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Is this really a Whitman? Options
monidaw1
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 12:04:16 PM

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I've been trying to track down some of the first direct editions published that are different from the newstands.

I can find nowhere on the cover or inside that credits Whitman for anything.

If you look at the top right of both books the Curtis logo (company who handles newstands) is missing and replaced with just words.

The top left it appears they simply blacked out the starburst and added a simple price with issue number.

The bottom right simply has the barcode scan area left blamk or whited out.

and as can be seen here




Whitman is still using their distinctive cover logo and using newsstand bar codes many months after the BG's publish date.

Did Whitman just gradually assume all printing duties for the direct editions?

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Thundercron
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 12:17:21 PM

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I'm sure outcast will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe all the Marvel editions with blank UPC boxes and diamond corner box were distributed by Whitman in their trademark multi-mag (polybagged two and three packs) packaging format. Most famously seen in the early Star Wars editions.
monidaw1
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 12:24:05 PM

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So this is a reprint or 2nd edition printing or later. I checked and couldn't find credit for 2nd printing or any distinction at all given in the indica like other multipack reprints.

Now that I look at all 3 of them I can see where there was probably a reprint multipack set and how Whitman might want to take away credit for distribution from Curtis but if that was the case then why would issue 3 be handled diffently than issues 1 and 2 which have the right corner whited out and words typed in but issue 3 has it blacked out?

Any idea which issue we can expect to find the first direct distribution printing in?

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comicscastle
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 12:43:56 PM

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Thundercron wrote:
I'm sure outcast will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe all the Marvel editions with blank UPC boxes and diamond corner box were distributed by Whitman in their trademark multi-mag (polybagged two and three packs) packaging format. Most famously seen in the early Star Wars editions.
Whitman never used their distinctive W on Marvel bagged sets. This was at the insistence of Marvel who didn't want their product to have the same logo as books from DC or Gold Key. To the best of my knowledge all Marvel diamond Whitmans are second prints. This is not the case with Gold Key and DC despite what many sites claim. Unless the Gold Key or DC book specifically states it is a second print it is actually a first print. Printed at the same time but distributed in a different manner. In fact many of the later Gold Key books were only available from Whitman (Turok 126-130 for example)



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monidaw1
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 12:52:33 PM

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Thank you.
I imagine you're right and all the multipacks have to be 2nd printings or later since I can't see a company investing in a print of a single issue and tiing up that material and expense for months hoping it'd survive into a 3rd issue to get assembled into a multi pack.

It still makes that black box corner on issue 3 suspect so I'll keep watching to see if I can find a white box corner with words for #3 or a black box corner 1 or 2.

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Thundercron
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 1:02:07 PM

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monidaw1
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 1:19:04 PM

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Cool link. Mystery solved. Just niticed 3A had a different look for the the top so there was no box on the right to blacken out. I checked all those cover scans for Star Wars from 16 to 24 and saw where they used the same white box with words method there.

Now to decide which copy to keep and which to find a home for.

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outcast
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 6:13:51 PM
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Thundercron wrote:
I'm sure outcast will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe all the Marvel editions with blank UPC boxes and diamond corner box were distributed by Whitman in their trademark multi-mag (polybagged two and three packs) packaging format. Most famously seen in the early Star Wars editions.
I agree that blank UPC boxes and diamond-shaped number/price areas were elements of Whitman's M.O. for comics published by Marvel. I recall/believe that they were generally bagged; a possible explanation for blanking out the barcode is to prevent scanning errors that might result in selling a three-pack for 35¢.

However, I have seen a credible suggestion that other distributors were also involved. In Overstreet 38th edition, p. 1049, John Jackson Miller wrote: "Whitman and other jobbers bagging comics tried to repeat the [Star Wars] phenomenon over the new few years with titles like Battlestar Galactica and Raiders of the Lost Ark—almost always media or toy properties—but nothing matched the success of Star Wars," (emphasis mine). AFAIK, distinguishing, at this late date, Whitmans from comics distributed by "other jobbers" would probably depend on finding intact three-packs with distributor identification on the polybag.
Thundercron
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 6:24:31 PM

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Hmmm....I have multi-pack of Marvel's The Last Starfighter miniseries. Now I'm gonna have to break it out for curiosity's sake. I also had some multi-packs of Marvel's Return of the Jedi miniseries--Canadian price variants. I sold them, but I'm pretty sure I still have the scans. I'll look those up, too.
outcast
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 6:26:26 PM
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monidaw1 wrote:
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Now that I look at all 3 of them I can see where there was probably a reprint multipack set and how Whitman might want to take away credit for distribution from Curtis....

Any idea which issue we can expect to find the first direct distribution printing in?
For most Marvel titles, distinctively marked direct-distribution editions began with issues dated June 1979. (Exceptions included bi-monthly titles that skipped June 1979. Another exception was Marvel Premiere 48 [May 1979]; my guess is that it shipped late.) The June 1979 issue of BG was #4, and it is earliest issue marked for direct-sales distribution that I know of (the direct-sales marking at this early date was simply a slash through the barcode).

The absence of the Curtis logo on Whitman copies (and later, on direct copies) may well have been at the insistence of Curtis; it would have enabled them to refuse credit for unsold copies to local distributors who might have been inclined to fraudulently "return" copies for credit that Curtis had not, in fact, distributed.
outcast
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 7:03:17 PM
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monidaw1 wrote:
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.
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Did Whitman just gradually assume all printing duties for the direct editions?
I think Whitman's deal with Marvel and DC was for distribution only; I'm not aware of any credible suggestion that Whitman also printed those comics.

And Whitman's operation was definitely not the same as direct distribution. Whitman was a non-newsstand distribution arm of Western Publishing Company by which Western put its coloring books, children's storybooks, and yes, some comic books, into department stores, craft stores, five and dime stores, etc. Ca. late 1979, Western abandoned newsstand distribution and relied (for comics distribution) totally on Whitman. This proved catastrophic. The comics sold poorly in Whitman's outlets, and Western's comics, printed on a preset schedule, piled up in a warehouse in Coffeyville, Kans. Some issues seem to have been scarcely distributed; one or two issues of most Western titles published in 1980 remain severely hard to find as back issues to this date (e.g., Uncle Scrooge 179). Ca. 1981, Western began selling comics into the direct market, and Western comics published 1981 or later are relatively easy to find. Nevertheless, Western stopped publishing comics ca. 1984. I know of no comics with Whitman markings published after 1984.
monidaw1
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 7:06:04 PM

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So in theory at least, with no way to verify who actually bagged the multipack comics, then "Whitman Cover" in the caption with no conclusive way to be sure Whitman actually bagged the comics or even produced those specific issues wouldn't be as accurate as say "Multi-Pack Cover" or something like that in the caption. Kinda like next year if I start saying RG3 won the Superbowl when it should have been the Redskins given credit and RG3 was just the star player in a team effort. Drooling



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outcast
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 8:02:19 PM
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monidaw1 wrote:
So in theory at least, with no way to verify who actually bagged the multipack comics, then "Whitman Cover" in the caption with no conclusive way to be sure Whitman actually bagged the comics or even produced those specific issues wouldn't be as accurate as say "Multi-Pack Cover" or something like that in the caption. Kinda like next year if I start saying RG3 won the Superbowl when it should have been the Redskins given credit and RG3 was just the star player in a team effort. Drooling

In general, yes. In this particular case, though, Thundercron has pointed us to an eBay auction with a photograph of BG comics, bagged, with Whitman's trademark on the bag. To me, that's pretty persuasive.
monidaw1
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 8:41:21 PM

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I must be getting confussed again because I thought the link just proved Whitman was one of the team members producing that particular 3 pack but not the only one's bagging it neccesarily if the reference you mentioned is saying multiple people were doing the same thing with books that looked identical. Only two weeks til the first Dallas week that actually means anything in a long time. Party Dancing Old comics, old football rivalries and old brain cells trying to process both at the same time. Laughing

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outcast
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 11:26:08 PM
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monidaw1 wrote:
I must be getting confussed again because I thought the link just proved Whitman was one of the team members producing that particular 3 pack but not the only one's bagging it neccesarily if the reference you mentioned is saying multiple people were doing the same thing with books that looked identical. Only two weeks til the first Dallas week that actually means anything in a long time. Party Dancing Old comics, old football rivalries and old brain cells trying to process both at the same time. Laughing
I guess I was willing to assume (unless proven otherwise) that Whitman might have been the only distributor of Battlestar Galactica 1–3 in bagged form. I was assuming that the "other jobbers" referred to by Miller were distributing other Marvel issues in bags with different markings. But now that you point it out, I guess multiple distributors of the same issues is also a possibility.
Thundercron
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 11:59:24 PM

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Found those Jedi Multi-Pack pics. These are two-packs, with pics of the fronts and backs. Outcast will love this:









Looks like Whitman distributed these in Canada, complete with price variant cover and bilingual polybag.
monidaw1
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 5:25:18 AM

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Hmmmmmm, 4 new Canadian price variants exist for Star Wars ROTJ.

Whitman bagging books with Curtis logo's.

Whitman bagging 2 packs of books, but not printing those books distinctly different for the 2-packs if they did the actual printing at all.

I wonder if there's enough visual evidence from your scans to get issues 1 thru 4 into the database to have the information preserved?

Feels like a monday morning. Phbbbbt

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outcast
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 7:55:39 AM
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Thundercron wrote:
Found those Jedi Multi-Pack pics. These are two-packs, with pics of the fronts and backs. Outcast will love this:

(cover scans omitted)

Looks like Whitman distributed these in Canada, complete with price variant cover and bilingual polybag.
Now, that's what I'm talking about—solid evidence. Thank you, Thundercron.

If it can be determined without risking damage to the comics or the bag, I would be interested to learn if the comics were printed with barcodes (1983 was about 10 years before introduction of direct-sales barcodes, so I'm confident that any barcode would be newsstand style). It does appear that the bags themselves were printed with a barcode, and that printing on each bag was opaque over the barcode area of the comics, ensuring that a bag would not be erroneously scanned at 75¢.
Thundercron
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 8:26:34 AM

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As I mentioned before, I no longer have these in-hand, so I can't check the UPC on the comic themselves. However, I have had loose Canadian Price Variants to these (which I added to the CCL database), and they (like all other Canadian Priced Covers) had newsstand style barcodes (no Spidey face). I would go out on a limb and say those were the same issues that were in the Whitman bags.
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