Let’s talk about New Funnies comics, one of the best Golden Age comic book series in my opinion.
New Funnies is a Golden Age comic book series that started off just called The Funnies. With issue No. 64 (in 1942), the comic began focusing on Walter Lantz characters, such as Andy Panda and Oswald the Rabbit. With issue No. 65, it was renamed New Funnies.
Woody Woodpecker was also one of the Lantz characters who appeared in the book. He was such a new character at the time, he was a guest-star in the Oswald the Rabbit stories for a year or two before he received his own comic strip in New Funnies. At first, Woody’s strip was only one page. With issue No. 87, he began receiving a longer strip. Of course, as time went on, Woody Woodpecker became Walter Lantz’ biggest star and was featured on most New Funnies covers from the mid-1940s until it was cancelled in the early 1960s.
New Funnies is a great series. Not only are issues fairly easy to find–something surprising for a Golden Age comic book series–but many issues are not too expensive. Of course, the most sought-after issues are the earliest issues from the time the book switched from its early format to featuring the Lantz characters. The earliest Lantz-centric issues can cost hundreds of dollars in near-mint condition. Some issues that are highlights include issue No. 65 (the first issue of New Funnies), No. 69 (nice Halloween cover with Andy Panda, Raggedy Ann, and Felix the Cat), No. 89 and No. 101 (both World War II war bond covers).
In my opinion, some of the best covers are the ones that feature three great Lantz characters together: Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda and Charlie Chicken, a character who only appeared in a few cartoons but was featured in the comics from the 1940s to the 1970s. He’s one of those forgotten characters who never received large-scale fame. Charlie Chicken appeared in two Andy Panda cartoons in the 1940s: Andy Panda’s Victory Garden and Meatless Tuesday. Oddly, he fought Andy in both cartoons. They chased each other around Andy’s farm. I call this odd because in New Funnies (and Andy Panda’s own series) Charlie was Andy Panda’s pal.
Charlie first appeared in print in New Funnies No. 79 as a small chicken. As far as I can tell from my research (I don’t own all the issues), Charlie was a full-grown chicken by his next comic book appearance. He was one of the stars in New Funnies for decades, even getting his own comic strip in the series.
Yes, if you are a fan of Golden Age cartoons, Golden Age comic books or the Walter Lantz characters, I recommend picking up some old New Funnies issues via online comic book stores or eBay. You will not be disappointed in the prices or quality of the stories. Also, we need to keep the classic Golden Age characters alive!
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