Little Big Man

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Ray Palmer and Henry Pym may be better known to modern-day fans, but Darrel Dane is undoubtedly the biggest little super-hero in comics history.

One of many costumed crime-fighters created by Will Eisner, the Golden Age Dollman premiered in Feature Comics #27 (December, 1939) and remained the magazine’s headliner for nearly a decade. He also starred in his own quarterly comic for eight years.

That’s a run that neither the Atom nor the Ant-Man – in any of their myriad incarnations – have ever matched. (Arguably because DC and Marvel never quite utilized the “David vs. Goliath” gimmick of Doll Man quite as imaginatively as Quality, which assigned such legendary artists as Lou Fine and Reed Crandall to the feature.)

Dane’s time in the spotlight ended when Quality Comics went out of business in 1956. He re-emerged 17 years later in the classic JLA storyline, “Crisis On Earth X!” Since that time, Doll Man and his Quality cohorts have appeared off and on in various permutations of The Freedom Fighters and Dane’s codename is currently held by another individual.

Even though Doll Man’s heyday has long passed, the old stories still exist to prove a small hero can stand tall amid a mountain of super-heroes. From Feature Comics #47, here’s “School Of Crime” illustrated by Crandall.

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