Friday, May 8, 2015

#DidYouKnow That You Can Read Tons of Archived Golden Age Comics at The Digital Comics Museum?

I believe I already knew about this site, but I recently re-stumbled upon The Digital Comics Museum which is a repository for scans of Golden Age comics now in the public domain.  There are plenty of books and characters there that have been long forgotten, and for good reason, but there is also a ton of good classic comics available as well.  There's quite a selection of the pre-code horror and sci fi books from publishers like American Comics Group, Holyoke, Ajax-Farrell, Charlton, and more.  You may remember that these were the much-maligned comics that were supposed to bring the juvenile-pocalypse to the 1950's and that lead to the rise of the Comics Code and the demise of EC comics (unfortunately, none of that publisher's works are here, though they are readily available in nicely collected volumes).  You can also find what looks like a nearly complete run of Fawcett's Captain Marvel (aka Shazam) and his many spin-offs.  Apparently even though DC won the rights to the character in the (rather ridiculous) lawsuit claiming Fawcett's Captain Marvel was a swipe of Superman, the winning company did not get the rights to the original stories and those have since slipped into the public domain.  Also of interest are the Airboy comics from Hillman, as many of those had the Heap as a backup character.  He was the first comic book swamp-monster and had a celebrated run during the Golden Age (and slightly beyond) even though he has been mostly forgotten by modern readers.  One other gem that I enjoyed uncovering was Atoman by Spark Publications, which came out in 1946.  That character offered a prototype of the nuclear radiation powered superhero that we would later see revived with the likes of Charlton's Captain Atom, Gold Key's Dr. Solar, and DC's Firestorm.  The first issue of Atoman delivers a solid origin story and looks like it could have turned into a fun comic.  Unfortunately, he disappeared after his second issue (not included on this site but one of the most requested), though since he is in the public domain now a return is always possible!

A warning that this site can be quite addictive as you find yourself drawn into its archives looking for (and finding plenty of) nuggets of comics lore.  Most of the scans I have seen thus far appear to come from original issues of the comics.  Some are a bit rough because of the condition of the issue, but they all seem readable.  You can either view them online or download the issues (you have to register first, and they do request a donation) and view them with a .cbr reader.  I haven't checked yet, but I'm sure you can find apps for your tablet that will let you read these files meaning that you can carry around quite a lot of Golden Age reading material with you quite easily!  For reading online, I have found that the Internet Archive has a lot of these issues and they are easier to read there.  So if you prefer to view them on your computer, you can search on the Digital Comics Museum site then click over to the Internet Archive to actually read them.  However you do it, though, there's plenty of Golden Age fun to keep you busy for hours!

Also of interest is the Public Domain Super Heroes site that has info on a ton of characters that have since had their copyrights lapse.  Surely we could come up with a few good (or enjoyably bad) superhero team ups from characters across these sites!

No comments:

Post a Comment