The site is called The Digitial Comic Museum. It was started last year, but I didn’t find out about it until a few days ago. DCM is to comics what Bartleby is to literature. Basically, it’s a site that allows comic book collectors to scan and download old gems from their own own collection onto the site for people to read and download for free. The best part is, everything’s legal and legit, thanks in part to the oversight of publishers who didn’t properly copyright their comics in the 1940s and 50s. All of the comics on the site are from The Golden Age, and most are ones you’d have a hard time finding anywhere else. I don’t think many of them have even been collected in graphic novels.
Don’t expect to find stuff by DC or Marvel though. I’m pretty sure those companies retroactively copyrighted their earliest material. In fact, if you’ve heard of it, it’s probably not on the site. Instead, the site’s full of stuff you probably never heard of, but that’s what makes it fun to browse through. I’d heard of only a few from when I read Will Eisner’s biography. Speaking of Eisner, there are five issues of The Spirit available on the site.
Another reason why you should check out the site is that the comics are all scanned from the originals, and usually whoever scanned them also inlcuded the advertisements. Old comic book ads are hilarious. They’re also interestings artifacts of American culture. I’ve read a lot of comics from the 70s and 80s, and it’s pretty interesting what you’ll find in those. For instance, in just about every comic from the 80s there were these Charles Atlas (body builder) ads where bullies kick sand in a geek’s face, then the geek goes through the Atlas program and ends up intimidating the bully. From what I gather, these ads originated in the 40s and then ran in comics for decades. I’m anxious to find one of the old ads.
Sooner or later, I’d like to read most of the comics on the site. Right now I’m reading one called “Space Detective” which is pretty fun.
By the way, these old comics were hardly PC, especially if they came out before the Comics Code, so there’s some pretty risque material like “Malus the Slave Girl” and “Cowboys ‘n’ Injuns.”
To use the site, you have to first register, but it doesn’t cost anything and I don’t think the site sends you any junk mail (I haven’t received any). To download the comics, you have to first download a program to read them with. If you go to the forum page on DCM there’s a few to choose from. I installed one called “Jomic” which only took a few minutes. You don’t have to download them. You can view them online.
To go to the Digital Comic Museum, click here.
See more good links for comic book fans.