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Lev Gleason's Comic House

Golden Age Links

  • Mikel Midnight Golden Age Directory - An essential research tool which links to almost every Golden Age site on the web. Includes, among other pages:
  • The Ace Comics Collection reflects on shortlived company which reprinted many Golden Age stories from the Lev Gleason line and others.
  • Alter Ego - Roy Thomas's series with Silver Streak ("Scarlet Streak"), Daredevil ("Double Dare"), Captain Battle ("Captain Combat"), Iron Jaw ("Rockjaw"), and the Claw
  • Comic Book Artist #9 includes a Pat Morisi interview including reflections on Lev Gleason and Daredevil's influence on Thunderbolt.
  • The Comic Book Page - Good overview on the history of comics GA-present.
  • Crimeboss Home Page - Crime comics, with a cover gallery of Lev Gleason's Crime Does Not Pay
  • Golden Age Greats - #5 reprints Crimebuster vs. Ironjaw; #10 reprints Daredevil vs. the Claw.
  • The Golden Years - good reprint site which includes Daredevil, Crimebuster, and others.
  • Good Guys & Gals of the Golden Age - some rough edges, but nice basic-level entries on obscure characters.
  • It Didn't Start With Us: Golden Age Superheroes in Prose - article by DarkMark discusses the prose stories which appeared in comics in the 40's.
  • TCJ Interviews: Carmine Infantino - in which he discusses many things including working briefly for Biro and Lev Gleason.
  • Two Tub Man's Comic Book Cover Gallery - useful resource, include a Lev Gleason Gallery.
  • Yahoo! Clubs: Atomic, Gold, and Silver
  • Yahoo! Clubs: A Lev Gleason Publication


    Special thanks go out to Bill Black, Richard Boucher, Josh Britton, Michael Chabon, Michael Feldman, Cash Gorman, Frank Motler, Jess Nevins, Trina Robbins, Daniel Smith, Smoo, Marc Svensson, Stan Taylor, Geoffrey Tolle, and Darrin Wiltshire as well as a host of others.

    Welcome to my Lev Gleason Comics page. Leverett Gleason began his career in comics as the first editor of Tip Top, the magazine that the United Features Syndicate published in 1936, and which reprinted their more popular Sunday pages (including Tarzan, Li'l Abner, Fritzi Ritz, and The Captain & The Kids). Gleason would impose his personal vision when he took on autonomy as the comics publisher of the Funnies Inc.-produced Silver Streak Comics from Arthur Bernhardt's Rhoda Publications, starting at the third issue (the series got its name from a model of Pontiac that Bernhardt had recently purchased; there is evidence however that Bernhardt's and Gleason's professional relationship continued past this point of purchase). The new line hosted some of the most consistently well-written comics to be published in the Golden Age outside of DC, Fawcett, and Quality ... and the only one not currently under the DC aegis (though the character name Daredevil was later re-used by Marvel Comics).

    Within a few years he and his business partner Arthur Bernhard had completely reconfigured the line, spinning Daredevil off into his own book, replacing the Captain Battle title (the line's dominant character prior to Silver Streak and Daredevil) with Boy Comics, and Silver Streak Comics with Crime Does Not Pay. Daredevil Comics #11 is a landmark issue because of reasons other than what many consider a classic cover. It is the last issue to feature such strips as Jerry Robinson's London. Essentially, the features that were started in issue #2 end, and the transition towards a different sort of publishing line begins, one which addressed moral issues facing the youth of the day. In addition, the covers from the following issues on, thanks to editor (and cover artist) Charles Biro and his collaborator Bob Wood, are immediately recognisable, with a tendency towards realistically drawn illustrations which take you directly into the middle of a story. Biro (1911-1972) started his career drawing humor strips for the Harry "A" Chesler studio in 1936; eventually he left the Chesler shop and provided material for the new MLJ line, for whom he created Steel Sterling, and he later went on to create Airboy for Hillman Publications. Bob Wood had previously worked on the Iron Mike newspaper strip.

    Gleason was no stranger to controversy. Among his non-comics publications were two magazines (among others) named Friday, and Salute (a veterans' mag) that were considered "Commie influenced." In 1946 he, along with a group of sixteen others, were charged with contempt of Congress by HUAC, for failure to turn over subpoenaed documents. Gleason's comic line showed a strong social conscience at work.

    Under Gleason's leadership, Comic House did not publish many titles; but the ones they did publish were blockbusters, reaching sales of up to 2 million by 1947. Ironically, the success of one of their most famous titles caused their downfall. Crime Does Not Pay, a series which featured morality plays adapted from real police files and court records, spawned a flood of increasingly violent and garish imitators (one of the best was True Crime Comics, edited, written and drawn by Jack Cole, and published by Magazine Village -- in fact, Arthur Bernhardt, for whom he had worked decades earlier). Consequently, Lev Gleason found his line one of the prime targets of attack by Frederick Wertham; his crime comics were frequently mentioned during the Kefauver hearings. He was a frequent writer of articles and op-ed pieces condemning the hearings and the attempts to censor comics. Sadly, public outcry ultimately forced the line to cease publishing by mid-1955.

    The Heroes

    The Villains

    Harry "A" Chesler Heroes

    Fanfic & Miscellaneous

    The above categories hopefully provide fans and players alike with more information on Lev Gleason Comics.