The golden age of comics license apathy

201204060336 The golden age of comics license apathy
Our feverish maunderings about old comics did draw one great link, from Jamie Coville, this interview with DJ Arneson, who was the editor for Dell after Western pulled its licenses and the company essentially started a comics company from scratch in 1962. It’s a fascinating look at the business away from Marvel and DC. And it also provides a glimpse into a long ago Shangri-La before…approvals:

Was there a lot of having to go back to the licensor and getting it all approved with the Monkees?
DJ:
No, there was no approval. We had the license to do it and there was no approval by the licensor. We did the comic and I don’t recall ever a licensor getting back to us. It all would have been after the fact as the book would have already been published.
Coville:

Was all the licensors like that?
DJ:
While I was there I don’t recall any licensed product that required approval by the licensor


You’ll recall that this occurred in the very same decade that man had the courage and focus to go to the moon. Coincidence? We think not.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this, Heidi.

    Veteran comic book artist Tom Gill (LONE RANGER, HI-YO SILVER)told me about being called into a Dell editor’s office in the 60s. Tom’s studio was producing the BONANZA comic book for a time, which ran for 36 issues between 1962 and 1970, encompassing both the Dell and Gold Key imprints.

    The editor pointed out that the compnay was concerned that some of the likenesses of the cast of BONANZA comic book were “off model.” I have to think that someone — if not the licensor, then an editor — DID care about the licensed content. If not its content, then its form.

  2. Torsten Adair says:

    There’s also this gem:
    http://www.comicsbeat.com/2010/12/29/from-the-archives-star-trek-7-march-1970/

    Early Star Trek comic, little reference, produced by Italian craftsmen who probably never saw the television show.

  3. What a great interview! Thanks for calling attention to it. I’ve always been curious to find out a little more about the inner workings of Dell.

  4. Tryke Kemnitz says:

    Hey- I just bought that issue of Monkees this week! Spooooooky!

  5. Hi Tryke,
    Not so spooky that you were afraid to read it, I hope. Fun to know there are still comics fans interested in, well, older stuff. Enjoy The Monkees and all the comics.
    Sincerely,
    DJ Arneson

  6. OOPS! Tryke, I meant to mention I wrote The Monkees…ego lives!
    DJ

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