The earliest comic books

By US Desk
Fri, 02, 23

The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck, published in Europe in 1837, is supposed to be the first comic book....


The earliest comic books

Superhero movies are very popular nowadays, but superheroes didn’t debut in movies. They actually got their start in the pages of the earliest comic books.

Ever wondered which is the oldest comic book in the world? The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck, published in Europe in 1837, is supposed to be the first comic book.

It looked more like a picture book than what you would consider to be a comic book. Its author, Switzerland’s Rudolphe Töpffer, is widely considered to be the creator of the picture story, comic strip and graphic novel/comic book. The first American comic book, Funnies on Parade, was published in 1933. Rather than original content, however, it was composed of reprinted comic strips from newspapers, including such favourites as Mutt and Jeff, Joe Palooka and Skippy.

The earliest comic books

It was very popular and led to the publication of other syndicated comic strips from newspapers. It wasn’t long, though, before demand for comic books led aspiring cartoonists, suffering from high unemployment as a result of the Great Depression, to create inexpensive original content. It didn’t take long for the fledgling comic book industry to take flight. In fact, the golden age of comic books began with the 1938 debut of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Superman character in Action Comics #1.

The most recognisable comic book character of all time, Superman, made comic books very popular and inspired the creation of a wide variety of characters with all sorts of superpowers. Soon comic book fans could buy comic books featuring Captain America, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, Plastic Man, Captain Marvel and many others. Comic book sales increased dramatically during World War II.

People could not get enough of the patriotic, inspirational stories of good overcoming evil. Plus, they were cheap. Captain America was very popular during the war. Comic books remain popular today. Classic comic books can also be extremely valuable. Action Comics #1, in which Superman made his debut, is still considered the most valuable comic book in the world. In 2014, a copy of the classic comic sold for over $3 million!

Flor de la Mar

The earliest comic books

There are roughly three million shipwrecks in Earth’s oceans, lakes and rivers, according to an astounding estimate by UNESCO. The shipwrecks like Titanic, the Lusitania and the Endurance are famous, but there’s another class of wrecks: the missing, forgotten but astoundingly valuable. Several ships have been missing for centuries, some carrying millions or billions in lost treasure. One of these was centrepiece of Portuguese military power in 1502, the Flor de la Mar, which was effectively a looting ship. For a decade, the vessel made trips from Portugal to Ormuz (in today’s Iran), Malacca (in Malaysia), and Goa (in India), bringing arms and muscle to colonised people, and returning to Portugal with gold and other. In 1511, when it was returning from Malacca overloaded with 400 men and thousands of pounds of gold, believed by some to be worth more than $2 billion today, the Flor de la Mar sank during a storm near Sumatra.

If the 500-year-old rumours are true, the Flor de la Mar could be the most valuable shipwreck on Earth, which is the reason why Portugal, Malaysia and Indonesia claim rights over the future bounty, leaving a much smaller slice for the enterprising explorer who finds it.