World's Finest Comics

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For other uses, see World's Finest (disambiguation).
World's Finest Comics
Cover of World's Best Comics #1 (Spring 1941)
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Quarterly #1-20
Bimonthly #21-95 and #244-269
Monthly #96-243 and #270-323
Format Ongoing series
Genre
Publication date Spring 1941 – January 1986
Number of issues 323
Main character(s) Superman
Batman
Robin
Creative team
Writer(s)
Penciller(s)
Inker(s)
Collected editions
World's Finest Archives Volume 1 ISBN 1-56389-488-2
World's Finest Archives Volume 2 ISBN 1-56389-743-1
World's Finest Archives Volume 3 ISBN 1-4012-0411-2

World's Finest Comics was an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1941 to 1986. The series was initially titled World's Best Comics for its first issue; issue #2 (Summer 1941) switched to the more familiar name. Most likely the reason for the title change was that DC received a cease and desist letter from Better Publications, Inc., who had been publishing a comic book entitled Best Comics since November 1939.[1]

Virtually every issue featured DC's two leading superheroes, Superman and Batman, with the earliest issues also featuring Batman's sidekick, Robin.

Publication history[edit]

The idea for World's Best #1 originated from the identically formatted 1940 New York World's Fair Comics featuring Superman, Batman, and Robin with 96 pages and a cardboard cover. The year before there was a similar 1939 New York World's Fair Comics featuring Superman but without Batman and Robin because Bill Finger and Bob Kane had not yet created them.

The series was initially a 96 page quarterly anthology, featuring various DC characters - always including Superman and Batman - in separate stories.[2] Comics historian Les Daniels noted that "Pairing Superman and Batman made sense financially, since the two were DC's most popular heroes."[3] When superheroes fell out of vogue in the early 1950s, DC shortened the size of the publication to that of the rest of its output, leaving only enough space for one story; this led to Superman and Batman appearing in the same story together starting with World's Finest Comics #71 (July 1954).[4] The series continued to feature Superman and Batman team-ups until issue #197.

The title briefly featured Superman teaming with heroes other than Batman in the early 1970s beginning with issue #198 (November 1970).[5] That issue featured the first part of a two-issue team-up with the Flash.[6][7] Other characters to appear in the next two years included Robin,[8] Green Lantern,[9] Aquaman,[10] Wonder Woman,[11] the Teen Titans,[12] Doctor Fate,[13] Hawkman,[14] Green Arrow,[15] the Martian Manhunter,[16] the Atom,[17] and the Vigilante.[18] Nick Cardy was the cover artist for World's Finest Comics for issues #212-228.[19] Metamorpho was the backup feature in issues #218-220 and #229 after the character had a brief run as the backup in Action Comics.[20]

The series reverted to Superman and Batman team-ups after issue #214, initially with a unique twist, featuring the children they might one day have, Superman Jr. and Batman Jr. These characters, billed as the Super-Sons, were co-created by writer Bob Haney and artist Dick Dillin in issue #215 (January 1973).[21] Super-Sons stories alternated with tales of the original Superman and Batman through issue #263, with issues #215-216, 221-222, 224, 228, 230, 231, 233, 238, 242, and 263 featuring the sons.[22] Haney frequently disregarded continuity by scripting stories which contradicted DC's canon or by writing major heroes in an out-of-character fashion.[23]

With issue #244 (April–May 1977), World's Finest Comics became one of the first 80 page Dollar Comics.[24] It featured the Superman and Batman team with back-up features. The number of pages was reduced from 80 to 64 starting with issue #252 (August–September 1978) and reduced to 48 pages with issue #266 (December 1980-January 1981) which lasted until issue #282 (August 1982).

1st Feature 2nd Feature 3rd Feature 4th Feature
Green Arrow[25]
#244-259, 261-270, 272-284
Vigilante
#244-248
Wonder Woman of Earth-Two
#244-250
Black Canary[25]
#244-256
Atom
#260
Creeper
#249-255
Wonder Woman
#251-252
Black Lightning
#257-261
Hawkman
#256-259, 261-262, 264-270,
272-277, 279-282
Shazam!
#253-270, 272-282
Aquaman
#262-264
Adam Strange
#263
Red Tornado
#265-270, 272
Plastic Man
#273
Zatanna
#274-278
no fourth backup feature
#260, 279-282

Issue #250 (April–May 1978) combined Superman and Batman with Green Arrow, the Black Canary, and Wonder Woman into the World's Finest Team in a 56 page story.[26] Writer Roy Thomas wrote a book-length story for issue #271 (September 1981) which pieced together all the "first meetings" of Superman and Batman.[27] This issue did not have any backup features.

As of issue #283 (September 1982), the series reverted to a standard format title again featuring only Superman and Batman team-ups, which continued until the series' cancellation with issue #323 (January 1986).

Notable Issues[edit]

Noted Batman artist Neal Adams first drew the character in an interior story in "The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads" in issue #175 (May 1968).[28]

Issue #272 (October 1981) in the Hawkman story "Drive" Me To The Moon! Hawkgirl changed her title to Hawkwoman.

The series reached issue #300 in February 1984. This double-sized anniversary issue was a "jam" featuring a story by writers David Anthony Kraft, Mike W. Barr, and Marv Wolfman with art by Ross Andru, Mark Texeira, Sal Amendola, and George Pérez.[29][30]

Issue #314 (April 1985) had the distinction of being the last Pre-Crisis and first Crisis on Infinite Earths appearances of the Monitor and (Lyla) Harbinger.

Titles[edit]

A number of World's Finest titles have since appeared:

Collected editions[edit]

Title Volume Material collected Publication date ISBN
World's Finest Archives 1 World's Finest Comics #71–85 and Superman #76 March 1999 978-1563894886
2 World's Finest Comics #86–101 January 2002 978-1563897436
3 World's Finest Comics #102–116 September 2005 978-1401204112
Batman: The World's Finest Comics Archives 1 Batman stories from World's Finest Comics #1–16 and New York World's Fair Comics #2 October 2002 978-1563898198
2 Batman stories from World's Finest Comics #17–32 January 2005 978-1401201630
Superman: The World's Finest Comics Archives 1 Superman stories from World's Finest Comics #1–16 and New York World's Fair Comics #1-2 September 2004 978-1401201517
2 Superman stories from World's Finest Comics #17-32 November 2009 978-1401224707
Showcase Presents: World's Finest 1 World's Finest Comics #71–111 and Superman #76 October 2007 978-1401216979
2 World's Finest Comics #112–145 October 2008 978-1401219819
3 World's Finest Comics #146-60, #162-69, #171–73 March 2010 978-1401225858
4 World's Finest Comics #174-178, #180-187, #189-196, #198-202 November 2012 978-1401237363
Showcase Presents: Green Arrow 1 Green Arrow stories from World's Finest Comics #95-140 January 2006 978-1401207854
Showcase Presents: Aquaman 2 Aquaman stories from World's Finest Comics #130-133, 135, 137, and 139 January 2008 978-1401217129
Superman vs. The Flash 1 Superman #199, The Flash #175, World's Finest Comics #198–199, and DC Comics Presents #1-2, May 2005 978-1401204563
Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons 1 Super Sons stories from World's Finest Comics #215–216, 221–222, 224, 228, 230-231, 233, 238, 242, 263 and Elseworlds 80-Page Giant #1 December 2007 978-1401215026
The Creeper by Steve Ditko 1 Creeper stories from World's Finest Comics #249-255 April 2010 978-1401225919

In other media[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Uslan, Michael (2004). "Forward". Superman: The World's Finest Comics Archives Vol. 1. DC Comics. p. 7. ISBN 1-4012-0151-2. 
  2. ^ Wallace, Daniel; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1940s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "With ninety-six packed pages and DC's three biggest stars sharing the cover, World's Best Comics promised a galaxy of stories for the low price of 15 cents...The new ongoing title, renamed World's Finest Comics with issue #2, featured heavy-hitters Superman and Batman." 
  3. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch. p. 57. ISBN 0821220764. 
  4. ^ Irvine, Alex "1950s" in Dolan, p. 73: "Although the covers of World's Finest Comics had teased co-appearances of Batman and Superman for years, the first joint adventure of the two in the comic occurred in issue #71...written by Alvin Schwartz, pencilled by Curt Swan, and inked by Stan Kaye."
  5. ^ Kingman, Jim (August 2013). "Men of Steel: Superman and Julius Schwartz in World's Finest Comics and DC Comics Presents". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (66): 51–53. 
  6. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Race to Save the Universe!" World's Finest Comics 198 (November 1970)
  7. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Race to Save Time" World's Finest Comics 199 (December 1970)
  8. ^ Friedrich, Mike (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Prisoners of the Immortal World!" World's Finest Comics 200 (February 1971)
  9. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "A Prize of Peril!" World's Finest Comics 201 (March 1971)
  10. ^ Skeates, Steve (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Who's Minding the Earth?" World's Finest Comics 203 (June 1971)
  11. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Journey to the End of Hope!" World's Finest Comics 204 (August 1971)
  12. ^ Skeates, Steve (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "The Computer that Captured a Town!" World's Finest Comics 205 (September 1971)
  13. ^ Wein, Len (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Peril of the Planet-Smashers!" World's Finest Comics 208 (December 1971)
  14. ^ Friedrich, Mike (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Meet the Tempter.... and Die!" World's Finest Comics 209 (February 1972)
  15. ^ Maggin, Elliot S! (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "World of Faceless Slaves!" World's Finest Comics 210 (March 1972)
  16. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "...And So My World Begins!" World's Finest Comics 212 (June 1972)
  17. ^ Maggin, Elliot S! (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Peril in a Very Small Place!" World's Finest Comics 213 (August–September 1972)
  18. ^ Skeates, Steve and O'Neil, Dennis (w), Dillin, Dick (p), Giella, Joe (i). "A Beast Stalks the Badlands" World's Finest Comics 214 (October–November 1972)
  19. ^ Coates, John (1999). "Art Index". The Art of Nick Cardy. Coates Publishing. pp. 172–173. ISBN 1-887591-22-2. 
  20. ^ Stroud, Bryan (May 2013). "Metamorpho in Action Comics". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (64): 22–27. 
  21. ^ McAvennie, Michael "1970s" in Dolan, p. 157: "Scribe Bob Haney and artist Dick Dillin introduced the DC Universe to an alternate timeline starring the World's Finest offspring in January's World's Finest Comics #215."
  22. ^ Super-Sons at the Grand Comics Database
  23. ^ Eury, Michael (August 2013). "The Batman of Earth-B: The Caped Crusader's Bravest and Boldest Writer, Bob Haney". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (66): 2–5. 
  24. ^ Romero, Max (July 2012). "I'll Buy That For a Dollar! DC Comics' Dollar Comics". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (57): 39–41. 
  25. ^ a b Kingman, Jim (May 2013). "The Ballad of Ollie and Dinah". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (64): 10–21. 
  26. ^ Conway, Gerry (w), Tuska, George (p), Colletta, Vince (i). "The Reality War!/Collision With Destiny/The Ravager of Time" World's Finest Comics 250 (April–May 1978)
  27. ^ Thomas, Roy (w), Buckler, Rich (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "The Secret Origins of the Superman and Batman Team!" World's Finest Comics 271 (September 1981)
  28. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 129: "1968 was the year when Neal Adams and Batman's fates became forever intertwined...Adams tackled his first interior with Batman on Leo Dorfman's script for 'The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads' story in World's Finest Comics #175."
  29. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 206: "In the tradition of DC's anniversary editions, World's Finest Comics #300 was an extra-length issue contributed to by a variety of comic book talent. Written by David Anthony Kraft, Mike W. Barr, and Marv Wolfman, and illustrated by Ross Andru, Mark Texeira, Sal Amendola, and George Pérez."
  30. ^ Wiggins, Randall C. (December 2013). "World's Finest Comics #300: An Epic in the Making". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (69): 64–67. 
  31. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 246: "Writer Dave Gibbons and artist Steve Rude presented a three-issue miniseries...that proved the World's Finest team of Superman and Batman was still relevant."
  32. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 289: ""Batman and Superman reunited in April [1999] in the ten-issue limited series World's Finest...The series was written by Karl Kesel."
  33. ^ Anderson, Kevin J. (2009). Enemies & Allies: A Novel. William Morrow and Company. p. 336. ISBN 0061662550. 
  34. ^ "Batman/Superman showcases meeting of DC Comics icons". USA Today. February 21, 2013. Archived from the original on July 7, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2013. 
  35. ^ Kushins, Josh (January 12, 2012). "DC Comics in 2012-–-Introducing the "Second Wave" of DC Comics The New 52". The Source. DC Comics. Archived from the original on January 14, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  36. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (January 13, 2012). "Paul Levitz Explains More About Worlds' Finest, Earth 2". Newsarama. Archived from the original on January 29, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  37. ^ Levitz, Paul (w), Pérez, George; Maguire, Kevin (p), Koblish, Scott (i). "Rebirth" Worlds' Finest 1 (July 2012)
  38. ^ Harvey, James (June 29, 2009). "Press Release for Superman/Batman: Public Enemies Direct-to-Video Animated Feature". World Finest. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  39. ^ "Cover Art for Superman/Batman: Apocalypse". Superhero Hype!. June 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 

External links[edit]