Saturday, 19 September 2009

70 Years of Marvel - 1958

War comics were big business for Marvel-Atlas, but by 1958, they were on the way out, with Marines In Battle one of the last hold-outs. Atlas itself was in trouble by this point, as its distributor had gone to the wall, forcing it to use the distributor owned by DC Comics instead. Funnily enough, DC weren't keen to give too much shelf space to their rival, so Marvel-Atlas was henceforth restricted to (depending on which figure you believe) 10, 12 or 16 titles, which may also help account for the sudden diminishing number of Atlas war comics.

Elsewhere in 1958, NASA was being born, the Busby Babes were dying in Munich, and Saint Clare of Assisi was being pronounced the patron saint of television. Oh, and Air Force Captain Bruce Kulka accidentally dropped a nuclear bomb on Mars Bluff, South Carolina.

Speaking of television, Gareth Jones severely inconvenienced the producers of Armchair Theatre, by dying (off camera, thankfully) halfway through a live show, while in America, the producers of several prime-time quiz shows were being equally inconvenienced by allegations of show-rigging. 1958 also saw the premiere of two British institutions, Grandstand and Blue Peter.

At the movies, Gigi was winning Best Picture at the Oscars, whilst in the world of books, Lolita was causing something of a stir.

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