Here’s the latest installment of Maggie Thompson’s ongoing look at important beginnings, middles, and ends, this time for May 29 through June 4, 2020...
205 years ago June 1, 1815 British caricaturist and printmaker James Gillray dies at age 58. Called “the father of the political cartoon,” he was considered to be one of the “Big Three” of 1700s political cartoonists (with William Hogarth and George Cruikshank). The influential artist used speech balloons and sequential narratives.
195 years ago June 3, 1825 French artist Louis Morel-Retz is born. Also working as Stop, he’s known for Les Aventures de Monsieur Verdreau.
100 years ago May 29, 1920 EC artist and Segway patent application design artist Jack Kamen is born.
95 years ago June 1, 1925 Created by Bill Conselman and Charlie Plumb, the newspaper strip Ella Cinders begins.
80 years ago June 2, 1940 Will Eisner’s The Spirit section begins as a comic book insert for newspapers. This issue provides the first appearance and origin of The Spirit, Lady Luck, and Mr. Mystic. It’s the first publication from Eisner’s publishing company.
80 years ago June 3, 1940 Artist-writer Russell Stamm’s newspaper strip Invisible Scarlet O’Neil begins.
80 years ago June 3, 1940 Canadian artist Charles R. Snelgrove dies at age 47. He drew the Robin Hood and Company newspaper strip written by Ted McCall.
70 years ago May 31, 1950 UK underground comix creator Edward Barker is born.
60 years ago May 29, 1960 Warren Tufts’ Lance ends.
60 years ago May 31, 1960 Writer Glenn Boyd is born.
55 years ago June 3, 1965 Artist Gavin Wilson is born; he specializes in photographic comics work.
50 years ago May 30, 1970 German artist Heinz Ludwig dies at age 63.
40 years ago June 2, 1980 Writer Joseph Samachson dies of Parkinson’s disease at age 73. He co-created Martian Manhunter with Joe Certa.
15 years ago May 31, 2005 Portuguese artist Eduardo Teixeira Coelho dies at age 86.
15 years ago June 1, 2005 Dutch writer-artist and political cartoonist Willem van Malsen dies at age 65.
10 years ago June 2, 2010 Tony DiPreta dies of respiratory and cardiac arrest at age 88. He drew “Little Wise Guys,” Joe Palooka, and Rex Morgan, M.D.
10 years ago June 2, 2010 Artist Antonio Parras dies at age 81. His work appeared in such publications as Spirou, Pistolin, and Pilote. He co-created (with Guy Vidal) Ian Mac Donald and (with Victor Mora) Les Inoxydables.
5 years ago May 30, 2015 Colorist and underground cartoonist Michele Wrightson dies at age 73.
And here are the anniversaries spanning the month of June…
80 years ago June 1940 Blue Bolt #1 from Novelty Press introduces Blue Bolt (by Joe Simon), Dick Cole (by Bob Davis), Sergeant Spook (by Malcolm Kildale), Sub-Zero Man (by Larry Antonette), Runaway Ronson (by Paul Gustavson), and The White Rider (and “His Super Horse”).
80 years ago June 1940 Pulp publisher Standard releases Startling Comics #1. The cover says it’s “Featuring Captain Future – Man of Tomorrow.” That’s because the story drawn by Kin Platt doesn’t actually introduce the character, who (created by Mort Weisinger) is already appearing in Standard’s pulps. (But the comics character differs from the pulp guy, so maybe it does.)
80 years ago June 1940 The first comic book from Ace Magazines is Sure-Fire Comics #1. The cover boasts “New! Fast-Action Thrillers” and invites readers to “Meet ‘Flash’ Lightning, X-The Phantom Fed, Ace McCoy, The Raven, Buck Steele, And Many Other Thrilling New Characters.” Some of the stories are based on earlier pulp magazine tales.
80 years ago June 1940 Timely’s Mystic Comics #3 introduces Hercules in a story by Arnold Hicks. The man raised to be perfect physically and mentally starts out as a sideshow strong man but ends up fighting crime instead. But wait!
80 years ago June 1940 MLJ’s Blue Ribbon Comics #4 (“Action! Mystery! Thrills!”) introduces Hercules, too! What’s up with that? Well, this Hercules is in a story called “Hercules Slays the Lion of Nemea!!” So this guy (in a story by Joe Blair and El Wexler) might actually be the more traditional hero of mythology. Also introduced in the issue are such characters as Doc Strong (by Blair and Sam Cooper), The Fox (by Blair and Irwin Hasen), Ty-Gor (by Blair and George Storm), and The Green Falcon (by Harry Shorten and Edd Ashe).
80 years ago June 1940 Detective Comics #40 introduces Clayface in a story by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson.
80 years ago June 1940 Doctor Fate and Inza are on the cover of DC’s More Fun Comics #56, but it’s Congo Bill who’s introduced in a story by Whitney Ellsworth and George Papp.
75 years ago June 1945 The story and art are provided by the anonymous John Stanley for Dell’s Four-Color #74. It’s Little Lulu’s first appearance in comic book adventures. Stanley fills the entire issue, cover to cover, expanding the world and the storytelling in which Marjorie Henderson Buell’s single-panel character has appeared.
70 years ago June 1950 DC’s Batman #59 introduces Deadshot as “The Man Who Replaced Batman!” by David Vern, Bob Kane, Lew Sayre Schwartz, and Charles Paris.
65 years ago June 1955 It’s only the third issue of the series to carry the Comics Code seal, and maybe it’s time to focus on a pet? “Look! Our new Bat-Hound recognizes the Bat-Signal – There he goes, ready for action!” Ace the Bat-Hound is introduced in DC’s Batman #92 in a story by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff, and Stan Kaye. (Oh, and we find out the butler’s full name: Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth!)
60 years ago June 1960 DC’s Challengers of the Unknown #14 introduces Multi-Man in “The Man Who Conquered the Challengers” by Ed Herron and Bob Brown.
60 years ago June 1960 Uh oh! JLA members are losing their powers! The story by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs in DC’s The Brave and the Bold #30 introduces Professor Ivo and the synthetic Amazo.
60 years ago June 1960 Dell’s New Terrytoons #1 introduces the TV character Deputy Dawg to comic books in a story drawn by Dan Gormley.
60 years ago June 1960 “Great thunder! He’s running on air!” DC’s The Flash #113 introduces Trickster in “Danger in the Air!” by John Broome, Carmine Infantino, and Joe Giella.
60 years ago June 1960 Though the cover makes it one of many entries in the list of DC’s gorilla covers, Strange Adventures #117 is also of special interest, because it introduces The Atomic Knights in a story by John Broome and Murphy Anderson.
55 years ago June 1965 Marvel’s Tales of Suspense #66 features the first actual Red Skull appearance in the Silver Age. (Remember, in #65, he’d supposedly appeared but hadn’t; now, however …) “The Fantastic Origin of the Red Skull” is by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Chic Stone.
55 years ago June 1965 Immortal Man is introduced in “I Lived a Hundred Lives!” in DC’s Strange Adventures #177. Art is by Jack Sparling.
55 years ago June 1965 Her face isn’t shown, but Mary Jane Watson is introduced in Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man #25 by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. (So is Spencer Smythe, but his introduction has attracted less long-term interest.)
55 years ago June 1965 “4 Teenage Heroes in One Blazing Adventure!” Woo hoo! DC’s The Brave and the Bold #60 provides the first case for The Teen Titans, with Wonder Girl joining Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad to fight The Separated Man. (Never mind that Wonder Girl is supposed to be Wonder Woman when she was a teen, so she shouldn’t be hanging around centuries later in a story by Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani. Sh. Don’t think about it.)
55 years ago June 1965 Stilt-Man is introduced in Marvel’s Daredevil #8 in a story by Stan Lee and Wally Wood.
55 years ago June 1965 Hey, that’s not fighting fair! In his introduction, Evil Star yanks the power ring off GL’s finger! DC’s Green Lantern #37 also introduces Betty Sloane in “The Spies Who ‘Owned’ Green Lantern!” by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane, and Sid Greene.
50 years ago June 1970 The Neal Adams cover says it: “Challenge of The Man-Bat!” introduces Man-Bat in the “400th Smash Issue” of DC’s Detective Comics. The story is by Frank Robbins, Adams, and Dick Giordano.
50 years ago June 1970 “The Unknown Soldier is not dead … He is one of us!” DC’s Star Spangled War Stories #151 introduces The Unknown Soldier in “They Came from Shangri-La!” – created by Joe Kubert.
45 years ago June 1975 Marvel’s Strange Tales #180 introduces Gamora in “The Judgment!” by Jim Starlin (with four pages inked by Al Weiss).
45 years ago June 1975 DC’s Kong the Untamed #1 introduces (How’d you guess?) Kong the Untamed in a story by Jack Oleck and Alfredo Alcala.
45 years ago June 1975 And, hey, DC’s Stalker #1 introduces (Yes!) Stalker in a story by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko, and Wally Wood.
45 years ago June 1975 Targitt first appears in costume in Seaboard’s Targitt #2. Three months earlier, he was wearing civvies. Now, he’s got a costume (including a target on his chest; where have we seen that before?) and is called Man-Stalker on the cover. The story is by Gabriel Levy, Ric Myers, and Howard Nostrand.
40 years ago June 1980 “Who is The Rainbow Raider?” asks the cover of DC’s The Flash #286, which introduces, yes, Rainbow Raider. “And,” adds the cover, “can The Crimson Comet discover his grim secret before he becomes its next victim?” As if Barry Allen doesn’t have enough problems facing life without Iris! Gee! The story is by Cary Bates, Don Heck, and Frank Chiaramonte.
35 years ago June 1985 Kole is introduced in DC’s The New Teen Titans #9. “Crystal Nightmare!” is by Marv Wolfman, José Luis García-López, and Romeo Tanghal.
35 years ago June 1985 Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man #265 introduces Silver Sable and her Wild Pack in “After the Fox!” by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Joe Rubinstein.
35 years ago June 1985 DC’s The Saga of Swamp Thing #37 (with a cover by Stephen Bissette) introduces antihero and sorcerer Hellblazer/John Constantine in “Growth Patterns” by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, and John Totleben.
30 years ago June 1990 Dark Horse releases the first issue of Give Me Liberty by Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons. “Homes & Gardens” features Martha Washington in the 2010 era of America’s second Civil War.
30 years ago June 1990 Marvel’s Ghost Rider #2 introduces vampire Blackout in “Do Be Afraid of the Dark!” by Howard Mackie, Javier Saltares, and Mark Texeira.
30 years ago June 1990 Readers are invited to “Explode into the Marvel Universe of the 31st Century!” Writer-artist Jim Valentino revives Marvel’s superhero team of the future in the first issue of Guardians of the Galaxy.
25 years ago June 1995 Cover-featuring Superman and an Alien, the first issue of Overstreet’s FAN is released by Gemstone.
15 years ago June 2005 Marvel’s G.L.A. begins. “Great Lakes Avengers Misassembled” is by Dan Slott, Paul Pelletier, and Rick Magyar and provides the origin stories of Mr. Immortal and the G.L.A.
10 years ago June 2010 Issue #0 kicks off DC’s Brightest Day. Writers Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi provide the script for a massive accumulation of artists and characters in “Carpe Diem,” which finds Deadman checking up on those who were revived during “Blackest Night.”
5 years ago June 2015 Marvel’s Avengers Magazine #1 is part of a whole bunch of Avengers publications kicking off to coincide with the release of the Avengers: Age of Ultron film.
5 years ago June 2015 DC releases Convergence #0-4 and, yeah, I’m not gonna count all the tie-ins. Brainiac brings together a variety of characters, worlds, and times to bring back characters from before DC’s “New 52.”
5 years ago June 2015 “The Secret History of Kanan from Star Wars Rebels”: Marvel’s Kanan The Last Padawan #1 is by Greg Weisman and Pepe Larraz.