Early Inspirations: Five DC Characters Who Debuted Before Superman

In 1938, Superman smashed a car against a rock on the cover of Action Comics # 1 and DC Comics was never the lapp. But what was DC like before the man of Steel flew onto the scene ? What kind of stories did DC tell and where are those characters now ? As we gear up for DC FanDome with this week ’ s celebration of DC ’ sulfur bequest, let ’ s take a spirit at five still very relevant characters who debuted before Superman.
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01 numbers2016 6131883aacad02.19975244Jack Woods

Texan lawman Jack Woods has the honor of being the beginning fictional character to always appear in a DC amusing book. In 1935, National Allied Publications ( which late became DC Comics ) published New Fun Comics # 1, and Jack Woods kicked off the action with his report appearing in its entirely on the cover. Since New Fun Comics was an anthology, Jack ’ s contribution to the book was limited. Heck, you probably didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate tied need to buy the book to read it. nowadays it would seem strange to publish an stallion comedian gamble this way, but this was 1935 and the industry was still evolving .
Jack Woods was a Texas Ranger who dressed like Dr. Alan Grant from Jurassic Park. His adventures were set during the Frontier Era and told in serialize installments. According to a text piece in New Fun Comics # 1, Jack Woods was based on a character from an previous Universal Pictures serial called Rustlers of the Red Gap, which itself was based on Buffalo Bill ’ randomness 1916 memoir, The Great West That Was. Jack ’ s final old west gamble was published in Adventure Comics # 42 and sadly, he hasn ’ triiodothyronine been seen since. His final narrative ended in a cliffhanger with him being arrested for murder. possibly some future DC writer might bring things broad circle by ultimately finishing this two-fisted history ?

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02 numbers2016 61318826c38712.38331190Sandra of the Secret Service

Before Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl there was Sandra of the Secret Service. Sandra ’ randomness feature in New Fun Comics # 1 immediately followed Jack Woods, making her the first female to always star in her own DC fib. Sandra McLane was a company woman who found herself thrust into the world of espionage after another agentive role enlisted her help in escaping his pursuers. From there, Sandra became a hidden agent, embarking on international adventures, fighting huffy scientists and dictators. Like other amusing features of that era, most of Sandra ’ randomness adventures were serialized and told in single page installments .
Sandra was a capable heroine, confidently battling villains, handling deadly weapons and performing extreme point physical feats. During an era where most females were depicted as damsels in distress, Sandra broke the shape by saving her male colleagues. Sandra ’ s final appearance was in More Fun Comics # 35, which besides ended in a cliffhanger where the villain gets away. Knowing how adequate to Sandra is, I ’ d like to think she finally caught up with him .

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03 numbers2016 61318813502007.86173524Doctor Occult

You might be familiar with Doctor Occult, the Ghost Detective who has worked alongside DC ’ sulfur superheroes, but you might be shocked to learn that he predates Superman by about three years ! Richard Occult was first gear seen in New Fun Comics # 6, in an gamble credited to the creative team of Legar and Reuths. If you look cautiously at those names, you ’ ll unmask Legar and Reuths as Siegel and Shuster, which makes Doctor Occult one of the iconic couple ’ sulfur earliest creations. During some of these initial stories, Doctor Occult would take flight in his aristocratic tights and loss cape. Hmm… Who does that remind you of ? It ’ second for this reason that some comic book scholars classify Doctor Occult as the first caped superhero .
Using his powerful amulet, Doctor Occult solved a series of supernatural crimes throughout the Golden Age. His final Golden Age gamble was published in More Fun Comics # 32, the like month that Superman hit the stands in Action Comics # 1. however, writer Roy Thomas saw value in Doctor Occult and brought him back in 1985 ’ sulfur All-Star Squadron # 49, bringing the Ghost Detective into the modern DC Universe. Since then, Richard Occult has continued to lend his supernatural talents to DC ’ mho heroes, making him—for now, at least—the oldest DC character to still be published today .

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04 numbers2016 61318804504c67.88981045Speed Saunders

Cyril Saunders, normally known by his nickname “ Speed, ” was a swaggering detective. Don ’ t let his nickname fool you, he wasn ’ t an early on speedster, but Speed was agile on his feet and a had a bent for quickly solving dangerous cases. His have began in Detective Comics # 1, making him one of the first characters to appear in the iconic series. Originally Speed was depicted as a member of the River Patrol, solving boat-related crimes, and was later shown to be an OSS agent .
travel rapidly shared Detective Comics with Batman and a server of others until his concluding Golden Age gamble was published in Detective Comics # 58. Decades subsequently, James Robinson and David S. Goyer brought him back in JSA Returns : sensation Comics # 1. During the report, it was revealed that Cyril Saunders and Shiera Sanders were cousins. This connection gave Speed a place in the advanced DC Universe and led to far appearances in Hawkman and JSA .

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05 numbers2016 613187f43fab14.81426125Slam Bradley

Slam Bradley was a tough-as-nails secret detective who found trouble everywhere he went. During his early adventures he was based in Cleveland, the hometown of his creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Slam, like Speed Saunders, collapse onto the scene in Detective Comics # 1 and his sport ran until Detective Comics # 152, making Bradley the longest running character from the first write out .
Slam returned in Detective Comics # 500, in a Len Wein and Jim Aparo story that served as a reunion for versatile detectives that had appeared in the title over its 44-year run. The fib placed Slam in the mainstream DC Universe for the first time, which over time led to some fun team-ups with Batman and a chaotic, but kind of angelic, partnership with Catwoman. Slam recently appeared in the first base temper of Batwoman where he was portrayed as a pretty-boy bull who unsuccessfully tried to romance Gotham ’ randomness defender .

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Honorable Mention: Jor-L

Although he wasn ’ t a lead character, Jor-L is worth mentioning as a fun historical annotate. Over a year before Superman inaugural appeared, a futuristic space hook named Jor-L was seen in New Adventure Comics # 12. The fib was written and illustrated by ( you guessed it ) Siegel and Shuster, so it seems like they very liked the diagnose. aside from it, however, there is no connection between this space collar and Superman ’ sulfur Kryptonian beget, making the original Jor-L an matter to purse in DC history.

DC FanDome returns on October 16, 2021 ! For more articles like this one, and to stay up to date on all the latest news, visit dcfandome.com .
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about television, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, “ Gotham Gazette. ” Follow him on chitter at @ TBUJosh .

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