The Atlas Comics Library No. 5: Police Action (The Fantagraphics Atlas Comics Library) (Hardcover)

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The Atlas Comics Library No. 5: Police Action (The Fantagraphics Atlas Comics Library) By Joe Maneely (By (artist)), Gene Colan (By (artist)), Bob Powell (By (artist)), Dr. Michael J. Vassallo (Series edited by) Cover Image

The Atlas Comics Library No. 5: Police Action (The Fantagraphics Atlas Comics Library) (Hardcover)

By Joe Maneely (By (artist)), Gene Colan (By (artist)), Bob Powell (By (artist)), Dr. Michael J. Vassallo (Series edited by)

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Pre-Code cops and robbers' action from the early 1950s! The fifth stand-alone genre-themed collection in Fantagraphics’ archival series of mid-century Marvel Comics.


Before focusing on tales of justice via superheroes under the Marvel banner, the publisher covered ground-level crime across a range of comics titles and true-crime magazines. Under the Timely imprint from 1947, and Atlas from 1951, up to eleven graphic series including Justice Comics, Official True Crime Cases, All-True Crime, Crime Cases, Crime Can't Win, Crime Must Lose, and Crime Exposed all muscled each other and competitors for space on the newsstands.

For the first crime-themed volume in Fantagraphics' ongoing project to restore and resurrect pre-Marvel pulp classics, the Atlas Library has selected a book that debuted as the genre peaked, just before a Senate hearing and the institution of the Comics Code banned the use of the word "Crime" from even appearing in a comic's title. Escaping that fate, Police Action had a seven-issue run of violent and noir-ish morality plays, pitting the officers of the law against the forces of urban malevolence, and was produced by the cream of the Atlas freelance roster, including Joe Maneely, Robert Q. Sale, Gene Colan, Art Peddy, Mort Lawrence, Werner Roth and Bob Powell.


Rounding the volume off, also presented is a post-Code one-shot, Police Badge #479, a snapshot of the industry's attempts to adapt to new strictures on the genre: here we view "our boys in blue" in the fight against rank corruption, highlighting the work of Don Heck and Joe Maneely.



Joe Maneely (1926–1958, b. Philadelphia, PA) blazed a trail through Marvel’s 1950s comic books that is unsurpassed in both quantity and quality. Maneely was revered as a lightning-fast talent, and he launched most of Marvel’s character features during that time, excelling at every genre — westerns, horror, humor, and war. He is best remembered today for his signature character, The Black Knight. Maneely’s career was tragically cut short in June 1958 when, at the age of 32, he accidentally fell between the cars of a moving commuter train.

Eugene Jules Colan (1926 - 2011) was an American comic book artist best known for his work for Marvel Comics, where his signature titles include the superhero series Daredevil, the cult-hit satiric series Howard the Duck, and The Tomb of Dracula, considered one of comics' classic horror series.

Bob Powell (1916-1967) first made his mark in pulp comics for Fiction House and the Eisner / Iger studio, where he was a prolific artist on “Sheena the Jungle Queen.” He carried on to Will Eisner’s solo shop, where Powell co-wrote the first “Blackhawk” story and wrote & drew “Mr. Mystic” for the weekly newspaper insert The Spirit Section. During the 1950s, he freelanced for Atlas, Fawcett, Harvey, Street and Smith’s Shadow Comics, and many more. From 1961 until his death, he worked as the art director for Joe Simon’s satirical Sick magazine, with other freelance work including several Marvel superhero stories, and penciling the art for Topps’ famed Mars Attacks series of trading cards.

Dr. Michael J. Vassallo is a noted historian on Marvel's early pulp, Timely and Atlas periods. A Manhattan dentist, he spends his free time attempting to bring recognition to artistic creators of the 1940's and 1950's. He has also written introductions to 20 Timely and Atlas Masterworks volumes, dissecting the credits for posterity and providing historical context, as well as writing the detailed captions to the first 210 pages of Taschen's 75 Years of Marvel coffee table book. He lives in Westchester County, New York.
Product Details ISBN: 9798875000058
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Publication Date: November 19th, 2024
Pages: 254
Language: English
Series: The Fantagraphics Atlas Comics Library