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Question of the day Options
monidaw1
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 11:45:44 AM

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The bottom image is obviously the newstand edition with a US price and a Canadian price. I'm assuming it was printed in 1 or 2 dozen printing locations across North America to be distributed by Curtis hence the two prices on the cover.

The top image is obviously the direct edition with the nice big spidey head. Assuming Marvel UK existed at the time and that only one place was really needed in the US to produce books to be mailed across the US but that international shipping of individual direct sales subscriptions should have been as expensive then as now, why have the UK price on the cover? I would have thought Marvel UK would have handled subscriptions/ direct sales for their region. This setup sounds even stranger than company's having their HQ in the US, the manufacturing in China, a gorgous Europeon model trying to sell it to you and every problem you have with it handled by a kid in India with a script and a phone.



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outcast
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 12:50:26 PM
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This appears to be Strange Tales #5 (1980s series). I seem to recall issues in this series being Sparta books, printed at World Color Press in Sparta, Illinois. I don't believe there was more than one print site for this issue, or for any Sparta book. It's my understanding that interiors were printed on newsprint, and covers were printed on coated stock, all at one plant (covers and interiors were bound together after press, in a bindery area, I believe also at the same plant).

I have to make assumptions about international distribution, but recall that, ca. the late 1970s, comics published in the UK still tended to have b&w interiors. It's my understanding that American comics, with color interiors, were prized by comics fans in the UK. Ca. the late 1970s, we start seeing Sparta books with a UK price (and no other price). My conclusion would be that these comics were printed in Sparta, Ill., shipped to one or more distributors in the UK, and distributed there.

At some point in the 1980s, we stop seeing comics with a sole UK price, and start seeing what you have illustrated, direct-sales comics with US, Canadian, and UK prices, all on the same copy. My conclusion would be that each issue was still being printed at a single North American location (in the 1980s, Sparta for the cheapest comics, Ronald's in Canada for upscale comics) with US, Canadian, and UK prices, and that an appropriate portion of each production run continued to be shipped to the UK distributor(s).
monidaw1
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 1:15:06 PM

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Thank you. I'm seeing triple pricing on both newsstand and direct copys of DC's issues from the mid 90's.


There's a direct image already in the database to compare to.

So in order for the UK customers to get them they had to spend time crossing the Atlantic on a ship. I'm sure that caused some lag time. If DC's printing all 3 prices on both newsstand and direct then all their issues must have been delayed with a ship ride. So does that mean UK didn't have Marvel newsstand issues dealing only in direct sales preorders or that Marvel UK handled the newsstand editions over there with that black and white print stuff you mentioned? It's kinda hard to imagine Curtis paying to print and ship comics across the ocean and still being willing to offer return credit for unsold copys.


Ooops, now it appears the 1993-94 timeframe DC newsstand editions don't have the UK price.

Checking Superman: Man of Steel Issues it appears UK prices disappeared from both newsstand and directs in 96. When I get time I'll see if I can collect a set of images showing them up to the cut off point.

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outcast
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 6:28:34 PM
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monidaw1 wrote:
Thank you. I'm seeing triple pricing on both newsstand and direct copys of DC's issues from the mid 90's.
(Superboy cover scan omitted)

There's a direct image already in the database to compare to.

So in order for the UK customers to get them they had to spend time crossing the Atlantic on a ship.
Probably so (much less costly, I'm sure, than air freight).
monidaw1 wrote:
I'm sure that caused some lag time. If DC's printing all 3 prices on both newsstand and direct then all their issues must have been delayed with a ship ride. So does that mean UK didn't have Marvel newsstand issues dealing only in direct sales preorders...
Could be. Even with its late '70s UK price variants, Marvel often drew a slash through the barcode, apparently making those issues nonreturnable through Curtis. I don't really know why DC would have put UK prices on both newsstand and direct comics—could they have had newsstand AND direct distribution deals in the UK? I don't know.
monidaw1 wrote:
...or that Marvel UK handled the newsstand editions over there with that black and white print stuff you mentioned? It's kinda hard to imagine Curtis paying to print and ship comics across the ocean and still being willing to offer return credit for unsold copys.
Indeed, and I don't believe Curtis was ever involved in overseas distribution, just as Curtis was not involved in direct distribution nor (AFAIK) were they involved in Whitman-style bagged distribution. As for UK B&Ws, they seem to have existed at least as far back as the 1950s (I believe some of the original Marvelman [later Miracleman] stories date from this period), so it's reasonable to assume that they were mass-market (i.e., newsstand) distributed before the advent of comics shops. And it seems a reasonable possibility that reliable, scheduled import of US comics might have come about as a result of the comics-shop movement that grew during the '70s; the UK-priced US Marvels might well have been a response to that.

monidaw1 wrote:
----------------------
Ooops, now it appears the 1993-94 timeframe DC newsstand editions don't have the UK price.

Checking Superman: Man of Steel Issues it appears UK prices disappeared from both newsstand and directs in 96. When I get time I'll see if I can collect a set of images showing them up to the cut off point.
monidaw1
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 11:48:45 AM

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Look what I found in a box.




The indica says they were printed in Spain in 1985. That makes me think there was a Marvel Spain as well as a Marvel UK and that they had color printing for their interior pages as an option and I'd have thought it should have been cheaper to have comics printed in Spain for distribution into the UK than to have them printed here and shipped over. Crossing a channel sounds cheaper than crossing an ocean.

The learning continues. Cool

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Thundercron
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 1:08:00 PM

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Foreign language editions are friggin' awesome. Let me know if you have anything with Daredevil, Power Pack, or ROM.
monidaw1
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 1:30:02 PM

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I'll keep my eye out. I know there was a Spidey one somewhere and some Mexican one's I thought and Chaos one's from all around the world. Once I get the last 10 long boxes uploaded there's several boxes of stuff I've got to go through and see what can be added and what can't not that I'm ever really sure until I ask. Devil

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yourplace2
Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012 1:55:38 PM

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The comments about the cost of shipping overseas back then?

Everything back then was cheaper and affordable, because ot was a totally different kind of economy.

Today, we do not print comics in the US, but in CANADA, because it is cheaper there. The paper is cheaper there, because it is grown there. Labor to make the paper and print them is cheaper in Canada (no nimimum wage laws and high taxes).

Gasoline was cheap as well, and transportation methods used by shippers.

Today, shipping overseas is very expensive due to fuel costs, taxes and duties. Shipping from Canada to the US is still affordable, as most postage and shipping expenses domestically. Still, magazine subscriptions and like items, like comics, have very low shipping costs right now (BULK RATES, MEDIA MAIL, BOUND PRINTED MATTER, etc) but this is probably going to change soon enough, making magazines and subscriptions muh more expensive. Don't be surprised to see subscriptions END!!!!

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monidaw1
Posted: Thursday, January 03, 2013 3:06:34 PM

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The Direct Edition image with the bar code is already in the database. What's this one with no bar code?

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DocRx8482
Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013 9:27:06 AM

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I'm not sure if this helps, but at one-time DC and Marvel subscription issues did not have a bar code in the field. It was left as a blank white box.

"Head to the future,
Run from the past,
Hide from the mirror,
And live in a glass,
What dreams forget the whiskey remembers
" (Eric Church/Marv Green)
Thundercron
Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013 3:00:16 PM

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DocRx8482 wrote:
I'm not sure if this helps, but at one-time DC and Marvel subscription issues did not have a bar code in the field. It was left as a blank white box.


I don't think that would apply to this issue, as these Amalgam comics were all one-shots, and not really available through subscriptions (as far as I know).
Thundercron
Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013 5:32:51 PM

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monidaw1
Posted: Saturday, January 05, 2013 9:38:29 AM

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Would that make them listable seperately like those Star Wars comics out of the set/bag?

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Thundercron
Posted: Saturday, January 05, 2013 11:43:30 AM

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I'm guessing they are reprints of sorts, the same as the DC reprints with the DC Universe UPC box are reprints (which were coming out around the same time).
Thundercron
Posted: Saturday, January 05, 2013 11:52:26 AM

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Okay, here's a thread where the Amalgam Blank UPC box variants are mentioned:

http://forum.stlcomics.com/viewtopic.php?t=5221&sid=c30981da117909b607a385fd98e15f2e
monidaw1
Posted: Saturday, January 05, 2013 1:10:48 PM

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So they're basically saying the Amalgam blank barcodes are variants printed to go in the multipacks just like the Star Wars issues. I have more than one so that also makes it less likely they were a printing opps. So that means submit them as Variant B's, Amalgam Multipack Cover or another caption wording of your preference?

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Thundercron
Posted: Saturday, January 05, 2013 1:14:01 PM

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I would try that. Use the links I gave you for supporting documentation. See what happens. If you can find a thread where they talk about them being second printings (like the DC Universe UPC Box variants)--even better.
monidaw1
Posted: Saturday, January 05, 2013 3:09:56 PM

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I'll wait for an approver or two to chime in since I'm not sure of the exact wording they would prefer for the caption and if there's gonna be a bunch of people dropping by to vote no without the decency to take a minute to tell you why so you can make changes if needed then let it happen here where I want lose any sleep over guessing what someone's not liking. Big Grin

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Tamwood
Posted: Saturday, January 05, 2013 4:08:51 PM

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If they're 1st prints, and they're the same cover price and contents as the non-multi-pack issues, and the same cover image (except the UPC box), then they're not variants. This has been established. The difference between a UPC/Spidey-Head/Whatever is NOT enough to establish a variant. Different cover art, a different price, etc IS.
monidaw1
Posted: Saturday, January 05, 2013 4:22:37 PM

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I think the gist so far is they're seperate and possibly later printings. We just haven't nailed down exactly wether the multipack printings occured a few weeks later at a seperate location or significantly later enough to count as a second or later printing without that distinction being made internally.

I'm not sure I really trust any of the internal information with the dialogue and commentary pages written intentionally to pretend these issues were part of ongoing series already in existence. Any grain of truth mixed into a soup of intentional deceptions would be tainted anyway.

Almost makes you look forward to a few years from now when everything goes digital only and we start worrying about download and upload dates.

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