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Nov 30, 2018

Whatever you think you know about the 1930s origins of comic books, be prepared to learn a lot more. In her new book, "DC Comics Before Superman: Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson’s Pulp Comics," my guest today, Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson, takes comics fans on a deep dive into the earliest days of the company we now know as DC Comics, but that started life in February 1935 as National Allied Publications. National Allied was founded by Nicky’s grandfather, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, whose first comic was the accurately titled NEW FUN.

NICKY WHEELER-NICHOLSON podcast excerpt: "The original Superman comic book script was NOT sitting around in anybody's slush pile. (Siegel & Shuster) were submitting Superman everywhere to everybody. Most people in that close-knit community knew about that script and a lot of them had already turned it down. My grandfather, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, thought it was amazing. It was one of the things that attracted him to Siegel & Shuster. My family's story is that my grandfather was preparing Action #1 when the company was taken from him."

I learned all this just from the book’s foreword, written by one of the genre’s greatest modern masters as an artist and historian, Jim Steranko. This book is both a history lesson and a repository of rare covers and interior pages published by the Major from 1935-38, most of it extremely rare and almost impossible to find in its original form. The book is so cool that my wife, not a regular comic book reader, can’t wait for this interview to be done so she can get back to reading it herself.

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