This month in DC History

The first appearance of Red Hood happened in 1951. Although the current Red Hood is Jason Todd, the first Red Hood was actually one of a group of criminals in a gang called the Red Hood gang. The gang would take turns under the hood giving the appearance that there was a singular mastermind behind the crimes. Red Hood was also used as the origin for The Joker but didn’t tell us how he got those scars.

What else happened in 1951?

  • Killer Moth was introduced (also in February). Although he’s now usually seen at the but of a joke. Killer Moth started out to be the “anti-Batman” and got his own “Mothmobile.” He also probably had two living parents who took care of him as he grew up, can’t get more “anti-Batman” than that.
  • Space was all the rage while superheroes were struggling so DC came out with Mystery in Space, it’s second space title. Spoiler alert: The Space Butler did it.
  • All Star Comics, which was a buffet of all the hero comics DC was producing, met it’s end. It ended on issue 57 with the ironically titled story “The Mystery of the Vanishing Detectives.”

The covers from Mystery in Space #111 to #116. The first five are by Joe Kubert. The last is by Jim Starlin.

The lovely Kubert covers drew my eye to these in the dollar bin, but it turns out they’re more than just a pretty face, boasting colorful, weird, twisty stories. The tone and subject matter varies a lot more than in the Bronze Age DC horror anthologies I’ve read. It certainly helps that big name creators do a lot of the heavy lifting. Steve Ditko, J.M. Dematteis, and Mike W. Barr all contribute multiple stories and people like Brian Bolland, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman and Jim Aparo make appearances as well.

You can check out some interior art work here.