Funnies on Parade
|Funnies on Parade|
Cover of Funnies on Parade (1933)
|Publisher||Eastern Color Printing|
|Publication date||Spring 1933|
|Number of issues||1|
The creation of the modern American comic book came in stages. Dell Publishing in 1929 published a 16-page, newsprint periodical of original, comic strip-styled material titled The Funnies and described by the Library of Congress as "a short-lived newspaper tabloid insert". (This is not to be confused with Dell's later same-name comic book, which began publication in 1936.) Historian Ron Goulart describes the four-color, newsstand periodical as "more a Sunday comic section without the rest of the newspaper than a true comic book".
In 1933, salesperson Maxwell Gaines, sales manager Harry I. Wildenberg, and owner George Janosik of the Waterbury, Connecticut, company Eastern Color Printing — which among other things printed Sunday-paper comic-strip sections — produced Funnies on Parade. Like The Funnies but only eight pages, this, too, was a newsprint magazine. Rather than using original material, however, it reprinted in color several comic strips licenced from the McNaught Syndicate and the McClure Syndicate. These included such popular strips as cartoonist Al Smith's Mutt and Jeff, Ham Fisher's Joe Palooka, and Percy Crosby's Skippy. This periodical, however, was neither sold nor available on newsstands, but rather sent free as a promotional item to consumers who mailed in coupons clipped from Procter & Gamble soap and toiletries products. Ten-thousand copies were made. The promotion proved a success, and Eastern Color that year produced similar periodicals for Canada Dry soft drinks, Kinney Shoes, Wheatena cereal and others, with print runs of from 100,000 to 250,000.
Later in 1933, Gaines collaborated with Dell to publish the 36-page one-shot Famous Funnies: A Carnival of Comics, followed in 1934 by Famous Funnies, which ran for 218 issues and is considered the first true American comic book. 
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