Popularity of DC Heroes by the Decades- The 40's

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Posted by CrazyScarecrow (2312 posts) - - Show Bio

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 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.

-CrazyScarecrow

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#1 Posted by WIshIWasSuperman (1379 posts) - - Show Bio

Well, if it's just on comic sales, it would be Captain Marvel while he existed, pretty sure he was the only one to outsell Superman.

Otherwise Superman wins hands down. He created the genre a couple of years earlier and defined what it meant to be a super hero in those days. As you pointed out, he was everywhere back then. Hell, his comics were included as required materials for one of the naval bases during the war even.

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#2 Posted by CrazyScarecrow (2312 posts) - - Show Bio

@wishiwassuperman: Captain Marvel was the only hero to ever outsell Superman in those days. And I didn't know that Superman comics was required material for a naval base. That's cool! I would say it would have to be Superman too because of how popular he was not only in the comics, but also in other media at the time.

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#3 Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg (2452 posts) - - Show Bio

Superman, by far. Because of his cultural impact.

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#4 Posted by JLDoom (2358 posts) - - Show Bio

Superman, by far. Because of his cultural impact.

Agreed. Besides because of WWII and everything having powers wasnt considered "boring" like today, instead everyone wanted to have Superman's powers and stop the war, get rid of crime and corruption and get the girl who never notices them (the classic Clark/Superman/Lois triangle).

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#5 Posted by Rouflex (35970 posts) - - Show Bio

Probably Superman but i think Captain Marvel didnt the deserve this fall... He had a lot of potential, he was the first Superhero to appears in Films IIRC. Dc needs to revive Captain Marvel (at his best) and a show would be perfect for that.

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#6 Posted by Deadpool_is_better_than_you (59 posts) - - Show Bio

@rouflex said:

Probably Superman but i think Captain Marvel didnt the deserve this fall... He had a lot of potential, he was the first Superhero to appears in Films IIRC. Dc needs to revive Captain Marvel (at his best) and a show would be perfect for that.

I thought he was quite enjoyable on Batman The Brave and Bold. A show like that could boost his popularity quite a lot

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#7 Edited by Rouflex (35970 posts) - - Show Bio

@deadpool_is_better_than_you said:

@rouflex said:

Probably Superman but i think Captain Marvel didnt the deserve this fall... He had a lot of potential, he was the first Superhero to appears in Films IIRC. Dc needs to revive Captain Marvel (at his best) and a show would be perfect for that.

I thought he was quite enjoyable on Batman The Brave and Bold. A show like that could boost his popularity quite a lot

He got a pretty good Rogue Gallery IMO

Monster Society of evil

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Ice King (1953)

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Spider man (1947)

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#8 Posted by CrazyScarecrow (2312 posts) - - Show Bio

@rouflex: I agree. I wish Fawcett would've kept publishing Captain Marvel. DC's early revivals of Captain Marvel were pretty good and the recent New 52 stuff seems to be winning people over (which is good, I guess). And I agree on his rogues gallery too. It's filled with one enemies for the Big Red Cheese. I wish DC would put less focus on Black Adam and some more of Sivana or Mr. Mind or even bring back the old Fawcett villains that have been rarely seen.

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#9 Posted by CrazyScarecrow (2312 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow! It's been a year since I did this. I've been thinking of reviving this series. Maybe on a separate, independent blog...

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