Klaus Janson in the house … and Ask The DWO!

In response to the little bit of internet love that I gave to Man-Bull in my last (Dec. 8th) Miscellaneous Monday, the one-and-only comics master Klaus Janson found this modest, but fanatic blog and posted the following comment,


Jungle Action #13: Janson's first cover?

Guys-DD#129 was not the first cover I inked at Marvel! I happen to be cleaning out my workspace and came across Jungle Action #13 from January 1975 which has a cover penciled by Gil Kane and inked by me. So that predates the DD cover by a good year or so. Not sure if the Jungle Action cover was the first cover I ever inked but it might be. Good times!

I’ve always been a huge Klaus Janson fan and I’m pleased and humbled that he stumbled across my blog and posted a comment. Thanks for clearing up the erroneous information that I had taken from an unreliable source (Ebay). As they say, Ebay “buyers beware.”


Last week’s ASK THE DWO installment proved so popular that we’re going to do it again. This is your chance to ask me, The DWO (David Wesley Olbrich) anything that you want. Answers are not guaranteed. If you are stumped for a quesiton, check out the BACKGROUND page for a brief list of many areas of interest and/or expertise.

Click on the COMMENTS link at the end of this post and ask your question.

Last week’s questions generated some interesting information about the difference between fur and hair including a side-trip to talk about furry comic characters. We also answered some questions about the Comics Code Authority.


Chris asks:



Great info on the Comics Code, most of which I was ignorant of, especially the trivia about Dell. Here’s a question for you – who were the big publishers in the fifties and what the heck happened to them?

DWO answers:

According to the 1954 senate report, there were 109 comic publishers releasing 674 titles. The top ten publishers and the number of titles each was publishing is listed below.

1. Gilbertson Co. – 94

2. Dell Comics – 88

3. St. John Publications – 55

4. National Comics Publications – 40

5. Song Hits – 21

6. K.K. Publications – 19

7. Star Publications – 19

8. Magazine Enterprises – 17

Dell's original TUROK

Dell's original TUROK

9. Toby Press – 16

10. Avon Periodicals – 16

It is easy to see why Gilbertson and Dell were willing and able to refuse to participate in the self-censorship of the Comics Code Authority. Partly it was their sterling reputation for “child friendly” content, but their domination of the comic landscape at the time must have also been a significant factor. Gilbertson was the publisher of Classics Illustrated.

Dell at the time was responsible for approximately one-third of all comic book sales and the publisher George Delacorte said that he didn’t want to associate his company with those publishing “inferior products we deemed then, and deem now, unsuitable and unpublishable for our children.” To keep the senate investigators off their backs, Dell published in each issue a “Pledge to Parents” instead.

As most comics folk know, National Publications at the #4 spot eventually morphed into DC Comics.

From Harvey Comics

From Harvey Comics

Some quick interesting facts from the numbers. Well known publishers Harvey Publications (15 titles), Archie Comics (9 titles) and Fawcett Publications (9 titles) were in the top 16 publishers at the time. If you put Marvel and Timely together (both distributed by Atlas Magazines) they only had three (3) titles listed in the 1954 report. There were 29 publishers listed with only one (1) title, 33 publishers with only two (2) titles and 13 publishers with only three (3) titles.

As far as what happened to them, that is probably a research project for another day.


The eight Gorilla creators were comic stalwarts:

Kurt Busiek, Todd Dezago, Tom Grummett, Stuart Immomen, Karl Kesel. George Pérez. Mark Waid, Mike Wieringo. Here are a couple of pictures from the Gorilla launch party at Mid-Ohio Con 2000. And I got some of my information wrong in the question, only six of the eight “gorillas” attended, Dezago and Pérez were missing.

Gorilla Tom Grummett

Gorilla Tom Grummett

Gorilla Karl Kesel

Gorilla Karl Kesel

OKAY, see the Comment link below. Now it is time to ASK THE DWO !!!

— (DWO) Dave Olbrich (Fri. Dec. 12, 2008)



Filed under Ask The DWO, Behind the Scenes

2 responses to “Klaus Janson in the house … and Ask The DWO!

  1. Chris Ulm

    Thanks for the complete answer, Dwo. Amazing how much has changed and how many companies have come and gone in the comics biz.

  2. Dave Olbrich

    I was struck by even though things have changed, things have remained the same. Two big publishers dominating the marketplace with product aimed at “traditional” customers with all the publishers chasing them with a variety of strategies.

    Be sure to vote for in our 2nd String Hall of Fame poll.

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