Weekend Update with Nico

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This is your Weekend Update! 

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Today is a special day for the comic market.  Today is the day when the Federal Government releases all of the electronic money for online tax filings.  Today is the day when the comic market picks back up. Prices are going to be going up, up and away. If you are like me and there’s never enough money to buy everything you want so be judicious with your spending and make money while the sun shines.

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Funny Animal Opportunities 

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Funny animal comics are the red headed step-child of the comic industry.  For whatever reason, comic collectors have shunned collectors of funny animal comics in a way that is truly unprecedented.  To some extent this is shocking. After all, there was a time in the 1960’s when Disney’s Uncle Scrooge comics sold more than one million copies.  Similarly, characters like Peanuts, Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse have transcended time and remain favorites of children and adults of all ages.

I believe that funny animal comics are one of the last opportunities that haven’t been totally piladged by shrewd comic collectors and that there are still a ton of under appreciated books out there in the wild for collectors to find in back issue bins and dollar boxes.  This week, I wanted to spend some time talking about some of the truly great funny animal comics that you should be acutely aware of and snag if you see them being underappreciated by a dealer on a showroom floor.

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Krazy Komics #10

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It doesn’t take a genius to make a cover buy and some of these funny animal comics are just amazing cover buys.  One of my favorite examples of this is Krazy Komics #10.  A CGC 6.0 labeled “Davis Crippen (“D” Copy)” is the last reported sale of this book and it occurred back in 2006 for the meger price of $102.00.  Its hard to imagine what this book may sell for today. Suffice to say, it is obviously one to keep a look out for this book in the wild and if you find it because of this article, please let us know.

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Happy Comics #33

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Frank Frazetta for example, had some amazing early art work in Happy Comics.  Happy Comics #33 is an awesome book that recently sold for about $400.00 in a live eBay auction out of Canada.   Frazetta illustrations appear in Happy Comics (1943) (#20-#37) and in Goofy Comics (1943 Nedor/Standard) (#20-#35).

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Tip Top #173

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Other books are less obvious.  Tip Top #173 is the first appearance of Peanuts in comics and it is a book that is near and dear to many collectors hearts.  I have only recently seen a copy of this rare gem in person and that is only because a dear friend was kind enough to share with me books from his private collection.  In November of 2019 a CGC 7.0 sold in for a whopping $6,300.00, and in February of last year a CGC 3.5 sold for $1,380.00.

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Terry Toons Comics #38

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The reality is that many of your favorite children’s cartoons have incredibly valuable first appearances in the pages of comics.  For example, Mighty Mouse first appears in Terry Toons Comics #38. Characters like Scooby Doo have received a lot of fanfare in recent years, but other characters like the Flintstones, the Jetsons, and others have not received the same adulation from fans.

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The Funnies #64

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Personally, I’m more interested in books like The Funnies #64 (1942).  This book is the first appearance of Woody Woodpecker and it is listed in Gerber’s Photo-Journal Guide to Comics’ rarity scale as a 7 or scarce.

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Our Gang Comics #1

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A similar monster is Our Gang Comics #1 (1943) which is the first appearance of Tom and Jerry.  This is a monster and a favorite book of my friend Mikey Halperin. Last year someone stole a copy of this book when they snagged a CGC 4.0 in September  for $800.00.

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Four Color #119

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Felix the Cat is one of those characters with a cult like following.  One of my favorite Felix the Cat books is Four Color #119 (1946). The reason that I love this book is that it is when Otto Messmer’s created new Felix material for use in comics. Until this issue, all Felix comic book appearances had been reprints of newspaper strips.  So there are a ton of older Felix the Cat comics and a wonderful thread on the CGC boards that is relatively short that documents some of those books that you should check out if you are interested in Felix the Cat.

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Four Color #16

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If you watched Nico Time this week then you were already warned that I was going to dive deep into funny animal books.  You also probably saw that there was a live auction sale on eBay of Four Color #16 (1941) which is the 1st Mickey Mouse comic book.  This is a super cool item and I hope that we are all lucky enough to lodge a copy of this book in our personal collection. This week a low grade copy that presented really well for its grade sold in a live auction on eBay.  The book had a 5 1/2″ spine split tear from bottom of spine, other pieces out and tears up to 1″, the cover was just holding on by top staple to back cover, there were small chips on corners and edges of cover, with a vertical crease on top right edge, an arrival date stamp on front cover, and not a single missing page.  It was beautiful. The book sold for $710.00. There have been a few slabbed copies in the CGC 2.0 to 2.5 range that have sold in the neighborhood of $1,200.00.

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There are obviously a ton of books which would qualify as the “first appearance of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other beloved Disney characters that predate the characters appearance in Four Color.  So while I will point you in the direction of Four Color #9 (1941) which is in fact the first Carl Barks Donald Duck story, there are a ton of serious collectors who would be more interested in even older, less traditional comic book appearances such as the Adventures of Mickey Mouse #1 (1931).

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Four Color Comics No. 178

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Four Color Comics No. 178 (1947) is another monumental book.  This Donald Duck comic book published by Dell, is where the legendary Carl Barks introduces Scrooge McDuck in “Christmas on Bear Mountain.” Keep in mind that Uncle Scrooge receives his own comic series in 1952 and by the 1960’s Scrooge comics are sell more than a million copies.

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Four Color #386

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Uncle Scrooge takes over the title in Four Color #386 and this is a highly coveted books by older collectors, but relatively inexpensive these days as more modern collectors have turned their attention away from classic books like this in favor of pre-code horror, good girl art, romance and super hero books.  It will be interesting to see if this book ever makes a turn around.

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Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics #1

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Let us now turn our attention to the Warner Brothers classics.  Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and Elmer Fudd first appeared in comic books in 1941, in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics #1, published by Dell Comics.  This book has been trading hands, but is shockingly inexpensive considering the historical significance of the book. For example, a CGC 7.0 sold in November of last year for $4,560.00.  Compare this price to the $1,531.00 price tag a CGC 1.0 copy fetched in December.

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Remember there are a slew of other big name cartoon characters like Richie Rich, Dennis the Menace and Hot Stuff all of which have first appearances in the first issue of their title books.  They are each treasures in their own right with an incredible amount of cultural and historical significance. You should be aware of these books so that if you see them cheap, you don’t miss them.

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This article like many of the articles I’ve published about Westerns, Pre-Code Horror, Romance comics and other books only begins to scratch the surface.  There are a considerable amount of other books which are incredibly significant that I simply did not elect to discuss for one of a number of different reasons.  Remember that anytime you see a Timely Comics funny animal book you are looking at a valuable book. It doesn’t matter if its Super Rabbit, Ziggy Pigg, Silly Seal or All Surprise.

 

Until next time, “Happy Hunting you bunch of Savages!” .

– Nico, Esq.

 

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