Once the war kicked in, it seemed like the public went superhero crazy. By 1942, there were dozens of publishers churning out superhero fare, some good, most awful. DC and Marvel comics didn't have the field to themselves any more. One contender was Quality Comics. They seemed to corner the market on good artists and their roster was like a who's who - Will Eisner, Jack Cole, Lou Fine and Reed Crandall were among their regular contributors. Meanwhile, small companies like Hillman stayed in business by publishing material of a more sensational nature. The Airboy series was more violent than most and sported a memorable villainess in the shape of The Valkyrie.
     
Marvel Mystery Comics (1944)



Marvel's top cover artist was Alex Schomberg, who crammed his covers with as much detail as he could. The subject matter reflected the company's pulp publishing origins.

  National 26 (1942)



Quality Comics had a more subdued approach and their material was much more sophisticated than their rivals. This National cover is beautifully drawn by Reed Crandall and looks more like a cover of Saturday Evening Post than that of a comic.
  Air Fighters v2, no 2 (1943)



The popularity of Airboy spawned a legion of imitators. Sudenly, everyone was doing air comics: Sky Blazers, Skypilot, Contact, Spitfire and Skyman all joined the throng. Meanwhile, Airboy gave rise to another popular character, The Heap, who was the inspiration for both Marvel's Man Thing and DC's Swamp Thing.
 
     
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