WHIZ BANG DAYS HISTORY
Whiz Bang Days was named after the popular magazine "Captain Billy's Whiz Bang" created by Wilford Hamilton Fawcett. The annual four-day festival began in 1948 and the cities celebration recalling the glory years of Fawcett Publications.
Wilford Hamilton Fawcett (1885-1940) was a WWI Army captain as well as the founder of Fawcett Publications - which was based in Robbinsdale - His first publication "Captain Billy's Whiz Bang" in 1919 started his publishing empire. The title of his naughty humor magazine came from his experience with war artillery, specifically the bombs that "whizzed" as they flew through the air and "banged" as the exploded. For much of the 1920s, Captain Billy’s was the most prominent comic magazine in America with its mix of racy poetry and naughty jokes and puns, aimed at a small-town audience with pretensions of "sophistication".
Whiz Bang was enough of a success that it financed the creation of Fawcett Press which invented paperback originals, Gold Medal Books, and also introduced the world to Captain Marvel and Whiz Comics. Fawcett's line of comics expanded with such colorful characters as Captain Midnight, Mary Marvel, Bulletman and Bulletgirl, Nyoka the Jungle Girl and Spy Smasher. The circulation of Captain Marvel Adventures continued to soar until it outsold Superman during the mid-1940s. Captain Marvel had such an impact on Elvis Presley that he borrowed the character's poses, hairstyle and lightning flash chest insignia, as described in Elaine Dundy's biography, Elvis and Gladys.
In 1936, the last issue of Captain Billy's Whiz Bang was released and declining comics market in the 1950s, along with a major lawsuit (National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications), resulted in Fawcett folding its line of comic books. Lash Larue, Strange Suspense Stories and other titles were sold to Charlton Comics. In 1972, DC Comics licensed Captain Marvel, featuring him in new stories. In 1991, DC purchased the entire Whiz Comics/Marvel Family and related characters outright. The influence of Fawcett was felt for generations with such magazines like Esquire, The New Yorker, Playboy, Mad and DC and Marvel Comics.
The original Fawcett Publications building, which remained standing in Robbinsdale for decades, was torn down during the mid-1990s. Nonna Rosa's Ristorante Italiano is now located in that space.
Mr Fawcett's publication and history is celebrated every summer and with an upcoming movie of one of Fawcett's creations hitting the screen this spring - even more reason to celebrate Whiz Bang Days this July.