The company evolved out of a company owned by Benjamin W. Sangor. In the mid-1930s, Sangor and Richard E. Hughes began to produce a short-lived pre-packaged comics supplement for newspapers. In 1939, the Sangor Shop (as it was informerly known) began producing comics for Sangor's son-in-law Ned L. Pines. The Sangor Shop produced characters and stories The Black Terror, Pyroman, and Fighting Yank for Pines' Nedor Comics and produced most of the comics for Pines until 1945.
In 1943, they started to publish their own work, and, by 1948, they published that work under the name of American Comics Group. Their titles were typical of the times, including horror, crime, mystery, funny animals, and the like. Almost all stories after 1957 were written by editor Richard E. Hughes under a variety of pseudonyms. The big claim to fame was when they created the character of Herbie (Herbie Popnecker) for their Forbidden Worlds title (in issue #73, Dec. 1958). He would later get his own title and be turned into a "super hero" called the "Fat Fury". ACG would create other super-heroes in 1965 like Magicman starting in Forbidden Worlds #125, Nemesis in Adventures into the Unknown (starting with #154), and John Force, Magic Agent in his own title in 1962, then later in Unknown Worlds (#35, 36, 48, 50, 52, 56), with a few stories in Forbidden Worlds (#124, 145) and Adventures into the Unknown (#153, 157).
A distinctive trait of the company's horror comics (and of their supernatural stories, such as Magicman) was that all ghosts were invariably colored light green.
Legacy and rights
By 1967, the company had ended publication, except for their commercial comics division, Custom Comics, which lasted until the early 1980s doing work for a variety of clients such as Montgomery Ward, Tupperware, and the United States Air Force.
ACG was owned or co-owned by Fred Iger from 1948 to 1967. Iger also owned part of DC Comics. Harry Donenfeld, founder of DC, was a co-owner in the 1960s. ACG was distributed by Independent News Co., which also distributed (and was part of the same company as) DC.
In the 1980s or so, Roger Broughton obtained the rights to the ACG materials from Fred Iger, and started doing reprints of Herbie and other characters under his Avalon/Sword-in-the-Stone/A+/ACG/Charlton imprint. Broughton also licensed Herbie to Dark Horse Comics for a 12-issue reprint series, but only two issues came out.
In 2008, Dark Horse Comics produced several archive reprints of ACG superhero stories. This includes reprinting all the Herbie stories in three volumes, and single-volume reprints of Nemesis and Magicman.
The links in this section go to the cover galleries of the GCD (Grand Comics Database), with links to story summaries.
- Adventures into the Unknown
- Forbidden Worlds
- Giggle Comics
- Ha Ha Comics
- Unknown Worlds
- and many more...
- There is a book on ACG: Forbidden Adventures: The History of the American Comics Group by Michael Vance ISBN 0-313-29678-2.