Here’s the latest installment of Maggie Thompson’s ongoing look at important beginnings, middles, and ends, this time for June 26 through July 1, 2020...

115 years ago June 26, 1905 Award-winning writer-artist Lynd Ward is born. His work includes pioneering wordless novels told in woodcuts, starting with Gods’ Man in 1929.

115 years ago June 26, 1905 Winsor McCay’s A Pilgrim’s Progress first appears.

85 years ago July 1, 1935 Artist Billy Graham is born. His career begins with Warren magazines, and he goes on to gather fans for his work on the characters Luke Cage and Black Panther.

85 years ago July 1, 1935 Award-winning editorial cartoonist and cartoon historian Draper Hill is born.

70 years ago June 26, 1950 Writer-editor Tom DeFalco is born. He begins his comics career with Archie, where he develops its digest series; goes on to a career at Marvel, where he helps develop a number of projects and eventually becomes editor in chief; and creates several characters including Spider-Girl.

70 years ago June 29, 1950 Award-winning writer-artist Bobby London is born. He works on such underground comix as Dirty Duck and writes and draws the Popeye comic strip in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

70 years ago June 29, 1950 Dark Horse Comics founder Mike Richardson is born. The writer and producer expands his industry activities from establishing a comics shop to publishing and presidency of Dark Horse Entertainment.

65 years ago June 26, 1955 Steve Whitaker is born. The British colorist is especially known for his work on V for Vendetta.

65 years ago June 27, 1955 Bill Walsh and Floyd Gottfredson begin the “Mickey Mouse and Li’l Davy” sequence in the Mickey Mouse strip, taking off on Disney’s Davy Crockett material.

65 years ago June 30, 1955 Joe Vigil is born. He’s especially known for his work on Rebel Studios’ Dog and Gunfighters in Hell.

60 years ago June 26, 1960 Comico and CO2 Comics co-founder (with Bill Cucinotta) Gerry Giovinco is born.

55 years ago June 26, 1965 The Spider by Ted Cowan and Reg Bunn begins.

50 years ago June 30, 1970 The writer of Metallic Bliss from Silver Tongue, Tonne Forquer, is born.

35 years ago June 28, 1985 Lynd Ward dies two days after his 80th birthday. (See the June 26, 1905, entry above.)

30 years ago June 30, 1990 Award-winning French writer-artist Jacques Lob dies at age 57. He wrote Lone Sloane and Le Transperceneige, co-created Superdupont, and was editor in chief of Chic magazine.

15 years ago June 28, 2005 Cartoonist and animation artist Rowland B. Wilson dies of heart failure at age 74. In a career beginning with The Texas Ranger, he was especially known for cartoons for Playboy, a New England Life Insurance ad campaign, and Schoolhouse Rock.

15 years ago July 1, 2005 Spanish artist Manuel Cuyás dies at age 83.

5 years ago June 26, 2015 Influential Czech artist Kája Saudek dies at age 80. He was called the “king of Czech comics.”

5 years ago June 30, 2015 Writer-artist Leonard Starr dies at age 89. The creator of Mary Perkins, On Stage revived the Little Orphan Annie strip and was head writer of the ThunderCats TV show.

5 years ago June 30, 2015 Italian artist and animator Paolo Piffarerio dies at age 90.

And here are the anniversaries spanning the month of July…

80 years ago July 1940 Marvel Mystery Comics #9 introduces what may be the first costumed hero crossover battle comic book. As the cover says, “The city was rapidly being wrecked as The Sub-Mariner ran wild. Could The Human Torch stop this mad destruction? Read This Amazing Battle of Two Super Humans!” “The Battle of the Comic Century!” is by Bill Everett, Carl Burgos, and John Compton.

80 years ago July 1940 Novelty Press’ Target Comics #6 introduces Chameleon, drawn by John Junb.

80 years ago July 1940 The cover says it: “Introducing The Green Lantern!” DC’s All-American Comics #16 introduces Alan Scott in a story by Bill Finger and Martin Nodell.

80 years ago July 1940 Dell’s Crackajack Funnies #25 cover features the introduction of Gabby Scoops (by Bill Treadwell and Bill Connor). But of more interest to later fans is the introduction of The Owl by R.S. Callendar and Bill Baltz.

80 years ago July 1940 Dell’s The Funnies #45 introduces Phantasmo (Master of the World) and sidekick Whizzer McGee in a story drawn by E.C. Stoner.

80 years ago July 1940 Famous Funnies’ Famous Funnies #72 introduces Speed Spaulding to comic books. The cover modestly declares that it’s “the Greatest Adventure Story of All Time.” He’s in “an epic struggle to save the world.” So, heck, maybe it is the greatest? The newspaper strip being reprinted is actually a variation on their When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie (who write) and is drawn by Marvin Bradley.

80 years ago July 1940 Quality Comics’ National Comics #1 introduces (“America’s Greatest Comic Character”) Uncle Sam (by Will Eisner and Dave Berg). Oh, and Wonder Boy. And Merlin the Magician. And others …

80 years ago July 1940 Timely’s Mystic Comics #4 introduces The Black Widow (also known as Claire Voyant), a weird sort of hero-villain. (Hey, she collects the souls of evildoers for Satan.) The story is by George Kapitan and Harry Sahle.

80 years ago July 1940 Remember last month, when we noted that Timely’s Mystic Comics #3 introduced Hercules in a story by Arnold Hicks? But that MLJ’s Blue Ribbon Comics #4 also introduced (a different) Hercules in a story by Joe Blair and El Wexler? Well, what the heck? Although Quality’s Hit Comics #1 cover features The Red Bee, introduced in the issue, it also introduces (wait for it) Hercules “the Strongest Man in the World.” That story is by Dan Zolnerowich. Yeah, there’s a bunch of other character introductions, but gee.

75 years ago July 1945 Spark Publications’ Golden Lad #1 introduces (yes) Golden Lad in a story by Joseph Greene and Mort Meskin.

70 years ago July 1950 DC’s Danger Trail #1 (featuring “worldwide adventures in mystery and intrigue!”) introduces King Faraday in “Hunters of the Whispering Gallery!” by Robert Kanigher, Carmine Infantino, and Joe Giella.

65 years ago July 1955 Lev Gleason’s Crime Does Not Pay is canceled with #147. It managed to survive application of the Comics Code starting with #143, but how long can “true stories based on case files” dodge the prepublication restrictions? (Those include such requirements as, “No comics shall explicitly present the unique details and methods of a crime.”)

65 years ago July 1955 Dell’s Red Ryder Comics is canceled with #144.

65 years ago July 1955 Britain’s L. Miller & Son’s Marvelman introduces Kid Marvelman by Mick Anglo in #102. He starts out nice enough; what a difference a couple of decades can make!

65 years ago July 1955 Famous Funnies’ Famous Funnies ends with #218.

60 years ago July 1960 Archie’s Adventures of the Fly #7 (which has just changed its title from The Fly) introduces the Silver Age The Black Hood in “The Fly and The Black Hood Join Forces” by Robert Bernstein and John Giunta. (The Golden Age character first appeared in MLJ’s Top-Notch Comics #9, October 1940.)

60 years ago July 1960 Though the cover of DC’s Green Lantern #1 focuses on the “menace of the giant puppet,” of more interest to “key issue” fans than the intro of Puppet Master is that “The Planet of Doomed Men” by John Broome, Gil Kane, and Murphy Anderson introduces The Guardians of the Universe.

60 years ago July 1960 DC’s Showcase #27 brings the Sea Devils together as a team in “The Golden Monster!” by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath.

55 years ago July 1965 Marvel’s Journey into Mystery #118 introduces Destroyer in “To Kill a Thunder God!” by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Vince Colletta.

55 years ago July 1965 “Featuring: The almost indescribable menace,” Marvel’s The X-Men #12 introduces Juggernaut (and provides Professor X’s origin) in a story by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, and Vince Colletta.

55 years ago July 1965 DC’s House of Secrets #73 morphs Mark Merlin into Prince Ra-Man in “The Death of Mark Merlin” by Bob Haney and Bernard Baily.

50 years ago July 1970 Charlton’s Underdog #1 introduces TV cartoon hero Underdog to the world of comic books in a story provided by Frank Johnson.

50 years ago July 1970 “This is it! The spectacular long-awaited 100th anniversary issue! Featuring: Villains! Villains! Villains!” Well, strictly speaking, it’s not the 100th anniversary; that’ll be in 2061. But it is Fantastic Four #100, and Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Joe Sinnott certainly do offer a whole bunch o’ villains.

45 years ago July 1975 Captain Canuck #1 begins, and it’s the first from Comely Comix. “Arctic Standoff” is by Dave Abbott and Richard Comely.

45 years ago July 1975 Marvel’s Masters of Terror magazine will be short-lived, but this first issue of the anthology includes an adaptation of classics including Theodore Sturgeon’s “It” – which influenced more than one muck monster. (Yes, and Don Thompson and I provided “Time out for Terror” about horror in many forms. Just thought I’d mention it.)

45 years ago July 1975 Charlton’s Doomsday + 1 begins with “They Live Again” by Joe Gill and John Byrne.

45 years ago July 1975 Marvel’s Savage Tales magazine ends with #11.

40 years ago July 1980 Marvel Team-Up #95 introduces Mockingbird (“Will she save S.H.I.E.L.D. – or smash it!”), who’s no relation to the mysterious character introduced more than a decade earlier in DC’s Secret Six. “…And No Birds Sing!” is by Steven Grant, Jimmy Janes, and Bruce Patterson.

40 years ago July 1980 DC’s The Untold Legend of the Batman #1 features “In the Beginning” by Len Wein, John Byrne, and Jim Aparo. (It’s Byrne’s first work for DC.)

40 years ago July 1980 And hey! Marvel’s Fantastic Four #220 is the first issue featuring John Byrne as writer-artist of Fantastic Four. That guy is turning out to be versatile, isn’t he?

35 years ago July 1985 “The last word in superheroics,” the first issue of Rick Veitch’s The One, is released by Marvel.

35 years ago July 1985 “This is it! The end of the world!” DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 introduces Lady Quark and Kimiyo Hoshi, also known as Dr. Light. “And Thus Shall the World Die!” is by Marv Wolfman, George Pérez, and Mike DeCarlo – and does not sound too cheery, somehow.

35 years ago July 1985 Marvel’s Secret Wars II begins the continuing adventures of The Beyonder. Who is The Beyonder? That’s what the cover wants to know. Maybe the story by Jim Shooter, Al Milgrom, and Steve Leialoha will tell us.

35 years ago July 1985 “Way-out comics for way-out people!” Neat Stuff by Peter Bagge begins from Fantagraphics.

30 years ago July 1990 Fleetway’s Revolver spins off from 2000 AD and begins the Rogan Gosh storyline in an anthology title including contributions by Paul Neary, Steve Parkhouse, Peter Milligan, and Grant Morrison.

30 years ago July 1990 DC’s revamp of Shade, the Changing Man begins. “Execution Day” is by Peter Milligan, Chris Bachalo, and Mark Pennington.

30 years ago July 1990 We might revisit Marvel’s Spider-Man #1 by Todd McFarlane next month, because it’s cover dated August. But it’s in July that it sets the highest recorded paid circulation for a comic book to this point: 2,350,000 sales of the first printing. (The final total will be about 2,650,000.) Which means that the one thing it isn’t is: rare!

30 years ago July 1990 Marvel’s The New Warriors begins the series – and the adventures of the new team. “From the Ground Up!” is by Fabian Nicieza, Mark Bagley, and Al Williamson. The “heroes for the 90’s” are Namorita, Firestar, Kid Nova, Marvel Boy, and Speedball, and the team was introduced in Thor #411 (December 1989). (Though this cover says “introducing,” Night Thrasher has already appeared right along with them.)

30 years ago July 1990 Wouldn’t you know it? Just when Michael Collins (introduced in this issue) figures out what’s going on with the Deathlok project, well … Marvel’s Deathlok #1 introduces Deathlok III in “The Brains of the Outfit” by Dwayne McDuffie, Gregory Wright, Jackson Guice, and Scott Williams.

25 years ago July 1995 Featuring the second part of the “Daughter of Raktavashi” tale scripted by Roy Thomas and drawn by John Buscema, Marvel releases the last issue of The Savage Sword of Conan with #235, along with all three Punisher series (The Punisher #104, The Punisher War Journal #80, and The Punisher War Zone #41). Crom!

15 years ago July 2005 TwoMorrows’ Streetwise anthology of autobiographical tales includes “The Gorilla Suit” by Sergio Aragonés, which will win the Eisner Award for Best Short Story of the year.

15 years ago July 2005 Dark Horse continues the Firefly series’ story in Serenity #1 with the first part of “Those Left Behind” by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, and Will Conrad.

5 years ago July 2015 Oni releases Invader Zim #1 (with a bunch of variants) by Jhonen Vasquez, Aaron Alexovich, and Megan Lawton, providing “Previously on Invader Zim” and “The Returnening.”

5 years ago July 2015 Valiant has a Book of Death event with a whole bunch of variants and one-shots connected to a story by Robert Vendetti, Robert Gill, and Doug Braithwaite. It will spin out Wrath of the Eternal Warrior later in the year.

5 years ago July 2015 Marvel’s Secret Wars #1 has oodles of characters, deaths, and variants for “The End Times” by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribić. Oh, and did I mention Deadpool’s Secret Wars? Or Secret Wars 2099? Or Secret Wars Journal? Or Secret Wars: Battleworld? What I’m saying is that there are wars. And they’re secret. So sh! Got it?