American Comics Group
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|Founder||Benjamin W. Sangor|
|Country of origin||United States of America|
|Headquarters location||45 West 45th Street, New York City|
|Key people||Richard E. Hughes
|Publication types||Comic books|
|Fiction genres||Superheroes, science fiction, horror, crime, mystery, romance|
|Imprints||B & I Publishing Co., Inc.
B. & M. Distributing Co., Inc.
Best Syndicated Features, Inc.
Creston Publications Corp.
Custom Comics, Inc.
La Salle Publishing Co.
Michel Publications, Inc.
Milt Gross, Inc.
Modern Store Publications
Modern Store Publishing
Preferred Publications, Inc.
Regis Publications, Inc.
Scope Magazines, Inc.
Titan Publishing Co. Inc.
American Comics Group (ACG) is an American comic book publisher from 1943 to 1967 that published the medium's first ongoing horror-comics title, Adventures into the Unknown. ACG's best-known character was the 1960s satirical-humor hero Herbie Popnecker, who starred for a time in Forbidden Worlds. Herbie would later get his own title and be turned into a "superhero" called the Fat Fury.
Founded by Benjamin W. Sangor, ACG was co-owned by Fred Iger from 1948 to 1967. Iger's father-in-law, Harry Donenfeld, head of National Periodical Publications (later known as DC Comics), was also a co-owner in the early 1960s (though Donenfeld was severely incapacitated and out of the business after an accident in 1962). ACG was distributed by Independent News Company, which also distributed (and was part of the same company as) DC.
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The company evolved out of a company owned by Sangor. In the mid-1930s, Sangor and Richard E. Hughes began to produce a short-lived prepackaged comics supplement for newspapers. In 1939, the Sangor Shop (as it was informally known) began producing comics for Sangor's son-in-law Ned L. Pines. The Sangor Shop produced the characters and stories of The Black Terror, Pyroman, and Fighting Yank for Pines' Nedor Comics and produced most of the comics for Pines until 1945.
In 1943, ACG started to publish its own work under such names as B&I Publishing, Michel Publications and Regis Publishing. It acquired the publisher Creston Publications in 1943, making Creston into an ACG imprint. By 1948, it was publishing comics under the name of American Comics Group. Its titles were typical of the times, including horror, crime, mystery, romance, and funny-animal comics. In 1948, it began publishing the long-running horror title Adventures into the Unknown. This was the first of a trilogy of ACG horror/supernatural titles that also included Forbidden Worlds (1951–1967) and Unknown Worlds (1960–1967).
In 1949, ACG began publishing two long-running romance titles, Romantic Adventures (later changed to My Romantic Adventures), and Lovelorn (later changed to Confessions of the Lovelorn). Both titles lasted into the 1960s.
The company survived the 1954 Senate subcommittee hearings on the dangers of comic books, even retaining its somewhat diluted horror title Adventures into the Unknown. However, in 1955 ACG canceled four long-running humor titles: the funn-animal series Giggle Comics and Ha Ha Comics, and the teen-humor titles Cookie and The Kilroys.
An October 1, 1952 "Statement of the Ownership, Management, and Circulation" published in ACG's Forbidden Worlds #15 gave its publisher's name as Preferred Publications, Inc., 8 Lord St., Buffalo, New York" and the owners as Preferred Publications and "B. W. Sangor, 7 West 81st Street, New York, N. Y." The editor was listed as Richard E. Hughes, 120 West 183rd St., New York, N. Y." and the business manager as "Frederick H. Iger, 50 Beverly Road, Great Neck, Great Neck, L. I., N. Y." An October 1, 1950 statement published in ACG's Cookie #29 gives identical data, with the exception of the publisher and co-owner being listed as "Michel Publications, Inc. 420 DeSoto Ave., St. Louis 7, Mo..
Almost all stories after 1957 were written by editor Hughes under a variety of pseudonyms. Besides the satirical superhero the Fat Fury, other ACG superheroes of the period known as the Silver Age of Comic Books included Magicman (starting in Forbidden Worlds #125), Nemesis in Adventures into the Unknown (starting with #154), and John Force, Magic Agent, in his own title in 1962, then later in Unknown Worlds (#35, 36, 48, 50, 52, 56), with a few stories in Forbidden Worlds (#124, 145) and Adventures into the Unknown (#153, 157).
By 1967, the company had ended publication, except for its commercial comics division, Custom Comics, established in 1950, which lasted until the early 1980s doing work for a variety of clients such as Montgomery Ward, Tupperware, and the United States Air Force.
In the 1980s or so,[vague] Canadian entrepreneur Roger Broughton obtained the rights to the ACG materials from Fred Iger, and started doing reprints of Herbie and other characters under his various (Avalon, Sword-in-the-Stone, A+, ACG, Charlton) imprints. Broughton also licensed Herbie to Dark Horse Comics for a 12-issue reprint series, but only two issues were published. In 2008, Dark Horse produced several archive reprints of ACG superhero stories. This includes reprinting all the Herbie stories in three volumes, and single-volume reprints of Nemesis and Magicman.
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- Adventures into the Unknown (174 issues, Fall 1948 - Aug. 1967)
- Cookie (55 issues, Apr. 1946 - Sept. 1955)
- Forbidden Worlds (145 issues, July/Aug. 1951 - Aug. 1967)
- Giggle Comics (99 issues, Oct. 1943 - Jan. 1955) — acquired from Creston Publications
- Ha Ha Comics (99 issues, Oct. 1943 - Dec. 1954/Jan. 1955)
- Herbie (23 issues, Apr./May 1964 - Feb. 1967)
- The Kilroys (54 issues, June/July 1947 - June/July 1955)
- Lovelorn (later changed to Confessions of the Lovelorn) (114 issues, Aug./Sept. 1949 - June/July 1960)
- Romantic Adventures (later changed to My Romantic Adventures) (138 issues, Mar./Apr. 1949 – Mar. 1964)
- Soldiers of Fortune (12 issues, Mar./Apr. 1951 - Jan./Feb. 1953) — acquired from Creston Publications
- Unknown Worlds (57 issues, Aug. 1960 - Aug. 1967)
- Wrangler Great Moments in Rodeo (50 issues, 1955 - 1966)
- B & I Publishing Co., Inc.
- B. & M. Distributing Co., Inc.
- Best Syndicated Features, Inc.
- Creston Publications Corp.
- Culver Publications
- Custom Comics, Inc.
- La Salle Publishing Co.
- Michel Publications, Inc.
- Milt Gross, Inc.
- Modern Store Publications
- Modern Store Publishing
- Preferred Publications, Inc.
- Regis Publications, Inc.
- Scope Magazines, Inc.
- Titan Publishing Co. Inc.
In other media
The July 29, 1952, episode of the Suspense TV series, called "The Crooked Frame", which is about the cancellation of a comic, opens with someone looking through the black-and-white original artwork for covers of a number of ACG comics.[original research?]
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Juvenile Delinquency: Comic Books. Motion Pictures. Obscene and Pornographic Materials. Television Programs. Greenwood Press, 1969. 47. Retrieved on January 25, 2011. "American Comics Group, 45 West 45th Street, New York, NY"
- Goulart, Ron (1986). Great American Comic Books. Contemporary Books : Chicago, Illinois. p. 256. ISBN 0-8092-5045-4.
- Nolan, Michelle (May 1997). "Adventures into the Comic Book Unknown!: ACG's Innovation Gave Birth to a Genre!". Comic Book Marketplace 2 (47). pp. 13–17.
- Bails, Jerry; Ware, Hames, eds. "Sangor, Ben". Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Archived from the original on March 30, 2007.
- "Iger, Fred" at Bails, Ware
- "Donenfeld, Harry" at Bails, Ware
- Wright, Nicky (2000). The Classic Era of American Comics. Contemporary Books. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-8092-9966-9.
- "Full text of Forbidden Worlds 015". American Comics Group via Internet Archive. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- "Full text of Cookie 029". American Comics Group via Internet Archive. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- American Comics Group indicia publishers and American Comics Group imprints at the Grand Comics Database
- American Comics Group at the Grand Comics Database
- American Comics Group at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on April 7, 2012.
- Herbie and The Fat Fury at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived (Herbie and The Fat Fury) from the originals on December 14, 2012, and April 16, 2012, respectively.
- Commander Battle and the Atomic Sub at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on April 7, 2012.
- Vance, Michael (1996). Forbidden Adventures: The History of the American Comics Group. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-29678-2.