Greg Theakston & the Golden Age
Excellent Greg Theakston interview at Collectors Weekly about the Golden Age of comics. Fabulous insight and information packed into a concise narrative on beginnings of the modern graphic story form.
In the Golden Age, comics were often credited to a house name that was owned by the publisher. In some cases, if the artist was really talented, they’d let the person sign it. A lot of people, though, thought what they were doing was just garbage, so they didn’t want their names on it.
Now, you can find some of this information on the Grand Comics Database on the Internet. It’s trying to list every comic book ever published with titles, credits, and a cover reproduction. It’s amazing. All of the images there are public domain, and they’re free to anybody who wants to use them. For the most part the copyrights were never renewed because comics were monthly throwaways. Little did they know that there would someday be a market for reprints.
What this means is that a vast number of Golden Age comics are in the public domain. By the time the issues came up for renewal, the companies were either no longer in business or no longer doing comics. For example, Quality Comics’ entire output until 1955 is in the public domain because the owner went out of business and didn’t bother to renew it.