Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Centaur Publications Demise
Wham Comics #2 (December 1940) [Centaur Publications]
This final day in November of 1940 was probably one of the last days that you could have purchased a Centaur Publications comic book on the newsstands. Their remaining four comic titles all have December cover dates. Comic books were actually on sale a month or two before the cover date, so sometime during December, the newsdealer would have removed their comics to make room for more.
Maybe he would have made room for Amazing Man Comics #19, which was published by Comic Corporation of America. But if you had bought that issue, you would have given your money to essentially the same company. It seems, according to the Statement of Ownership published in their comics, that both companies were owned by some of the same people, Raymond J. Kelly, Joseph J. Hardie, and E. L. Angel.
Centaur had published 133 different comics in 19 different titles from 1938 to 1940. But, Centaur filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 20 owing their printer (World Color) and others thousands of dollars [New York Times, Oct. 21, 1940]. So, did the owners just change their company name and keep publishing comics?
Centaur Publications, Comic Corporation of America, Ultem Publications, Comics Magazine Company, Kable Distribution, and others are all linked together in a convoluted way. All at the the beginning of comic periodical history.
To get a better understanding for these connections, I built a mindmap for Centaur Publications. Its not complete, but its a start. The map is large, but moves around easily by clicking and dragging.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding these companies and what went on. If you are interested in the nitty gritty details of their interconnections or know something about the business, then the newly formed Google Group "comics-pub" is for you. The Centaur mindmap is a result of our first discussion. We are not limiting our topics to just Golden Age comics, as we discuss the entire history of the business including printing, distribution, circulation and more.