Detective Comics #11 Poster (1938) by Creig Fiessel DC


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Speed Saunders appears to be reaching the end of his rope in this classic Creig Flessel cover from the pre-Batman days of Detective Comics. The dapper, pipe-puffing federal agent- whose given name was Cyril- was a fixture of the pulp-influenced anthology title daying back to its first issue. He worked the docks battling waterfront crooks, sinister talking apes, and, in this issue, a band of dangerous anarchists. Flessel invariably depicts him as unflappable, looking resplendent in an array of fedoral and double-breasted suits. When not supplying distinctive covers for these early issues of Detective Comics, Flessel was occasionally pressed into service as a writer. “They were desperate for material…There was a comedy routine: They’d say “Two pages,” and you’d do two pages off the top of your head. The covers I could give a little more thought, as compared to many of the so-called stories. …I also had the first black man in a comic strip. I think they were in such a hurry that they didn’t even notice that he was black. He was a crew member of a special gas-operated ship. I was very ahead of my time. I was reading science fiction at that time.”- Craig Flessel, on the wild early days of Detective Comics. Detective Comics is an American comic book series published monthly by DC Comics since 1937, best known for introducing the superhero Batman in Detective Comics #27 (cover dated May 1939). It is the source of its publishing company’s name and with Action Comics, the comic book launched with the debut of Superman, one of the medium’s signature series. With 881 monthly issues published in the first volume, it is the longest continuously published comic book in the United States. Creig Valentine Flessel (February 2, 1912 – July 17, 2008) was an American comic book artist and an illustrator and cartoonist for magazines ranging from Boys’ Life to Playboy. One of the earliest comic book illustrators, he was a 2006 nominee for induction into the comics industry’s Will Eisner Hall of Fame. Concentrating his attention on the fledgling comics medium, Flessel drew the covers of many of the first American comic books, including the pre-Batman Detective Comics #2-19 (April 1937 – Sept. 1938). Flessel, who drew many early adventures of the Golden Age Sandman and is closely associated with that character, has sometimes been credited as the character’s co-creator.