|Founder||Benjamin W. Sangor|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||45 West 45th Street, New York City|
|Key people||Richard E. Hughes|
|Publication types||Comic books|
|Fiction genres||Superheroes, science fiction, horror, crime, mystery, romance|
|Imprints||B & I Publishing Co., Inc.|
B. & M. Distributing Co., Inc.
Best Syndicated Features, Inc.
Creston Publications Corp.
Custom Comics, Inc.
La Salle Publishing Co.
Michel Publications, Inc.
Milt Gross, Inc.
Modern Store Publications
Modern Store Publishing
Preferred Publications, Inc.
Regis Publications, Inc.
Scope Magazines, Inc.
Titan Publishing Co. Inc.
American Comics Group (ACG) was an American comic book publisher started in 1939 and existing under the ACG name from 1943 to 1967. It published the medium's first ongoing horror-comics title, Adventures into the Unknown. ACG's best-known character was the 1960s satirical-humor hero Herbie Popnecker, who starred for a time in Forbidden Worlds. Herbie would later get his own title and be turned into a "superhero" called the Fat Fury.
Founded by Benjamin W. Sangor, ACG was co-owned by Fred Iger from 1948 to 1967. Iger's father-in-law, Harry Donenfeld, head of National Periodical Publications (later known as DC Comics), was also a co-owner in the early 1960s (though Donenfeld was severely incapacitated and out of the business after an accident in 1962). ACG was distributed by Independent News Company, which also distributed by (and was part of the same company as) DC.
The company evolved out of a company owned by Sangor. In the mid-1930s, Sangor and Richard E. Hughes began to produce a short-lived prepackaged comics supplement for newspapers. In 1939, the Sangor Shop (as it was informally known) began producing comics for Sangor's son-in-law Ned L. Pines. The Sangor Shop produced the characters and stories of The Black Terror, Pyroman, and Fighting Yank for Pines' Nedor Comics and produced most of the comics for Pines until 1945.
In 1943, ACG started to publish its own work under such names as B&I Publishing, Michel Publications and Regis Publishing. It acquired the publisher Creston Publications in 1943, making Creston into an ACG imprint. By 1948, it was publishing comics under the name of American Comics Group. Its titles were typical of the times, including horror, crime, mystery, romance, and talking animal comics. In 1948, it began publishing the long-running horror title Adventures into the Unknown. This was the first of a trilogy of ACG horror/supernatural titles that also included Forbidden Worlds (1951–1967) and Unknown Worlds (1960–1967).
In 1949, ACG began publishing two long-running romance titles, Romantic Adventures (later changed to My Romantic Adventures), and Lovelorn (later changed to Confessions of the Lovelorn). Both titles lasted into the 1960s.
The company survived the 1954 Senate subcommittee hearings on the dangers of comic books, even retaining its somewhat diluted horror title Adventures into the Unknown. However, in 1955 ACG canceled four long-running humor titles: the talking-animal series Giggle Comics and Ha Ha Comics, and the teen-humor titles Cookie and The Kilroys.
An October 1, 1952 "Statement of the Ownership, Management, and Circulation" published in ACG's Forbidden Worlds #15 gave its publisher's name as Preferred Publications, Inc., 8 Lord St., Buffalo, New York" and the owners as Preferred Publications and "B. W. Sangor, 7 West 81st Street, New York, N. Y." The editor was listed as Richard E. Hughes, 120 West 183rd St., New York, N. Y." and the business manager as "Frederick H. Iger, 50 Beverly Road, Great Neck, Great Neck, L. I., N. Y." An October 1, 1950, statement published in ACG's Cookie #29 gives identical data, with the exception of the publisher and co-owner being listed as "Michel Publications, Inc. 420 DeSoto Ave., St. Louis 7, Mo.
Almost all stories after 1957 were written by editor Hughes under a variety of pseudonyms. Besides the satirical superhero the Fat Fury, other ACG superheroes of the period known as the Silver Age of Comic Books included 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).
By 1967, the company had ended publication, except for its commercial comics division, Custom Comics, established in 1950, which lasted until the early 1980s doing work for a variety of clients such as the A. C. Gilbert toy company, Montgomery Ward, Tupperware, and the United States Air Force.