Un-Super Heroes Week: Airboy to Airman
It's day two of the Un-Super Heroes Week: comic heroes who make it without super powers.
Hillman Publications, publisher of Airboy Comics, plus some genre comics (mainly crime) threw in the towel on its comic book line in 1953. Airboy ceased publication with Volume 10 Number 4, dated May, 1953. The stories I'm showing here are from the penultimate issue, Volume 10 Number 3. By this time Davy Nelson, the Airboy of the title stories, looks older, more like an Airman. In the earliest issues of Air Fighters Comics, which became Airboy Comics after the war, Davy looked about 12, and here he looks about 22. He matured, breaking the comic character law of always being the same age, even if the character is around for 60 or 70 years.
The artwork is by Ernest Schroeder.
Publisher Alex Hillman, who was described in a 1944 Time Magazine article as "bulbous and balding," was a political conservative. After he grounded Airboy and the other comics, he continued publishing Freeman, a right-wing magazine. The editors couldn't get along and Freeman also crashed. Hillman's real claim to fame after publishing exploitation magazines, true confessions, true crime, paperback books and comics, was that he published Pageant magazine, a very successful digest-sized slick. In 1961 he sold it to his old publishing rival, Macfadden, who continued it until 1977.
In Seduction Of The Innocent, Hillman's Crime Detective Comics #9, with a cover Dr. Fredric Wertham claimed spoofed him, was reproduced without the title cropped off. Only it and the cover of Reform School Girl are examples so clearly identified. Wertham, as I wrote last week, was a left-leaning liberal. This is pure speculation from me, just an opinion and read it as such: Maybe the ultra-liberal Wertham had a motive, a grudge against the ultra-conservative Alex Hillman. Tit for tat. You dissed me with this cover, I'll embarrass you by putting your cover in my book.