Fox Feature Syndicate (also known as Fox Comics and Fox Publications) was an early comic book publisher in the Golden Age of Comic Books. Founded by entrepreneur Victor S. Fox, it produced such popular titles as Blue Beetle, Fantastic Comics and Mystery Men Comics.
It is unrelated to the company Fox Publications, a Colorado publisher of railroad photography books.
Victor S. Fox and business associate Bob Farrell launched Fox Feature Syndicate at 480 Lexington Avenue in New York City in the late 1930s. For content, Fox contracted with comics packager Eisner & Iger, one of a handful of companies creating comic books on demand for publishers then entering the field. Writer-artist Will Eisner, at Victor Fox's request for a hero similar to the newly published hit Superman, created the superhero Wonder Man for Fox's first publication, Wonder Comics #1 (May 1939), signing his work "Willis". Superman owner National Periodical Publications, the company that would evolve into DC Comics, cited copyright infringement and quickly obtained a permanent injunction. Wonder Man did not reappear.
After Eisner testified against Fox Publications at trial, Victor Fox dropped the packager and hired his own stable of comic creators, beginning with a New York Times classified ad on Dec. 2, 1939. Joe Simon, a former Eisner & Iger freelancer, became Fox Publications' editor.
As one of the earliest companies in the emerging field, it employed or bought the packaged material of a huge number of Golden Age greats, many at the start of their careers. Lou Fine created the superhero The Flame in Wonderworld Comics; Dick Briefer created Rex Dexter of Mars in the eponymous series. George Tuska did his first comics work here with the features "Zanzibar" (Mystery Men Comics #1, Aug. 1939) and "Tom Barry" (Wonderworld Comics #4). Fletcher Hanks created, wrote, and drew Stardust the Super Wizard in Fantastic Comics in 1939 and 1940. Matt Baker, one of the few African-American comic book artists of the Golden Age, revamped — in more than one sense — the newly acquired Quality Comics character Phantom Lady' in 1947, creating one of the most memorable and controversial examples of superhero "good girl art".
Future comics legend Jack Kirby, brought on staff here after freelancing for Eisner & Iger, wrote and drew the syndicated newspaper comic strip The Blue Beetle (starting Jan. 1940), starring a character created by Charles Nicholas Wojtkowski in Mystery Men Comics #1 (Aug. 1939). Kirby retained the house name "Charles Nicholas" for the comic strip, which lasted three months. Kirby, additionally, created and did one story each of the Fox features "Wing Turner" (Mystery Men #10, May 1940) and " Cosmic Carson" (Science Comics #4, same month).
Throughout the 1940s, Fox produced comics in a typically wide variety of genres, but was best known for superheroes and humor. With the post-war decline in superheroes' popularity, Fox, like other publishers, concentrated on horror and crime comics, including some of the most notorious of the latter. Following the establishment of Comics Code Authority in the mid-1950s, Fox went out of business, selling the rights to the Blue Beetle to Charlton Comics.
Born in England, Fox Publications founder Victor S. Fox was a stockbroker for the Allied Capital Corp./Fox Motor and Bank Stocks, Inc./American Common Stocks, Inc., on Park Avenue in New York City when he was [indicted citation needed] on Nov. 27, 1929 for mail fraud and related illegal "boiler room" activities. It appears unrecorded whether this resulted in a conviction.
Historian Jon Berk rumors that Fox went on to become an accountant/bookkeeper at the publishing firm that would become DC Comics, where he was privy to sales figures that convinced him to launch his own comic-book company. Fellow historian Gerard Jones, writing in his book Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book, was unable to find documentation of this. Other sources say that at the time Action Comics #1 came out he was publishing Astrology magazines and shared a distributor with DC after seeing a sales card receipt for Action #1 he Immediately opened Fox comics in the same building DC was based in on a different floor.
Jack Kirby: "Victor Fox was a character. He'd look up at the ceiling with a big cigar, this little fellow, very broad, going back and forth with his hands behind his back saying, 'I'm the King of Comics! I'm the King of Comics!' and we would watch him and, of course, smile a little because he was a genuine type".
Joe Simon on Victor Fox : "He was an accountant for DC Comics. He was doing the sales figures and he liked what he saw. So, he moved downstairs and started his own company.... I happened to get a job; I went over to Fox and became editor there, which was just an impossible job, because ... there were no artists, no writers, no editors, no letterers — nothing there. Everything came out of the Eisner and Iger shop. ... He was a very strange character. He had kind of a British accent; he was like 5'2", told us he was a former ballroom dancer. He was very loud, menacing, and really a scary little guy. He used to say, 'I'm the King of the Comics. I'm the King of the Comics. I'm the King of the Comics.' We couldn't stop him".
Nicky Wright: "Competing well in the 'most sexy, sadistic, and violent' category, Victor Fox’s Murder Incorporated and Blue Beetle are noteworthy.... When historians describe sleaze, sex, and violence as Fox’s obsession, they are masters of understatement. His best artists, Jack Kamen and Matt Baker, are much revered and collected for their good girl art. (Of special note is the company’s breasty crime-fighter-in-bedroom-lingerie, Phantom Lady...along with the wild and scantily attired Rulah, Jungle Goddess.)"
Boyd Magers: "Never one to overlook a secondary sale, Fox often repackaged four remaindered (unsold) comics into a 25¢ Giant with a new cover, hence Hoot Gibson's Western Roundup, 132 pages dated 1950. However, since Fox always started their stories on the inside front cover (where other publishers ran an ad), these repackaged comics are always missing the first page of story content. Also, since Fox used remaindered issues, contents will vary from copy to copy of Hoot Gibson's Western Roundup."
Dynamite Entertainment has revived a few of the Fox Feature Syndicate characters in their Project Superpowers title
A portion of the stable of characters that were originally published by Fox are:
Ace of Spades
The Bat Boy
Black Fury and Kid Fury (Fox and Holyoke)
Black Fury II, Black Fury III
Black Lion and Cub
Blitz (Fox version)
Blue Beetle and Sparky (Fox, Holyoke, Charlton, DC, Dynamite)
Dagar, the Desert Hawk
Dart and Ace (Dynamite)
Doctor Death (Fox version)
The Eagle and Buddy (Dynamite)
Electro ( later Dynamo)
The Flame and Flame Girl (Dynamite)
The Gorilla with the Human Brain
Green Mask and Domino (Dynamite)
Green Mask II
Izzuki of Amazonland
Jo Jo, the Congo King
Karno the Chessman
Lantida of Atlantis
Lunar the Moon Man
The Lynx and Blackie the Mystery Boy
Marga the Panther Woman
Martha of the Tree Folk
Mastermind of Crime
Mea of Mermea
Merciless the Sorceress
Miss Green Mask
Mokon, King of the Moon
Octopus (Fox version)
Phantom Lady (Fox, obtained from Quality, later DC)
Queen of Evil
Rex Dexter of Mars
Rulah, Jungle Goddess
Samson and David (Dynamite)
The Scarecrow (Fox version)
Scorpion (Fox version)
Secret Agent D-13
Sorceress of Zoom
Stardust, the Super Wizard
Sulia of Souless Isle
Sukon, King of the Sun
Super Spy Q-4
Tegra, Jungle Empress
Thor (Fox version)
Thinker (Fox version)
U.S. Jones (Dynamite)
V-Man and the V-Boys (Fox and Holyoke, Dynamite)
Winkon, King of the Winds
Yank and Rebel
Yarko, the Great
Zago, Jungle Prince
Zanzibar, The Magician
Zegra, Jungle Princess
Zoro, the Wizard
Many of these characters have their own separate page and others do not. Image reimagined Golden Age characters and literally published the next issue as an anthology one shot series in 2008. They published Fantastic Comics #24 on February 13 2008.
The issue republished the continuing story arc of characters Samson, Flip Falcon, Golden Knight, Yank Wilson, Space Smith, Captain KIdd, Professor Fiend, Sub Saunders, and Stardust the Super Wizard.