7 – Birth of an Industry

Before 1935, comic books were an unprofitable experiment by one company: Eastern Color.  Starting in January 1935, this experiment becomes an industry as a new company enters the arena with New Fun Comics #1 by National Allied Publications. New Fun Comics was black and white and contained things like funny animal strips and western stories […]

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6 – Dan Dunn

Famous Funnies #5 (December 1934) marks the first time that consecutive comic strips were reprinted together in a comic book for better reading.  This is a panel from a 4-page section of square-jawed Detective “Dan Dunn“, Secret Operative 48, one of many hat-wearing detectives of the era (the most famous being Dick Tracy).

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5 – Before Lois there was Jane

Before Lois Lane, there was Jane Arden, the original “spunky girl reporter”.  This is a reprint from Famous Funnies #5, November 1934 by Eastern Color (still the only comic book game in town at this point).

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4 – Dotted Lines

A single panel comic reprinted in Famous Funnies #4, October 1934 by Clare Victor Dwiggins.  Every comic seems to be the same thing:  Dotted lines depicting Bill’s adventures in the town that day, often getting distracted or into mischief.  Clearly an inspiration for the dotted lines in Family Circus.

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3 – Mutt and Jeff

On to September 1934, and Eastern Color is still the only comic book game in town.  Mutt and Jeff were another popular comic strip back in the day that started in 1907.  One-reel silent shorts were produced in 1911-1913.  I wonder if this means that Mutt and Jeff were technically the very first film adaptation […]

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2 – Palooka

Skipping ahead two months to August 1934, we have the second comic book ever sold, Eastern Color’s Famous Funnies #2.  This book continued to reprint “funnies” from color newspaper sections into comic book form.  Joe Palooka is refereeing a bout between two African American boxers in this page.  It’s fascinating to me how comic books […]

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A couple panels of the Tailspin Tommy comic strip reprint from Famous Funnies #1, June 1934

1 – Tailspin Tommy!

Comic books were started by a company called Eastern Color Printing Company whose publisher, Max Gaines (father of Mad Magazine founder William Gaines!), decided to collect reprints of comic strips from the newspapers (often called “funnies”) and put them into book form.  The first such comic book sold was called Famous Funnies #1, in June […]

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