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Comic Books: DC/Impact

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Impact Comics, initially meant to be just an imprint of DC Comics, was like its own company.  The continuity of Impact Comics' characters was completely separate from that of DC Comics.  In other words, none of the Impact characters belonged in the "DC Universe".

The superhero characters of Impact (more specifically, their names and likenesses) were licensed from Archie Comics.  On and off for many years, Archie published superhero comics.  Before that company became known as Archie, it was called MLJ.  It was in 1939, the year that MLJ was founded, that they started producing now-classic superhero characters.  Some of the superheroes MLJ/Archie produced over the years included: Black Hood, Comet, Fly, Fly-Girl, Hangman, Jaguar, Shield, Steel Sterling, and The Web.

Impact began in 1991 and ended in 1993.  Why the short run?  It certainly had nothing to do with the quality of the titles.  The Impact comics were, to say the least, outstanding in both art, stories, and general concepts.  The problem was really all in publishing politics.  DC wanted to sell Impact Comics at newsstands, but due to internal conflicts this never happened.  So Direct Market is how they were distributed.  That has NEVER been good for the life of a comic series, then or now.  End result?  Sales were low because nobody could find the dang comics to buy them!  The cover prices all followed the general standard price of the time ($1.00), so profits were not exactly lucrative in the specialty shops.  No one wanted to carry them.

Impact faded out of the picture without much notice, which is a true shame.  It all ended on pretty bitter terms between the creative folks and executives.  Archie still owns the character rights, and they've used them a little bit since then in cameo shots of comics from the Archie publisher, but they have yet to use them in any significant way.  1993 proved the final death blow of the MLJ characters.  With the comic book medium being only a small fraction as popular as it was in the early 1990s, it is doubtful our beloved heroes will make a triumphant return.  Certainly, the Impact versions of the characters will not be seen again, and they were, perhaps, the best interpretations of those heroes to date.

Thanks to back issues, Impact Comics will live on in the hearts and minds of those who love great superhero fiction.

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Black Hood
Black Hood Annual
The Crucible
The Fly
Impact Winter Special
The Jaguar
Legend of the Shield
The Web