Mystic Comics

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For the CrossGen comic book, see Mystic (comics).

Mystic Comics is the name of three comic book series published by the company that would eventually become Marvel Comics. The first two series were superhero anthologies published by Marvel's 1930-1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, during what fans and historians call the Golden Age of comic books. The third, simply titled Mystic, was a horror fiction-suspense anthology from Marvel's 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics.

Mystic Comics (Timely)[edit]

Mystic Comics
Mystic Comics #10 (cover-dated Aug. 1942), featuring the Destroyer. Cover art by Al Gabriele and Syd Shores.
Publication information
Publisher Timely Comics
Schedule (Vol. 1) monthly
(Vol. 2) bimonthly
Format Series
Genre superhero
Publication date (Vol. 1) March 1940 - August 1942
(Vol. 2) October 1944 - March 1945
Number of issues (Vol. 1) 10
(Vol. 2) 4
Main character(s) (Vol. 1) Blazing Skull, Destroyer, Black Widow, Thin Man, Blue Blaze, Flexo the Rubber Man, Terror
(Vol 2) Destroyer, Angel, Young Allies, Human Torch, Tommy Tyme
Creative team
Writer(s) various
Artist(s) various
Editor(s) (Vol. 1) Martin Goodman, Joe Simon, Stan Lee
(Vol. 2) Vincent Fago

Volume 1[edit]

The first two series titled Mystic came during the 1940s Golden Age of Comic Books from publisher Martin Goodman, whose Timely Comics by the early 1960s would evolve into Marvel Comics. The first four issues were nominally edited by Goodman, but the contents came almost entirely from either the Funnies, Inc. or Harry "A" Chesler studios.[1] Editor Joe Simon relaunched the series after a seven-month gap, with future Marvel chief Stan Lee taking over with issue #8 or #9 after Simon was dismissed for moonlighting at rival DC. In total, it ran 10 issues (March 1940 - Aug. 1942).[2]

A superhero anthology with no regular starring feature, Mystic Comics introduced at least three notable characters: the Blazing Skull (issue #5, March 1941), who made appearances both in the Golden Age and in the 2000s;[3][4] and the Destroyer (issue #6, Oct. 1941),[5] noted by comics historian and former Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas as "Stan's most popular superhero creation before the Fantastic Four".[6] The Destroyer was cover-featured for the last half of the run. The Black Widow is comic books' first super-powered, costumed female character; She appeared in Mystic Comics #4 (Aug. 1940) and #5 (Mar. 1941), as well as #7 (Dec. 1941). An antihero who killed evildoers to deliver their souls to Satan, her master, she is unrelated to Marvel Comics' later superspy character, Black Widow.

Additional superheroes introduced in this initial series include the Thin Man, by artist Klaus Nordling and an unknown writer (issue #4, Aug. 1940); the Blue Blaze, by Harry Douglas who signed his name "Harry / Douglas" leading to much confusion and many theories over the possibility of two creators.[7] (#1-4); the robot hero Flexo the Rubber Man (#1-4); the Black Marvel (# 5-9), by artist Al Gabriele and an unknown writer (not Stan Lee as often mis-attributed);[8] and the Terror (# 5-10) by writer Phil Sturm and penciler Syd Shores. The non-superhero trio of detectives the 3Xs (issue # 1) comprised Timely's first team feature.[2]

Volume 2[edit]

Timely's second series titled Mystic Comics was a shorter-lived superhero anthology that ran four issues (Oct. 1944 - March 1945). This later revival was edited by Vincent Fago as Lee had left for military duty in early 1942. Paul Gustavson's costumed detective the Angel was cover-featured for the first three, with one or two stories in each, and the Young Allies on issue #4. Timely star the Human Torch appeared in the first two issues, and time traveler Tommy Tyme in the first three. The Destroyer was the only character with a story every issue.[9]

Other[edit]

A one-shot publication, Mystic Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Oct. 2009), featured a new 22-page story of the Golden Age Vision by writer-artist David Lapham, and reprints of Sub-Mariner, Human Torch and Vision stories from Marvel Mystery Comics #12 and 14.[10]

Mystic (Atlas Comics)[edit]

Mystic
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Publication information
Publisher Atlas Comics
Schedule monthly
Format Series
Genre horror-suspense
Publication date March 1951 - Aug. 1957
Number of issues 61
Creative team
Writer(s) various
Artist(s) various
Editor(s) Stan Lee

Titled simply Mystic and published by Marvel's 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics, this was a 61-issue horror-suspense anthology (March 1951-Aug. 1957).

Mystic debuted shortly before Atlas' Strange Tales (Marvel, 1951 series), increasing the company's science fiction/fantasy/horror line from four to six books. Begun prior to the creation of the comic-book industry's self-censorship board, the Comics Code Authority, Mystic softened its horror and began sporting the Comics Code seal with issue #37 (May 1955). Its contributors included artists Bill Everett and John Severin.[11]

Mystic ran until the collapse of American News Company, Atlas's distributor, which forced Atlas to undergo drastic restructuring and the cancellation of most of its titles.[12]

Collected editions[edit]

  • Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Mystic Comics Volume 1 (Mystic Comics #1-4)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Murray, Will (2011). Cory Sedlmeier, ed. Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Mystic Comics, Vol. 1 (Introduction). New York: Marvel Worldwide, Inc. pp. vi–xi. 
  2. ^ a b Mystic Comics, Marvel, 1940 Series at the Grand Comics Database
  3. ^ Blazing Skull at International Heroes
  4. ^ Blazing Skull (Mark Todd) at Marvel Universe, Marvel.com
  5. ^ The Heroes of Timely Comics: The Destroyer
  6. ^ The Golden Age of Marvel Comics (Marvel, 1997; ISBN 0-7851-0564-6) Introduction, p. 3
  7. ^ "The Origin of the Blue Blaze", "Mystic Comics" #1 at the Grand Comics Database
  8. ^ "The Origin of the Black Marvel", "Mystic Comics" #5 at the Grand Comics Database
  9. ^ Mystic Comics Marvel, 1944 Series at the Grand Comics Database
  10. ^ Mystic Comics 70th Anniversary Special at the Grand Comics Database
  11. ^ Mystic, Marvel, 1951 Series at the Grand Comics Database
  12. ^ "Stan the Man & Roy the Boy: A Conversation Between Stan Lee and Roy Thomas," Comic Book Artist (2). Summer 1998. Archived from the original on November 14, 2009.

External links[edit]