DC Comics

DC Comics

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DC Comics is the largest and most diverse English language publisher of comic books in the world. Founded in 1934 as National Allied Publications, the company that would one day become DC Comics virtually created the comic book, publishing the first comic of all original material. Then, in the spring of 1938, the first super hero story appeared in ACTION COMICS #1, introducing SUPERMAN. Other soon-to-be icons would follow, including BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN, GREEN LANTERN, THE FLASH and many others. Today, DC Comics publishes more than 80 titles a month and close to 1000 issues a year. DC has several imprints spanning the gamut of graphic storytelling: The DC Universe is the home of DC's peerless roster of super heroes; Vertigo caters to a more mature, literary readership; WildStorm offers a bold alternative take on heroic and adventure comics; CMX brings some of Japan's best-loved manga to American audiences; and Zuda Comics is DC's innovative web imprint. DC is also the home of MAD Magazine, the best-known humor magazine in America. DC Comics is a division of Time Warner, the largest entertainment company in the world.


DC Comics (founded originally in 1934 as National Allied Publications) is one of the largest and most popular American comic book and related media companies, along with Marvel Comics. A subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment since 1969, DC Comics produces material featuring a large number of well-known characters, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern and the Justice League.

The initials "DC" came from the company's popular series, Detective Comics, which subsequently became part of the company's official name. DC Comic's official headquarters are at 1700 Broadway, 7th, New York, New York. Random House distributes DC Comics' books to the bookstore market, while Diamond Comics Distributors supplies the comics shop specialty market.



Entrepreneur Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's National Allied Publications debuted with the tabloid-sized New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1 in February 1935. The company's second title, New Comics #1 (December 1935), was published at a size close to what would become comic books' standard during the period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books, with slightly larger dimensions than today's. That title evolved into Adventure Comics, which continued through issue #503 in 1983, becoming one of the longest-running comic book series.

His third and final title, Detective Comics, advertised with a cover illustration dated December 1936, eventually premiering three months late with a March 1937 cover date. The themed anthology series would become a sensation with the introduction of Batman in issue #27 (May 1939). By then, however, Wheeler-Nicholson had gone. In 1937, in debt to printing-plant owner and magazine distributor Harry Donenfeld — who was as well a pulp-magazine publisher and a principal in the magazine distributorship Independent News — Wheeler-Nicholson was compelled to take Donenfeld on as a partner in order to publish Detective #1. Detective Comics, Inc. was formed, with Wheeler-Nicholson and Jack S. Liebowitz, Donenfeld's accountant, listed as owners. Major Wheeler-Nicholson remained for a year, but cash-flow problems continued, and he was forced out. Shortly afterward, Detective Comics Inc. purchased the remains of National Allied, also known as Nicholson Publishing, at a bankruptcy auction.

Detective Comics Inc. shortly launched a fourth title, Action Comics, the premiere of which introduced Superman (a character with which Wheeler-Nicholson had no direct involvement; editor Vin Sullivan chose to run the feature after Sheldon Mayer rescued it from the slush pile). Action Comics #1 (June 1938), the first comic book to feature the new character archetype soon to be called superheroes, proved a major sales hit. The company quickly introduced such other popular characters as the Sandman and Batman.


In March 2003, DC acquired publishing and merchandising rights to the long-running fantasy series Elfquest, previously self-published by creators Wendy and Richard Pini under their WaRP Graphics publication banner. This series then followed the Tower Comics series T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents in becoming non-DC titles published in the "DC Archives" format. In 2004, DC temporarily acquired the North American publishing rights to graphic novels from European publishers 2000 AD and Humanoids. It also rebranded its younger-audience titles with the mascot Johnny DC, and established the CMX imprint to reprint translated manga. In 2006, CMX took over publication - from Dark Horse Comics - publication of the webcomic Megatokyo in print form. DC also took advantage of the demise of Kitchen Sink Press and acquired the rights to much of the work of the renowned creator, Will Eisner, such as his The Spirit series and his acclaimed graphic novels.

Starting in 2004, DC began laying groundwork for a full continuity-reshuffling sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths, promising substantial changes to the DC Universe (and side-stepping the 1994 Zero Hour event which similarly tried to ret-con the history of the DCU). In 2005, the company published several limited series establishing increasingly escalated conflicts among DC's heroes, with events climaxing in the Infinite Crisis limited series. Immediately after this event, DC's ongoing series jumped forward a full year in their in-story continuity, as DC launched a weekly series, 52, to gradually fill in the missing time. Concurrently, DC lost the copyright to "Superboy" (while retaining the trademark) when the heirs of Jerry Seigel used a provision of the 1976 revision to the copyright law to regain ownership. Although DC appealed the ruling, it is widely believed that this was the reason for Conner Kent (also known as Superboy)'s death during the Infinite Crisis limited series.

In 2005, DC launched a new "All-Star" line (evoking the title of the 1940s publication), designed to feature some of the company's best-known characters in stories that eschewed the long and convoluted continuity of the DC Universe, produced by "all star" creative teams.. All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder launched in July 2005, with All-Star Superman beginning in November 2005. All-Star Wonder Woman and All Star Batgirl were announced in 2006, but neither have been released or scheduled as of the beginning of 2009.

In April 2008, the videogame company Midway released the eighth version of its Mortal Kombat fighting-game franchise, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which featured DC superheroes and supervillians as half of the playable characters. (Credit: Wikipedia)



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