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spotty writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 5
the funny book 1 _ the funny book 2 _ the new funny book 3
The Funny Book #1
The Funny Book #2 The Funny Book #3
The Funny Book / The New Funny Book

1975-1978 / Ful-Horne Productions - Larry Fuller Presents
After the disappointing sales of the first black superhero comic book in history (Ebon #1 in 1970), no one would have blamed Ebon creator Larry Fuller for skulking back to his 'hood and taking on one of those menial jobs often associated with his peers, like a fry cook or a trash man.

Fortunately, Larry Fuller was not so easily deterred from his passion for comic books. He contributed a one-page story to Laugh in the Dark in 1971 and I'm not sure what he did between 1972 and 1974, but by 1975 he was storming through the comic book publishing door. Fuller teamed up with Ray Horne to form Ful-Horne Productions and began publishing a diverse array of underground-theme comic titles, from White Whore Funnies and Gay Heart Throbs to The Funny Book.

The Funny Book #1 was the first of those publications, preceding the legendary White Whore Funnies #1 by merely a month. The Funny Book #1 was a 12-page black-and-white book featuring comic strips by Gary Figari about "Louie the Lush" and "Lardo," the fattest man in the world. This oddball comic didn't sell particularly well, especially compared to White Whore Funnies, but in 1977 Fuller revived the title as The NEW Funny Book under his own publishing banner (Larry Fuller Presents), and it contained more Lardo comics by Gary Figari, as well as strips from old-timers like Dan O'Neill and newcomers like Bob Vojtko. The second issue was quite a hodgepodge of comics and failed to connect with any particular audience, which once again resulted in relatively poor sales.

In July of 1978, Fuller published The New Funny Book #3. This issue was intended to wipe the slate clean and begin anew, as indicated in the introduction on the inside front cover. Fuller had gone all out for this book, hiring an independent editor and acquiring 58 pages of comic content from talented creators, and even registering his "LF" publishing symbol as a "guarantee of excellence in comics." (I have no idea what entity Fuller "registered" his symbol with. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?)

With all of this effort, I wonder why Fuller didn't just launch a new title, since the track record for the previous two issues of the existing series was hardly stellar. Instead, he stuck with the old title for a third issue and promised even greater things with issue number four. Well, as we know, issue number four would never be published. Like the second issue, the third issue is packed with a disjointed range of sci-fi fantasy, cowboy adventures, Lardo strips and lame jokes. It died at birth.

Though The Funny Book series floundered, Fuller experienced considerably more success with his smut-oriented White Whore Funnies and Adults Only! titles, which sold well enough to keep him in the business through the 1980s and beyond. His Gay Heart Throbs series is often overlooked for being the first comic book truly devoted to gay male sexual fantasy.

In 2007, Fuller was the recipient of the Pioneer Award at the 2007 Glyph Comics Awards, which recognized him as one of the best contributors to cartoons and comics made by, for, and about people of color. 37 years after his humble beginnings with Gary Arlington, Fuller was finally recognized for his trailblazing efforts to render the color of one's skin irrelevant to the worth of one's comic book contributions.