I have held in my hands every comic mentioned in this post.

§ April 8th, 2022 § Filed under indies § 9 Comments

Born in that post-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles black and white comics boom, of the 1980s, Solson Comics was a company that was…not especially highly regarded by fans or critics. I mean, there were worse comics out there, but something about Solson struck some folks as one of the more cynical attempts at cashing in on this latest comics fad.

That said, I do sort of admire the sort of wild variety of books that were just kinda thrown out there into the marketplace, with the hopes that one of them would stick. I mean, this one, as I vaguely recall, was okay:

…and this one clearly had one of the all-time great comic book titles:

Plus, there’s this “Christmas” comic that achieved some notoriety when it was discovered that the inking was credited to a “Jim Lee.” It does appear to be the same Jim Lee we all know and love for putting a collar and cuffs on Superman’s costume, but I recall there being some debate for a brief time as to whether or not it was the same Jim Lee.

Anyway, nothing really “stuck” like they were hoping for, I think…nobody wanted to make toys or cartoons based on Rock Heads:

…or maybe they did want to and they just never came to fruition. You never know.

But two things did have some staying power from this company, aside from speculators and their slabbed copies of Samurai Santa. First, amusingly enough, in their pursuit for Turtles money, Solson actually produced licensed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics:

…some martial arts training comics, as well as a “how to draw” comic. Instead of trying to make money off a Turtles rip-off, just make money off the Turtles themselves. Well played, Solson, well played indeed.

The other comic with lasting cultural impact, at least within the realm of comic book fandom, is the one, the only…

Reagan’s Raiders. Long before there were a million Trump and Obama comics, Reagan was just all over the place in funnybooks during the ’80s. Yeah, sure, people liked putting Nixon into comics…but pop culture really cottoned to Reagan for a bit. And no appearance shines in a comic fan’s memory more than…well, okay, that issue of Captain America where Reagan turned into a snake monster, but Reagan’s Raiders is a darn close second.

In that picture above is the only copy I had in stock at my shop (already sold, sorry!). But this thingie here is an item I found in one of the many boxes of ancient promo stuff I took in from the previous place of employment:

Not sure you need any commentary on this particular document, as it pretty well speaks for itself. Though I do like that “color cover” is offered as a selling point. And having military ranks on the creative team (“Sgt. Dick Ayers”) is a wild touch.

The only thing I’m wondering now is — does the Reagan Library have a set of these Reagan’s Raiders comics? Y’know, that Library isn’t all that far away from me, so maybe I can go and ask. If you never hear from me again, at least you’ll know what happened.

9 Responses to “I have held in my hands every comic mentioned in this post.”

  • philfromgermany says:

    Looks like Reagan raided Terry Funk’s wardrobe!

  • Billy says:

    Very happy to have partially inspired a blog post!

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    You got me curious, so I checked up a bit on Dick Ayers. Apparently, he was in the Army Air Corps during WW2, but I can’t find out if he was actually a sergeant or not.

    One thing I will say for Solson–the art on their books was on the better side of the b&w boom, as I remember it. The actual books were pretty terrible, but the art wasn’t bad. (For comparison, I recently pulled out my copies of “ElfTrek” from 1986, and the art was…not that good.)

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    Oh man, if you do go to the Reagan Library bring that promo flyer with you so they’ll know it was actually real. Maybe they’ll even ask you to donate it!

  • John Lancaster says:

    Since my collecting sickness involves buying lots and lots of crappy 80’s black and white comics, I’ve got all (or darn near all) of Solson’s output. A few of my personal favorites were Sultry Teenage Super Foxes by Rich “I’ll draw anything as long as you pay me” Buckler, Samurai Funnies #2 featuring Samurai the 13th, and there was a weird futuristic take on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents that lasted 1 issue. One of these days I’m going to have to dig out that box and reread all of the Solson stuff. Most of which I haven’t even looked at since they were new. Thanks for the reminder

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Glad you mentioned that T.H.U.N.D.E.R.Agents issue. I still have my copy.The artwork on that was great.

  • Roel Torres says:

    Mike, are Quadro Gang and Shadow of the Groundhog the worst comics you’ve ever encountered?

  • MisterJayEm says:

    That first one is among the worst THINGS I’ve ever encountered, e.g. http://www.misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics401.html

    — MrJM

  • DK says:

    I worked with the author of Reagan’s Raiders, and when he found out I liked the funnybooks as well he dropped that info on me.

    “Stunned” would be the best description of my reaction.

    Anyway, I think he would approve of a donation to the Reagan Library, so I encourage it.