Friday, February 13, 2009

Volume Three, Number Twenty-six

A Historical Overview
of the
MLJ Magazines/Archie Comic Publications
Superhero Lines!

While there was lots of costumed-hero activity taking place at Mighty Comics Group in the mid-1960s Archie and his pals were also jumping onto the superhero bandwagon. For a brief period between 1965 and 1967 Archie, Jughead, Betty and Reggie would occasionally put on costumes and become "Pureheart the Powerful", "Captain Hero", Superteen" and "Evilheart". These adventures took place in a number of Archie Series titles including Life With Archie, Betty and Me and even The Adventures of Little Archie. As well as appearing in these titles the costumed Archie characters appeared in six issues of Archie as Pureheart the Powerful and seven issues of Jughead as Captain Hero between 1966 and 1967. For the most part their adventures were just plain good old fun reading but occasionally the tales got quite interesting for Mighty Comics Group fans (most of whom by the way won't buy an Archie Series title if their lives depended on it deeming them to be too juvenile) when characters such as "Black Hood" or "Fly Man" would pop in for a visit (eg: "Jughead" #132 May 1966).

Meanwhile, back at Mighty Comics Group, a month after Mighty Crusaders was canceled (#7 cover-date October 1966) Fly Man also vanished from the scene and was replaced by a new anthology titled Mighty Comics which picked up its numbering from Fly Man (beginning with number forty, cover-dated November 1966). The title ran as a monthly with its final issue being number fifty (cover-dated October 1967).

While Fly Man seemingly vanished the same time his comic left the stands other Mighty Comics Group characters continued to appear in Mighty Comics including "Steel Sterling" (#44 & #49), "Mister Justice" (#47), "Hangman" (#45 and #48) and "The Web" (#40, #43, #45 and #50) who, in his last appearance, teamed up with "Inferno The Flame Breather".

In the opinion of most Mighty Comics Group fans the stories which ran in Mighty Comics #s40-50 were the best superhero tales published by Archie Comic Publications in the 1960s and were all, coincidentally, written by Jerry Seigel. Unfortunately by mid-1967 interest in superhero comics was beginning to drop both by the folks at Archie and the public as a whole resulting in the Mighty Comics Group line to vanish without a trace after Mighty Comics #50 October 1967. While this imprint was never to return The Comet, The Shield, The Fly, The Black Hood and other MLJ/Archie superheroes would not be permanent residents of comic book limbo.

NEXT: The 1970s' Red Circle Comics Group!!

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