A birthday tribute to the late writer, who was born 109 years ago, on June 18, 1915…


OK, yeah, I’m still on my The Brave and the Bold kick. To me, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. In that vein, so too is one Robert Kanigher, comic writer and editor extraordinaire.

Bob Kanigher’s one of those comic book guys I like to talk about because he, like so many others in the industry, never seems to get enough credit from fans. And, if he is talked about, the focus usually falls on the better known bits of his work: Wonder Woman, Metal Men, Showcase #4, Sgt. Rock, Poison Ivy—you know, the usual stuff (not that those aren’t worthy of praise!).

But what about The Brave and the Bold? Throughout my research on the series for my book, Breaking Bold and Brave, I was struck by how significant Bob’s presence was as both editor and writer, especially in the early days of the book. That’s what I want to celebrate today on the anniversary of his arrival in our world.

It’s Bob’s B&B Birthday Bash, if you will. And I hope you will.


The Brave and the Bold #1 (Aug-Sept 1955). Sure, not the most glamorous comic in the history of the industry, but Kanigher was there as both editor (though Whitney Ellsworth is actually credited) and writer, the latter on the “Silent Knight” strip. Besides, how often do you get to see the cover to B&B #1, huh?

Russ Heath (Golden Gladiator); Joe Kubert (Viking Prince); Irv Novick (Silent Knight)

The Brave and the Bold #4 (Feb-Mar 1956). I chose this one because Bob moved his Silent Knight up to the lead spot in this issue, and also followed up the previous issue with another cover spotlight. To me, it’s completely justified because the character is one of my big favorites among the DC pantheon, as well as one that’s just not talked about enough.


The Brave and the Bold #11 (Apr-May 1957). By this time, Kanigher had brought Robin Hood into the series (written by Bill Finger) and with this issue had taken over the “Viking Prince” strip to write it alongside the Silent Knight. In the latter, there’s fun stuff with Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table, in addition to the Knight gaining wings on his helmet.


The Brave and the Bold #15 (Dec-Jan 1957-58). Bob had this thing for writing underwater scenes for the Silent Knight, which was actually a pretty cool concept for a guy in full armor. If you ever get a chance to read the Knight’s story in this one, check out the very surreal aquatic battle it offers.


The Brave and the Bold #16 (Feb-Mar 1958). With this issue, B&B becomes an all-Kanigher proposition as Bob not only is still the editor, but also the sole writer to boot (for a few issues, at least). He trots out two underwater scenes for the Silent Knight here, and also institutes some radical changes for the Viking Prince, including a new venue and main adversary.


The Brave and the Bold #25 (Aug-Sept 1959). While the four-year run of historical adventure heroes went away with B&B #24, Kanigher continued on with the series as writer and editor for this issue’s new look and new protagonists, the first incarnation of the Suicide Squad, aka Task Force X.

Ross Andru pencils, Mike Esposito inks

The Brave and the Bold #27 (Dec-Jan 1959-60) – After a three-issue tryout, Kanigher brings the Suicide Squad in for a temporary landing with a story of a kaiju and its unseemly interest in the team’s female member. At the end of the tale, Bob asked readers to let him know if Task Force X was something they wanted to see more of.

Andru and Esposito

The Brave and the Bold #38 (Oct-Nov 1961). The Suicide Squad returned to the book for another go in #37, which also kicked off a sort of “dinosaur trilogy” of tales, this issue being the midpoint of the troika. Readers were also getting two Task Force X stories per issue at this time, and were asked to write in to Kanigher to tell him whether or not they believed the second story in this one was just a “mirage” the team encountered.

Andru and Esposito

The Brave and the Bold #39 (Dec-Jan 1961-62). Task Force X was X’d out with this issue, the team’s fate up in the air until a drastic alteration occurred later in Star Spangled War Stories #110 a year or so later. Regardless, there be dinosaurs here and what else matters?

Andru and Esposito

The Brave and the Bold #52 (Feb-Mar 1964). Bob returned to B&B during what I like to call the “team-up tryout” era, a moment in the book’s history when the other Bob — Haney, I think his name was? — was experimenting with DC characters in temporary teams. Kanigher drew together three war strip soldiers and had a blast — literally — with them. There’s even some rare continuity for the time between this story and the characters’ own books.


The Brave and the Bold #188 (July 1982). And then almost 20 years later, Triumphant Kanigher Return Part Two. I always thought it was cool of editor Dick Giordano to bring Bob back into the fold for a two-issue guest-spot with their joint creation, the Rose and the Thorn. And being drawn by Jim Aparo couldn’t have hurt, either.

Jim Aparo

The Brave and the Bold #189 (Aug 1982). This is Kanigher’s conclusion to his Rose and Thorn two-part epic in B&B. It’s kind of a last hurrah for the heroines as they’ll “sleep” again until they’re revived by Giordano and writer-artist Dan Jurgens for 1986’s Booster Gold #2.


The Brave and the Bold #196 (Mar 1983). Just a few months before B&B ended, Bob wrote his final tale for the series he helped launch decades before. He was in good company again, sharing the spotlight with Jim Aparo for the artist’s own last bow on the book, and with Ragman, a Kanigher co-creation who is another of my favorite DC also-rans.



— ZANY BOB HANEY: Dig 13 MORE Great BRAVE AND THE BOLD Stories. Click here.

— BRAVE AND THE BOLD #64: BATMAN’s Memorably Bizarre Showdown With ECLIPSO. Click here.

When JIM BEARD’s not editing and publishing through his two houses, Flinch Books and Becky Books, he’s pounding out adventure fiction with both original and licensed characters. In fact, he’s put words in the mouths of Luke Skywalker, Superman, Fox Mulder, Carl Kolchak, Peter Venkman and the Green Hornet… and lived to tell about it. His latest pop culture non-fiction tome is Breaking Bold and Brave, available here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Thanks so much! I read the reprints of Viking Prince and Silent Knight in the 70s and loved them! Never saw Golden Gladiator though! I loved Kaniger and B & B!

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    • You’re welcome, Jeff. Yeah, GG just was not in all those great reprints of the 1970s like VP and SK. I guess maybe they were sexier than him.

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