Women Go to War in Fiction House's Fight Comics, Up for Auction

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If you've ever wondered why the publisher of jungle heroine Sheena also featured so many other female heroes, there's a fascinating reason behind it — and it's related to Wonder Woman. It's fairly well-known that Wonder Woman's creation was heavily influenced by Olive Byrne, the polyamorous life partner of William Moulton Marston and Elizabeth Holloway.  It's somewhat less known that Olive Byrne's mother and aunt, Ethel Byrne and Margaret Sanger, were historically important Progressive Era feminists who opened the first birth-control clinic in the United States. But this legacy almost certainly influenced the genesis of far more comic books than those featuring Wonder Woman, particularly comics published by Fiction House. There's a number of these comic books, several issues of Fight Comics, available in today's 2021 July 25-26 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122130 from Heritage Auctions.

Fight Comics #36 (Fiction House, 1945)
Fight Comics #36 (Fiction House, 1945)

What's the connection between Wonder Woman and women like Tiger Girl and Seniorita Rio in Fight Comics? It comes by way of its publisher Fiction House, where Olive Byrne's brother Jack Byrne was an editor, as Jill Lepore explained in The Secret History of Wonder Woman:

At Fiction House, Olive Burne's brother Jack started printing comics too, beginning with Jumbo Comics in September 1938. Its inaugural issue included a character created the year before in London by Will Eisner and S.M. Iger: Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, a female Tarzan. Jack Byrne's Fiction House became known for its powerful, invincible female heroes. At a time when many publishers had no women artists, Fiction House employed more than twenty.

Of course, this series is also highly sought-after by collectors due to its spectacular covers by Joe Doolin among others, and interior art by Matt Baker, Alex Blum, Lilly Renee and many more. Historically important comics that are always in demand by collectors, several issues of Fight Comics are available in today's 2021 July 25-26 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122130 from Heritage Auctions.

Fight Comics #35 (Fiction House, 1944)
Fight Comics #35 (Fiction House, 1944)

 

 

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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