Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Golden Bookshelf:

The Magnificent Superheroes of Comics Golden Age

Who could miss a lineup including the Hangman, the Shield, the Web, the Wizard, and Steel Sterling? Treat yourself to an artifact of early fandom with these second-tier Golden Age heroes few have ever even heard of!

Most of the Golden Age superheroes that people remember were published by DC, Timely (Marvel), Fawcett and Quality. But from 1939-1945, there were literally dozens of publishing houses whose magazines crowded the racks, each hoping to strike paydirt with the next Superman or Batman. Most of these efforts were, frankly, pretty crude even by the unsophisticated standards of the time and rarely see the kind of deluxe reprinting treatment given to better known work. Readers interested in specimens from this era either pay high-dollar prices for originals in the Golden Age boxes of dealers, or can seek out the low-budget reprints done by fans and independent printers.

One useful and interesting reprint from the earlier days of comics fandom is The Magnificent Superheroes of Comics [sic] Golden Age, edited by one-time comic artist Don Rico (who also drew the cover) and offered by a Florida-based small press called Superlith. Published in 1977, MSCGA is a 128 page black and white comic featuring photocopied stories that give a fair representation of the second-tier Golden Age heroes.

Characters include the Hangman, the Shield, the original Daredevil, the Web, the Wizard, Magno and Davey, Blackjack, Lightning, Blue Bolt, Mr. Scarlet and Pinky, and Steel Sterling. Sharp-eyed readers may perceive the early art stylings of Jack Kirby, Irv Novick, and Charles Biro (along with Rico) through the often-muddy reproductions. Short on plot and character, long on action, and crammed with ill-explained heroes and preposterous developments, these stories are charming examples of the amateur enthusiasm and naked ambition lurking in the darker corners of comics’ earliest days.


The Magnificent Superheroes of Comics Golden Age

Superlith Press

Publication Year: 1977

Editor: Don Rico

Story and Art: various

128 p., b/w, $5.00

Rob Salkowitz is a Seattle-based writer and authority on all manner of aging newsprint. You can e-mail your comments and queries to Rob at Use "ComicBase" as the subject line.

The Golden Bookshelf Archives