Magazine Vol. 5, #3. On the cover, Mickey opens the door for Pinocchio, who’s carrying a Christmas package. (By the way, the Disney movie itself doesn’t appear in theaters until the following February.)
80 years ago December 1939 Fox’s Fantastic Comics begins. It introduces Stardust, Golden Knight, Space Smith, Yank Wilson, Captain Kidd, and more.
80 years ago December 1939 Along with other characters, The Wizard, “the man with the super-brain,” is introduced in Archie’s Top Notch Comics #1 in a story drawn by Edd Ashe. Um, the story itself involves an attack on Pearl Harbor. In December 1939.
75 years ago December 1944 Candy O’Connor and her mom and friends first appear in comic books in Quality’s Police Comics #37 in a teen comedy story drawn by Harry Sahle. (Candy was an existing – albeit short-lived – newspaper strip.)
70 years ago December 1949 “Complete in this issue! An illustrated terror tale from The Vault of Horror!” “Come closer, dear reader!” The Vault Keeper (by Al Feldstein) is introduced in “Buried Alive” in the new “Vault” feature in E.C.’s War against Crime! #10. (With #12, the series changes its title to The Vault of Horror.)
65 years ago December 1954 Turok (Son of Stone) and Andar find their way into a lost world where dinosaurs live in Dell’s Four Color #596 by Gaylord Du Bois and Rex Maxon.
65 years ago December 1954 Wups! EC’s Vault of Horror ends with #40. It carries an editorial asking readers to write to the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency to support comic books. (In the meantime, the Comics Code has been established. It removes horror comics from circulation.)
65 years ago December 1954 Harvey’s Chamber of Chills Magazine ends with #26. “Tales of chills and suspense!” See above. (And it was mostly a reprint of #9; just saying.)
55 years ago December 1964 Private detective Sarge Steel, “a cool knowing man who savors danger … who will not make one concession to fear … and whose fees may be as little as a smile from a pretty girl!” is introduced in Charlton’s Sarge Steel #1. With a character created by Pat Masulli, “File 101 The Case of the Pearls of Death” is by Joe Gill and Dick Giordano.
55 years ago December 1964 Thanks to the need to combat the villainous Attuma, introduced in Marvel’s Fantastic Four #33, The Fantastic Four fights “On the Side of Sub-Mariner!” The tale is by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Chic Stone.
55 years ago December 1964 “The Star-Bolt Warrior” Brain Storm is introduced in Justice League of America #32 in a story by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs.
55 years ago December 1964 In “Enter … The Chameleon!” Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and George Roussos introduce The Leader and Humanoid in cameos in the Hulk tale in Marvel’s Tales to Astonish #62.
55 years ago December 1964 The Outsider is stealing all sorts of stuff from Batman in Detective Comics #334. Who can the villain be in the story by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff, and Joe Giella? And how will the revelation affect the value of Detective Comics #328 (also by Finger, Moldoff, and Giella) in which a rock fatally crushed Alfred? Doggone it, comicbook investments are tricky.
50 years ago December 1969 Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In made its broadcast debut January 22, 1968. Archie’s TV Laugh-Out now kicks off its run with #1.
50 years ago December 1969 In “Endgame!” Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema, and Sam Grainger introduce the group that will later become The Invaders in Marvel’s The Avengers #71. The team features World War II super-guys Captain America, The Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner.
45 years ago December 1974 “The end of Captain America! The awesome origin of Steve Rogers new secret identity!” (Yes, the apostrophe was overlooked in the excitement.) “Look out, World-Beaters! Here comes the Nomad!” Steve Englehart, Sal Buscema, and Vince Colletta introduce Nomad (formerly Steve Rogers) in Marvel’s Captain America #180.
45 years ago December 1974 “Your time is up, Wall-Crawler! This is The Day of The Grizzly!” Grizzly is introduced in a story by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, Frank Giacoia, and Dave Hunt in Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man #139.
40 years ago December 1979 “ROM” means “Read Only Memory” – but to toy and comics fans, it also means a “space knight,” as Parker Brothers licenses ROM storytelling to Marvel. In ROM #1, Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema provide a story background in “Arrival” that includes the shapeshifting Dire Wraiths.
35 years ago December 1984 Justice League of America #233 introduces Crowbar and Overmaster in the first installment of “Rebirth” by Gerry Conway, Chuck Patton, and Bill Anderson.
30 years ago December 1989 Innovation picks up The Maze Agency (which began with Comico) with #8. “A New Lease on Death” is by Mike W. Barr, Adam Hughes, and Rick Magyar.
30 years ago December 1989 OK, so this is some sort of weird classic. DC’s Secret Origins #46 contains “The Little Clubhouse That Could” by Gerard Jones, Curt Swan, and Ty Templeton. Arm-Fall-Off-Boy isn’t the only unusual Legion of Super-Heroes would-be in the issue.
30 years ago December 1989 Speaking of DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes, #2 introduces Kono in a story by Keith Giffen, Tom Bierbaum, Mary Bierbaum, and Al Gordon.
30 years ago December 1989 DC’s Sandman #11 introduces Matthew the Raven in “Moving In” by Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm Jones III.
30 years ago December 1989 “Spidey goes Cosmic!” – getting cosmic powers – in “The Paste and the Power” by Gerry Conway, Sal Buscema, and Mike Esposito in Marvel’s The Spectacular Spider-Man #158.
30 years ago December 1989 The New Warriors are Firestar, Marvel Boy, Namorita, The Night Thrasher, Nova, and Speedball. They show up in a cameo in “The Gentleman’s Name Is Juggernaut!” by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Joe Sinnott in Marvel’s Thor #411. Their first full appearance (by the same creative team) comes the same month in Thor #412.
25 years ago December 1994 Marvel says, “This is it! The final issue of G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero.” It’s #155.
5 years ago December 2014 Bitch Planet begins from Image with a story by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine DeLandro.
5 years ago December 2014 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina begins from Archie. Stories are by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack – and there’s a Sabrina reprint from Archie’s Madhouse #22.
5 years ago December 2014 Marvel’s Avengers & X-Men: Axis begins. “The Red Supremacy” is by Rick Remender and Adam Kubert.
5 years ago December 2014 Marvel’s Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #1 begins with “The Transmigration of Bucky Barnes” by Ales Kot and Marco Rudy.
5 years ago December 2014 Wow! Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon hits #200 (with a “100-page super spectacular,” no less) more than two decades after his character’s introduction.