MLJ / Mighty Comics / Red Circle / Archie Superheroes

MLJ, founded by Maurice Coyne, Louis Silberkleit and John Goldwater, originally published magazines, but got into comics in 1939. Like most comic publishers of the time, they split their titles between humour and superhero titles, creating what is credited as the first "flag-wearing" patriotic superhero in the Shield. In December 1941 MLJ introduced humour strip character Archie Andrews as a back-up feature in Pep Comics #22; Archie soon became their most popular character, until in 1946 the company was renamed after him. Eclipsed, Archie Comics' superhero characters have taken a back seat to their humour counterparts ever since, though Archie Comics has given them several chances to headline (see below).

There is an excellent site devoted to the Archie / MLJ characters here.

Golden Age Archie Heroes

The Shield

Black Hood

The Comet

The Web

Steel Sterling

The Wizard

Bob Phantom

Captain Flag

The Falcon

Fireball

Firefly

Zambini

Mr Justice

Hangman

Black Jack

Captain Commando

Fox

Hercules

Inferno

Kalthar

Kardak

Madame Satan

Mister Satan

Nevada Jones

Red Rube

Scarlet Avenger

Dusty

Press Guardian

The Marvel

Black Witch

Silver Age Archie Heroes

Noticing the late 1950's upswing in popularity of superhero characters published by other companies (such as D.C.), Archie Comics attempted to jump on the bandwagon by creating a number of new characters (the Fly, the Jaguar and a new version of the Shield, Lancelot Strong, among them), published collectively as Archie Adventure Series. A few years later Archie created a new imprint specifically for their superheroes, Mighty Comics, which along with the new characters, also revived a number of the Golden Age ones. However Mighty Comics didn't last, and in the early 1980's yet another imprint was briefly created, Red Circle comics. Like Mighty, it was soon reabsorbed into the main Archie line.

The Fly

Fly-Girl

Jaguar

The Shield

Shield

Black Hood

Darkling

Pureheart the Powerful

Super-Teen

Captain Hero

Sabrina

Ms.Vanity

The Rearranger

Fox

She-Fox

Shadow

Web

Shield

Shield

Pow Girl

Agents of Atlantis

Cobra

Captain Sprocket

Archie also published the adaption of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, as well as a Zen, Intergalactic Ninja title.

In the 1990s DC licensed the right to do their own versions of the MLJ superheroes, which became their Impact imprint. In 2008 DC announced they had struck a deal with Archie to incorporate the MLJ versions of their superheroes directly into the DC Universe.

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