WCG Comics was founded in 1973 in Staten Island, New York as the WAR COMICS GROUP by Randy Reynaldo. The company's comics at that time consisted of one-of-a-kind "homemade" comics that were written for junior high school friends, often in collaboration with guest scriptors. Inspired by Randy's favorite war comics like Marvel Comics' Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos and DC's Our Army at War featuring Sgt. Rock, these comics were World War II adventures at their best.
Early characters published during the Golden Age of the War Comics Group included Sgt. Warren and the Lucky Seven and Sgt. Jansson and the Death Commandos. WCG hit its stride with issue 7 of its flagship title, War Comics, which featured a new character, Sgt. Hanes and Hell Platoon. Sgt. Jim Hanes, pictured at left, appeared in the next 16 consecutive issues of War Comics (the title ran for 24 issues through 1976).
Shortly after relocating to California in the late 1970s, Randy resurrected the WCG imprint and, in collaboration with a fellow comic-book fan, Craig Clark, began publishing a wide array of new home-made comics titles that now included super-heroes. New titles that debuted in 1979 during this brief but productive period (dubbed WCG's "Silver Age") include Wayfarer, Pegasus, Cigarman (by Rodney Reynaldo), and a WCG fanzine entitled WCG on the Inside.
After completing college in 1985, Randy began focusing more seriously on a career in comics and on Rob Hanes. Originally developed as a daily adventure newspaper strip in 1976, Randy re-envisioned the property as a comic-book series and began seeking avenues for publication. Although Renegade Press picked up the series in the late '80s, the company closed its doors before the first issue was published. Shortly afterwards, Randy published Rob Hanes #1 under the WCG Comics imprint in 1991, under a distribution agreement with Brave New Words, an independent comics publisher.
Although this early series did not continue, Randy discovered the small press fanzine community soon after. Inspired by the strong sense of fun and camraderie within this close-knit subgroup of comics fandom, Randy debuted Adventure Strip Digest featuring Rob Hanes in late 1991, as a fanzine/ashcan. Five issues of the title were released. The series earned several awards within the small press community, including being named one of the Top Ten Small Press Comics of 1991 by the Comicist, and numerous UFO and Small Press Syndicate "Indy" awards.
Inspired by the increased sales and critical attention that the book was receiving in the mainstream, particularly among comic-book industry professionals, Randy began self-publishing Adventure Strip Digest as a full-sized independent comic-book in 1995. The series earned a nomination for the Russ Manning Award for Best Newcomer (presented annually at the San Diego Comicon Eisner Awards Ceremony) and was awarded a Xeric Foundation Grant Award which allowed Randy to collect the older stories from the series in a single trade paperback called the Rob Hanes Archives.
After abortive agreements with both Caliber Comics and Image Comics in the mid- and late-1990s, Randy went on a hiatus to regroup while continuing his work on the series. In October 2000, the series was relaunched as Rob Hanes Adventures under the WCG Comics imprint. The new series has received numerous accolades and praise (see Reviews).
1973: The War Comics Group is founded in Staten Island, New York. The self-made comic-book, War Comics #1, is released in Bernstein Junior High School.
1974: Sgt. Hanes makes appears in War Comics #5
1974: Sgt. Hanes and Hell Platoon becomes lead character in War Comics #6
1976: War Comics ends with issue 24.
1976: Rob Hanes created as a newspaper adventure strip.
1987: Rob Hanes announced as a title from Renegade Press; Renegade Press shuts down.
1991: WCG Comics officially founded. Rob Hanes #1 released.
1991: Fanzine series, Adventure Strip Digest #1, debuts (runs 5 issues).
1994: Adventure Strip Digest debuts as independent direct-sales comic-book (runs 4 issues).
1994: First convention appearance at San Diego Comic-Con
1996: Xeric Grant Award; Rob Hanes Archives trade paperback released, collecting entire fanzine run of Adventure Strip Digest.
2000: Series is re-booted as Rob Hanes Adventures; issue 1 released.