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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Detective Comics Key Issues

As requested by Gabriel, this will be a titled specific Detective Comics key issues series, and will only detail the volume one series. There will be a lot of heavy hitters in this series, and many of the key comics in the earlier parts will be hard finds, especially in this part here.

Expect this to be a longer series, and it will be for sure. However, I promise that it will be well worth it and quite a bit of information will be dropped. Lots of solid comic investments and over-looked ones as well for sure.

Without delay, let's get the key comic issues on for this legendary DC Comics title! Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading!

1st appearance of Slam Bradley
1st appearance of Speed Saunders
1st appearance of Cosmo & Bart Regan
1st appearance of Buck Marshall

Huge comic concerning Detective Comics key issues. This first issue has a boat load of first appearances, and although they may not be firsts for superheroes, some of the characters and their stories did have long runs in this anthology title.

Samuel Bradley, known as Slam Bradley, is one of these characters that had quite a few stories in Detective Comics as a private detective who battled street criminals and mostly "Oriental" menaces like Fui Onyui, who also makes his first appearance in this issue as well and is displayed on the cover.

Slam Bradley did resurface in Gotham City as a Batman supporting character Post-Crisis and is one of the few of these early comic characters from to be brought into and used in the Modern Age of comics.

Speed Saunders wass a private investigator during his early comic career. He is another character that is a carried over into the Modern Age of comics and is the grandfather of Kendra Saunders the current Hawkgirl. He is also the first cousin of the original Hawkgirl Shiera Saunders.

This link to the Hawkgirl characters was revealed in the 1999 one-shot Sensation Comics, bringing the character of Speed Saunders back from limbo after 58 years since he last appeared in the 1941 Detective Comics issue #58.

British aristocrat and yet another detective, Cosmo had a few stories of his adventures in the early Detective Comic issues. His last Golden Age appearance is Detective Comics #37 and I'm not sure if he was brought back into the DCU later.

Bart Regan had a pretty long run the Detective Comics. Known as Spy, this character was a United States Secret Service agent and later became an undercover counter-espionage agent.

Bart Regan's appearances and stories would last until issue #80. Detective Comics #1 also sees the first appearance of Sally Norris, Regan's partner and love interest.

A Range Detective and set in the Old West, Buck Marshall investigated crimes in the small towns that he adventured to. Pretty minor character and his adventures in Detective Comics ended with issue #37.

Would be a tough find for sure and probably expensive as all hell, but definitely a solid comic investment for sure. Detective Comics #1 was published March, 1937.

1st appearance of Mr. Chang & Wu
1st appearance of Inspector Daniels
2nd Slam Bradley & Buck Marshall
2nd appearance of Bart Regan & Cosmo

Detective Comics #2 has a few first appearances and starts the Mr. Chang back up feature in this anthology title. Of course, considering the times, Mr. Chang is pretty much an Asian stereo type and is a rip off of the Charlie Chan character.

Although he wears Chinese robes or attire, he speaks clear English. His servant Wu, however, speaks broken English. Inspector Daniels is a supporting character for the Mr. Chang series that lasted only three issues.

This issue also has quite a few 2nd appearances of these early DC Comics characters before the Golden Age of superhero comics would take the industry by storm. All in their own featured stories, this comic sees the 2nd appearance of Slam Bradley, Buck Marshall, Bart Regan and Cosmo.

Detective Comics #2 was published April, 1937, and is a tough find and sought out comic investment.

1st appearance of Hope Hazard
2nd appearance of Speed Saunders
3rd Slam Bradley & Buck Marshall
3rd Bart Regan & Cosmo

Hope Hazard G-Woman makes her first appearance in Detective Comics #3 and the character only has one appearance in Detective Comics. She would appear next in More Fun Comics in which she is not an FBI agent.

Hope Hazard only makes 2 appearances in the world of DC Comics, but this issue would have the 2nd appearance of Speed Saunders and the 3rd appearances of the other early Golden Age DC Comics' characters as well.

The third issue of Detective Comics was published May, 1937.

1st appearance of Lawrence Steele
4rth appearance of Speed Saunders

Larry Steele is another Private Investigator that had a decent run of his own stories in Detective Comics. Steele makes his first appearance in this issue.

Detective Comics #5 also has the 4rth appearance of Speed Saunders. His 3rd appearance is in Detective Comics #4 obviously. This super early Golden Age comic was published July, 1937.

Interior ad for Action Comics #1

If you're into comics that have ads for mega key issues like Action Comics #1, this Detective Comics #16 is definitely an issue that had it. This comic also has the same publishing month and date.

As we all know, Superman would spearhead the superhero genre of comics, and it would never be the same again. This title would also introduce a very important superhero in the world of comics.

As for Detective Comics, the series would continue with the non-superhero mystery and detective characters for a few more issues before Batman would ultimately take over the title. Not really a key issue or anything, June, 1938 is the publishing date for this comic.

1st Fu Manchu in Detective

No doubt a terribly stereo-typical character that depicted the Yellow Peril perception that the west and the U.S. had, and to be honest, I think still has to a pretty large degree about Asians in particular, Fu Manchu is a villainous character created by British author Sax Rohmer.

Dr. Fu Manchu first appeared in the novel The Mystery of Fu Manchu in 1913 and the character became an archetype for the evil genius criminal that would later be found extensively in movies, pulps, and especially comics.

Fu Manchu's first comic book appearance is right here in Detective Comics #17. Although the character did have a continuing back up feature, the stories in Detective were actually reprints of the newspaper comic strips that ran from 1931 to 1933 and were drawn by Leo O'Mealia. 

The first original story written for the character in comics was in The Mask of Dr. Fu Manchu and published by Avon in 1951. The character also carried over into Marvel's library of comic characters as the father of Shang Chi Master of Kung Fu. July, 1938 is the publishing date for this Golden Age comic.

1st appearance of Crimson Avenger

Before Batman there was the Crimson Avenger. Not a superhero and more of a masked vigilante, the Crimson Avenger was visually like the Shadow, wearing a trench coat, a fedora and a red mask.

Character wise he was similar to the Green Hornet. He had an Asian chauffeur and crime-fighting partner, and also had a gas gun.

Lee Walter Travis was also a rich newsman. There would be other versions of the character, but Lee Walter Travis is the original Crimson Avenger and lived in DC's Earth Two universe.

Detective Comics #20 was published October, 1938.

Quite a bit of non-superhero characters. This period would be the dawn of the superhero genre, and of course, there is a leading up or building on it before that happens.

As the name states, this comic was purely a mystery and crime magazine before one superhero would make his first appearance in it and dominate the titled series. We all know who that superhero is. 

In truth, any of the earlier Detective Comics issues are great snags and solid comic investments. As expected, no easy finds either online or off, and they will surely require a hunt to track down.

Click the Part 2 link below to continue with this Detective key issues series.



  1. Thanks a lot for making this and did you see the awesome haul I got?

    1. Yep, saw it, Gabriel. Quite impressive and congrats on the recent haul!

  2. Hi mayhem. Any chance you could put this collection in parts 1 2 3 4 on the bottom of part 1 as you have done with other titles. Much more convenient to skip past issues to get to parts that pertain to my own collection. Thanks. You should do this for all titles that have long runs. Thanks bud.