Friday, August 27, 2010

75th Anniversaries

New Fun Comics #1 went on sale in January, 1935. It changed its name to More Fun Comics with #7 and was joined by New Comics in November. It was not until February, 1937 that Detective Comics, the magazine that gave the company its name, joined the mix. It is likely that no one involved with the production of those books expected that the company would still be around seventy-five years later.

Though there had been talk through much of 2009 that DC Comics would be making a big deal about their 75th anniversary this year, it would seem that they have forgotten about it. (There are a couple of books coming out, but they are being published by others.) Maybe they're saving their energy for the 75th anniversary of Detective in 2012, or Superman's in 2013?


On the other hand, Hofstra University has an entire year's worth of events planned for its 75th anniversary. In September, Homecoming Weekend will be a three-day extravaganza featuring a parade, fireworks, birthday party, student talent show, numerous receptions, and more. Everything you'd expect from a gala Homecoming except a football game... because Hofstra cancelled its football program last year in order to save a couple million dollars, which will instead be put towards the new medical school.

One event that is scheduled is the symposium “Kapow! From Pulp Fiction to Google Books” on Friday, October 22, 2010. Says Sarah McCleskey, one of its co-directors, "Since Hofstra’s founding date (1935) coincides so nicely with the rise of "pulp fiction" as a literary genre, we have chosen to look at the evolution of literature and culture encompassing such topics as pulp fiction, comics, graphic novels, anime, and digital culture.
"For the morning session, we will focus on popular culture, with a keynote address and a panel of Hofstra professors interested in some of these topics (crime fiction, anime, graphic novels, etc.). The first keynote speaker will be Michael Sharp, Professor at SUNY-Binghamton who is perhaps better known for his NY Times crossword-puzzle solving abilities under the pseudonym 'Rex Parker.' Professor Sharp also authors a pulp fiction blog.
"The afternoon session will feature a Kevin Smith, Scholarly Communications officer at Duke University, to lead off another faculty panel relating to Google Book settlement/copyright issues in education/authors’ rights, etc. and will address such questions as how we protect the legitimate property rights of authors and publishers, but at the same time protect the freedom and creativity of authors and researchers and students."

Of interest to those of you reading this might be the luncheon speaker, with a presentation on the history and evolution of comic books. This will include a mention of how Hofstra and the comic book world were intertwined when HU became the model for Dick ("Robin the Teen Wonder") Grayson's alma mater, Hudson University. And who better to speak of such matters than the writer of those stories, a Hofstra alumnus and veteran of the comic book business?

Yes, that would be me.


  1. Bob, there have been a lot of DC 75th anniversary variant covers this year. It's not much, but it is something.

  2. Sorry to miss hearing you speak, Mr. R.! That would be fascinating!

    As for DC... eh. Do you remember all the excitement and fanfare and celebration last year for Batman's 70th anniversary? And do you remember the capper to revere that money making icon of a character?

    Oh yeah... they killed him. So he was dead for his 70th anniversary.

    MAN, does DC know how to treat its properties or WHAT?!?!?

    I remain,
    Eric L. Sofer
    The Silver Age Fogey

  3. Chris,
    Sorry, but I don't think variant covers are anything but a way to get obsessive collectors to spend another $3 or $4 (or more) for a book that they have already bought.

    Let's see what they do for Batman's 75th in 2014. (And Superman's in 2013, for that matter.)

  4. Mr. R,

    Why wait? Wonder Woman's 70th anniversary is coming up next year, isn't it? She's currently a hot property... and so far to celebrate, they've changed her costume to something really 90s style (yay...) and they've not only completed changed her origin and powers - again - but THEY DIDN'T CHANGE THE REST OF THE DCU AGAIN. Let me see if I follow this; everyone else knows that WW helped form the Justice League of America and is one of the most powerful heroes in the world. Except in the WW comic book, where she has almost no powers, there's no Mt. Olympus, and her connection to the gods is tenuous... oh, and from what I gather, she doesn't even know Superman or Batman... or Donna Troy or Wonder Girl.

    That ought to keep sales going on that book for a GOOD three or four months... plus the pull on the TPB... so Wonder Woman remains viable for, let's say, eight months.

    Until the next writer undoes everything that JMS screws up. It cannot come too soon, says I...


  5. Gee, Eric, what's the big deal? Back in the 60s, Bob Kanigher used to rewrite Wonder Woman's origin every six months or so.

  6. Hee hee hee!!! You're absolutely right... but it didn't mess up all the other comics that DC was publishing.

    And I have to figure that Bob Haney did a little rearranging here and there... do you, perhaps, remember the "Amazon Guardian Angel" from a Batman/WW Brave and the Bold team up?


  7. Kapow! is October 22, 2010, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Guthart Cultural Center Theatre, main floor, Axinn Library, Hofstra University. Please join us as we celebrate 75 years of popular culture through literature and film. Complimentary lunch will be served to all registrants! RSVP by October 15, 2010 to Thanks!

    Sarah McCleskey