Character sourced from: Comic Books

Mr. Crime

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Added by: Z451

Read more about Mr. Crime at: Wikipedia

Official Site: Public Domain

Crime Does Not Pay is an American comic book series published between 1942 and 1955 by Lev Gleason Publications. Edited and chiefly written by Charles Biro, the title launched the crime comics genre and was the first "true crime" comic book series. At the height of its popularity, Crime Does Not Pay would claim a readership of six million on its covers. The series' sensationalized recountings of the deeds of gangsters such as Baby Face Nelson and Machine Gun Kelly were illustrated by artists Bob Wood, George Tuska, and others. Stories were often introduced and commented upon by "Mr. Crime", a ghoulish figure in a top hat, and the precursor of horror hosts such as EC Comics's The Crypt Keeper. According to Gerard Jones, Crime Does Not Pay was "the first nonhumor comic to rival the superhero in sales, the first to open the comic book market to large numbers of late adolescent and young males."

When Lev Gleason hired Bob Wood and Charles Biro to edit Daredevil and Silver Streak comics in 1941, he rewarded the two cartoonists with a profit-sharing program and creator credits on the covers of the comics. In addition, Gleason urged the pair to create new titles for his company under the understanding that they would share in the profits. Biro and Wood discussed the matter and eventually came up with a concept that would become Crime Does Not Pay, a comic book series chronicling the lives of murderers and gangsters based in part on real world people. Biro is reputed to have been inspired by a meeting with a kidnapper and pimp one night in a bar, although publisher Arthur Bernhard has stated that the entire concept was created by Gleason. The title was based on a popular radio and MGM film series.

Heralded by ads in other Gleason tiles, Crime Does Not Pay took over the numbering of Silver Streak comics with issue 22 cover date July 1942. The first issue featured articles and comic stories about real criminals and was written by Biro and Wood. Biro designed and drew the first cover and wrote stories about mobsters Louis Buchalter and "Diamond Joe" Esposito, and gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok.

Initial issues sold approximately 200,000 copies each, a healthy number for the time, but by the end of World War II the title was selling 800,000 per issue. When sales reached one million in 1948, the editors added the claim "More Than 5,000,000 Readers Monthly" to the cover, a reference to the pass-along effect of comics circulation.

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