There’s Something About DC…
If the world of comic book publishers worked under George R.R. Martin rules, then DC Comics would be one of the oldest and proudest houses there is. The publisher, which is currently under the Warner Bros. group’s umbrella, has been around since the earliest days of the medium and had cemented its name as one of the biggest and most influential purveyors of pop culture properties. From the nearly universal presence of Superman and Batman to the more obscure characters like Dove and Soranik Natu, DC has no shortage of characters with near-infinite storytelling potential their creative teams could explore. As a result, the world is all the more colorful for it.
Now, it’s common knowledge for even the casual fan to be well aware of Superman’s first appearance in Action Comics #1. However, and this may come as a surprise to some, DC didn’t publish superhero titles for a good 4 years since its foundation. It was only in 1938 that the company will release Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Big Blue Boy Scout from Krypton, Superman. Additionally, they weren’t even called DC Comics back then; they were National Allied Publications. And prior to Superman ruling over the comic book industry, they focused on adventure and mystery titles in Adventure Comics and Detective Comics – from which the whole DC moniker comes from –, respectively.
Furthermore, to look at DC as an influential house in the superhero genre abandons one of their most important contributions to the world: the physical comic book itself. Even before the golden age of superheroes dawned on the world, the whole market for graphic sequential storytelling was mainly found in newspapers and the tiles that ran here were published as daily strips. But that changed when National Allied Publications came out New Comics #1 in 1935, a title whose format will form comic books – a whole publication/periodical dedicated to graphic stories – as we know it. So, what we’re saying here is that DC Comics is one of the main influencers responsible for creating the whole format.
Now, an often overlooked character in the DC stable is Doctor Occult, another Siegel and Shuster creation that predated the Man of Steel. Although it is understandable that the character is often overshadowed by its more popular roster mates from the publisher like Batman or The Flash, it’s very much worth noting Doctor Occult’s enduring popularity. Yes, we know, there’s only a slim chance that you’ll see the character on shirts or mugs unlike DC’s a-lister, but that’s exactly what makes it even more impressive. Put it this way: Doctor Occult remains alive in DC’s canon to this day without having ever been a cultural phenomenon like Superman and Batman. And that’s not only applicable to the particular character. DC’s stable of available properties is so wide that any one of them could simply fall between the cracks and into obscurity. But for the most part, the publisher is able to make efforts to keep the most, if not all, members of their roster relevant and visible to the public eye.