Mainline Publications

Mainline Publications  , also called  Mainline Comics  , was a short-lived, 1950s American comic book publisher established and owned by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon .


With the 1950s backlash against comics, led by the psychiatrist Fredric Wertham , and propagated during the televised debates about comics leading to juvenile delinquency , as part of the Kefauver hearings , several publishing houses folded. This caused a problem for the printers. As Joe Simon detailed, “Comic book publishers were dropping out of the business in wholesale numbers.” When the presses were silent, printing companies still had to pay overhead. , so they were more than willing to go back to a new comics organization.  [1]

To serve as business manager for their Mainline Publications, Inc., they brought in Crestwood Publications office manager Nevin Fidler, who knew the mechanics of distributors and other necessary vendors, offering him a piece of the company. George Dougherty, Jr.  [2]  The two had long wanted to self-publish, and they were in the process of making their contracts, Simon and Kirby invested their savings in their new company. more wanted to create comics for the adults of the 1950s who had read comics as children in the 1940s.  [2]

As Simon recalled,

The distributor we have been Leader News, the company that distributed Bill Gaines ‘ EC Comics . 25 percent of the total income on a 100 percent sale. This advance was paid when the books were shipped from the printer to local wholesalers around the country. We would like that money to the printer, who would then pay the engraver. … Since a comic book would usually be at least 30 percent, everyone was happy. Mainline would be required to invest in only the editorial material, of the art, lettering and scripts.  [1]

They set up shop in late 1953 or early 1954, subletting space from their friend Al Harvey ‘s Harvey Publications at 1860 Broadway .  [1]  Mainline published four titles: the Western  Bullseye: Western Scout  ; the war comic  Foxhole  , since EC Comics and Atlas Comics Were HAVING success with war comics purpose prompting Their ace being white written and drawn by actual veterans “;  In Love  , as Their Earlier romance comic  Young Love  Was still being white Widely Imitated; and the crime comic  Trap Police , which claims to be based on actual accounts by law-enforcement officials.


Despite Mainline’s dissimilarity to the beleaguered EC and other companies then under constant attack, copies of  Bullseye  and  Foxhole  were reportedly used as exhibits by Wertham in the Senate hearings against comics, and seen through the hearings by nationwide television coverage.  [3]

Crestwood’s  Young  Crestwood’s An Introduction to a Crestwood’s  Young Love  , an article by Crestwood’s  Young Love  . This was spotted by a Crestwood employee, and legal advice taken over possible repercussions. Crestwood “took up the matter with their attorney [who] informed Crestwood that it was nothing in the book that we were obliged to turn in – we did not satisfy the publishers, who naturally turned to more hostile.  [1] In response, Simon and Kirby arranged in November 1954, to audit Crestwood, on one side, Simon, Kirby, their accountant Bernard Gwirtzman and the attorney Gwirtzman thing, Morris Eisenstein;  [4]  and on the other Crestwood publishers Teddy Epsteinand Paul Bleier  [5]  as well as general manager MR Reese.  [3]

Eisenstein asked for his contributions by Crestwood, Feature Publications, and Headline Publications, among others, “entailing” advances, royalties, and other monies for  American Fighting  ,  Young Brides  ,  Black Magic  ,  Young Love  , and  Young Romance  .  [3] Epstein has been paid less than $ 50,000, and the total amount of dollars spent in the past year was $ 130,000. Crestwood’s attorney responded that the company could not pay that much, and was, “would simply close down.” Offered a $ 10,000 settlement, Simon and Kirby returned to working on Mainline, but under increasing strained circumstances. Even the Simon / Kirby relationship is now fraught, the two “barely [speaking] while working in the same room.”  [3]


With the continuing attacks by Wertham, Senator Estes Kefauver and other, publishers continued to fold “and the number of comics published dropped from 650 to 250.”  citation needed  ]  Carmine Infantino , a friend of Kirby’s who worked for National Comics , the future DC Comics, recalled that National publisher Jack Liebowitz , Atlas Comics publisher Martin Goodman , “and the people from Archie [ MLJ Comics ], got together and created the Comics Code, which promised parents they would have no more blood and stuff like that. ”  citation needed ]  The advent of the Code effectively gutted EC Comics and Threatened the comics industry. Distributor Leader News “no longer had the money”, and with its implosion brought about the end of Simon and Kirby ‘s company in late 1956.  [3]

The unpublished materials for Mainline titles were sold to Charlton Comics , which published them, in some cases, continued the titles under new names. With the demise of Mainline, the longstanding partnership between Simon and Kirby also ended, they would collaborate on a few more comics. Simon left in the comic book, with Simon’s blessing, “the final project of the Simon & Kirby team”,  Challengers of the Unknown  , co-created with writers Dick and Dave Wood . The non-superpowered adventuring quartet appeared in National’s  Showcase  # 6 (Feb. 1957)  [3]  and eventually in its own series.


Mainline published four titles:  [6]

  • Bullseye: Western Scout ( Western ), # 1-5. Charlton Comics published # 6-7
  • Foxhole ( war ), # 1-4. Charlton Comics published # 5-7
  • In Love ( romance ), # 1-4. Charlton Comics published # 5-6, then renamed it  I Love You
  • Trap ( crime )  font  , # 1-4. Charlton Comics published # 5-6


  1. ^ Jump up to: d   Simon, Joe ; with Simon, Jim (1990).  The Comic Book Makers  . Crestwood / II Publications. p. 151. ISBN  1-887591-35-4 .  Reissued (Vanguard Productions, 2003) ISBN  1-887591-35-4 . Page numbers refer to 1990 edition.
  2. ^ Jump up to: b  Beerbohm, Robert Lee. “The Mainline Story” ,  Jack Kirby Collector  # 25, August 1999. Accessed March 26, 2008. WebCitation archive .
  3. ^ Jump up to: f   Ro, Ronin (2004).  Tales to Astonish: Kirby Jack, Stan Lee and the American Comic Book Revolution  . Bloomsbury USA . p.  ??  . ISBN  1-58234-345-4 .
  4. Jump up^  Simon, p. 161
  5. Jump up^  Also spelled “Blyer” by Ronin. AnInterim Reporton “Comic Books and Juvenile Delinquency” listed by Comic Group as “Michael M. Bleier” and “Paul Epstein”; Ron Goularthas an entry for “Teddy Epstein” in two of his comics histories, however.
  6. Jump up^  Mainlineat theGrand Comics Database

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