September 19, 2011
Golden Age Publishers: Centaur
AC Comics has reprinted, and thus preserved, many stories from the time period known as the Golden-Age of comics. However, little has been done from Centaur. It is one of the earliest publishers and material is hard to locate. The Fire Man and an interview with his creator, Martin Filchock appears in Men of Mystery #23 which you can buy now in our Online Store. There is also a brief interview with Mr. Filchock under “Golden Age Articles”.
Centaur was one of the earliest and most important comic book publishers. This often-overlooked pioneer was the seminal proving ground (in one incarnation or another) for virtually all of the early creative greats- including Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster (Superman), Bob Kane (Batman), Will Eisner (The Spirit), Bill Everett (The Sub-Mariner), Jack Cole (Plastic Man), Carl Burgos (Human Torch), and a legion of others. Born of a mixed lineage, it’s precursors include The Comics Magazine Company, Inc., started in May of 1936 by John Mahon and Bill Cook, former employees of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson at his National Allied Publications, which would later become DC Comics. It’s lineage also includes Star Comics; initiated by Harry “A” Chesler in February of 1937. Frank Temerson and I. W. Ullman formed Ultem Publications and bought out Chesler’s Star Comics, keeping him on as editor. In September of ’37, Ultem also took over Mahon and Cook’s line. In January of 1938, Joe Hardie and Fred Gardner bought out Ultem and began Centaur Comics in March of 1938.
Wildly creative, original and interesting, the Centaur Comics line ceased publication in 1942, due to poor distribution, although Joe Hardie remained in business with a line of crossword puzzle books and periodicals which ran quite successfully until they were sold off in the 1970’s. AC wiis bringing the Centaur line and it’s history out of the shadows of the past and into the hands of collectors and historians with the help of The Bookery Fantasy Collection, the research of Hames Ware, Henry Steele and Lee Boyette, and interviews with actual Centaur creators. Special thanks to Steve Topper, Steve Bates and Tim Cottrill!
They published characters like Amazing Man, Iron Skull, Minimidget, Mighty Man, The Fire Man, Man O’War, Vapo-man, The Rainbow, Liberty Guards, Fantom of the Fair, The Arrow, King of Darkness, Nightshade, Blue Fire, Blue Lady, Airman, Masked Marvel, TNT Todd, Marksman, Dr.Hypno, Dr. Mystic, Skyrocket Steele, Black Panther, The Eye Sees, The Sentinel, The Shark, Super-Ann, Meteor Martin, The Voice, Dash Dartwell, Speed Centaur, The Electric Ray, Dr. Synthe and many others!
Centaur had a list of comics creators that’s a who’s who of comic books! Bill Everett, Martin Filchock, Carl Burgos, Fred Guardineer, Frank Thomas, Ken Ernst, Ed Moore, George Brenner, Bert Christman, Joe E. Buresch, Paul Gustavson, Art Pinajian, Walt Kelly, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Sheldon Mayer, Will Eisner, Charles Biro, Bob Wood, Fred Schwab, Frank Frollo, Bob Kane, Rafael Astarita, Creig Flessel, H.C. Kiefer, Clemens Gretter, Jack Cole, Rick Yaeger, Maurice Gutwirth, Vic Dowling, Dick Moores, Winsor McKay Jr., Harry Campbell, Tarpe Mills, Malcolm Kildale, Louis Glanzman, John Giunta, John Kolb, Al McWilliams, Basil Wolverton, Sam Gilman, Ben Thompson, Bill Ely, Munson Paddock, Gus Ricca, Harold Delay, Sid Greene, Steve Dahlman, Tex Blaisedell, Vic Pazmino, Harry Sahle, Bob Butts, Bob Lubbers, Ed Robbins, Stan Drake, Jack Binder, Red Holmdale, John Belfi, John Daly, Homer Fleming, Myron Strauss, Art Helfant, Lou Ferstadt, George Wilson, Pierce Rice, Arturo Cazeneuve, Terry Gillickson, Larry Antoinette, Al Gabrielle, Al Bryant, Ben Flinton, Sol Brodsky, Pete Alvarado, Al Plastino and Bob Davis.
Check out Men of Mystery 83. This 200-plus page blockbuster is particularly special, as it contains MORE pages of coverage on the legendary (and rare) CENTAUR COMICS line than any book previously published anywhere at any time!!