Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

He's the goddamn.. oh.. wait..

Revered by many, criticized by more, and read by all. This seems to be the fate of one man that’s been called everything from one of modern comics’ forefathers, to a fear-mongering mad man. Despite what many may think of Frank Miller, it must be recognized that his work has made a serious impact on the way we see comics today, many of his writings still reverberating consequences decades after being put to paper.

Not only does he write comics, but he also claims the title of artist for many of his works. How many people in the industry can say this? A handful, at best, and none with the same level of exposure as Miller. Two of his pieces have gone on to become major motion pictures (300 and Sin City), and one was made into an animated feature length movie (Batman: Year One). His work on such already developed characters as Batman and Daredevil have taken the characters to lengths never before seen in comics, for better or worst.

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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.
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