Undervalued Spotlight #61

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics #5, Dell Publishing, March 1942

The funny animal genre used to be a very important genre in the high end comic collectible market. Looking back at Overstreet Price Guide #14 (1984/85 with the Katy Keen cover) 8 of the 50 most expensive comic books were of the funny animal genre. This year’s 40th edition of the Overstreet Price Guide has no funny animal comic books in the top 50 according to value.

To give you an idea of how bad it is let’s compare the most valuable superhero comic to the most valuable funny animal comic.

The most valuable super hero comic is Action Comics #1. Overstreet #40 value for Action #1 is $1,200,000 versus the Overstreet #14 value of $14,000. Wow, that’s 85 times the value of a quarter century ago!

The most valuable funny animal comic (then and now) is Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #1. The Overstreet #40 value for WDC&S #1 is $40,000 versus the Overstreet #14 value of $2,600. That’s 15 times the value of a quarter century ago.

It’s not that funny animal keys are not going up; they’re just not going up as fast. WDC&S #1 was ranked 18th by value back then while today it has slipped to 40th place.

Does the future hold a resurgence for the funny animal genre? It’s a tough call since much of the funny animal genre is dominated by character adaptations into comics (think of all the Disney and Warner Brother characters). We may have to look at places where the funny animal genre was responsible for innovations in the comic book industry.

For a major innovation we need not look further than Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics #5. Looney Tunes #1 introduced the great stable of Warner Brothers characters that included Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig to comics and it did not take long for the title to shake things up. Issue #5 contained a story called The Super-Duper Rabbit. Super-Duper Rabbit represents the 1st funny animal super hero.

This innovation may not seem like much but it does show the tremendous adaptability of comic books. Many subsequent comic book characters were able to successfully capitalize on the popularity of the super hero genre, Archie (Captain Pureheart), Bart Simpson (Bartman) and Goofy (Super Goof) are 3 that quickly come to mind.

The 40th edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $714/$1407/$2100 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.

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

  • Very first funny animal super hero
  • This 1st funny animal super hero character happens to be Bugs Bunny and this is a very early comic book appearance to boot
  • Historic evidence of the influence the super hero explosion of the early 40s had on other genres
  • Relatively low price for a high end copy means there is a lot of room left for this book to go up

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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