I was reading the forums of Comic Vine and I crossed upon one discussing the popularity of the Marvel heroes through the decades. That got me thinking about the popularity of the DC heroes through the decades. I will be focusing on the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's, and 10's. I won't be doing one on the 30's due to DC only having 4 heroes around this time and they were each just beginning (Superman, Batman, Sandman, and Crimson Avenger). For my first blog I'm going to go through the 40's.
The 1940's are known as the Golden Age of comics. With the creation of Superman (and some credit to the darker, Batman) the supehero genre boomed and new creations at DC and it's sister company, All American, were quickly becoming huge in the comic market. We have seen of such heroes as Robin the Boy Wonder, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Green Lantern (Alan Scott), The Flash (Jay Garrick), Atom (Al Pratt), Green Arrow, Speedy, Aquaman, Dr. Fate, The Spectre, Black Canary, Hourman, and many more. Groups such as the Justice Society and Boy Commandos were also popular. We have also seen fierce competition of other companies such as Fawcett Publications (whose characters DC would one day have the rights to) with their character Captain Marvel who was accompanied with the Marvel family consisting of Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Uncle Marvel, and the Lieutenants. Whom would be the most popular of these DC characters though? I think I would narrow them down to this:
- Superman- Practically creating the Golden Age of comics and being one of the biggest names in America pop culture at the time. Superman not only dominated the comics, but he also became a balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, appear in amazing animated shorts, had a spot on the radio, was in the serials, and even had his own brand of moccasins. Superman was the model for almost every hero during this age from appearance and even actions.
- Captain Marvel- With one magic word, young Billy Batson shouts the word "Shazam" and becomes the mighty mortal, Captain Marvel. Though Captain Marvel was published by Fawcett around this time I do put him on this list for his future and long association with DC company. Captain Marvel was the best selling character in comics during this period and became increasingly popular too. Even rivaling the likes of Superman. Despite this outside of comics, Captain Marvel never got the same attention as Superman. Captain Marvel was only given one movie serial. Captain Marvel was later sued out of existence toward the end of the decade and not coming back until the the 70's when DC acquired the property.
- Batman- Batman had to be second most popular superhero character and did set the stage for a more darker superhero despite the increase of brightness soon put into the Batman comics. Batman occasionally appeared on the Superman radio show occasionally with his sidekick, Robin, along with two poorly produced movie serials.
- Boy Commandos- Though being relatively unheard of today, during the 1940's these wartime kid heroes was the third highest selling comic being produced at the time. After World War II, which the comic was focused on, the theme of the comic converted more to a comedy/cartoon type comic. With the decline of popularity of comics these characters were left behind along with most of the DC heroes and they barely saw any popularity or resurrection since.
So reader who do you think was the most popular DC hero in the 1940's overall? Stay on the look out for a look at the 50's coming very soon.