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Monday, December 31, 2018

Discussion Point - DC's Black and White Magazines

Ha! Tricked you - DC never published any black and white magazines (with a notable exception being Jack Kirby's In the Days of the Mob.). Surprisingly, given the success of the Marvel and Warren mags, DC chose not to enter that market. Several weeks ago I posed this question on Twitter from the @bronzeagebabies account: If DC had chosen to fight for a share of the magazine market, which of their properties would have been great candidates for the B&W presentation? And I'll ask you the same question now - what do you think?

Please have a Happy (and SAFE) New Year!  -Doug


  1. Great question, Doug! Well, obviously the examples you put up there, especially a b/w House Of Mystery / Secrets, but let's see for Marvel did and then do the same what DC had available at the time. Imagine these in black & white...
    For Savage Tales read Rima The Jungle Girl as you say, add a little Arak, Son Of Thunder, maybe throw in Ditko & Wood on Stalker. And Chaykin on Iron-Wolf OR Fafhrd & The Grey Mouser.

    How about a war book with Russ Heath going tonal on Sgt. Rock, and Kubert doing the same on Enemy Ace? Plus a little Gerry Taloac on Unknown Soldier.

    For Marvel Preview read DC Preview, including:
    A complete 30 pg Black Canary solo strip by Alex Toth.
    Gray Morrow does Zatanna.
    Tony DeZuniga going to town on Black Orchid. AND Jonah Hex.
    What was Jim Aparo's b/w art like? Wonderful, I'd imagine. Let him loose on The Spectre.
    Kubert doing a full Ragman epic.

    Ah, we can dream.

  2. Happy New Year, Doug!

    Love those illustrations above. That Wrightson drawing is magnificent, and Redondo's pages are a treat to the eyes. As for the question, Pete beat me to the punch. "House of Secrets/Mystery" would have been a natural choice. It would have made a fine anthology, as seen in Warren's "Creepy" and "Eerie". And like Pete said, Joe Kubert's war tales would have been excellent in b/w. The potential for a somewhat more 'adult' treatment there would have been another plus.

    Other than that, one could imagine a very nice Batman magazine, non-continuity but featuring one-shot stories by the industry's top talent. Kind of what they did with Batman: Black and White, but on an ongoing basis...

  3. Any of their horror stuff obviously, that goes without saying. What I would have loved to see would have been some top-notch Western mags and perhaps some good war titles in black and white. The DC Showcase line of TPBs proved that they would look good as such.

  4. Well, I like Pete's Gray Morrow Zatanna idea; other than that, Batman would be a pretty safe choice ... he is the Dark Knight Detective after all. A B&W Batman with Gene Colan art would've been great. (I know Colan didn't get to DC until later, but this is a fantasy we're talking about!)

    Swamp Thing would probably work pretty well too ... Wrightson's stuff looks great in B&W.

  5. Great question - and I agree with those that have answers already with House of..., Sgt Rock, Swamp Thing, etc.

    I would add that I think an Adam Strange space adventure would look cool using the black and white and grey tones. Also an older age appropriate Deadman or Spectre would be fun and I think the tone could work in B&W. Lastly, I would say a Earth 2 Huntress could be good.

    Fun to imagine...

  6. I stand by the suggestions I made when there was a discussion on this topic at the BAB a few years ago, i.e., a Warlord magazine as a counterpart to Savage Sword of Conan that would have allowed Mike Grell to really spread his wings with his creation; the Spectre, to give Michael Fleischer and Jim Aparo an opportunity to *really* push the boundaries ever farther than they already did in the color features in Adventure Comics; Martian Manhunter - either noirish detective stories or spooky SF stories, or both; and, again as a counterpart to Marvel's output, in this case the Doc Savage b&w magazine, the Shadow and the Avenger/Justice Inc., to which DC had the license back in the 1970s.
    Giving it some more thought, I think another potentially cool magazine could have featured Gothic romance/horror stories, like a few of the short-lived color titles was publishing in the early 1970s.
    Best wishes to Doug and everyone else in the new year!

  7. I blogged about this idea myself a few years ago. Came to the same conclusions as everyone else: Batman, Swamp Thing, Black Canary, Iron-Wolf, Deadman, maybe the swords-and-science Starfire and Simonson/Goodwin Manhunter!

  8. Hiya,

    Can you imagine what Joe Kubert could have done with Tarzan in this format? I've seen, and I think they were done by Kubert or someone in his studio, grey washes of his artwork and it was utterly fantastic. Right up there with the best of Gene Colan. Now take it a step further by making the magazine sort of the Burroughs version of the Savage Sword of Conan with Rudy Nebres and Nestor Redondo working with the other heroic figures of ERB.

    It would be glorious.



  9. I have had problems using the Google thing here so I am going the anonymous route. I wanted to say that in a sense, the Aussies have done versions of the magazine type of stuff in which you speak. After K. G. Murray Publishing lost the rights to reprint Marvel sword and sorcery material, they used DC material. This included Warlord, Iron Wolf, Claw, Stalker, Captain Fear, Hercules Unbound and Fahrenheit and the Gret mouser. Check the page for more info.I’m not Australian, but got hooked on some Aussie books for their black and white goodness!

  10. Fafhrd to make a correction. Darn autocorrect!

  11. Thanks for the comments, friends! I have been away on holiday travels, so am just now able to reply. Rather than do so three days after the fact, I'll just express my gratitude for fostering a nice conversation. Love the suggestions!



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