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dan o'neill's vol 1 no 1 red ink
solid writing
competent art
historical bonus 2
total score 6
Dan O'Neill's Comics and Stories #1
Red-Ink Version / 1971 / 52 pages / Company & Sons
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From the time stamp of January, 1948 in the upper right corner to the cartoonish pig and wolf dressed in farmer overalls and country bumpkin hats, the front cover of volume one of Dan O'Neill's Comics and Stories has the kid-friendly trappings of a cute Disney comic from the placid late-1940s era of post-war America. Oh, except for the fact that the pig has just blown out the brains of the wolf with a hefty revolver. Yeah, kind of upsets the whole kiddie-friendly concept here. But that dichotomy between comics that appear sweet and idyllic and comics that wake you up to the ugliness of reality is one that Dan O'Neill utilizes time and again in his comics and stories.

Dan O'Neill's Comics and Stories vol. 1, no. 1 is essentially one 49-page Odd Bodkins story called "The Blasphemy of Fred." Fred is a big-beaked bird with a nervous disposition and his buddy is Hugh, a pudgy little fellow with arms coming out of where his ears should be. Neither of these guys is a genius, but between Hugh and Fred, and a few other creatures they encounter within this story, the subject of religion is debated in multiple rounds of insightful and sometimes funny dialog.

It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted. While there is only one printing, there are two versions of the book, which have been traditionally identified by the use of red ink on the inside cover. One version has red ink on the inside front cover and the other does not. The version with the red ink was once considered less common and therefore had more value (per Kennedy), but Fogel's Guide does not differentiate value between the two versions. Given my choice, though, I think it's certainly more fun to have the red-ink version than the plain one.

From the multiple versions of the first issue that I own, it appears it is easy to tell the difference between the red-ink version and the no-red-ink version based on the front cover art.

Comixjoint Tell
: The wolf's blue overalls on the red-ink version are a flat blue. The wolf's blue overalls on the no-red-ink version are mottled with different shades of blue. There are a couple of other tells as well (motorbike and road are also colored differently). These cover tells are directly related to the printing plates (the covers were surely printed two-up or four-up on the press, allowing for different versions of cover artwork in one printing) and would not be eliminated by any amount of fluctuation in ink coverage or changing of ink colors. I believe additional research will confirm these particular cover tells, which can be compared side by side here.
Dan O'Neill - 1-51
Bobby London - 52
dan o'neill's v1n1 no red ink
No Red Ink Version
No red ink on IFC, color
variations on front cover.