DC Database

Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson (b. January 7, 1890 – d.September 21, 1965) was the founder of DC Comics.

Professional History

After leaving the Army, Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson became a writer for pulp magazines, he would later adapt many of the stories he wrote during this period into comic strip form. In 1925, he opened a newspaper syndicate to try to sell his comic strips to newspapers, but this business venture would not last.

National Allied Publications

Taking inspiration from earlier comic magazines such as Famous Funnies, Wheeler-Nicholson founded National Allied Publications in the fall of 1934. In January 11, 1935, his first magazine hit the stands: New Fun Comics. Unlike his competitors, his magazine focused entirely in new and original comic strips, many of which Wheeler-Nicholson wrote himself.[1]

His business struggled, however, and looking for money, Wheeler-Nicholson went into business with Harry Donenfeld, printer and distributor of spicy pulp magazines. Donenfeld would finance the creation of Wheeler-Nicholson's second magazine, New Comics, as well as the relaunch of New Fun Comics as More Fun Comics.

Detective Comics Inc.

In 1937, Wheeler-Nicholson founded Detective Comics Inc., along with Donenfeld's accountant Jack Liebowitz, to publish his third magazine: Detective Comics. This was done on the condition of Harry Donenfeld, who would not otherwise fund the magazine.

Donenfeld and Liebowitz started pressuring Wheeler-Nicholson to leave the business side of the company to them. After Wheeler-Nicholson refused, Donenfeld sued Detective Comics Inc. for non-payment of debts, and Liebowitz declared the company was bankrupt while Wheeler-Nicholson was out on a trip to Cuba. Donenfeld and Liebowitz bought the company during the bankruptcy auction, effectively kicking Wheeler-Nicholson out of his own company, just a few months before his fourth magazine, Action Comics, came into fruition.[2]

Personal History

Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson was born in the mountains of East Tennessee to Lola Orlando Strain and Antoinette Wheeler. His father abandoned his family when he was 3 years old, forcing them to move in with some relatives in Buffalo, New York. There, his mother became a suffragette journalist, and she later moved her family to Portland, Oregon for work. In Portland, she met and married an Englishman, T.J.B. Nicholson, changing her surname and that of her children to Wheeler-Nicholson.

In 1912, Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson joined the U.S. Cavalry. His military career took him to a wide range of countries, such as Mexico, the Philippines, Japan, Russia and Mongolia. While stationed in Paris, France, he met his future wife, Swedish aristocrat Elsa Bjorkbom. After a confrontation with his superior officers, and an apparent murder attempt against him, Wheeler-Nicholson left the Army in 1922.[1]

Malcolm was diagnosed with Lung cancer in mid-August, 1965. He passed away on the 21st of September, 1965 after his lung had gotten an infection and failed.

Work History

External Links

Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson Family Website