Thumbs-up from Darwin. Artist: Carmine Infantino.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1950
Creators: David V. Reed (writer) and Paul Norris (artist)
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In 1963, DC Comics' Strange Adventures, formerly (except for a couple of years when Captain Comet was its cover-featured star) a sci-fi anthology that didn't emphasize regular series, was gaining a reputation among fans for its three rotating series — Star Hawkins, Space Museum and Atomic Knights. To these, editor Julius Schwartz added a fourth, reviving an old one about science …

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… investigator Darwin Jones. Schwartz said the Jones series was the first ever to run in Strange Adventures, going all the way back to the first issue (September, 1950).

Schwartz was only partially correct. It's true the intrepid head of The Department of Scientific Investigation (not explicitly stated to be a federal agency, but that was the impression given) was first seen in #1. But his was only the second story in that issue. The actual first series in Strange Adventures was Chris KL-99.

In fact, at first Darwin didn't appear in a series at all. A series must have more than one member, and for the next four years there was only that one Darwin Jones story. But he was pulled out of oblivion for a sequel in #48 (September, 1954), was back again less than a year after that, and turned up sporadically over the next few years. By 1958, he'd been seen in less than a dozen stories, but that was more than enough to qualify him as an honest-to-gosh series star, even if he wasn't the title's first. Then he was shelved again until the 1963 revival.

The original story was written by David V. Reed and drawn by Paul Norris. Reed isn't credited with any other series creations at DC, but wrote many non-series stories in the fantasy and war genres. Norris had been credited with co-creating Aquaman and TNT & Dan the Dyna-Mite, and later became most closely associated with Brick Bradford. The mid-'50s series had no regular creative team, but was generally handled by writers and artists who became Schwartz's regulars on his 1960s superheroes — Carmine Infantino (The Flash), Gardner Fox (Adam Strange), Gil Kane (Green Lantern) and the like. It was more of the same for the following decade's pair of widely-spaced stories.

It would seem as though Darwin Jones and his DSI would fit naturally into a modern superhero universe, turning up in a minor role whenever a story calls for a functionary in such a position. But that need doesn't seem to come up very often at DC. He hasn't been seen in many years.


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Text ©2008-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.