December 1941: Comics on the Rack 75 Years Ago


Top 30 Comics Covers on the Rack in December 1941, from 75 years ago this month.

The Human Torch 5(b) (Fall Quarterly)

It all starts with one of my all-time favorite Golden Age covers, from Alex Schomburg, The Human Torch 5b (this is the second #5 for the quarterly title, given that the title continued from the numbering of Red Raven Comics #1.)

This is the only cover in the character’s run that had a black crackle on the masthead with yellow and red highlighted title. I think the color combination really worked well, popping the title. Nearly all mastheads for Torch were red with either yellow or white title with red or black highlights.

The final touches are the amazing battlewagon Namor pilots and the fact that this is a massive full-length feature for one strip in a comic book and an amazing crossover at that. Young Allies #1 debuted in July with a Summer 1941 cover date as a 60-page story prior to the Human Torch epic.

Another epic Schomburg cover for The Human Torch 5b

Captain America 9

Sub-Mariner Comics 3 (Fall Quarterly)

Namor battles saboteurs as Winston Churchill christens another British warship. Alex Schomburg always has plenty going on in his cover work and this one is no different. In the bottom right, some of the crowd looks up at the battle while a cameraman shoots the launch from the far left. Another camera appears just off Namor’s left leg. I like the added touch of the lead spy’s socks having red stripes.

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Alex Schomburg with another intense Sub-Mariner cover

Marvel Mystery Comics 26

Namor rips the landing gear off a Luftwaffe fighter while a Torpedo cuts through the water towards a British warship. Meanwhile, the inset shows The Human Torch and Toro evading the fire of some bug-eyed aliens. The caption read “With a tremendous leap, the Sub-mariner tore the Nazi plane apart as the deadly submarine advanced!”

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Schomburg renders a rare Namor cover for Marvel Mystery Comics 26

Mystic Comics no. 7

I love every cover for the twice resurrected Mystic Comics. Under the reincarnation for 1941, all-new characters exploded across the pages of issues 5-10. The most successful of this new wave was Stan Lee’s creation, the mighty Destroyer. In typical Marvel manner, each of these characters was so different from anything else on the market. It’s a shame that these characters didn’t get better talent and more time.

As for the cover, it’s Jack Kirby drawing the Destroyer facing off against demons and Hitler himself opening a modern-day Pandora’s Box. In the background, a bull-headed monstrosity with four arms and four daggers threatens our hero.

Jack Kirby pencils the Destroyer battling Hitler for Mystic Comics 7

All-Winners (Fall Quarterly)

All-Winners second quarterly has the Human Torch, Captain America and the Sub-Mariner joined by the Destroyer, Bucky, Toro, and the Whizzer. I love the cascade of Marvel/Timely comics along the bottom right. Stan Lee wrote the Whizzer story and the text story that had the heroes teaming up.

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Marvel/Timely’s stars on one cover by Jack Binder

Young Allies 2 (Winter Quarterly)

For some reason, Young Allies skipped a Fall issue and published this Winter issue on November 25th. This missed quarter in the schedule might have been because Jack Kirby and Joe Simon left for National/DC. USA Comics also had an irregular schedule for the first few issues, not having one on the stands this month.

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Al Avison illustrated Young Allies #2

The Blue Beetle 10

Captain Marvel Adventures 5

All Flash Quarterly 3

Hit Comics 18

Mystery Men 29

The original Blue Beetle lands a haymaker on a creepy medieval tunic-wearing goon on this Ramona Patenaude cover from Fox Feature Comics. Too bad neither the goons nor the damsel show up inside.

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Mystery Men 29

Whiz Comics 25

Worlds Finest 4

Action Comics 43

Adventure Comics 69

Flash Comics 24

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Flash gives the Spider-Men from Mars a “swift” kick 🙂

Green Lantern 2

Police Comics 5

Detective Comics 58

Choice Comics 1

Daredevil Comics 6

A great Charles Biro cover has action, monsters, a beautiful damsel in distress and general weirdness. The wolf with a human brain wants human blood and Tonia thinks he’s an adorable stray! The Claw was a strange series (he’s in the inset on the right side).

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The original Daredevil keeps Tonia from getting deflated

Exciting Comics 15

With serviceable art by Elmer Wexler, The Black Terror puts the hurt on some fascists with the help of his sidekick, Tim, in Standard’s premier title. Seriously, his sidekick’s name was Tim. Sounds like something from Monty Python.

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Jungle Comics 24

Fiction House had several amazing covers throughout their history, this one by Dan Zolnerowich. Though not highlighted on the cover, first female superhero Fantomah continues her run this issue, though the art has declined after Fletcher Hanks disappeared from the title he created.

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Jumbo Comics 34

Fiction House presents another excellent cover by Dan Zolnerowich (though, to be honest, Sheena’s hair looks like she put too much styling gel in it this morning.)  The panther is amazing.

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Punch Comics 1

Dynamic Publications from Harry “A” Chesler Features  launches a fistful of comics at the end of 1941. Previously, his shop provided work for Martin Goodman at Timely, providing the original lineup for Mystic Comics 1-4. Though the artwork is improved over what they provided in 1940 to pre-Marvel/Timely, the interior in Punch looks like the colorist was drunk.

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George Tuska illustrates a cover that packs a “punch”:)

Thrilling Comics 23

All-Star Comics 8

First appearance of Wonder Woman

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All those heroes plus the first appearance of Wonder Woman

Fight Comics 16

From Fiction House comes Fight Comics 16 with a cover image that flies off the page from Dan Zolnerowich, starring the Super-American.

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Feature Comics 51

Prize Comics 17

Superman 13

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Superman vs a Luger – no contest
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