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NEW FUN COMICS...the beginning

October 22, 2010

Former cavalry officer and pulp magazine Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson (and those were just two of his many hats) came up with the idea of a comic book containing all original material in late 1934. From the 1800s to that point, comic books had been exclusively reprints collections of comic strips.

The 10 x 15 tabloid size magazine New Fun, with color covers and black and white interiors, appeared on newstands with a cover date of February 1935.

Pages were laid out in a Sunday comic page format with continuing stories, humor pages, text stories and games.

Beginning with issue #7, the title became More Fun. The magazine added more color and adapted to the standard comic book size and format by 1936. Historically, More Fun not only was one of the first comic books with original material but also the first to publish work by Walt Kelly of later Pogo fame and Siegel and Shuster of Superman fame.

The title formed the cornerstone of the DC Comics publishing empire and ran through issue #127 dated November-December 1947.

In the fall of 1934, having seen the emergence of Famous Funnies and other oversize magazines reprinting comic strips, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson founded National Allied Publications and published New Fun #1 (Feb. 1935). A tabloid-sized, 10-inch by 15-inch, 36-page magazine with a card-stock, non-glossy cover, it was an anthology of humor features, such as the funny animal comic "Pelion and Ossa" and the college-set "Jigger and Ginger", mixed with such dramatic fare as the Western strip "Jack Woods" and the "yellow peril" adventure "Barry O'Neill", featuring a Fu Manchu-styled villain, Fang Gow.[1]

Most significantly, however, whereas some of the existing publications had eventually included a small amount of original material, generally as filler, New Fun #1 was the first comic book containing all-original material.

The first four issues were edited by future Funnies, Inc. founder Lloyd Jacquet, the next by Wheeler-Nicholson himself. Issue #6 (Oct. 1935) brought the comic-book debuts of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the future creators of Superman, who began their careers with the musketeer swashbuckler "Henri Duval" (doing the first two installments before turning it over to others) and, under the pseudonyms "Leger and Reuths", the supernatural adventurer Doctor Occult. They would remain on the latter title through issue #32 (June 1938), following the magazine's retitling as More Fun (issues #7-8, Jan.-Feb. 1936), and More Fun Comics (#9-on).

In issue #101 (January/February 1945), Siegel and Shuster introduced Superboy, a teenage version of Superman, in a new feature chronicling the adventures of the Man of Steel when he was a boy growing up in the rural Midwestern United States.

With issue #108 (March 1946), all the superhero features were moved from More Fun into Adventure Comics. More Fun became a humor title that spotlighted the children's fantasy feature "Jimminy and the Magic Book".[2] The book was canceled with issue #127 (Nov. 1947).

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