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Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 Pay Copy (First Funnies, Inc., 1939) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Cream to off-white pages. This is one of...

2005 October Comic Auction #818

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Auction Ended On: Oct 14, 2005
Item Activity: 19 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Dallas, TX
Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 Pay Copy (First Funnies, Inc., 1939) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Cream to off-white pages. This is one of the most famous single copies of a comic book in existence. And here's the most surprising thing about it when you see it up close: you've got to marvel at what a great-looking copy it is! Give our scan a look and you will agree that the issue has earned its VF/NM grade -- the fresh cover colors stack up well even against comics from the famous pedigree collections. Now, terms like "holy grail" are used for collectibles quite a bit, but we feel that nobody could dispute that the Motion Picture Funnies Pay Copy has that status. Its significance and uniqueness make it so. And the reason it is so hotly sought-after is that it has the very first printed appearance of the Sub-Mariner. The comic was never released to newsstands -- it was created as a promotional item by the Lloyd Jacquet studio (or "shop") of artists also known as Funnies Inc. It was intended to be a giveaway to be distributed weekly at movie theatres (as demonstrated by the back-cover ad which elaborates on the concept). The Sub-Mariner story even has a box on the last page saying "continued next week," but the concept did not catch on, and no second issue was printed. In fact, the very existence of this comic book was not known to comic fandom until the 1970s. As it stands today, only eight copies of the issue are known to exist. And the most desirable one of the bunch is the Funnies Inc. "pay copy," the office copy in which the amounts paid to the creators of the issue were noted in longhand. The copy came to light as part of Jacquet's estate and has been a storied collectible ever since. It's that Sub-Mariner connection that accounts for the great historical significance of this comic milestone. While this is not a Timely/Marvel publication, we have chosen to include it in the Timely section of this catalog because of the historical significance of the Sub-Mariner in the history of Timely. When the giveaway series didn't get off the ground, Jacquet simply re-used Bill Everett's Sub-Mariner story for Marvel Comics #1 (produced for Timely in its entirety by Funnies Inc.). The "continued next week" box was removed and Everett added four pages to the story. And the rest is history! As for the rest of the content of the issue (it's all black-and-white inside), it consists of various humor and adventure features. As a matter of fact, the Sub-Mariner story was not the only one to later see publication in a newsstand comic - the "Spy Ring" story was later seen in Silver Streak Comics #1, which was published by a forerunner of the publisher we know as Lev Gleason but was produced in its entirety by Jacquet's Funnies, Inc. As for the cover of this issue, it has been credited to Fred Schwab. To date, only two other copies of the issue have been certified by CGC, and the only other unrestored copy in the census was graded far below, at 7.0. To own the copy used by some of the "founding fathers" of comic books at this key moment in the history of the medium... well, it's thrilling enough just to lay eyes on the Pay Copy, and we will be envious indeed of whichever collector ends up taking this one home. CGC notes, "Publisher's record of payments to artists noted on 1 page and cover in pencil." Overstreet 2005 VF/NM 9.0 value = $22,250; NM- 9.2 value = $28,000. CGC census 9/05: 1 in 9.0, none higher.

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