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Super Detective Library History

Super Detective Library - Murder, Mystique and Mayhem - the background to this splendid comic book series.

Super Detective Library was the third post war, pocket-sized series published by Amalgamated Press, beginning in April 1953. The two other series from Amalgamated Press had begun earlier - Cowboy Comics (see www.cowboypicturelibrary.co.uk ) was first published in May 1950 and Thriller Picture Library (see www.thrillerpicturelibrary.co.uk ) was first published in November 1951 - all three had a 64 page format. Super Detective Library ran to 188 issues, with two produced per month, through to December 1960. The series published stories of famous detectives including The Saint, Buck Ryan, Lesley Shane, Rip Kirby and the space detective, Rick Random. On many occasions the comics were a re-print of comic strips that had appeared in newspapers rather than being original drawings. It was edited by Edward Holmes who also acted as editor on the other two series. As well as the title Super Detective Library, the series also ran with the strap-line Told in Pictures from issue 1 through to number 12 and then All in Pictures from number 13 through to number 154, changing to Super Detective Picture Library from number 155 until the final issue.

Among the artists who worked on the series were Alex Raymond (Rip Kirby), Ron Embleton (Pantherís Moon and The Golden Salamander) and the great Ernest Dudley (Bulldog Drummond and The Armchair Detective). The artist Ron Turner produced the popular Rick Random issues and developed a wonderful, fresh approach. His style was totally original, using white on black to give, almost, a negative effect - it was an extraordinary yet memorable method and adds a tremendous body of artwork to the comic canon.

After several years portraying the adventures of traditional detectives as listed, plus other well know ones like Blackshirt and Sexton Blake, the series moved onto World War II heroes including John Steel, special agent, drawn by Bill Lacey, Ron Turner and Roland Davies. This move towards Second World War heroes led to the demise of the series - to be replaced by Air Ace and Battle Picture Library Pocket Book series(see link to the left).

As we look back on this series and those times, we remember a gentler age, much less complicated and frenetic than today and, in collecting these lovely comic books, we perhaps seek to remind ourselves of an era which framed our lives and futures and inspired our imaginations and creativity.

I hope you have found this brief history of value - for a much more comprehensive background to this series click on the Reference Book link to the left.
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