DC Comics is one of the largest American companies in comic book publishing. Let us see who are the people behind DC comics and its characters development. DC comics are responsible for the most iconic and recognizable characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and many other such famous characters. Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, a pulp writer founded the National Allied Publications in the autumn of 1934. The sole aim of the publication was to turn a profit. In February 1935, the company launched their first comic New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1. The comic received modest success. In December 1935, the company launched New Comics #1. This comic was a long run comic and is major part of the history of DC comics.

The comic later evolved into Adventure Comics. It continued for almost 50 years, with its last publication in 1983 as issue #503. Adventure Comics is one of the longest running comic series of all time. In 1937, as Wheeler-Nicholson was having debt issues and needed cash, he partnered with the magazine distributors Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz and founded Detective Comics Inc. Wheeler-Nicholson was unable to repay his debt to Donenfeld and Liebowitz, and so he was forced out of the company.

Detective Comics Inc., through a series of mergers created a new company, National Periodical Publications (NPP) in the 1940s. In 1969, a company called Kinney National purchased NPP. Later the company was bought by Warner Brothers. For most of its history, the company was informally known as DC Comics, but it was not the official name until 1977. Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Sheldon Mayer and Gardener Fox are considered the people behind DC comics and its characters.

Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson

Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson was a pulp magazine writer and entrepreneur who pioneered the comic book industry in America. Wheeler-Nicholson founded the National Allied Publications, which over the years evolved and today is known as DC Comics. He is considered as one among the people who where behind DC comics and its characters development. Wheeler-Nicholson also had a writing career.

He wrote nonfiction stories on military topics. In 1935, the National Allied Publications launched their first comic, New Fun #1. It was a tabloid sized comic of about 36 pages. New Fun #1, was an anthology comic strips of humor and adventure features. Most of the comic strips in the comic book were written by Wheeler-Nicholson himself. The comic featured, the funny animal comic ‘Pelion and Ossa’, the college set ‘Jigger and Ginger’, dramatic Western strip ‘Jack Woods’ and adventure strip ‘Barry O’Neill’. Due to financial issues, Wheeler-Nicholson was forced out of the company.

Jerry Siegel

Jerry Siegel created the famous DC comic book character Superman with Joe Shuster. Siegel developed the storylines and plots, and Shuster drew the comic. Initially Superman was developed as a villain, but they later made him a superhero. At first they were unsuccessful in attempting to make Superman into a daily comic strip. After this failure, the two men were hired at the DC-National Comics (present-day DC Comics). DC Comics agreed to publish Superman as a storyline in Action Comics in 1939. Superman appeared in the very first issue of Action comics. As Superman’s popularity increased, DC Comics developed a separate Superman comic. However, Siegel and Shuster became unhappy but still continued to create storylines for Superman.

Superman From DC Comics

In 1939, both of them signed over their rights to Superman to DC Comics. Superman is DC Comics’ most important and popular character and it made much money for the company. Siegel and Shuster sued DC Comics for a portion of the profits in 1940s. They both received royalties for Superboy, another character that they had created. By 1950s, Shuster left the comics business, while Siegel left only to return to DC during the early 1960s. Siegel and Shuster sued DC Comics for a share of the profits once again in 1975. They lost the case, however, DC Comics agreed to pay each man a yearly stipend of thirty-five thousand dollars. The company also gave credit for Superman’s creation to the two men. In 1999, three years after Siegel’s death, the Siegel family successfully won a court case, granting the family fifty-percent ownership of the Superman character.

Joe Shuster

Joe with his neighbor in Cleveland Jerry Siegel, created the comic book character Superman. Siegel developed the storylines, while Shuster drew the comic. They were unsuccessful in selling their original superhero story to publishers through the mid 30s. In 1938, after some revisions, DC Comics finally agreed to publish the comic book of Superman in their new comic book, Action Comics. Superman made his first appearance in Action Comics #1 in June 1938. This character was an immediate hit with the public. Superman became so popular that he was the first superhero to receive his own comic book with the publication of Superman #1 in June 1939. By the 1950s, Shuster had left DC Comics and eventually the comics business. Joe Shuster died on July 30, 1992.

Bob Kane

Bob Kane was a comic book writer, animator and artist, born in October, 1915. He co-created the DC Comics famous character Batman, with Bill Finger. He started working in comics in 1936. In 1939, after the success of superhero comic Superman in Action Comics, the editors wanted to publish more superhero comics. Bob Kane along with Bill Finger created Batman. Batman was inspired by actor Douglas Fairbank’s film portrayal of Zorro, Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of flying machine with huge bat-like wings and The Bat Whispers a 1930 film based on mystery novel The Circular Staircase by Mary Rinehart published in 1908.

Batman From DC Comics

Batman debuted in Detective comics no. 27, in May 1939. Bob Kane also created other characters such as, Catwoman, originally she was called ‘The Cat’. Robin a junior crime-fighting side-kick for Batman. In 1940, The Joker was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and their collaborator Jerry Robinson. The Joker was inspired by German actor Conrad Veidt’s role as Gwynplain in the 1928 silent film The Man Who Laughs. The character first appeared in 1940 in Batman #1.

Bill Finger

Bill Finger was a comic strip and comic book writer,. He is best known for creating Batman with Bob Kane. He mostly worked as Kane’s ghostwriter. Bill created Green Lantern by collaborating with Martin Nodell. Green Lantern debuted in All-American Comics #16 in July, 1940. For a long time, Bill Finger was uncredited as a co-creator of Batman. Finger helped over 1500 Batman strips. He contributed to create Bruce Wayne, Gotham City, Commissioner Gordon, Robin, Catwoman, The Batmobile, the Bat Cave and The Joker.

Bob Kane had negotiated a contract with the publisher that specified, he would be receiving the sole creative credit for Batman. Therefore, other contributors were working anonymously. It was Finger who suggested to Kane to give Batman a cowl instead of a domino mask, a cape instead of wings, to add gloves and to remove the red parts of the original costume. In 1989, Bob Kane publicly acknowledged the contribution of Bill Finger in the creation of Batman for the very first time.

Sheldon Mayer  

Sheldon Mayer was a comic book artist, writer and editor. He was one of the earliest employees of the National Allied Publications. Sheldon Mayer later worked for M.C Gaines at the McClure Syndicate. He was one of the people who convinced and pushed for the publication of Superman comic. Mayer worked as a writer and editor for All-American Comics. He is best known for creating the humor features Scribbly and Sugar And Spike.

Gardener Fox

Gardener Fox was a writer, known for creating numerous comic book characters for DC comics. It is estimated that he has written more than 4000 comic stories, including 1500 for DC comics. Fox also wrote science-fiction novels and short stories. Fox co-created DC superheroes such as, The Flash, Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Zatanna and the original Sandman. He was the writer who teamed the heroes as the Justice Society of America, later created as the Justice League of America. He introduced the concept of multiverse in DC comics in ‘Flash Of Two Worlds’ story of The Flash #123, in September 1961.

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