QUALITY COMICS

Resources

Now that you've read the Quality Companion cover-to-cover several times, you might be wondering if there's anything else on this Earth to read...

Alter Ego

Go to the source and read the relevant issues of Alter Ego that feature Jim Amash's (and others') original interviews and other Quality-related articles. Most of those issues are available for digital download.

Alter Ego #12 (Jan. 2002). Interviews with and about editor Gill Fox
  • Amash, Jim. “Gill Fox: Quality Control.” 5-39.
  • Thomas, Roy. “A Matter of Quality.” 2-4.
Alter Ego #17 (Sept. 2002). Lou Fine issue…
  • Amash, Jim. “A Fine Influence…” 9-14.
  • —. “…And A Fine Family!” 15-33.
  • —. “Murphy Anderson on Lou Fine and Fiction House.” 34-44.
  • Beaulieu, Dennis. “Lou Fine—A Comic Book Artist of Quality.” 3-6.
  • Toth, Alex. “Toth on Fine.” 45-46.
Alter Ego #21 (Feb. 2003). Iger Studio issue...
  • Disbrow, Jay Edward. “The Iger Comics Kingdom” 3-48.
  • Thomas, Roy. “A Footnote on the Eisner and Iger Shops.” 49-51.
  • —. “Writer/Editorial: The Iger Counter.” 3.
Alter Ego #23 (April 2003).
  • Amash, Jim. “ ‘Fuje’ for Thought!” 3-20. Interview with Bob Fujitani.
Alter Ego #25. Jack Cole issue…
  • Amash, Jim. “Jack Cole—Artist and Enigma.” 4-10.
  • —. “Other super-heroes WEren’t Like That!” 16-26. Interview with Dick Cole.
  • —. “He Was a Very, Very Interesting Talent!” 33-35.Interview with Bill Seay.
  • Thomas, Roy. “He Could Do Anything!” 27-28. Interview with Creig Flessel.
  • —. “He Stretches, Shrinks, and Bends!!” 2-3.
  • Toth, Alex. “A Lonnnnnng Stretch of Tall Talent.” 11-15.
Alter Ego #34, March 2004. Quality Comics issue…
Side One…
  • Amash, Jim. “Men of Quality.” 3-15. Interview with Dick Arnold.
  • —. “I Created Blackhawk!” 16-28. Interview with Chuck Cuidera.
  • Nolan, Michelle. “Better Read Than Dead.” 29-35. Blackhawk’s transition to DC Comics.
  • Toth, Alex. “Another Fine Talent Lost.” 36-38. About artist Reed Crandall.
Side Two
  • Amash, Jim. “When Anything Happened, I Was Working on a Comic!” 3-15. Interview with Alex Kotzky.
  • —. “The Last Quality Editor.” 21-37. Interview with Al Grenet.
Alter Ego #47, April 2005.
  • Becattini, Alberto. “Baker of Cheesecake.” 3-35. About Matt Baker, who worked on Phantom Lady after she was moved to Fox Comics.
Alter Ego #48, May 2005. Will Eisner/Quality issue…
  • Amash, Jim. “I Always Felt Storytelling was as Important as the Artwork.” 7-26. Interview with Will Eisner.
  • —. “I Always Liked Working.” 47-56. Interview with Vern Henkel.
  • —. “I Was Doomed to be an Artist.” 40-46. Interview with Chuck Mazoujian.
  • —. “Will Eisner… Still Cares!” 27-30.
  • “Comic Crypt: The Wonder of it All!” 57-67. Reprint of Eisner’s 1939 Wonder Man story.
  • Mercer, Marilyn. “The Only Real Middle-Class Crimefighter.” 4-7.
  • Saviuk, Alex. “The Last Spirit Story?” 36-39.
  •  “The Spirit of Will Eisner.” 31-35.
Alter Ego #59, June 2006.
  • Amash, Jim. “It Only Took 40 Years … to Be the Steve Roper Artist!” 48-59. Interview with artist Fran Matera.
Alter Ego #60, July 2006.
  • Amash, Jim. “We Were a Very Happy Group” 43-60. Interview with Tony DiPreta.
Alter Ego #64, Jan. 2007.
  • Amash, Jim. “They Treated Me Like I Had Talent!” 22-40. Interview with Martin Filchock.
Alter Ego #65, Feb. 2007.
  • Amash, Jim. “When You Do a Lot of super-heroes, All You’re Drawing is Men in Long Underwear” 3-33. Interview with Nick Cardy.
Alter Ego #66, March 2007.
  • Lane, Ed. “The Peerless Power of Bob Powell” 3-37. All about Bob Powell.
Alter Ego #67 April 2007.
  • Thomas, Roy. “The Powell/Eisner/Arnold Connection” 37-44. With vintage letters from Bob Powell, Will Eisner, & Busy Arnold.
Alter Ego #99, Jan. 2011
  • Amash, Jim. “I Was Contemptuous, Basically, of the Comics’” 37-52. An interview with Bill Bossert.
  • Cassell, R. Dewey. “An Artist for All Seasons” 3-36. On George Tuska.

In Print

Recommended Works

These first few publications are definitive and recommended works.

The Amazing World of DC Comics #16 (Dec. 1977). The Golden Age Issue. This official DC fanzine had two articles talking about their Quality properties.

"The Freedom Fighters." Roger Klorese. 6–9.

READ IT » "That Rough 'n Ready, Redclad, Rubberband Man… Plastic Man." Larry Herndon. 18–21.

Andelman, Bob. Will Eisner, A Spirited Life. Milwaukie, Or.: M Press, 2005. This is the authorized biography; it's pretty much the final word on all things Eisner.

Comic Book Marketplace 85 (Sept. 2001)

  • Baker, Bill. "Will Eisner Interview!": 21-29. Mostly about the launch of the Spirit Archives.
  • Baker, Bill. "Spirited Allies or The Other Man Behind The Spirit.”: 67-68. Denis Kitchen on Representing Will Eisner.
  • Baker, Bill. “Behind the Scenes of The Spirit Archives with Dale Crain.": 68-70.

Black, Bill, ed. Golden Age Greats Spotlight, vol. 2. AC Comics, 2007. Reprints loads of complete Quality Comics stories.

Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2000. Though it is fictional, Chabon's own Golden Age research shines through in this Pulitzer Price winning novel.

Eisner, Will. The Dreamer: A Story from the Birth of Comic Books. Princteton, Wis.: Kitchen Sink Press, 1986. This story was written as an allegory to Eisner's early days with Iger and Quality.

Jones, Gerard. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book. New York: Basic Books, 2004. An exceptionally well-researched account of comics' (especially DC's) early days.

Spiegelman, Art and Chip Kidd. Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits. New York: DC Comics, 2001. This book covers pretty much everything you'd want to know about its subjects... a definitive work.

Steranko, James. The Steranko History of Comics vol. 1. Reading, PA: Supergraphics, 1970. This volume largely covers the big players, DC and Marvel.

Steranko, James. The Steranko History of Comics vol. 2. Reading, PA: Supergraphics, 1972. This volume contains one of only two known conversations with Quality publisher Busy Arnold, and probably the only published interviews ever conducted and superstar artists Reed Crandall and Lou Fine. Topics: the Marvel Family, Fawcett heroes, Blackhawk, "Flying Heroes," Plastic Man, Quality heroes, and the Spirit. 

Reference and Further Reading

These items might be more reference type materials, things that have minor but significant Quality-related tidbits, or deal more generally with the Golden Age.

Bails, Jerry and Hames Ware, eds. The Who's Who of American Comic Books vols. 1-4. Detroit, Mich.: 1973–1976. These four self-published volumes laid the groundwork for all current comics indexing. They have been digitized and updated online.

Brennan, T. Casey. "The Untold History of I.W. Comics." The Comics Journal 57. Summer 1980: 118-119.

Disbrow, Jay. The Iger Comics Kingdom, Blackthorne Publishing, Inc. 1985. Also read this in Alter Ego #21!

Feiffer, Jules. The Great Comic Book Heroes. The Dial Press, Inc., 1965. A comprehensive look at the Golden Age.

Golden Age Men of Mystery #12. AC Comics. 1999. Contains: "I Wouldn't Change a Thing!" An interview with Chuck Cuidera. Reprint of a 1977 redrawing of Paul Gustavson's Human Bomb origin story (Police #1) by C. C. Beck., done in honor of Gustavson's death. Reprints from Quality.

Goulart, Ron. Comic Book Culture: An Illustrated History. Collectors Press, 2000.

Goulart, Ron. The Great Comic Book Artists. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1986. This book includes 2-page profiles of many notable Quality artists such as Jack Cole, Reed Crandall, Will Eisner, Lou Fine, Fred Guardineer, Paul Gustavson, Klaus Nordling and Bob Powell.

Goulart, Ron. "Looking Back on the Golden Age: The Quality Gang: Part 1." Comics Feature 27. Jan.-Feb. 1984: 44-49.

Goulart, Ron. Ron Goulart's Great History of Comic Books. McGraw-Hill/Contemporary, 1986.

Jerry Iger's Golden Features #1-6. Blackthorne Publishing, Inc. 1986-Jan. 1987. Exclusive reprints and unpublished material from Jerry Iger. Issue #2 features Wonder Boy.

Keltner, Howard. Golden Age Comic Books Index: 1935-1955. Gainesville, TX: Howard Keltner, 1998. A staggering self-published tome that indexes almost every Golden Age comic book, including feature titles and page counts.

Rhoades, Shirrel. A Complete History of American Comic Books. Peter Lang Publishing, 2007.

Robbins, Trina. The Great Women Super Heroes. Kitchen Sink Press, Northampton, Mass., 1996. This work touches on USA, Doll Girl, Wildfire, and Phantom Lady.

Sadowski, Greg. Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941. Fantagraphics Books, 2009. Touches on some Quality creators, among others.

If you'd like to whet your Quality appetite some more with some great web reading about the publisher, here is the portion of the Quality Companion's Bibliography that calls out meaty online resources.

Online Resources

Some of these sites are maintained by webmasters who spoke to me and added some great depth to the book. There's some great academic level resources here:

Black, David R. "A Freedom Fighting First." Fanzing. Michael Hutchison, ed.

Black, David R. "Fanzing Secret Files: The Freedom Fighters." Fanzing. Michael Hutchison, ed.

Cole's Comics. Paul Tumey. Fantastic blog all about this creator.

"Cartoonist Henry Martin donates art, books." Princeton University. 

Denis Kitchen and Kitchen Sink Press.  One of Will Eisner's most prolific publishers.

Digital Comics Museum.  Downloadable public domain comics.

Digital-Priest.com: Christopher James Priest.  Editor/writer behind DC's 1990s relaunches.

Electro-Comics Golden Age Comics Downloads.  Good quality comic downloads, for a charge.

Femforce-Femfans. "An Interview with Bill Black."

Galactic Central. Phil Stephensen-Payne. An index of mens adventure magazines.

The Golden Age Directory.  A database of Golden Age heroes.

Golden Age Comics.  Downloadable public domain comics.

Google Books: Catalog of Copyright Entries. 

Grand Comics Database.  The mother of all comics databases.

Ingram Tony. "Who in the World Were IW Comics?" BrokenFrontier.com. 

An International Catalogue of Super-heroes.  Biographies of varying lengths for many Golden Age characters.

Lambiek Comiclopedia. The authority on the careers of many comic book creators.

*Love, Edward. "Copyrights and Comics of 1940s." Golden-Age Comic book Super-heroes & Villains Encyclopedia. 

*Markstein, Donald D. Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Markstein's site reveals information not found in any other sources, though he does not cite his sources.

Mazzenga, Maria and Jordan Patty. "An Interview with Frank M. Borth." The Washington Research Library Consortium.  One of the artists on "Phantom Lady."

Mechanic, Michael. "Mad Man: Meet Al Jaffee, Cartoonist Icon of America's Longest-Lived Humor Magazine." MotherJones.com. 

Mougin, Lou. "Blackhawk Index." DarkMark's Comics Indexing Domain! 

—. "Freedom Fighters Index." DarkMark's Comics Indexing Domain! 

Norwitz, Michael. "An Earth-X Timeline." Mikel Midnight's Golden Age Directory.

Norwitz, Michael. "Freedom Fighters Villains List." Mikel Midnight's Golden Age Directory. 

O'Day, Stephen. Seduction of the Innocent.org. Great site all about the early '50s attacks on comics.

Penton, Ted "Arming Soldiers with Ballots." Patriot.net. 

Perez, Roger. "Alan Light 'Flashback' & Don Maris 'Remember When' Golden Age Reprints Cover Gallery & Checklist." STL Comics. 

Quattro, Ken. "DC vs Victor Fox: The Testimony of Will Eisner." The Comics Detective. 

Rozakis, Bob. "Canceled Comics Cavalcade," parts 1-9. ComicsBulletin.com

Simonson, Mark. "Interview: Phil Martin." Typographica.org

Stiles, Steve. "A Look at E.C. Great, Reed Crandall." Stevestiles.com.

Stratton, Jerry. "The Annotated Will Eisner Dreamer." Negative Space.

Strentz, Herb. "John Cowles." Drake University, Cowles Library. 

"Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters Sketchbook." Newsarama. 

Offenberger, Rik. "Bill Black, Mark Heike and John Gotschall talk about FemForce." First Comics News.

United States Copyright Office 

United States Copyright Office Public Catalog.

United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The University of Pennsylvania. "The Online Books Pages."  Includes scans of the Catalog of Copyright Entries.

Unofficial Blackhawk Comics Web Site. Dan Thompson.

Who's Whose in DC Comics.  This project attempts to list all the original creators for DC, Quality and Fawcett characters, and is fairly accurate.

Wildwood Cemetery: The Spirit Database.  This site has lapsed into disrepair but determined individuals can dig up its information.

Will Eisner: Official Web site. 2011. Will Eisner Studios, Inc. < http://www.willeisner.com>;.

Womenofward.net.

Libraries

A few brick-and-mortar libraries (aside from the Library of Congress) contain considerable comic book collections that include a good number of Quality Comics.

The Michigan State University Libraries, Special Collections Division. In East Lansing, Michicgan, this has an extensive microfilm collection, among other things.

Ohio State University: Cartoon Research Library. 27 West 17th Ave. Mall Columbus, OH 43210-1393. Ohio State has a large collection of Will Eisner materials. This link takes you to a guide to their extensive Will Eisner Collection.

University of Tulsa, Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library.  This library has comic books on microfiche, including some Quality Comics.