Larry Fuller is an American underground comix artist, who has several historical "firsts" attached to his name. Together with Grass Green he was one of only two African-American underground comic artists in the 1960s and 1970s. Fuller created the first superhero comic with an African-American character in a starring role: 'Ebon' (1970). 'Ebon' was also the first comic book completely written and drawn by one African-American artist. Fuller was also the first African-American comic artist - together with Raye Horne - to gain commercial success as a distributor of adult comics. As an African-American man who openly supported LGBTQ causes, Fuller naturally stood out amidst the predominantly white and heterosexual underground comix movement. Being associated with two minority groups who are often victim of discrimination, his comics often feature social commentary about race and sexuality. His work 'Gay Hearthrobs' (1976) was additionally the first all-homosexually themed comic book in history.

Back cover White Whore Funnies #1, with inks by Raye Horne.

Early life
Larry Fuller was born in 1944. He loved superhero comics as a child, even though he often wondered why all the characters were white? In the mid-1960s he was drafted into the U.S. Air Force. He later moved to San Francisco.

Even in his new home town San Francisco, Fuller still felt African-American audiences could use a comic book superhero of their own. He wrote a script and spent a year looking in vain for an artist willing to illustrate it. At the turn of the late 1960s into the early 1970s, underground comix were the latest craze. Artists established their own independent publishing companies, magazines and syndication networks to get their material published. So Fuller felt confident that he could do the same. He took some art classes to hone his craft and contacted Gary Arlington, owner of the San Francisco Comic Book Company and main distributor of all underground comix around the area.

Soon 'Ebon' (January 1970) hit the market. The comic book had an African-American superhero in a starring role. Marvel Comics had indeed introduced African-American superheroes a few years earlier, such as The Black Panther' (by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, 1966), 'The Falcon' (by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, 1969) and Luke Cage (by Stan Lee, Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr., 1970). But at that point they were all still side characters who yet had to received comic book titles of their own. In that regard, 'Ebon' was the first true African-American superhero comic. Especially in the underground comic industry and even more so given the fact that it was the first comic book completely written and drawn by one single African-American artist. Despite its historical importance, 'Ebon' was published in an untrimmed edition, without a professional cover, and thus remained quite obscure. 

Laugh in the Dark
After creating 'Ebon', Fuller made a contribution to 'Laugh in the Dark' (Last Gasp, 1971), an anthology comic book where several underground comix artists like Kim Deitch, Rory Hayes, Spain Rodriguez, Bill Griffith, S. Clay Wilson, Justin Green, George Metzger, Michael McMillan and Willie Mendes drew humorous horror stories. His comic story was an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's short story 'The Ter'ble Old Man'.

Laugh in the Dark comic by Larry Fuller
Larry Fuller's contribution to 'Laugh in the Dark'.

White Whore Funnies
After a long period without any comic publications, Larry Fuller and Raye Horne (AKA Wiley Spade) founded Ful-Horne Productions in 1975, a company specialized in adult comics. Their first publication was 'The Funny Book' (September 1975), a black-and-white comic book featuring bizarre stories by Gary Figari. It didn't sell well, but Ful-Horne's next entry, 'White Whore Funnies' (October 1975) did. It featured very explicit sex scenes, but also offered clever satire of interracial, social and political issues. Fuller and Horne filled most of the first issue themselves with characters like 'Kid Cunt' and 'Willie Lee Nogoodnik'. The two also contributed stories to the second and third issues ('Draw!' and 'Some Tight White Ass', respectively). The book wasn't just a hit with black audiences, white readers liked and bought it too. Horne and Fuller signed with tongue in cheek pseudonyms, such as Wiley Spade (a "spade" is a derogatory term for a black person) and A. Christian Black. They wanted their names to be disassociated with "hardcore smut", once they later "reached the top!". In the end, such precautions were unnecessary, since neither of them would ever work in mainstream comics. 

White Whore Funnies #1.

Gay Hearthrobs
Fuller and Horne followed White Whore Funnies up with a genuine hole in the market. 'Gay Hearthrobs' (Spring 1976) was the first comic book aimed at homosexual audiences. In 1977 Ful-Horne rebooted their first ever publication under the new name 'The New Funny Book' (March 1977). The first issue, which offered comics by Gary Figari, Dan O'Neill, Alex Niño and Bob Vojtko once again sold poorly. A second issue was published (July 1978) and a "next issue" was promised too but never appeared. Despite contributions by artists like Ian Akin, Dennis Plumb Auad, Danny Bulanadi, R. Davies, Duane Bibby, Gary Figari, Yves François, Ray Garst, Raye Horne, Reggie Macabasco, Dan O'Neill, Nestor Redondo and Bob Vojtko, the 'New Funny Book' franchise was never a success, which even Fuller and Horne came to accept as they discontinued it soon after. Larry Fuller didn't despair however, because 'White Whore Funnies' (three issues) and 'Gay Hearthrobs' (three issues) kept selling well. 

Later life and career
After establishing Fuller Inkwell, the company brought out other succesful pornographic comic series, such as 'Adults Only!' (1979-1987) and 'HandJob Library' (1991). Ful-Horne invested a lot of time, effort and money in giving all their publications a slick, glossy look which helped their titles being taken seriously. Soon they were even one of the few underground comix distributed through porn shops. Their success story kept going throughout the 1980s and 1990s. While mostly a publisher and editor since the mid-1970s, Fuller did occasionally write and draw stories for his own titles as well. He also inked some of the later work by Grass Green, such as the one-shot 'The Decorator' (1992) and some of his Horny Comix work.

In 2007 Larry Fuller received the Pioneer Award at the Glyph Comics Awards.

The Full-Inkwell team, drawn by Wiley Spade (Raye Horne).

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