1First Comics History
1FIRST COMICS was founded in Chicago in the early 1980’s when Marvel and D.C. were the only comic book publishers. 1FIRST COMICS built its reputation on cutting edge titles, an eye for talent, a commitment to retailer support and creators’ rights, and creative risk-taking in striving to put out books that knocked your socks off. One of its editorial mantras was “Go for great”. Today, those principles remain part of the 1FIRST COMICS DNA.

When we began, Marvel and D.C. had cornered the market on traditional super-heroes, so we focused on genre and innovation. Among the 1FIRST COMICS “firsts” were the first long-running original science fiction series (BLACK FLAME; AMERICAN FLAGG; STARSLAYER); the first long-running original humor heroes (THE BADGER; E-MAN); development and publication of the first mainstream graphic novel (BEOWULF, winner of the 1985 KIRBY Award for Best Graphic Album); the first publication in the U.S. of Japanese manga translated into English (the iconic LONE WOLF AND CUB); the first all digital comics produced entirely on a computer (SHATTER!); developing and publishing the first comic book series adapting live theatrical plays (The Organic Theater’s WARP!, directed by Stuart Gordon) and the first comic book series to adapt modern science fiction and fantasy text novels (Michael Moorcock’s CORUM, HAWKMOON, and ELRIC). 1FIRST COMICS also acquired the rights to the CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED brand, producing 27 all new and the first full color CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED titles with top comics talent, and acquired the reprint collection rights to an upstart black and white basement comic book titled THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, which 1FIRST COMICS fully colored and then issued in four trade paperback collections with wide domestic and UK book store distribution. In Hollywood, our JON SABLE FREELANCE title became the first independent comic to become a live action television series (“SABLE”, Rene Russo’s first professional acting gig). Among the talent for whom 1FIRST COMICS served as a major professional stepping stone were Mike Mignola (the Moorcock series); Howard Chaykin (his first creator owned series), and Bill Willingham (his first professional work, on the WARP! back-up stories).

In 1992 1FIRST COMICS was one of seven companies acquired as part of a roll-up which went public as Classics International Entertainment (“CIE”). Eventually, each of the holdover 1FIRST COMICS personnel left the company when CIE abandoned publishing and transformed itself into a “dot com.” Recently, Ken F. Levin, our Director and Head of Creative Content, orchestrated the 1FIRST COMICS re-launch, having engineered the repurchase of 1FIRST COMICS from CIE. The company’s publishing is concentrated in three areas: original titles from today’s top talent; republishing of 1FIRST COMICS’ classic titles; and bringing into the 1FIRST COMICS fold creators, characters, and titles which we would have loved to have been 1FIRST COMICS titles the first time around. We also have a strong commitment to covering the complete gamut of audience demographics, from books for mature audiences to books for all ages.

It is true that many of our titles are “filmic”, and that several are in development for film or television. That, however, is not the defining touchstone or whether or not we take on a title. That decision rests on but one analysis: can this proposal turn into a great book or series? On that score, 1FIRST COMICS’ success rate is unparalleled.