Mr District Attorney #12 Poster (1950) by Howard Purcell DC Comics


SKU: 14689 Category:


From 1939 to 1952, radio listeners across America thrilled to the exploits of an unnamed crusading D.A. known only as “Mr. District Attorney,” or “The Chief.” Modeled in part on New York Governor Thomas Dewey, the onetime racket-busting Manhattan D.A., Mr. District Attorney didn’t just prosecute crimes- he solved mysteries, relentlessly hunted down criminals, and meted out his own brand of two-fisted justice. In 1948, DC gave the character his own comic. It would live on for eleven years, long past the cancellation of the original radio show and a short-lived television adaptation. Supplying much of the interior art and many of the striking covers for the series was Howard Purcell, better known to that point for drawing quasi-supernatural characters like Sargon the Sorceror and the Golden Age Green Lantern. His cover image for Mr. District Attorney #12 is a precursor of sorts to the many monkey- and gorilla-themed covers that would prove popular for the rest of the decade. Mr. District Attorney is a popular radio crime drama which aired on NBC and ABC from April 3, 1939 to June 13, 1952 (and in transcribed syndication through 1953). The series focused on a crusading D.A., initially known only as “Mister District Attorney,” or “Chief”, and was later translated to television. On television the D.A. had a name, Paul Garrett, and the radio version picked up this name in the final years when David Brian played the role. A key figure in the dramas was the D.A.’s secretary, Edith Miller (Vicki Vola). Like its contemporary, Gang Busters, the crime comic Mr District Attorney was licensed from a popular radio show. The radio version had been on air since 1939 and DC was quick to advertise its popular pedigree with a cover banner reading, “Based on radio’s #1 hit!” Its subject was the tough talking (and nameless) District Attorney, an implacable and callous force for justice who fought ugly and amoral crooks with colorful names like, “Smoke-rings” Thomson and the Pittsburgh Kid. Mr District Attorney came along at the right time to catch a wave of crime comics and lasted for 67 issues. Howard Purcell (November 10, 1918 – April 24, 1981) was an American comic-book artist and writer active from the 1940s Golden Age of comics through the 1960s Silver Age. A longtime penciler and cover artist for DC Comics, one of the field’s two largest firms, he co-created the Golden Age characters Sargon the Sorcerer and the Gay Ghost (renamed in the 1970s the Grim Ghost) for All-American Publications, one of the companies, with National Comics and Detective Comics, that merged to form DC. Purcell also drew the famous cover of Green Lantern #1 (Fall 1941).