CANDYMedium: Comic books
Published by: Quality Comics
First Appeared: 1944
Creator: Harry Sahle
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Quality Comics, which started in the late 1930s and continued publishing until 1956, is remembered mostly for Blackhawk and Plastic Man, its two single-feature titles that lasted longer than any of the others. Quality is also remembered for a dozen or so superheroes that lay dormant from the 1940s until DC Comics started picking them up again in
the '70s — superheroes concentrated mainly in the late '70s group, Freedom Fighters, but also including a few strays such as Kid Eternity and Quicksilver.
Not so well remembered, because they belonged to genres off the fans' radar, is that after Blackhawk and Plastic Man, Quality's two characters that ran longest in their own titles were Marmaduke Mouse, a funny animal; and this Archie-style teenage humor feature, Candy.
Candace O'Connor was first seen in the back pages of Police Comics #37 (December, 1944), where she replaced a superhero named Destiny. This was the anthology title where Phantom Lady, Firebrand and Plastic Man himself had also been introduced. It may seem odd for someone like her to appear in a title like that, but she wasn't the only one — Honeybun, another teenage girl, started there a couple of years later; and for that matter, the only actual police officer who had a series in Police Comics during the '40s was Flatfoot Burns. She got her own title with a cover date of Autumn, 1947.
Candy was created by cartoonist Harry Sahle, who also did Air Man for Centaur Publications, Parachute Patrol for Fiction House and Señor Banana for MLJ Comics. Other female characters he had a hand in creating include The Silver Scorpion and The Black Widow. But he's best remembered for this genre, including early work on Archie himself. He continued working on Candy for the duration of her run. With writer Elmer Groggin, Sahle also did her as a daily newspaper comic, which started October 2, 1944 from The Chicago Times Syndicate, a very minor player in the comics world.
She was a typical representative of her genre, with a boyfriend (Ted Dawson), a rival (Cornelia Clyde) and a couple of miscellaneous pals (Tina and Trish). Together, they got into the usual teenage scrapes in and around the town of Hartwick.
Candy's feature continued in the back pages of Police Comics until that title changed format for a new decade, bringing it more in line with the popular crime stories genre pioneered by Crime Does Not Pay. Her last issue was #102 (October, 1950). As of #103, the title started living up to its name, featuring characters like Ken Shannon, Inspector Denver and Treasury Agent Trask. That same year, her newspaper comic ended.
But she continued years longer in her own title. The final issue was #64, dated July, 1956. Six months later, Quality Comics folded. Several issues were reprinted a few years later by Israel Waldman, no respecter of intellectual property rights, under his Super Comics imprint, but that was the last of her.
DC Comics acquired assets from Quality upon that company's demise, so if anybody at all owns Candy, who's gone more than a half-century since her last appearance, they're the most likely. But DC doesn't even pay attention to its own teenage characters, such as Binky, Buzzy and Scribbly; and there's very little evidence that most current DC staff members are even aware of Candy's existence.