History of DC Comics

A high-flying name in the world of comic books:

DC Comics is a leading and one of the largest comic book publishers, based in America.  It features some of the most iconic superheroes and villains in today’s popular culture, which include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern and Green Arrow. Popular villains, such as The Joker, Darkseid, Ras Al Ghul, Brainiac and Death Stroke. These characters inhabit the fictional shared DC universe. However, the company has published titles under the variant label DC Vertigo, which features material, not part of this universe, such as V for Vendetta or Watchmen. This alternative imprint is aimed at an adult audience.

DC comics ushered the era of costumed superhero characters. They pioneered it and for decades to come, their rivals such as Marvel comics followed their suit.

The abbreviation DC, in DC comics, stands for a well-known series Detective Comics, which launched Batman in 1937 and later on went to become a part of the company’s name.

History of DC Comics:

In the autumn of 1934, Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson established National Allied Publications. Later that year, the company published its comic debut, titled, New Fun. In the following years, his company neared bankruptcy, so he decided to partner up with his distributors as a last-ditch effort. Together, in 1937, Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson and Jack S. Liebowitz founded Detective Comics Inc. The name was inspired from a comic book series, Detective Comics, Malcolm had published earlier that year. Malcolm kept facing financial issues and was eventually forced out of his own company.

Before National Allied Publications went bankrupt, it published another title, New Comics, which evolved into Adventure Comics. This comic book series holds the record for the longest running title.

Fast-forward a year and Detective Comics Inc. published their first Action Comics issue, which debuted Superman. This series was a massive commercial success.


DC Inc. has undergone two different mergers. Following the acquisition of National Allied Publications, Liebowitz coordinated a merger of All-American Publications – a company he owned – and Detective Comics into National Comics. After taking control of this company and Independent News and their subsidiaries, he merged them into a single corporation, National Periodic Publications.

Although on paper, the company was called “Nation Periodic Publications”, DC branded itself as Superman-DC in the early 1940s. It was unofficially called DC comics until they adopted it officially in 1977.

Secret Origin – The History of DC Comics Trailer

Industry Growth:

The period between the 1930s and 1950s is dubbed The Golden Age of Comic books by many historians. This era saw a steep rise in the popularity of comic books. Action Comics and Detective Comics were the most popular titles.

The 1950s saw a decline in the comic industry following accusations of the American Government and others saying the US standards of comics for children were being ignored. Even this was not successful in curtailing the growth of DC Comics which continued to grow its popularity through other lines such as science fiction, romance and more. The comic industry revived its superheroes with DC making drastic changes to its characters.

Later during the same decade, DC reimagined The Flash and updated his origin, costume and identity. This became an instant hit among fans, soon leading to revamping or major overhauling of many of its main characters such as Green Arrow, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, to name a few. The subsequent titles also debuted many other enduring comic-book characters, including, Bizzaro, Brainiac and Supergirl. This fresh approach towards characters also led to the creation of superhero teams like Justice League, Justice Society, Teen Titans and a supervillain team, Suicide Squad. This era is hailed as The Silver Age by fans.

During the 80s in the so-called Bronze age, DC successfully revived Teen Titans by narrating the origin stories of their characters that sat well with the ongoing narrative. In the wake of this successful experiment, DC decided to apply this concept to the broader DC universe.

Stepping into the 21st century, DC rebooted all its storylines in the form of New 52 and reimagined costume designs as well as origin stories of many characters.

Recent times:

During the 1990s, the public in the US began losing interest in comics with the growth in movies, videos games and other forms of media. The comic industry started handling new themes such as drugs and graphic violence.

DC Comics accepted the change and started creating comic series targeting adult readers as well even famously portraying the death of the heroes of their own series. DC Comics continues its success in the industry and is now part of Warner Brothers. Their continued success can be attributed to their writers, who have continued to adapt to the changing times. They are willing to respond to current trends and recognize the pressing need for more human-like characters different from that of past superheroes that were pictures of perfection.

Titans, Young Justice, Shazam!, Supergirl, Superman, Nightwing, Justice League, DeathStroke, Batman and Batman Beyond are a few popular comic book series that are ongoing to this date. Some of these series will end towards mid-2019. In addition to these ongoing series, DC has also published multiple limited series in the recent years. Batman: Damned, Batman who laughs, Suicide Squad: Black files and Martian Manhunter are some prominent titles.

There are some exciting upcoming titles debuting in 2019 as well among them are Batman: Universe, Superman: Up in the sky, Lois Lane, DCeased, Wonder Woman: Come back to me and Collapser.

A key to reviving many of the classic comic characters has been through new cinema. More and more characters are making the transition from comic pages to the big screen. Several live-action adaptations have been released based on Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Batman comics. Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan, Superman trilogy and Watchmen are some critically acclaimed DC films.

Following in the footsteps of Marvel, DC launched the DC extended universe with Man of Steel. Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and Justice League are the movies DC released as a part of DCEU. Today, the industry appeals to a wide audience which not only caters to children but even businessmen who want a hero to motivate them throughout their entire day!

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