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    Public Domain Characters

    Concept » Public Domain Characters appears in 4012 issues.

    Today there are a wealth of Golden and Silver Age comic book characters who have fallen into Public Domain. This is a list of such characters.

    Short summary describing this concept.

    Public Domain Characters last edited by aphillips17 on 05/20/22 11:21PM View full history

    History

    In the traditional sense, public domain in literary works who have been around long before having a copyright license in 1925 are available for anyone to access. Characters from literature (i.e. Sherlock Holmes, Captain Nemo, Allan Quartermain, etc.), fairy tales (i.e. Snow White), fables (The Lion and The Mouse, The Boy Who Cried Wolf), folklore (i.e. vampires, werewolves, etc.), myths and legends (i.e. Hercules, King Arthur, Robin Hood, etc.) as well as various religious works (i.e. God, angels, demons, etc.) and even historical figures (Julius Caesar, George Washington, etc.) can be used for anything beyond the limits of a writer's own imagination for storytelling. In the realm of comic books, a new breed of public domain characters emerged from the early-20th century America. After the success of Superman and Batman in the late-1930s, dozens of new publishers sprang up and unleashed hundreds of new superheroes to comic readers of the Golden Age. By the end of World War II, however, most comic book superheroes fell out of favor with readers due to government censorship. As quickly as they had arrived, the majority of those heroes and their publishers disappeared.

    Pubic Domain Comic Book Superheroes
    Pubic Domain Comic Book Superheroes

    Copyrights were not well protected as adamantly in those days, and many of those characters and their adventures have since fallen into the public domain. This allows any publisher or creator to use the characters and the original Golden Age material any way they wish. AC Comics was one of the first publishers to capitalize on this by both reprinting Golden Age classics and incorporating these "forgotten" heroes into their new material as well. Other comic book publishers (Dynamite Entertainment and Antarctic Press) and creators (like Alan Moore, Erik Larsen, and Todd McFarlane) have also taken to the idea and have created new universes featuring these characters. Sometimes they focus on the superheroes and even sidekicks from only one company, and other times picking the best characters from several companies. Super-villains, on the other hand, are rarely used over outdated and racist portrayals during WWII.

    Public domain comic book superheroes not only applies to just the United States, but also in other countries around the world (each country has different copyright laws around their own works in public domain) with characters like Nelvana of the Northern Lights in Canada, Octobriana in Russia, Captain Universe and Ace Hart in England, and Ōgon Bat in Japan.

    Publishers represented in this list Include:

    • Ace
    • American Comic Group/ACG
    • Ajax-Farrell
    • Avon Comics/Realistic
    • Better/Nedor/Standard/Pines Publications
    • Biro Publishing/Lev Gleason/Comic House
    • Centaur Publishing
    • Charlton Comics (some titles are not PD)
    • Columbia Comics
    • Comic Media
    • Comics Magazine Company Inc
    • Croydon Publishing/Rural Home/Enwil Associates/REWL Publications
    • D.S. Publishing/D.X. Publishing/P.L. Publishing (Canada)/FAST FICTION/U.S. Publishing
    • Fawcett Comics
    • Fox Feature Syndicate
    • Fiction House
    • Gilberton Publications/Elliot
    • Harry "A" Chesler/Dynamic/Home Guide Publications/Magazine Press
    • Harvey Comics
    • Hillman Periodicals
    • Holyoke Publishing Company/Et-Es-Go Mags/Continental Magazines/HELNIT Publishing Co/TEM Publishing
    • Key Publications/Timor Publications/Gillmor Magazines/Stanley P. Morse/Aragon Magazines/Medal Comics/Stanmor Publications
    • Magazine Enterprises (M.E.)
    • MLJ
    • Novelty Publications
    • Parents Magazine Institute
    • Prize Publications/Crestwood Publications/Feature Publications/Headline
    • Quality Comics
    • Spark Publications
    • St. John Publishing
    • Stanhall Publications
    • Star Publications/Accepted Publications
    • Sterling Comics
    • Story/Merit/Master
    • Superior Comics (Canadian)
    • Timor Publishing Company
    • Toby Press/Minoan
    • Trojan Magazines
    • Youthful Magazines
    • Ziff-Davis

    Public Domain Based Universes

    Public Domain Characters [Character Name (Original Publisher)]

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    • 13 (Lev Gleason)
    • 711 (Quality)

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