The so-called "Golden Age" of comics was the period that marked the rise of comic books into an art form. Beginning with the debut of Superman in Action Comics #1 in 1938, the period lasted until 1956 and it introduced characters that remain iconic in 2020: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Captain Marvel and more.
But for every superhero that became a legend, a lot of characters and the comics that spawned them weren't as memorable. These 12 titles might not have been as successful, but they certainly had some fun covers.
Ace Comics was produced from 1936 to 1949 and as you might guess from the cover, it reprinted daily comic strips owned by King Features Syndicate. The series is best known for republishing daily strips from The Phantom, which helped set the stage for later superhero comics.
Sparkler Comics was another comic book that mostly included comics aggregated from newspaper strips, in this case ones owned by United Features. It ran from July 1941 through December 1954. And by the way, how great of a slogan is "1,2,3, SPARK!"
Air Fighters Comics debuted in 1942 as anthology series that originally featured stories featuring a variety of aviation-related heroes. Produced by Hillman Comics, it was renamed Airboy Comics with its 23rd issue, published in 1945. Under the new name, it lasted until May 1953, when Hillman stopped producing comics.
Journey Into Unknown Worlds was produced from September 1950 to August 1957 by Atlas Comics, the precursor of Marvel. It featured artists who later become industry legends, including Joe Kubert, Steve Ditko, and Al Williamson.
4 Favorites was produced from September, 1941 through December, 1947 by Ace Publications. Ace had a number of comic books during the WWII years, but the company is best known for its popular Ace Double Novels, that collected two books by the same author in one paperback. In particular, the science fiction novels collected this way were extremely popular well into the 1970s. Most of these characters are now in the public domain, so feel free to reboot Magno & Davey into a modern, edgy crime-fighting duo.
Black Cat was published from 1941 to 1951 by Harvey Comics. Black Cat was created by Al Gabriele, is best known for his work on early Marvel Comics and for co-creating the Marvel characters Miss America and Black Marvel. Black Cat's secret identity was Linda Turner, the daughter of a silent screen actor and a stuntwoman turned actress who battled mostly Nazis and their supporters.
All Winners Comics was an anthology series published from the summer of 1941 until August 1948. It was published by Timely Comics, which was the predecessor to Marvel Comics. The series featured the work of a lot of future Marvel superstars, including Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.
Speed Comics was an anthology produced by Brookwood Publications that ran from 1939 until 1941 when Brookwood was acquired by Harvey Comics. It's most notable for introducing the character Shock Gibson, who was one of the comic book world's first superheroes. In Gibson's origin story, scientist Robert Charles Gibson developed a chemical formula that allowed people to directly store, generate, and control electricity, and he became a superhero after trying out the formula on himself.
Police Comics was an anthology series produced by Quality Comics from 1941 to 1953. It's most notable for being the home of Plastic Man, Phantom Lady, Human Bomb, Firebrand - all characters later brought back by DC Comics when they acquired the Quality Comics assets in the late 1950s.
Forbidden Worlds was published in various forms from 1951 through 1967. It briefly changed its name to Young Heroes in 1955, due to pressure from the 1954 Senate subcommittee hearings on the dangers of comic books.