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Thursday, June 26, 2014

(On Newsstands in October 1949)

Big things were brewing at MLJ publishing, and not just with Romance knock offs!
Archie Annual #1 hit the stands in October of 1949, with a Bob Montana cover and a whopping 116 pages of new material!

(from Archie Annual #1 - art by Bob Montana) 

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I’m sure in the editorial meetings there was some speculation as to if they could sell a big 25 cent Archie Comic, even if it had 116 pages of all new material, but I guess they figured it was worth a try!

On the inside front cover, they went all out to remind everyone that this was for YOU THE READER and as a FIRST EDITION (all caps!) it just might be worth something some day and it’s all Brand New (in Italics) and yadda yadda yadda...

Sheesh! We like Archie already! We’re gonna buy it!
(from Archie Annual #1 - o/s Oct 1949)

You’ll notice Ray Gill signed the opening splash, but to the right of Archie’s leg we see Samm Scwartz’s (Sam S) scrawled on the floorboard.

According to Grand Comics Database (, this was Gill’s script and Schwartz’s art. Not sure, but my guess is it’s a combination of Gill and Schwartz art, though it’s certainly possible Gill wrote the story (based on a premise we’d seen in Archie before).

(from Archie Annual #1 - ‘Notes to You’ - art by Samm Schwartz and Ray Gill)

What we’d see throughout is a collaborative effort from the artists (I believe), here again with art by Samm Schwartz and Ray Gill.

(from Archie Annual #1 - ‘Notes to You’ - art by Samm Schwartz and Ray Gill)

Archie gets more than he bargained for in a dance with Veronica’s mom... 

(from Archie Annual #1 - ‘Gym Dandy’ art by Samm Schwartz and Ray Gill)

An ad for Darling Love and Darling Romance...
(from Archie Annual #1)

A Jughead solo story - they should give him his own comic already (heh heh) - Here, Archie checks out a female passerby, as Reggie messes with Jughead.

(from Archie Annual #1 - ‘Who’s Zoo’ - art by unknown, but it looks like it has some Red Holmdale in it.)

Getting pretty fancy with these ads, putting the actual comic in it!
(from Archie Annual #1)

Here Bill Vigoda and Ray Gill team up...

(from Archie Annual #1 - ‘The Rug Cutter’ - art by Bill Vigoda and Ray Gill)

A full page ad for Laugh, Suzie, and Wilbur

(from Archie Annual #1)

Another Jughead solo story (sort of), done by an artist I don’t recognize - anyone have any ideas on it?

(from Archie Annual #1 - ‘The Pin-up’ - artist unknown)

Bill Vigoda

(from Archie Annual #1 - ‘The Bugaboo Buster’ - art by Bill Vigoda)

Samm has a clever way of signing his name to the art!

(from Archie Annual #1 - ‘Fat’s the Spirit’ art by Samm Schwartz)

They may have filtered out some of the sexuality, but there are still things you would not see in today’s Archie Comic!
(And there’s actually a good message in the story as Archie learns a lesson.)

(from Archie Annual #1 - ‘Fat’s the Spirit’ art by Samm Schwartz)

I’m not going to give away the story, but seriously, there’s a good message in it all…

(from Archie Annual #1 - ‘Fat’s the Spirit’ art by Samm Schwartz)

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Find some more modern Archie stories here:

Or find some of the older classic stories in these great collections:


  1. Here's what Joe Gill (Ray's brother) says about Ray Gill:

    Ray Gill was a writer, he never did any illustration, but he cartooned his scripts, which was a
    practice early on in the comics. You’d draw a rough stick-figure outline to indicate the action,
    and pencil in the balloons. Ray was Archie’s first regular writer (1944–1950?). He wanted a
    byline and editor Harry Shorten wouldn’t give it to him, so then Ray went on strike. He was
    getting $10 a page, and he demanded $15 a page because Archie was so successful, and my
    brother thought it was because of his writing. So Shorten told him to take a walk!

    The above quote was from Charlton Spotlight # 5, Fall 2006.

    Jake Oster

  2. That is some great info Jake! Thank you!