Comics Alternative, Episode 297: Reviews of DC Comics before Superman, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, and Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1

Time Codes:


Heroes, Pre- and Post-

This week Sterg and Derek check out three intriguing, yet very different, titles. They begin with Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson’s DC Comics before Superman: Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson’s Pulp Comics (Hermes Press). This is a collection of comics written or inspired by the writing of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson and an overview of the pre-Superman history of the publisher. After that they look at Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (Image Comics), the latest noir narrative in their Criminal series. And then the guys wrap up with Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1, Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s return to their Umbrella Academy world.

Superman Fan Podcast Episode #108: Happy Birthday, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson!

To begin celebrating DC Comics’ 75th anniversary, this first episode of 2010 features Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, who was born on January 4, 1890 and died on January 1, 1968. He founded National Allied Publications in 1934, which would become the DC Comics we know today. He holds the distinction of publishing the first modern comic book with original material, not newspaper comic strip reprints. His third title, DETECTIVE COMICS, published in 1937 is still published today. It holds the distinction of being the first comic book title dedicated to one genre, detective stories.

Thanks to Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson Brown for bringing my attention to her family’s website:, which tells their side of the story of the Major’s history in an effort to correct what they have found as errors in accounts of the Major’s involvement in comic book history.

She also wrote an article rebutting David Hajdu’s accounts of her grandfather in his book THE TEN-CENT PLAGUE, in the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMIC ART, vol. 10 number 2, Fall 2008, at

ALTER EGO 88, August 2009, features a cover story about the Major. Print and digital copies can be ordered at the publisher’s website at


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