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average writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 5
the funny papers _ not available _ the funny papers 3
The Funny Papers #1
The Funny Papers #2 The Funny Papers #3
The Funny Papers

1975 / Funny Papers, Inc.
After the failure of John Bryan's The Sunday Paper after only seven issues in 1972, you'd think everyone would be hesitant to publish another color underground newspaper (The Sunday Paper included a full-color comics section wrapping a black and white tabloid). But that didn't stop legendary underground lawyer Albert Morse from launching The Funny Papers from Long Island, New York in 1975. Morse teamed with copublisher Sherman Saiger and editor Lydia Saiger to produce The Funny Papers as a monthly, full-color tabloid with a diverse array of content.

With Morse's stellar reputation, he was able to recruit some of the best talent from the underground comics golden era to contribute to the paper, including Robert Crumb, Vaughn Bode, Larry Todd, Trina Robbins and Jay Kinney, among others. Even Dana Crumb had a cooking column!

The tabloid debuted in February with full guns blazing, as Robert Crumb's Bo Bo Belinski was featured on the front cover. Larry Todd, Vaughn Bode, Trina and Ted Richards also appear in the first issue, but this was by no means a pure comic-book tabloid. Sherman and Lydia Saiger, who later authored a couple paperbacks with word-puzzle games for Bantam Books, designed The Funny Papers with equal emphasis on puzzles, silly reader contests, short features and brief reviews (of music albums and comics like Justin Green's Binky Brown and the Holy Virgin Mary).

The Funny Papers was more akin to a Sunday newspaper insert magazine like Parade than an underground tabloid. The first issue even included a juvenile connect-the-dots picture more suitable for a children's magazine. Unlike the true underground newspapers of the day, there were zero investigative reports or long-form articles on controversial topics. Even the comics were PG-13 at the most, devoid of any risk or ignominy. I can't say the tabloid's vanilla personality killed it after three issues...but it was dead after three issues.

Well designed, easy to digest, something for everybody, and ultimately disposable. The Funny Papers was the USA Today of underground newspapers. Bear in mind, I like reading USA Today.