Famous Funnies #1, Eastern Color, July 1934

I’ve started writing up this Spotlight many times over the past couple years and have always abandoned it for one reason or another. Looking back at my notes I can see why I’ve never seen it through, I have 6 pages of notes! I think I was trying to say too much and the more I tried to say the more tangents I opened up, it was endless. So for the sake of production I decided there should be no history lesson, no ramblings, just praise for Famous Funnies #1.

I don’t think one can over emphasize the importance of Famous Funnies #1! I see this comic as one of the 3 most important comics books ever published.

The promotional Famous Funnies: A Carnival of Comics (1933) is also a very important and undervalued comic book, it is recognized by comic historians as the first true American comic book and it certainly merits its own spotlight. Its success allowed a more visionary undertaking like Famous Funnies #1, a monthly newsstand comic book to happen.

Famous Funnies #1 is the 1st #1, the 1st monthly comic, the 1st success story that spawned imitators en masse. The series basically launched a new mass media! Famous Funnies lasted 218 issues.

Famous Funnies #1 is one of those things that had to happen in order for other things to happen, just as there would most likely not have been a successful Spider-Man without the groundwork done by Superman in the same vein there would most likely not have been a successful Superman without the ground work laid out by Famous Funnies #1. Famous Funnies set the template on which Superman thrived; this is the same template the comic book industry has been running on for what is now 80 years.

I will concede that the comic is not character driven and while I don’t expect Action #1 (1st Superman) or Detective #27 (1st Batman) values I do expect the market to eventually come around and recognize the importance of this book. New Fun Comics #1 (Feb/35), DC’s 1st comic, has a guide value over twice that of Famous Funnies #1! For what, Oswald the Rabbit?

There are 14 universally graded (not restored) copies on the CGC Census as of this post, an 8.5 being the highest graded copy.

The 42nd edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $3,200/$6,400/$9,600/$24,000 as the splits at the 2.0/4.0/6.0/8.0 grades, there are no splits for the 9.0 and 9.2 grades.

Strengths that make this comic book a good long-term investment are:

  • Rare in any grades so just having a copy is something (Gerber scarcity rating 8)
  • 1st monthly comic book
  • Helped launch a new mass media
  • Still undervalued by the market, the last few have sold for below guide price
  • In 22 short years this comic will be 100 years old