As we have mentioned recently, after Fiction House launched its first comedian e-book sequence with Jumbo Comics in 1938, its subsequent 4 comedian e-book titles had been counterparts of 4 of its pulp titles. Jungle Comics hit the newsstand in October 1939. Planet Comics and Fight Comics adopted in November. Wings Comics was launched a couple of months later, hitting the newsstand in June 1940. But the corporate’s fifth comedian e-book title was a departure from the pulp/comedian formulation. Rangers Comics, which technically debuted as Rangers of Freedom Comics, had no direct pulp title counterpart. The title was very a lot a product of its second in time, as each an apparent battle title, and to start with, one which pitted costumed heroes towards a war-themed supervillain. The starting of an underappreciated sequence that lasted 65 points 1940-1952, there is a Rangers Comics #1 (Fiction House, 1941) CGC FN- 5.5 Off-white to white pages up for public sale within the 2022 October 13 The Fiction House Showcase Auction #40199 at Heritage Auctions.
The Fiction House line acquired a lot of its comedian materials from the S.M. “Jerry” Iger Studio (Will Eisner departed the studio in 1940), however not like each different comedian e-book sequence that Fiction House printed at this particular time, the listed editor for Rangers Comics was not the corporate’s comparatively well-known editor Malcolm Reiss. Rangers Comics was launched beneath the editorial course of DeWitt Shank. Somewhat-known determine in pulp and comics historical past, Shank was doubtless a calculated selection for what could be a really military-themed title from Fiction House.
Oliver DeWitt Shank Jr. was born in 1913 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the son of a businessman who had based the Harrisonburg Candy and Fruit Company in 1921. Shank attended Duke University the place he was a part of the varsity’s short-lived boxing program. His first skilled writing work got here throughout his remaining yr at Duke, with the March 1935 difficulty of American Boy, which launched a sequence of sports activities tales by Shank for the journal.
After a number of years of freelance journal fiction writing, Shank joined Fiction House as an editor alongside Reiss in Fall 1940, taking up pulps North-West Romances and boxing-centric Fight Stories, the place his boxing and sports activities fiction expertise could be put to good use. Likely anticipating the inevitable entry of the United States into World War II, Shank joined the New York National Guard in March 1941. He received married on January 31, 1942, and enlisted within the U.S. Army on April 4, 1942.
Shank’s basic editorial duties at Fiction House had been taken over by John F. “Jack” Byrne, a determine who’s a lot better remembered by historical past. Byrne was the brother of Olive Byrne, the polyamorous life associate of Elizabeth Holloway and Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston. Byrne’s mom and aunt, Ethel Byrne and Margaret Sanger, had been traditionally necessary Progressive Era feminists who opened the primary birth-control clinic within the United States, and Jack Byrne’s tenure at Fiction House is usually cited as a motive behind the writer’s feminine heroes and utilization of a number of ladies artists. Jack Byrne already had a protracted historical past at Fiction House by that point, having been on workers on the writer in 1926 and elevated to managing editor there in 1929. Byrne had then grow to be the managing editor for the Munsey pulp line within the late Nineteen Thirties ending in 1939, and after freelancing for a interval, returned to Fiction House to exchange Shank in 1942.
It seems attainable that the unique Rangers of Freedom saga could have been written by Shank, or was his idea, because the function abruptly vanished with Shank’s personal departure for the battle. Rangers Comics #4 is the final difficulty he’s credited as enhancing. The cowl of Rangers Comics #5 featured the unique Rangers of Freedom costumed characters and their supervillain nemesis SuperBrain, however the inside function launched a brand new workforce of Rangers who had been U.S. Marines participating in additional conventional battle tales.
DeWitt Shank would by no means return to the publishing discipline, selecting a profession with the U.S. Army as a substitute. He held numerous posts for U.S. Army Intelligence throughout WWII and the Korean War, and finally retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Oliver DeWitt Shank died in 2000 on the age of 87. Like his editorial stint on the Fight Stories pulp, it seems that the launch of the military-themed Rangers Comics beneath his tenure drew on his life’s pursuits.
After the battle, Rangers Comics pivoted to options together with Firehair, Tiger Man, and Sky Rangers. But to start with, Rangers Comics was very a lot a title of its second in historical past, and there is a Rangers Comics #1 (Fiction House, 1941) CGC FN- 5.5 Off-white to white pages up for public sale within the 2022 October 13 The Fiction House Showcase Auction #40199 at Heritage Auctions. In addition to the gadgets listed on this publish, you’ll be able to try Fiction House titles comparable to Planet Comics, Jumbo Comics, Jungle Comics, Fight Comics, Rangers Comics, Wings Comics and far more. New to gathering Fiction House or wish to be taught extra? Bleeding Cool is doing an ongoing deep dive into the history behind Fiction House within the run-up to this public sale. If you’ve got by no means bid at Heritage Auctions earlier than, you may get additional data, you’ll be able to check out their FAQ on the bidding course of and associated issues.
Rangers Comics #1 (Fiction House, 1941) CGC FN- 5.5 Off-white to white pages. Titled Rangers of Freedom. First look of Ranger Girl and the Rangers of Freedom. Dan Zolnerowich cowl. Joe Doolin artwork. Overstreet 2022 FN 6.0 worth = $1,785. CGC census 9/22: 3 in 5.5, 10 increased.
CGC Grader Notes:
Right Bottom Front Cover Small Tear
Right Top Front Cover Chip Out
Top Front Cover Multiple Tear Breaks Color
Top Staple Front Cover Detached
Affiliates of Bleeding Cool purchase from and/or consign to Heritage Auctions.