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I Love Ya But You’re Strange – Batman, Spider-Man and Superman Team Up…to Print Comic Books?!

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today we take a look at one of the odder comic books from comic book great Joe Kubert’s oeuvre, a 1977 promotional comic book for a printing company that features Marvel and DC characters working together to print comic books!

Originally created just to print color supplements for the 1904 World’s Fair, the owners of World’s Fair Color Printing quickly realized that the booming market for Sunday color comic strips in newspapers justified the continuation of the company. So they changed the name to World Color Printing and over the next 100 years became the most dominant name in the world of comic production, both in Sunday funnies and later the production of comic books (in fact, some of the very earliest comic books period were made by World Color Printing in an attempt to expand their comic market by collecting a bunch of Sunday comic strips into “books”).

By 1977, pretty much every major comic book company used World Color Press to print their books, so that gave the company a unique position with all of the major companies, leading to this promotional comic to celebrate “World Color Press Day” in June 1977, co-written and drawn by the great Joe Kubert and starring (and co-written) by World Color Press’ Jim Broderick…oh, and every major DC and Marvel comic book character!

The fascinating thing about this book is that it was specifically designed as a promotional comic book for potential World Color Press clients, so it is not just some dumb book for little kids. It is actually a fairly detailed behind the scenes look at how comic books were printed in 1977, right from the beginning of the books to the end. Here are some examples, featuring a few familiar guest stars…

I don’t want to show you too much of the book, so here are just the cameos in the rest of the book…

And it closes with an impressive display of all of the comic book stars whose titles were printed by World Color Press back in the day. Pretty much everyone but the Disney comic books…

Sadly, World Color Press had some problems adjusting to the 21st Century shift towards digital, with magazines, newspapers and comic books all dramatically lowering print runs. They declared bankruptcy in 2008 and in 2010 they were purchased by Quad/Graphics.

18 Comments

Wow. Please tell me we can use this book for the weekly “SIx Degrees”! I don’t know if I’ll ever need a Casper/Howard the Duck link, but there it is.

Excellent Kubert art throughout. Jim Broderick reminded me a bit of Julie Schwartz. I’m assuming he’s long retired or has passed away by now.

Very nostalgic piece on an important aspect of the comics biz. Whenever I hear of Sparta, Illinois, the first things I think of are the film “In the Heat of the Night” …and lots of comic books. Same deal with Racine, Wisconsin, and the legendary Golden Press. (Home to the various Disney comic imprints such as Dell, Gold Key, and Whitman.)

1904-2008? That’s a VERY long run for any company!

BTW, there’s an issue of Peter David’s Incredible Hulk where he fights X-Factor inside the Gold Press factory in Sparta. Two employees of Gold’s (I don’t know if they were real or not) thank X-Factor when they subdue the Hulk. I wonder if somebody at Gold won a contest with Marvel to get in there, or if Gold pulled a favor to get drawn into a Marvel comic, or something.

What I love most about publications like this (and house ads) is that you always get the “flavor of the month” mixed in with the giants. Howard the Duck sharing space with Superman and Archie? Waaagh!

I want one of those metal plates they engrave. Let me guess, those things ended up in the trash.

love how the characters both from marvel and dc plus even richie rich and conan were all together as the staff of the company working on the book. plus knowing it was done by joe kubret. suppose trying to track down a copy is a rare thing now adays

Why is Jughead not wearing a shirt? That’s kinda disturbing.

Does this count as an Avengers/Justice League crossover?

That Hulk is the funniest thing i have ever seen in my life! HaHAHAHaahahahHAHAHahaHaha

No Gold Key or Charlton, or any of the smaller specialty publishers like Spire (unless they simply weren’t shown due to obscurity). But Marvel, DC, Archie, and Harvey– all the biggies. That’s pretty impressive.

the collector – good question about the plates. i would think they would either burnish the engraving off the plate and re-use it or melt it down to create a new plate. seems like a pricey item to throw out after one use.

This piece really interested me so I did some additional research online. Check it out.

Vintage footage of World Color Press Day – June 18, 1977:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpFR7wVyaMw

IIRC Charlton & Western Publishing (Gold Key/Whitman) did their own publishing hence none of their characters appearing & I believe Gold Key held the Disney license at this time.

Eric Henry – I guess Jughead’s just trying to blend in with the 6 other shirtless characters shown. ;-)

That was worth it just to see Joe Kubert draw Marvel and characters, as well as Wonder Woman, Superman and Captain Marvel.

Francie Broderick

November 4, 2013 at 6:57 am

Jim Broderick was my dad and we loved growing up with a father who “made comic books”
When this book came out my sister and I teased that of all the superheroes Wonder Woman was the only one who called him “Mr.” When he retired, some of the illustrators for Superman andBatman drew panels with him being congratulated on his retirement, which my brother Jimmy Broderick has I believe. My dad loved this part of his job, meeting publishers and writers. Glad to see this up here.

Francie Broderick

November 4, 2013 at 6:59 am

Hey, just wondering how you came across this? I have some copies buried in a trunk but wonder how you happened to have it

James Broderick Jr.

November 4, 2013 at 8:39 am

Really cool,My five brothers and sisters grew up on comic books and then dad was in one,thats why he and all of us have a great sense of humor.He’s a great guy and without him comic books wouldn’t be the same.He’s our SUPERMAN.

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