Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blame Canada!

So, I'm looking at Fawcett's True Confidences #3 (1950), because, hey, who doesn't need a little Golden Age romance?

But I'm stopped by the ad inside the front cover...

Really? An ad for Marvel comic books inside a Fawcett book?

Hey, it's nice to see our old friends Kid Colt, the Two-Gun Kid and Patsy Walker. And it's also nice to see the extensive number of romance books they were putting out:

It's also amusing to see a bit of a Freudian typo, as what is identified as "Marvel Comics Group" above is identified in the smaller print as...


Anyway, I just attribute it to some type of ad trade between Fawcett and Marvel/Timely/Atlas. Until I get to the inside back cover:

Wait--let's interrupt this essay for some nightmare fuel:


Well, Fawcett advertising two other comic companies in their pages threw me for a loop, until I noticed in both ads:

Ah. Bell Features. That explains a thing or two about a thing or two.

During WWII, Canada banned the importation of American comic books (don't fret--it was part of a ban of all "non-essential" items to help preserve Canada's balance of trade). Well, several Canadian publishers quickly leaped into the vacuum,  and Bell Features was probably the most successful of them. (For more details, see Siskoid's coverage of some of the Golden Age Canadian comics).

But once the war ended, the ban was lifted, American comics flooded the market, and many of the Canadian publishers went belly up. But Bell clearly understood the maxim "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." By 1947 they ceased publishing most of their own original material, and began publishing the Canadian version of the conquering Americans.

Hence, Marvel and Fawcett and Archie comics "published by Bell Features." Mystery solved.

For the record, the strategy failed in a few years--Bell went out of business in 1953

See--you learn something new every day, even from Golden Age romance comics...

1 comment:

SallyP said...

I...did not know this. And knowing is half the battle.

Or something.