Four Color, also known as Four Color Comics and One Shots, was an American comic book anthology series published by Dell Comics between 1939 and 1962. The title is a reference to the four basic colors used when printing comic books (cyan, magenta, yellow and black at the time). The first 25 issues are known as “series 1”. In mid-1942, the numbering started over again, and “series 2” began. After the first hundred issues of the second series, Dell stopped putting the “Four Color Comics” designation on the books, but they continued the numbering system for twenty years.
More than 1,000 issues were published, usually with multiple titles released every month. An exact accounting of the actual number of unique issues produced is difficult because occasional issue numbers were skipped and a number of reprint issues were also included. Nonetheless, the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide lists well over 1,000 individual issues, ending with #1354. Comics historian Alberto Becattini cites 1332 issues. It currently holds the record for most issues produced of an American comic book; its nearest rival, DC’s Action Comics, reached the 1,000-issue milestone in 2018.
Four Color published many of the first licensed Disney comics; about 20 percent of the Four Color issues were devoted to Disney characters.
Unlike most comic book series of the day, which were either devoted to one character, or were anthologies with collections of stories starring the cartoon characters of a particular studio, Four Color instead devoted each individual issue to different characters. One issue might feature a popular cartoon character, while the next might be an adaptation of a popular movie or TV series. Thus the phrase “one shot” which was used in the publisher’s code in the first interior page of the first story.
Identifying Four Color comics can be a challenge, as only issues published between c.1940 and 1946 actually carried the title Four Color Comics on the cover.
All comics are separated into the characters.
Click on one of the titles which will lead you to the download- and informationpage for that comic (opens in a new window).
You can close that window when you are finished and you will be back on this page for the other titles.