The Shield … Black Hood … Hangman … The Fly … not superheroes at the forefront of pop culture or on the tip of a mainstream comic fan’s tongue. And yet these characters are part of a rich continuity of great stories, fantastic art and a unique publishing history as the Mighty Crusaders. MLJ Magazines’ Pep Comics #1 featured the first appearance of The Shield in 1940 – a whole year before that other patriotic hero, Captain America. Through the Golden Age these characters were published by MLJ (which changed their name to Archie Comics), in the 60’s by Archie’s Red Circle imprint, in the 90’s by DC Comics’ Impact Comics imprint, by DC Comics proper in 2008 and now again by Archie’s Dark Circle imprint. The MLJ Companion is a 288-page reference covering all these wonderful characters and this vast history of great comics.

This collection of articles about the Mighty Crusaders is chock full of photos and illustrations covering everything including merchandise like the Mighty Crusaders board game and the Remco action figure line. There is an article about the canceled Spectrum imprint and its violent content. Crossovers with other Archie publications like Betty and Veronica. Interviews abound with creators Irv Novick, Dick Ayers, Rich Buckler, Bill DuBay, Steve Englehart, Jim Valentino, Jimmy Palmiotti, Kelly Jones, Michael Uslan, and others involved with the Mighty Crusaders. Select stories are also reprinted in full colour.

And for us Canucks? There is an article which details the Canadian printed Archie Comics editions from the Golden Age! Really, this is THE DEFINITIVE reference book for the MLJ heroes.

Having had a chance to thumb through a digital copy I immediately ordered a physical copy for my personal library. Available at Diamond using Order code MAY161832, directly at the TwoMorrows website, through Amazon and online up here in Canada at Indigo/Chapters and Amazon Canada.

Did I mention First Comics News’ very own Rik Offenberger is one of the contributors to this book? Well that is yet another reason to run, not walk, and go pickup this great book!

Issue: MLJ Companion | Publisher: TwoMorrows Publishing
Writers: Rik Offenberger, Paul Castiglia & Jon B. Cooke
Price: $34.95

Martin Boruta