Remembering Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson (January 4, 1890 – January 1, 1968)

Posted: January 4, 2012 in "Top 10" Lists, Whose Birthday is it??
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Today is the birthday of one Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson (January 4, 1890 – January 1, 1968). The name may not mean much to many of you out there. To many, he would just seem to be another long dead American military man. Lord knows that American military history has more names than any one person could ever remember. What sets Major Wheeler-Nicholson apart is not his military record, or even his descendants’ celebrity status (his granddaughter, Dana, is a well known 80’s/90’s actress). No, what sets this Major apart is a company he started in 1934.

Noticing a lack of originality in the magazine/print entertainment world, Wheeler-Nicholson put out a tabloid sized magazine called New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine. This publication would make history, as the first of its kind to collect all original material, and to include advertising (anyone who ever bought X-Ray glasses or those god-awful sea monkey should know the significance of this move). This would mark the birth of National Allied Publications. Though Wheeler-Nicholson himself would not stay with the publication, National Allied Publications would go on to absorb several publishing companies and characters over the years, and are still with us today. Now known as DC Comics, named after Detective Comics (the title that birthed such heroes as Batman, Martian Manhunter, the Boy Commandos, and the Crimson Avenger), the company is now one of the two big comic publishing companies in the business.

In honour of this significant contribution Major Wheeler-Nicholson has made to the world of comic books (and to all geeks in every discipline), I am presenting my top 5 military-supporting comic covers. Love them or hate them, it’s hard to argue with the support that comic books showed for the military during the war. Even with the Major’s own checkered past with the military, it’s clear that it heavily influenced his future career.

5. Weird War Tales No. 93 (Feat. The Creature Commandos)

Weird War Tales No. 93 (Feat. The Creature Commandos)

Difficult not to love the war team that puts traditional movie monster type folk up against the country's enemies.

4. Miss America Comics No. 1

Miss America

What I most love most of this cover is that it shows a patriotic woman that can fight the evils of the word with a full wardrobe. I love Wonder Woman, but did she need that skirt/bathing suit for so many years?

3. Our Army at War No. 301 (Feat. Sgt. Rock & Easy Company)

Our Army at War No. 301

They say nothing's ever easy in Easy Company. A rare find in this cover, where to central character isn't opting to shoot the enemy on sight, as per his comrades' suggestion.

2. Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos No. 13 (Feat. Captain America & Bucky)

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos No. 13

Cap tends to grab all the attention in every cover he's in, but in this one, him leading the charge for the Howling Commandos and Sgt. Fury is just amazing.

1.World’s Finest Comics No. 7 (Feat. Superman, Batman, and Robin)

World's Finest Comics No. 7

This trio did so many pro-military covers and stories over the course of the war, bu this one remains my favorite. All three owe their existence to the legacy that Maj. Wheeler-Nicholson started, and to me, they are all saluting him in this cover.

So there we have it, my Top 5 military-supportive comic covers. Were there any you think would have been more appropriate? Maybe you agree/disagree with the Major’s contributions to the comic world? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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