More Fun Mystique
Since comics fandom as we know it began in the 1960s,
More Fun Comics has maintained a mystique distinctly
separate from the other seven members of National's
legendary "Big Eight" of the Golden Age.
With the publication of Sensation Comics No. 1 (January
1942), DC (as National is now known) billed its eight
monthly comic magazines as the "Big Eight"
and frequently pictured them all in 1942-44 house ads.
More Fun was the first to go bi-monthly, with #91 (May-June
1943), so DC published eight monthly titles for only
16 months. More Fun also was the first of the "Big
Eight" to be discontinued or converted - in this
case, More Fun became a humor title with #108 (March
More Fun has always been one of the most collectible
comics of the entire Golden Age, if only because the
title for some reason simply didn't sell as well as
Action, Adventure or Detective - the "Big Eight"
survivors of the Golden Age - much less All-American,
Flash, Sensation and Star Spangled. There is little
doubt that issues of More Fun are generally scarcer
than the other "Big Eight" titles.
mystique developed in large part because the leading
features of More Fun #52-72. The Spectre and Dr. Fate
were among the few cover-quality characters who were
not revived and/or continued through the early days
of the Silver Age, beginning in 1956 and continuing
for seven years through Justice League No. 21 in 1963,
when Dr. Fate was finally brought back into action in
the first Justice Society - Justice League team-up (there
was a Dr. Fate cameo in Flash #137).
More Fun was National's first title, dating to the
oversized New Fun #1 (February 1935). The first 51 issues
are curiosities, and worth a bundle in their own right,
but the collectibility factor always has sharply kicked
in beginning with #52, the first of the two-part story
detailing the origin of The Spectre, who didn't spend
a full story in costume until #54.
As valuable as the More Fun #52-72 are, collectors
of modest means are better advised to seek out More
Fun #73-91, which contain no fewer than five costumed
heroes and are all 68 page gems. Johnny Quick first
appeared in #71 (September 1941), and both Green Arrow
and Aquaman made their debuts in #73 (November 1941).
The last 68 page issue was #91, although all five super
heroes continued through #98 (July-August 1944), which
was the last issue with Dr. Fate. However, Dr. Fate
stories were chopped to only 6 pages beginning with
#94, and stories of The Spectre became less worthy with
the addition of Percival Popp the Super Cop (beginning
For my money - or at least if I had the money - the
most collectible issue of More Fun is #73, which not
only contained The Spectre, Dr. Fate and the third Johnny
Quick story, but also the first appearances of two of
the few DC Heroes who survived the Golden Age - the
quasi-iconic Green Arrow and Aquaman. Aquaman's origin
story appeared in #73; Green Arrow's origin was not
published until #89.
However, #73 is listed at $1,000 in "Good"
in Overstreet, so you may have to shoot for one or more
of the issues in the #74-91 range to really have more
fun (apologies for the pun!). These guide from $273
(for #74) to $80 (for #91), with the average "good"
price charged by many dealers ranging from about $150
You simply can't lose with any of these More Fun #74-91
issues, but you should definitely check out the covers
in the Photo-Journal if you intend to buy only one or
two. If you like Dr. Fate, go for #74-76, which have
his last three cover appearances. If Green Arrow makes
you quiver, #77-85 and #88-91 feature the Emerald Archer
and partner Speedy out front. Johnny Quick's only cover
appearances of the Golden Age are on More Fun #86 and
#87, plus #100, so those make exceptional collectibles.
More Fun #101 (January-February 1945) contains the
historic first Superboy story - a mighty 5-pager! Just
to show how little DC suspected what Superboy might
mean in the way of sales, he was the only character
in the issue not plugged on the cover! In retrospect,
that's mind-boggling. But then, can you imagine the
reaction of a Superboy reader circa 1945 if he could
be transported to see the technical magnificence and
story subtleties of "Smallville" on TV today?
Now that's truly mind-boggling!
Superboy was not cover featured until #104, when he
appeared with the comical team of Dover and Clover,
who also shared the cover of #106 with the Boy of Steel.
Of the issues with Superboy -- #101 through #107 - the
best to get is #105, which features an amusing "Superboy
plays marbles" cover which will delight Americana
collectors. It was Superboy's only solo cover appearance
in More Fun before he shifted over to Adventure Comics
Dover and Clover took over the cover of More Fun with
#107, in preparation for the title's conversion to all
humor strips for its last 20 issues, through #127 (November-December
By the way, all of those 20 humor issues of More Fun
are difficult to find - much tougher than other DC humor
titles of the 1946-47 period, such as Mutt & Jeff
and Funny Stuff. If you attend a major convention with
more than a million bucks, you might be able to acquire
most of the costume hero issues of More Fun. But I'll
bet you won't find more than half a dozen of those 20
humor issues even at the largest shows, even though
most of them can be had for less than $30 in "good"
if you can find them.
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Bernie Wrightson, a native of Baltimore, Maryland,
has long since established himself as one of the top
artists of the horror genre. Being a huge fan of EC
comics at a young age and particularly of the work of
Graham Ingels, Bernie was destined to work his way into
the field of popular art. He had enlisted in the all-too-familiar
Famous Artists Course, the correspondence course that
graced the back covers of comic books. Working jobs
in the Baltimore area that only required a small fraction
of his talent, Bernie eventually made his way to New
York City. It was there that he met Mike Kaluta, Jeff
Jones, and one of his greatest influences, Frank Frazetta.
By this time, he was an immense fan of the Warren magazines,
Creepy and Eerie, because of the horror content and
the similarity to the EC books he grew up with. In fact,
his first published work was in Creepy #9 in the letters
column as a fan illustration. In 1968, at a convention
in New York City, Bernie met DC editor, Dick Giordano.
It was there that Bernie got a job with DC and began
his work in House of Mystery with issue #179 in 1968.
His work for DC caught the attention of Marvel, and
Bernie then worked on a few titles for Marvel beginning
with Chamber of Darkness #7. It wasn't until 1971 that
Len Wein, a writer from DC, approached Bernie with a
script that would launch his career and establish a
cult following: House of Secrets #92, the first appearance
of Swamp Thing.
Swamp Thing was brought into comics and became a smash
hit. Although Bernie had only penciled the first ten
issues, the series took off. Bernie was at the peak
of his career. His fine line work and insatiable attention
to detail brought him back to Warren, where he drew
some of the most incredible stories in Eerie and Creepy,
a few of his most famous being "Alice" and
Edgar Allen Poe's "The Black Cat." Continuing
his run of excellence, he then did some of his most
famous work for Stephen King books, and of course, the
famous Frankenstein graphic novel published in 1983
by Marvel Comics Group. Frankenstein contained 44 awe-inspiring
plates that gained Bernie recognition and put his name
along the ranks with childhood favorite artist Graham
Ingels. Bernie moved from there to draw countless projects
over the next 20 years, including trading cards, prints,
to even movie storyboards. So many projects, in fact,
that Pacific Comics put out a four-issue mini series
titled "Master of the Macabre" solely devoted
to his work. Bernie's art in horror comics and magazines
illustrated his chilling detail and pencils that some
people consider among the likes of Frank Frazetta. He
had become one of the great horror artists, and Bernie
had proven himself to truly be the "Master of Macabre."
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