While comics were published in America as early as the mid-1800s, American comic books in the format we’re more familiar with today were born during the 1930s and surged in popularity in the 1940s. Citing the Comic Book Encyclopedia, Wikipedia says Dell published the first comic book mass-distributed on American newsstands in 1933, when pulp magazines were still at the height of their popularity. By the 1950s, Dell had become the most successful comic publisher in America. They were also one of the earliest competitors of Pocket Books in the new mass market paperback arena. Up through the 1960s, Dell partnered with Western Publishing to print comics featuring properties they were licensed to use. These included Walt Disney characters and, as their name implies, a lot of cowboy western titles including The Lone Ranger.
Dell published The Outer Limits near the tail-end of the Silver Age as a companion to the television show. Some issues featured adaptations of episodes, but others featured original stories that followed the tradition of its TV progenitor, frequently with a twist or surprise ending akin to another popular television show of the era, The Twilight Zone, “but with a harder science-fiction edge” as noted by the folks at Atomic Avenue.
Eighteen issues of The Outer Limits were published by Dell between 1964 and 1969, all of them featuring art by Jack Sparling. I found the five issues scanned and featured here at an antique store in Paris, Texas, along with a stack of other interesting Dell titles published during the same era.
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