Monday, April 22, 2013

Groove's Faves: Famouos First Edition # C-26--Action Comics #1

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Well, it looks like the celebration of Superman's 75th Anniversary has begun, and if there's anything Comicdom needs to celebrate it's definitely the debut of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Man of Steel in Action Comics #1 (April 1938). But what has that to do with the Groovy Age, you wonder? Nothing really. Ha! Got'cha, didn't I? No, seriously, we appreciated Superman's Action Comics debut mightily during the Groovy Age. In 1971, t-shirts with that iconic debut cover were sold via ads that ran thru most of the DC Comics line...

...but most of all, t'was the coming of Famous First Edition # C-26 in January 1974 that really turned us on! FFE C-26 allowed us to experience what our parents and their siblings had been able to experience back in 1938 (albeit in a much larger--making it even more awesome!--format): Action Comics #1 in its entirety. For a young comicbook fiend like Young Groove, this tabloid-sized reprint was a revelation. Not only did we get to thrill to the very first Superman mini-epic (which we'd later learn was cobbled-together newspaper strip samples), but we got to see all the other non-superhero (there were no others! Superman was the first!) features starring an exciting array of cowboys, cops, reporters, boxers, adventurers, and magicians. We experienced some "big-foot" humor and were taken back to a virtual "who's who" of Depression Era celebrities. Comics were more than super-heroes, silly teens, scary tales, barbarians, and child-friendly supernatural characters. And they could all appear in one mag! It definitely made its mark on moi, baby! Read that giant-mag over and over. I still have it and pull it out from time to time. I s'pose now would be another good time to check it out!
The ad that got the heart racing!
I never dreamed of taking the outer cardboard cover off of my copy! 


Neal Adams' in-freakin'-credible back cover


  1. Hey Groovster!
    I thought DC was going to celebrate the Big s's B-day in June. Guess that first issue even in 1938. Came out actually in April. Three months early, I remmber all these like it was yesterday. All were beautiful books.

    If not for Gladiator/Hugo Danner(1930) written in (1926)By Philip Wylie. As well as Doc Savage the Man of Bronze (1933). We'd probably never had the Man of Steel. Atleast as we know him & his Fortress of Solitude atleast. Throw in the origin of Moses & a SF element. And of course Superman's iconic S shield, roman like cape, boots & tights!

    The first 10 issues atleast were taken atleast partially out of the book Gladiator. Even the leaping strength of a grass hopper reference. Even Lex Luthor seems to be a knock off of Capt.Marvel/Shazam;s arch enemy Dr.Sivana. But hey I'm still a huge Superman fan!

    Thank you Neal Adams for going to bat at DC for Jerry & Joe. When WB annouced they were going to be doing Superman the movie. Neal drew a beautiful Superman too!

  2. What jumps out at me is the ad -- it states: "Action #1 sold for $1800".

    That's it??!!!??!!!! That's gotta be a better investment than any stock at the time! A NM copy sold for $2.16 Million in 2011 (

    If only ....

  3. As I understand it, the estates of Siegel and Shuster own the rights to ACTION #1, so if DC ever reprints it again, said estates gain 100% of proceeds (unless they negotiate a contract saying otherwise).

    I never knew that was a Neal Adams back cover. The inks look like Dick Giordano, but are you sure that's Neal's pencil work?

    There may be online samples of Siegel and Shuster's original concept for Superman---it comes from Friedrich Nietschze's concept of the (Aryan) "superman" and he was a bald villain (not unlike Lex Luthor). I believe it was pitched as a newspaper strip originally.

    I used to have this oversized reprint when I was only 9 years old in 1974. So much fun reading and collecting comics in those days.

    Chris A.

    1. Hard to see how they would own the rights to Action #1. Most of the material in the comic was not theirs. If they somehow DO have the rights, then they've screwed the other contributors in the same fashion they claim D.C. screwed them.

  4. I remember seeing the ad posted above in an issue of Our Army At War, and I could barely contain myself. I sketched the cover of Action #1 from the ad, and was worried sick that someone else would buy the only copy that would probably be available at our local Rexall Drug Store. Luckily, I got it. My parents helped me order the next Famous First Edition, Detective Comics #27 so I wouldn't miss it.

    Oh to be nine again.

  5. Wow it's surreal seeing how Supes was first depicted, no flight, no invulnerability, no Pa Kent, no Daily Planet, no Lois Lane ...... :)

    - Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.

  6. These long-underwear characters will never last!



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