JOHNNY DC: An Anniversary Salute to Comics’ Greatest Mascot

The Silver Age cutie has had a lonnnnnnng shelf life…


In their titles of December 1962 — which came out in October that year — DC Comics, then National Periodical Publications, introduced one of the greatest mascots of all time in probably one of the worst layouts ever. Step aside, Ronald McDonald! Out of the way, Mr. Clean! Move over, Pillsbury Doughboy! The time had come for Johnny DC!

DC’s new mascot had all the markings of a winner — football-shaped head, a scholarly graduation cap, a DC Bullet torso, and stick-figure arms and legs. DC was so proud of Johnny that he was welcomed by DC’s cast of characters in a black-and-white full-page house ad on the inside front cover of DC’s books (the first evidently being Green Lantern #17, which was released Oct. 4).

Hoisted up on Superman’s shoulder, Johnny was surrounded by superheroes, movie and TV stars, humor book characters — heck, even Sgt. Rock took time out from battling Nazis in World War II to slap on a smile for DC’s new spokesman!

And with that, Johnny DC was off and running!

Appearing in DC’s various house ads while taking up valuable space with his circle-shaped, spindly armed body, Johnny hawked many a DC book.

Johnny, unabashedly, would pitch any book– often dressing up to match the content he was promoting.

Sadly, Johnny DC’s reign of glory was short-lived. After two years, he simply disappeared.

But then in Ambush Bug #2 (July 1985) Robert Loren Fleming and Keith Giffen did a different take by reimagining Johnny DC as Jonni DC, Continuity Cop! But in the pre-internet age, can you believe it, there was no outrage!

DC tried again with a silhouetted Johnny in 1988 but under a new guise! Still, this new Johnny just didn’t live up to his predecessor.

And Sergio Aragonés, with writer Mark Evanier, also spun their take on Johnny in Sergio Aragonés Destroys the DC Universe #1 (June 1996) as an out-of-work logotype!

DC reimagined Johnny again as a mascot for their line of children’s comics in 2004.

Still, you can’t keep Johnny/Jonni down! In Harley Quinn #48 (2018) by Sam Humphries and Alisson Borges, Jonni DC, Continuity Cop returned!

And Johnny popped up as a guide character in the Lego DC Super-Villains video game that was released in 2018 as well.

It’s amazing how fondly remembered that little guy has remained over the past 60-plus years.

That original ad, though… what a time capsule! You could see who were the big stars at DC in 1962! After a brief AltaVista search, I found the original art for the ad.

And after a less than exhaustive search of the internet using Ask Jeeves, it seems that the ad has never been colored, although I could be wrong.

Well, I couldn’t let that injustice stand:

It’s clear that celebrity comics were very important to DC back then with the likes of Adventures of Bob Hope and Adventures of Jerry Lewis, along with The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis being so prominently featured. It’s doubtful that we’d see a Kevin Hart, Jeff Dunham, or Ricky Gervais licensed comic today.

And while Sugar and Spike pop up now and again, DC’s children’s comics seem to be satisfied by Scooby-Doo teaming up with Batman.

It is fun, though, to go back and revisit those comics. There was a joy there that’s hard to match!


— Dig This Complete Gallery of Finished DC COMICS Treasury Edition 3-D Dioramas. Click here.

— 13 REASONS to Love TAWKY TAWNY: An OTTO BINDER Birthday Celebration. Click here.

A 10-year-old Walt Grogan fell in love with the Big Red Cheese thanks to essays written by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson in the paperback edition of All in Color for a Dime, released in 1970 and bought for him by his father off a paperback spinner rack in a liquor store on the South Side of Chicago. Walt runs The Marvel Family Web Facebook page devoted to all incarnations of the Fawcett/DC Captain Marvel and blogs about Captain Marvel at

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. “Comic’s greatest mascot”??? WHAT ME WORRY?!

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  2. Interestingly, there seems to be a character behind Batman in the original (Bob Hope?) that isn’t in the color version. Still, that is a great color take on the ad. It feels like it would fit right in with ads from back then. Though it is a bit less wordy.

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    • Hi, Jeff– It is indeed, Bob Hope. In the printed version, they moved Bob from behind Maynard Krebbs (Bob Denver) to behind Batman!

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    • Yes, it looks like they repositioned Bob Hope. He was moved from behind Batman to a spot between Maynard G. Krebs and Johnny DC himself.

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  3. The 2004 version was designed by Rian Hughes. 

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    • Hi, Amie– Thanks for the correction, I meant to get that in there and it slipped my mind. I’ll see if we can get it updated! Thanks, again for noticing!

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  4. Johnny DC also appeared briefly to introduce the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special, to assure viewers that the special was “DC Approved!” Brought a smile to my face.

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  5. I hadn’t thought of Johnny DC in years! He showed up in some of the back issues I found in used stores back in the 70s!

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