I was excited to add Wow Comics #7 October 1942 and #8 December 1942 from publisher Fawcett into my collection.  The feature early World War II superheros in issues not frequently seen on the market. 

11302016fix5Fawcett Publications was founded in 1919 in by “Captain Billy” Fawcett (1885–1940) with its flagship saucy magazine Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang. After over 20 years of continually expanding into books and magazines (like Mechanix Illustrated) out of its Robbinsdale, Minnesota headquarters the company joined in the comic book explosion about the same time of both Captain Billy’s death and the move of its headquarters to New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut.

Writer Bill Parker and artist C. C. Beck developed Fawcett’s first comic book entry Whiz Comics #2 (published Feb. 1940) and its hero, Captain Marvel. It was fortuitous in that Captain Marvel sales, peaking at 3 million copies per month, eventually eclipsed that of the earlier D.C. superhero, known as Superman. On the other hand Fawcett eventually wound up on the losing end of long standing infringement lawsuit – Captain Marvel turned out to share a few too many similarities with the Man of Steel.  

11302016fix6Times were good over the next decade, but with the end of the Golden Age of comics Fawcett Comics ceased publication of its superhero titles in 1953 and (finally) settled the ongoing case with D.C.  Fawcett’s remaining characters (Lash Larue, Nyoka etc.,) were sold to Charlton Comics. 

  • Fawcett’s magazine and book divisions continued to publish until being bought by CBS Publications in 1977.
  • Ballantine Books (a division of Random House) then acquired Fawcett Books in 1982 and a portion of Fawcett’s portfolio (Popular Library) was sold to Warner Communications.
  • In 1987, Fawcett senior executive Peter G. Diamandis negotiated a buyout.
  • Diamandis Communications, Inc. was then sold the next year to Hachette Publications,

Captain Billy’s legacy remains with an annual four-day Whiz Bang festival still held in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.