Better Little Book (1938)
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Publication Date: 1938 - 1949
Country: United States
Better Little Book was a new copyright title for what had previously been known as the Big Little Book series. Though initially unchanged from its predecessor, Better Little Book gradually saw a drop in its page count. By 1949, the average Better Little Book was about half the size of the average Big Little Book—roughly 200 pages instead of 400. Also, the content became more comics-centric. Gone were the days when Whitman would occasionally run completely original material or even movie and radio tie-ins. At the very end, the line became dominated by what were called on the cover, "All Pictures Comics". Sometimes incorrectly thought of as a line separate from Better Little Book, the subtitle merely reflected the reality of the marketplace: sequential art had come to dominate the youth market, and Better Little Book had become America's first major home for graphic novels. Still, these wouldn't quite be what we would, today, consider "graphic novels". They were, instead, reprints of many months of ongoing newspaper comic strips, such that one could get an entire story in one location. But, in that they were in book form and focused on long-form narrative, they were graphic novels in the broadest sense.
There is no #1 with this series, just as there wasn't one for Big Little Book. Instead it was more of a numbering code than a traditional sequence. Whitman BLBs numbered in the 1400s are typically Better, not Big, Little Books. That said, there are a few Whitman books, numbered 14xx, which are actually Big Little Books.
Consequently, contributors should be wary of putting any book into this title that is not numbered 14xx.
As these were books, and not comic books, it's largely impossible to ascertain exact chronological order for the various issues. The best that can be said is that a certain issue was released in a certain year. Because of the non-linear nature of the numbering scheme, the closest approximation of the sequential order of the books can nevertheless be had by choosing the view the issue list below by cover date, rather than issue number.
Number of issues cataloged: 17