Sunday, August 09, 2020
Number 2445: All in color for a nickel
Nickel Comics #1 came out in 1940, with an eye-catching cover by Jack Binder. It also had 5¢ in large type on the cover. The magazine is 36 pages, half the industry’s 68 pages standard. It came out every two weeks. It only lasted eight issues. The Grand Comics Database explains it was an attempt to undercut other 10¢ comics, and it failed “due to distributors and newsstands refusing to carry a less profitable title.”
But Nickel Comics had the debut of Bulletman, who was a superhero for Fawcett. Bulletman, with his girlfriend, Bulletgirl, lasted for about nine years, so for the 1940s Bulletman and friends lasted longer than most superheroes.
The first story was written by Bill Parker (who had the habit of using unnecessary captions on the bottoms of many panels in a story), and drawn by Jon Smalle, and as a short biography from Lambiek says, “Jon Small was an artist from the UK, who lived and worked in the USA from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s.” Small was also known as Smalle, maybe to make his name sound fancier. The second feature, “Jungle Twins,” was also written by Parker, drawn by Sven Elven, whose name reminds one of “seven eleven.” (A note that this story has outdated racial depictions. It is 80 years old, and attitudes of the time have also become outdated.) The third entry, “Warlock the Wizard,” is yet another entry in the line of comic book magicians, with no credit for writing or artwork.