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average writing
competent art
historical bonus 3
total score 7
Ebon #1
Only Printing / January, 1970 / 32 pages / S.F. Comic Book Company
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As a young boy, Larry Fuller was fascinated by the comic book superhero genre, but I imagine he wondered why there were no superheroes who matched the color of his own skin. But if Marvel and DC were blind to the need for a black superhero, Fuller was ready to fill the gap after he grew up.

As a young man in San Francisco, Fuller wrote and illustrated Ebon, the world's first comic book starring a black superhero*, and Gary Arlington and San Francisco Comic Book Company published the book in 1970. Not surprisingly, selling a black superhero comic book to the hippies and stoners who frequented the retail outlets (head shops) within the underground comic distribution network wasn't easy, and Ebon #1 did not sell well.

Despite the poor sales, Ebon is notable because Gary Arlington provided a black man with the opportunity to publish his own comic book. Ebon is not only the first comic book starrng a black superhero in history, but it may also be the first comic book entirely created by a black person (proclamations by Whole Wheat Comics notwithstanding). The historical significance of this achievement should not be underestimated, any less than the significance of the underground revolution enabling women to publish the first all-women-produced comic book, or gay people to publish the first all-gay-produced comic book.

As for the qualitative content of Ebon #1, Fuller's superhero story is a bit predictable, but there is some really cool stuff at the back of the book, where you can find ads for other underground titles, including Bogeyman and San Francisco Comic Book #1. Even the back cover and indicia are cool in their own underground, hand-made way.

*There were a handful of heroic African-American comic book characters that preceded Ebon, including Lobo (Dell Publishing, 1965), Black Panther (Marvel, 1966) and Falcon (Atlas Comics, 1969). But Lobo was a very human Old West gunslinger, not a traditional superhero with super powers. Black Panther and Falcon were true superheroes, but they only played supporting roles in comic books until Falcon headlined a brief series in 1983. The first African-American superhero who starred in his own mainstream comic book was Marvel's Luke Cage in 1972. So, indeed, Ebon is the first African-American traditional superhero to star in his own comic book in history.
It is unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted. There are two versions of the printing; one that was conventionally folded, trimmed and stapled. The other was folded, but left untrimmed and unstapled. The version shown here is the stapled and trimmed version. Other trimmed versions cut off more of the right side of the book than the version shown here.

Gary E. Arlington (editor)
Larry Fuller - 1-27, 32
Rory Hayes - 28-29
Jay Lynch - 30