SUPERSNIPEMedium: Comic books
Published by: Street & Smith Publications
First Appeared: 1942
Creator: George Marcoux
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By 1942, when comic books in their modern form had been around a few years and were proving phenomenally popular, the time was ripe for metafiction in comics — that is, comic books which
took comic books themselves as their subject matter. The first major example of metacomics was Supersnipe, the boy with the most comic books in America.
Supersnipe was Koppy McFad, who, according to a frequently used blurb, read 'em, breathed 'em and slept 'em. He loved his comics, and the superheroes that starred in most of them at the time, so much, his most fervent desire was to be a superhero himself. Accordingly, he was in the habit of putting on red flannel long underwear, adding a cape and mask, and sallying forth to right wrongs throughout the neighborhood. He wasn't quite the first comic book character to make that fashion statement (The Red Tornado beat him into print by more than a year), but he was the first to appear that way on actual covers.
He was sometimes referred to as "The Man of 1953", a play on Superman's original nickname, "The Man of Tomorrow" — '53 being the year a 1942 10-year-old would reach full adulthood. In his mind, of course, he wasn't a 10-year-old in long johns, but a big, strong hero who could take on the worst villains in the world, even, on occasion, Hitler himself. Even in real life, he was often able to defeat petty criminals and other reasonable-size menaces.
Koppy was the creation of cartoonist George Marcoux, whose known previous credits mainly consist of an obscure and short-lived newspaper strip called Toddy, and assisting on such better-known strips as Percy Crosby's Skippy and John Hix's Strange As It Seems (a knock-off of Believe It Or Not). Supersnipe, Marcoux's magnum opus, debuted in the back pages of Shadow Comics vol. 2 #3 (March, 1942), which was published by Street & Smith, one of several pulp magazine companies that branched out into comics during the 1930s and '40s.
Supersnipe also appeared in the fifth issue of Army & Navy Comics, a minor and not very successful magazine Street & Smith put out that year. With its sixth issue (October, 1942), Army & Navy's title was changed to Supersnipe Comics. Marcoux continued to handle the series, tho later issues were often written by Ed Gruskin, who also wrote the comic book version of Doc Savage for Street & Smith.
Koppy and his alter ego remained on the comics scene much longer than most of the superheroes that inspired him. But toward the end of the decade, not only had the majority of costumed crime fighters faded away — Street & Smith itself was letting its comic book activities fade away, too. The final issue of Supersnipe Comics was vol. 5 #1 (Aug-Sept 1949).
Since then, Supersnipe has been a prime collectible, the subject of very occasional unauthorized reprints, and most of all, a fond memory.