Shark Brodie spreads happiness. Artist: George Tuska.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Fiction House Magazines
First Appeared: 1940
Creators: Will Eisner, writer, and George Tuska, artist
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When Fiction House, already known as a publisher of pulp magazines, entered the comic book field in 1938, it immediately became a pioneer in female heroics. Its very first comic book, Jumbo Comics #1 (September, 1938) introduced Sheena, Queen of the Jungle to the American comics audience. As the company settled in with its first half-dozen anthology titles, it continued to introduce women as heroes — Gale Allen of the Girls' Patrol (no relation) in Planet Comics, Camilla in Jungle Comics (where Fantomah later became, arguably at least, the first female superhero), Jane Martin in Wings Comics,

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… Glory Forbes in Rangers Comics (where Firehair later flourished) … The only Fiction House title that didn't have a female hero within its first year was Fight Comics, whose he-man, macho title militated against femininity, but later sported covers featuring both Señorito Rio and Tiger Girl.

But at the beginning, Fight was a boys' club, where heroes included Kinks Mason, Big Red McLane and Oran of the Jungle. The cover-featured star of the first issue was he-man, macho Shark Brodie (no relation). The cover date was January, 1940.

Shark was a seafaring man, like the contemporary Lance O'Casey and Captain Savage, and sort of like Captain Compass a few years later — but not like Aquaman of any era. Superheroes weren't Fiction House's style; and tho there were exceptions, they tended not to use that genre.

Treated as just another adventure hero in a tough occupation, he worked as a mercenary soldier, fighting perfect strangers on behalf of whoever paid him; and as such, battled and battered his way from one end of the Pacific Ocean to the other and back again.

Like Blackhawk, Doll Man and many others, Shark was a creation of Will Eisner's studio. His first story was written by Eisner himself, and the artist was George Tuska. Tuska was also involved with Buck Rogers, Crime Does Not Pay, and Zanzibar the Magician.

He was the sole cover feature of #1, shared it with Kayo Kirby and Chip Collins in #2, and was never seen on the cover from #3 on. But he continued for several years inside. Eisner wrote only the first three episodes, but Tuska remained on the feature for a while. Starting with the third issue, the only credit given was "Aksut" — Tuska signing his name backward. The "Aksut" credit disappeared after #19. Later, the feature was handled by Arthur Peddy (Phantom Lady), Alex Blum (Kaanga) and others.

Shark Brodie continued to appear regularly for the first 39 issues of Fight, but skipped #40 (October, 1945). He was back in #41, but not for long. His final appearance was in Fight Comics #43 (April, 1946).


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Text ©2008-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Fiction House Magazines.