World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Dan Dunn

Norman Marsh's Dan Dunn (1933)

Dan Dunn was the first fictional character to make his debut in an American comic magazine, making him the forerunner of many comic book heroes. Created by Norman Marsh, he first appeared in Detective Dan, Secret Operative No. 48, a 1933 single issue one-shot by Humor Publications magazine.


  • Comic strip 1
  • Marsh storms out 2
  • Radio 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Comic strip

Later in 1933, Dan Dunn made his newspaper debut in the Dan Dunn comic strip for Publishers Syndicate. He eventually appeared in Big Little Books, which are probably the most readily available source of the character's adventures for modern readers. In 1936, Dan Dunn became the title character of a pulp magazine that lasted for two issues. As noted by comics historian Don Markstein, the square-jawed Detective Dunn was a knock-off of Dick Tracy, blowing away evil criminals with the same no-nonsense resort to violence that fans liked seeing during an era of urban crime gangs. In newspapers, however, Dunn never approached Tracy's popularity.[1]

Marsh both drew and wrote Dan Dunn, and many consider its artwork to be its weaker side. Phelps goes so far as to describe it as "arid," "presented a chronic, wintry aspect," with "cavernous spaces" and "huddled, stiff-jointed postures." Others describe Dan as a stocky character with a balding head and reddish beard. He has a fiery personality that did not deal well with criminals, bullies, or confrontation. However, other early crime strips (including the initial Dick Tracy, as Phelps concedes) also look primitive today compared to the photorealist standards of later adventure comics.[2]

Marsh storms out

Its plot writing and action scenes were what attracted readers, and according to Allen Saunders, it rivaled Dick Tracy in pioneering themes and techniques of the American detective comic—until 1942 when Marsh had an argument with Publishers Syndicate and "stormed out." The syndicate then had Saunders (as writer and the syndicate's comics editor) and artist Alfred Andriola take over the abandoned newspaper strip and subsequently replace it with a new detective strip Kerry Drake in 1943.[3]


In 1944, Dan Dunn, Secret Operative #48 was produced as a 15-minute syndicated radio program which ran for a total of 78 episodes.[4]


  1. ^ .Dan DunnMarkstein, Don. Toonopedia:
  2. ^ Phelps, Donald. "Flat Foot Floogie". Nemo, the Classic Comics Library, no. 17 (February 1986), p. 33-38.
  3. ^ Saunders, Allen. 1983-6. Autobiography "Playwright for Paper Actors," Nemo, the Classic Comics Library, no. 4-7, 9, 10, 14, 18, 19.
  4. ^ Hickerson, Jay. The Ultimate History of Network Radio Programming and Guide to All Circulating Shows. Hamden, Connecticut: Jay Hickerson, Box 4321, Hamden, CT 06514, second edition December 1992, page 94.

External links

  • Big Little Books
  • Dick Tracy and American Culture by Garyn G. Roberts
  • Dan Dunn radio episodes
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.