Funnies on Parade

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Funnies on Parade
Cover of Funnies on Parade (1933)
Publication information
PublisherEastern Color Printing
Formatcolor newsprint magazine
Publication dateSpring 1933
No. of issues1
Main character(s)Blackstone Magic, The Bungle Family, Cicero, Fisher's Silly Scoops, Fisher's True Life Dramas, Hairbreadth Harry, High-Gear Homer, Holly of Hollywood, Joe Palooka, Keeping Up with the Joneses, Mutt and Jeff, Nipper, Reg'lar Fellers, S'Matter, Pop?, Somebody's Stenog, Strange As It Seems
Creative team
Artist(s)F. O. Alexander, Gene Byrnes, Al Capp, Clare Victor Dwiggins, A. E. Hayward, John Hix, Pop Mormand, C. M. Payne, Al Smith, Harry J. Tuthill

Funnies on Parade is an American publication of 1933 that was a precursor of comic books. The eight-page publication featured reprints of such popular syndicated comic strips as The Bungle Family, Joe Palooka, Keeping Up with the Joneses, Mutt and Jeff, Reg'lar Fellers, and Somebody's Stenog. Creators included F. O. Alexander, Gene Byrnes, Al Capp, Clare Victor Dwiggins, A. E. Hayward, C. M. Payne, Al Smith, and Harry J. Tuthill.

History[edit]

Precursor: The Funnies[edit]

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".[1] (This is not to be confused with Dell's later same-name comic book, which began publication in 1936.) Comics 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".[2]

Funnies on Parade[edit]

In early 1933, Eastern Color also began producing small comic broadsides for the Ledger Syndicate of Philadelphia, printing Sunday color comics from 7" x 9" plates. Eastern Color sales manager Harry I. Wildenberg and his coworkers — salesperson Maxwell Gaines and owner George Janosik — realized that two such plates would fit on a tabloid-sized page.

Soon after, in April 1933, Wildenberg created the first modern-format comic book when idly folding a newspaper into halves and then into quarters and finding that a convenient book size, which led to Eastern Color publishing Funnies on Parade (as a way to keep their presses running). Like The Funnies but only eight pages,[3] this, too, was a newsprint magazine. Rather than using original material, however, it reprinted in color several comic strips licensed from the McNaught Syndicate, the Ledger Syndicate, and the Bell-McClure Syndicate.[4] 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.[3] 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.[2]

The names of those associated with the project read as a who's-who of early publishers in what comics historians and fans call the Platinum Age and Golden Age of Comic Books: Max Gaines (founder of EC Comics), Leverett Gleason (publisher of Comic House and other titles, and creator of the Golden Age Daredevil), and many other future industry creators are all brought in to work under Wildenberg's supervision.

Later in 1933, Gaines collaborated with Dell Publishing once again to publish the 36-page one-shot Famous Funnies: A Carnival of Comics,[5] followed in 1934 by Famous Funnies, which ran for 218 issues and is considered the first true American comic book.[6]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Library of Congress, "American Treasures of the Library of Congress" Archived September 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine exhibition
  2. ^ a b Goulart, Ron. Comic Book Encyclopedia (Harper Entertainment, New York, 2004)
  3. ^ a b Brown, Mitchell. "The 100 Greatest Comic Books of the 20th Century: Funnies on Parade" (Internet archive link)
  4. ^ "Funnies on Parade," Grand Comics Database. Accessed Oct. 29, 2018.
  5. ^ Famous Famous – Carnival of Comics at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Goulart, Ron. "The Funnies: I" (entry), Comic Book Encyclopedia (Harper Entertainment, New York, 2004) ISBN 0-06-053816-3, p. 144

References[edit]