Saturday, July 23, 2016

MOVIE COMICS - Featuring Movie Comics #1, 1939

In my new book Movie Comics: Page to Screen/Screen to Page I cover the early history of how films adapted comics along with how comics themselves regularly adapted films (and television too!). The biggest example that I came across some years back, which really inspired me to write this book, was Movie Comics #1.

Published by All-American Publications (which a few years later was part of merger that formed what would become known as DC Comics), the series only ran for six issues in 1939, but remains a fascinating example of how comics remediated the movies and offered a souvenir of the film for eager fans. While home video would allow viewers to go back to a film once it left theatres, in the Classical Hollywood era you had only your memories of a film's imagery once it was gone from your local theatre.

In their opening editorial, Movie Comics #1 stated how they hoped the book will “serve as a permanent record of the pictures you have enjoyed, which you can refer to again and again with pleasure and entertainment.” Similarly, the second issue’s introduction states, “we want to make Movie Comics a permanent record of the outstanding pictures you have seen or will see in your neighborhood theatre, so you can enjoy them over and over again.”

The third issues describes how "we hope you will enjoy reading it before you see these pictures and again, after you see them in your neighborhood theatre,” while the fifth suggests, “We hope you will read Movie Comics, before and after you see the pictures, so you can get triple the enjoyment out of them!"

The six-issue run of Movie Comics from 1939 is an important example of how film and comics intersected in this era. For a full overview of the series, please see Movie Comics: Page to Screen/Screen to Page

Blair Davis, PhD

Author & Editor

Blair Davis is an Associate Professor of Media and Cinema Studies in the College of Communication at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.


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