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A comic which will live in infamy – National Comics #18, December 1941

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Earlier this week the United States observed the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval and air base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. And, as happens each December 7th, people take to social media and Internet blogs to post pictures of the cover of December 1941’s National Comics #18, mentioning that the book depicts a German attack on Pearl Harbor. It’s one of those great “Believe It or Not” style factoids that frequently get passed around on the Internet, but there’s a problem with this one: the comic does not depict a German attack on Pearl Harbor. I don’t know whether it’s a case of people repeating as gospel something they’ve heard elsewhere or a case of modern-day readers who struggle with the highly compressed (by today’s standards) style of writing employed by 1940’s comics, but even the Golden Age website Comic Book Plus mentions the “German attack” on Pearl.

Either way, the assertion is dead wrong. But the real story is actually far better and even more ironic… More

Villains: Captain Nazi (Part 2) – Whiz Comics #25, December 1941

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After Captain Nazi’s first appearance in Master Comics #21 ended with his escape, the character crossed over into the pages of Whiz Comics, one of the best selling comic titles of the 1940’s. Why was Whiz Comics so popular? Because it was the home of Captain Marvel, the best selling comics character of the Golden Age. More

Miss Winky and her punchboard – National Comics #24, August 1942

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Yesterday I learned something new about America during the World War II era, and it was all because of a comic book. You thought I was kidding all those times I’ve said that we can learn a lot about history from comic books, didn’t you?

It’s a long backstory, but a recent Facebook conversation with my friend Andrew Wood about all of the character names which Marvel Comics stole from 1940’s comics (and subsequently trademarked as their own) led me to National Comics #24, uploaded just yesterday to The Digital Comic Museum; the issue featured a character named Quicksilver. As Stan Lee would say, ’nuff said.

But as I perused the rest of the book (which, coincidentally in light of yesterday’s post, has a fairly unpleasant racial stereotype right on the cover), I stumbled upon a one page feature called “Miss Winky”, which we’ll get to a bit farther down the page. In the story Miss Winky was selling “punchboard chances” for a good cause. More