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  1. #1
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    Apr 2016
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    Default Corrections/Comments to What Was the First Marvel Comic Book?

    In the recent column by Brian Cronin, he talks about when Marvel first started calling itself "Marvel Comics."
    https://www.cbr.com/marvel-comics-first-comic

    A couple of things I'd like to add/correct:

    (1) In the third paragraph, Cronin mentions "National Allied Publications’ Superman feature in Action Comics..." It should be noted that the entity National Allied Publications formed by Malcom Wheeler-Nicholson was already extinct well before Action Comics #1. Action Comics was published by Detective Comics, Inc. from its inception (until 1947 when Detective Comics, Inc. became known as National Comics Publications, Inc.).

    Wheeler-Nicholson and National Allied (or any of its successor companies) had nothing to do with Action Comics or Superman. Wheeler-Nicolson was indeed an owner of Detective Comics, Inc. (with Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz) from its formation in 1937 but only until early 1938 when his other company, Nicholson Publishing Company (the final successor to National Allied that he owned without Donenfeld/Liebowitz), went bankrupt. His debts from Nicholson Publishing forced him out of Detective Comics, Inc. (maybe Nicholson sold his interest in DCI to Donenfeld/Liebowitz to pay his Nicholson Publishing debts?) and DCI purchased Nicholson Publishing's More Fun Comics and Adventure Comics at a bankruptcy auction and folded them into Detective Comics, Inc. along with Detective Comics and eventually Action Comics.

    (2) At the end of page 1 of this article, Cronin mentions Goodman's "small shell companies" that the different Timely titles were published under. Cronin says, "I don’t know the precise reasoning why he did this, but there presumably was a financial reason for it. "

    This is only speculation on my part, but I'd say that there was indeed a financial reason for it. I'm thinking that because comics publishing was often a risky proposition running on a hand-to-mouth existence in spite of the millions of 10-cent copies sold, it would make sense to form a different corporate entity for each title or perhaps for small groups of titles. This way, the successful titles don't have to finance the unsuccessful ones. If the title or titles from ACompany, Inc. were unsuccessful, that company could declare bankruptcy without having the funds from the successful titles published by BCompany, Inc., CCompany, Inc., etc. being attached to pay for the losses of ACompany, Inc.'s failures. In this way, it would be easier to "cut bait" on the losers and keep right on going with the winners without delays in publishing that would throw the whole company into chaos if everything were published by a single entity. This way, people's employment and the owner's finances would all be protected. I'd guess everyone was considered an employee of Magazine Management, which was the relatively financially stable corporate overlord.
    Last edited by Comic-Reader Lad; 04-03-2018 at 08:35 AM.

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