Quality Comics

Tagged: Comics | Community

The name most often used by US Comics publisher Comic Magazines Inc, founded in 1937 and active for some years. The logo Quality Comics appeared on all its titles from 1940 to the end of its existence. Established by Everett "Busy" Arnold (1899-1974), Quality published in various genres; Superheroes made up the bulk of its titles in the early to late 1940s, with such characters as Plastic Man and Kid Eternity along with the aviation hero Blackhawk. It was also the first company to reprint Will Eisner's masked detective The Spirit in standard comics format after original appearances as newspaper comic strips. The company's fortunes declined in the late 1940s when superheroes began to go out of vogue; it continued for several more years with crime, and Horror titles, but ceased operations in 1956.

National Periodicals Publications, now DC Comics, purchased many of Quality's characters and titles, including Blackhawk and the war comic GI Combat; both continued for many years. Plastic Man is perhaps the best-known superhero acquired from Quality by DC. Copyrights to many characters were never renewed by either Quality or DC Comics, which under past US copyright law allowed some to fall into the public domain. DC issues occasional one-shots or mini-series to maintain a claim on many of these. AC Comics has reprinted much Quality material featuring little-known characters, plus non-superhero titles.

Noted creators who worked for Quality Comics include Jack Cole (1914-1958), who created Plastic Man; Bob Powell (1916-1967), who was belatedly recognized as the co-creator of Blackhawk, and Paul Gustavson (1916-1977). Gustavson's creations include the superhero the Human Bomb, who has continued to appear from DC Comics, and the original Angel for Timely Comics in 1939, a non-superpowered detective appearing in recent years from Timely's successor Marvel Comics.

Quality Comics should not be confused with the UK Quality Communications, founded in 1982, which published Warrior and repackaged material from 2000 AD for the US market, including Judge Dredd and V for Vendetta. [GSt/DRL]

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