Toby Press

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Toby Press
Statusdefunct (1955)
Founded 1949
Founder Elliott Caplin
Defunct1955  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location New York City
Publication types Comic books
Fiction genres Licensed characters, romance, war, Westerns, Adventure, talking animal
Imprints Minoan

Toby Press was an American comic-book company that published from 1949 to 1955. Founded by Elliott Caplin, brother of cartoonist Al Capp and himself an established comic strip writer, the company published reprints of Capp's Li'l Abner strip; licensed-character comics starring such film and animated cartoon properties as John Wayne and Felix the Cat; and original conceptions, including romance, war, Western, and adventure comics. Some of its comics were published under the imprint Minoan. Some covers bore the logo ANC, standing for American News Company, at the time the country's largest newsstand distributor.


It is unrelated to the book publisher Toby Press, which was acquired by in 2010. [1]


Elliott Caplin entered the comic-book field as editor of True Comics for the Parents Magazine Institute. [2] Some years later, he founded Toby Press with reprints of his brother Al Capp's popular newspaper comic strip Li'l Abner , a satire built around hillbilly archetypes. The first Toby comic-book series was Al Capp's Li'l Abner, which began with issue #70 (May 1949), picking up the numbering from Harvey Publications'Li'l Abner Comics. [3] It ran 28 issues, through #97 (Jan. 1955) Toby's second title was the three-issue Al Capp's Dogpatch Comics, numbered #71, followed by #2–3 (June–Dec. 1949). [4] These issues reprint Li'l Abner strips that the newspaper syndicate United Feature had published in the omnibus comic-book Tip Top #112–114 (Nov. 1946 – Jan. 1947). Following through 1952 were Al Capp's Shmoo Comics #1–5 (July 1949 – April 1950); Al Capp's Wolf Gal #1–2 (1951–1952); and a series of pocket-sized, 6.75 × 3.5-inch, one-shot comics produced as premiums for Oxydol and Dreft detergents: Al Capp's Shmoo in Washable Jones' Travels; Al Capp's Daisy Mae in Ham Sangwidges also Cousin Weakeyes, and Al Capp's Li'l Abner in The Mystery o' the Cave!! [4]

Toby's next series was John Wayne Adventure Comics, named after the actor and frequently featuring photo covers bearing scenes from his movies. It ran 31 issues (Winter 1949/1950–May 1955) and spawned its own Oxydol/Dreft pocket-sized premium, John Wayne: The Cowboy Trouble-Shooter! Further such premiums included Archie in Mask Me No Questions, featuring the Archie Comics teen-humor star; and Paul Terry's Terry-Toon Comics (both 1950). [4]

In its brief existence, Toby Press published in a wide variety of genres, including cartoon animal, with the 42-issue Felix the Cat (1951–June 1955, taking over the numbering from the Dell Comics series), which spawned spin-offs including Felix the Cat 3D Comic Book (1953); Western, with the likes of Gabby Hayes Western, a one-shot starring the movie sidekick, and the 29-issue Billy the Kid Adventure Magazine; war comics such as the 15-issue Tell It to the Marines and the six-issue Monty Hall of the U.S. Marines (no relation to the game-show host); the genre-evident Great Lover Romances and Tales of Horror; the medieval-adventure one-shot The Black Knight, with art by Ernie Schroeder; and even a two-issue comic Captain Tootsie, that starred the heroic mascot of Tootsie Roll candy. [5]

Toby went out of business in 1955, a victim of the anti-comics sentiment stirred in that era by Dr. Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent and the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. [6] Toby's final comic, Felix the Cat #61, was cover-dated June 1955.


Under the imprint Minoan, which featured a Minotaur head as the company logo, Toby Press published Dr. Anthony King, Hollywood Love Doctor, a four-issue romance comic; the seven-issue Western series Return of the Outlaw; [7] and the 13-issue Tales of Horror. [8] Minoan also published Bust Out Laffin', a digest-sized, single-panel cartoon. [4]

Titles published

Source: [4] [9]

Toby Press

Minoan Publishing

Source: [4] [20]

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  1. Andriani, Lynn (November 18, 2010). "Amazon Acquires Toby Press Titles". Publishers Weekly . Archived from the original on December 20, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  2. Benton, Mike. The Comic Book in America: An Illustrated History (Taylor Publishing Company : Dallas, Texas 1989) p.148. ISBN   0-87833-659-1
  3. 1 2 Li'l Abner (Harvey, 1947 series) at the Grand Comics Database. Harvey had published issues #61–69 (Dec. 1947 – Feb. 1949).
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Toby Press at the Grand Comics Database
  5. Captain Tootsie at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original November 15, 2011.
  6. Aydin, Andrew. "The comic book that changed the world: Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story's vital role in the Civil Rights Movement," Creative Loafing (Aug. 1, 2013).
  7. The Grand Comics Database notes, "Overstreet and Gerber list [issues number] 8–11, but there is no evidence that they exist."
  8. The Grand Comics Database lists as "Minoan from [issues number] 4–6 at least", but its cover scans show the Minotaur logo on all issues but #1
  9. Toby : Toby Press, Inc. (Indicia / Colophon Publisher) at the Grand Comics Database
  10. As per cover logo. Listed in the Grand Comics Database under copyright-indicia title Al Capp's Dogpatch.
  11. Overstreet, Robert M., ed. (2007). Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (37th ed.). House of Collectibles / Random House. p. 408. ISBN   978-0-375-72108-3.
  12. As per cover logo. Listed in the Grand Comics Database under copyright-indicia title Li'l Abner.
  13. As per cover logo. Listed in the Grand Comics Database under copyright-indicia title The Big Top.
  14. Per Grand Comics Database, "Also published in US Navy recruiting version without Toby logo or indicia, and with US Navy recruitment ads."
  15. As per cover logo. Listed in the Grand Comics Database under copyright-indicia title Felix the Cat 3-D Comic Book.
  16. As per cover logo. First two issues listed in the Grand Comics Database under copyright-indicia title Felix and His Friends.
  17. As per cover logo. Listed in the Grand Comics Database under copyright-indicia title Johnny Danger.
  18. Per Grand Comics Database, "Overstreet and Gerber list 8-11, but there is no evidence that they exist."
  19. As per cover logo. Listed in the Grand Comics Database under copyright-indicia title Super-Brat.
  20. Toby : Minoan Publishing Corp. (Indicia / Colophon Publisher) at the Grand Comics Database

Further reading

Mell Lazarus. The Boss Is Crazy, Too (Dial, 1963). Inspired by Lazarus' experiences as an editor at Toby Press.