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Ad insert difference between newsstand, direct in 1990 comic

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outcast
Saturday, March 08, 2014 11:20:25 AM
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I have written at least twice before (on Aug. 2, 2012 in this thread, and on Dec. 3, 2012 in this one) about comics that have advertising pages in direct-sales copies that aren't present in newsstand copies. The comics I referred to then were published ca. 2000, long after publishers had stopped having their comics printed at World Color in Sparta, Ill. I have now discovered a similar case in a Sparta book.

The reason that location of printing matters is that the presses were different at Sparta than at later print sites. Presses at Sparta were newspaper-style web presses, on which the interior of a saddle-stitched comic came off the press already folded and collated into a complete unit of interior pages. Comics printed at other locations tend to be printed on sheetfed presses. Sheetfed presses provide generally superior reproduction, but the pages come off the press as large flat sheets that have to be cut, collated, and folded in a separate step. It was during this separate step that additional advertising signatures were being added to the books that I discussed in earlier threads.

I have before me two copies of Captain America 380 (Dec. 1990). The direct-sales copy has a four-page signature in the centerfold, on cover stock, advertising Sega Genesis, Tiger Electronics, and Nintendo (I assume all direct-sales copies had this insert when shipped). The newsstand copy does not have such an insert (I assume all newsstand copies didn't have the insert). This is the earliest comic that I know of in which additional advertising pages were bound in to copies intended for the direct-sales market.

The bindery technique is nothing special; it appears to be the same technique used for years earlier with Mark Jewelers inserts. The difference (as I noted in an earlier post) is that the publisher was forcing retailers (who pay 100% of freight) to carry the distribution costs of the advertising, but omitting the insert for copies distributed by second-class mail, where the publisher had to pay full freight on advertising pages (I'm kind of surprised retailers didn't complain; on the other hand, in 1990, nobody making a living in comics was complaining about much of anything).

I would be pleased to hear from others with this issue in their collections or their stock. I am interested in knowing whether I am correct in assuming that all direct copies were shipped with the insert, and that no newsstand copies have the insert. I would also be interested to learn about other comics from the Sparta period with advertising inserts that were limited to direct-sales copies.
Thundercron
Saturday, March 08, 2014 12:49:39 PM
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Off the top of my head I clearly remember these glossy inserts when I was buying my new Daredevil issues back in the day. At the time, I was alternating between buying my new issues at a comic store and a local grocery store. I don't seem to remember the glossy ads being present in one version and not the other, and I've just assumed over the years that the glossy ads were produced in all copies (direct and newsstand). On the other hand, I haven't specifically checked one against the other, either.

Is the copy of Captain America you have the only example you know of where the glossy ads are present in one and not the other? If so, I'm thinking it's possible that someone could have removed the ads from that particular copy. I can't check my personal collection, since it's buried right now, but I'll try to check some of my store inventory for any evidence one way or the other.
outcast
Saturday, March 08, 2014 2:14:47 PM
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This issue of Captain America is the only issue where (1) the issue was printed at Sparta, and (2) I have seen a newsstand+direct pair where the direct version had the insert, and the newsstand copy did not.

I bought both copies as back issues so, obviously, I can't eliminate the possibility that a prior owner of the newsstand copy simply pulled out the centerfold. On the other hand, comics.org doesn't include the insert in its page count, suggesting that the original indexer (not necessarily the same person who provided the direct-sales cover scan) may have been working from a newsstand copy.

I'm very interested, though, in pursuing this pattern where it appears publishers were taking inappropriate advantage of direct-sales retailers, forcing the retailers to pay the freight for publishers' extra advertising revenue. So far, new evidence I'm finding supports my thesis that the placement of the inserts was calculated to push shipping costs onto other parties, but the uncertainties expressed here are why I am encouraging others to compare and report.

Thundercron, I appreciate your contributing the information that such inserts were commonplace (I don't recall them, but I will now certainly check the Marvels I was buying new at direct-sales shops at the time).
MoonKnight1
Saturday, March 08, 2014 4:05:54 PM
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Hi Outcast,

I looked at the copy of CA #380 in my inventory and there is no insert. My copy is the one with the bar-code (newsstand?). I think I have one with the Spidey head somewhere. I will dig it out and take a peek. Let you know as soon as I can.

Howie

I have tons of 90's comics so feel free to ask me to check others for you.
Quality. Consistency. Variety. Reliable. Fair. Friendly





outcast
Saturday, March 08, 2014 5:03:06 PM
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@ MoonKnight1:

Yes, for this issue, the presence of a barcode does indicate a newsstand cover.

Thank you for contributing your information!
outcast
Saturday, March 08, 2014 6:43:26 PM
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In response to Thundercron asking whether there were any other instances of this situation, I checked a box of Thor comics (a title of which I have a long run). I went straight for the Dec. 1990 issue (#427) and... I found another example!

I bought my direct-sales copy of this issue when it was new, and it has the same glossy advertising insert as was in Captain America 380. Also, I found a newsstand copy that looks like it's from a batch of VG newsstands I bought last fall. The newsstand copy doesn't have the insert. (I guess I never compared these two side-by-side before.)

Again, no way to prove the newsstand copy didn't have an insert at one time, ripped out by a previous owner. But I think this finding tends to support the theory I expressed earlier.

Edit (3/21/2014): Corrected typo (changed 390 to 380 in paragraph 2, sentence 1).
Thundercron
Saturday, March 08, 2014 10:36:23 PM
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outcast wrote:
In response to Thundercron asking whether there were any other instances of this situation, I checked a box of Thor comics (a title of which I have a long run). I went straight for the Dec. 1990 issue (#427) and... I found another example!

I bought my direct-sales copy of this issue when it was new, and it has the same glossy advertising insert as was in Captain America 390. Also, I found a newsstand copy that looks like it's from a batch of VG newsstands I bought last fall. The newsstand copy doesn't have the insert. (I guess I never compared these two side-by-side before.)

Again, no way to prove the newsstand copy didn't have an insert at one time, ripped out by a previous owner. But I think this finding tends to support the theory I expressed earlier.



I still haven't checked mine, but if you have two different issues, both of which are newsstands without the ads, and two direct editions with the ads, I'd say that's strong evidence that none of the newsstands had the glossy ads. The odds that both of your newsstand copies had the ads removed by different owners is slim. Why would someone remove the ads, anyway?
outcast
Sunday, March 09, 2014 9:24:44 AM
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I found some more issues of Thor with ad inserts, as follows:

Thor 428 (Jan. 1991): My direct-sales copy has a glossy ad insert (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Thor 436 (Sept. 1991): My direct-sales copy has an ad insert on heavier paper stock than the earlier issues (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Thor 437 (Oct. 1991): My direct-sales copy has a heavy-stock ad insert (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Thor 438 (early Nov. 1991): My direct-sales copy has a heavy-stock ad insert (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Thor 439 (late Nov. 1991): My direct-sales copy has a heavy-stock ad insert; my newsstand copy doesn't have the ad insert.

Thor 440 (early Dec. 1991): My direct-sales copy has a heavy-stock ad insert; my newsstand copy doesn't have the ad insert.

Thor 441 (late Dec. 1991): My direct-sales copy has a heavy-stock ad insert; my newsstand copy doesn't have the ad insert.

Thor 468 (Nov. 1993): Unlike the issues listed above, this one isn't a Sparta book. My direct-sales copy has a sixteen-page newsprint ad insert, and a bound-in, one-third-height Kaybee toy stores coupon. Neither the ad insert nor the Kaybee coupon is present in my newsstand copy.

I will check some other titles, and report back here if I find anything.
outcast
Sunday, March 09, 2014 5:34:39 PM
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Here is what I have found for Captain America. My collection of this title has gaps, and has more newsstand covers than direct, so this listing probably won't be comprehensive. This listing repeats the information that began this thread:

Captain America 380 (Dec. 1990): My direct-sales copy has a glossy ad insert; my newsstand copy doesn't have the insert.

Captain America 381 (Jan. 1991): My direct-sales copy has a glossy ad insert; the copy I bought for the newsstand cover turns out to have the Mark Jewelers insert, but no direct-sales insert.

Captain America 432 (Oct. 1994): My direct-sales copy of this non–Sparta book has a twelve-page advertising insert, comprising a glossy cover signature wrapped around two newsprint sigs, all stitched into the center of the comic. I don't have a newsstand copy of this issue, but I'm really interested in finding out whether this insert was bound in to newsstand copies.
outcast
Sunday, March 09, 2014 7:00:21 PM
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My Fantastic Four collection is really hit-and-miss in this time period, so if anyone is interested in researching this more thoroughly, there are probably many I didn't find. Here's what I did find:

Fantastic Four 347 (Dec. 1990; that date keeps popping up): My direct-sales copy has a glossy ad insert (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Fantastic Four 353 (June 1991): I have a direct-sales copy and two newsstand copies of this issue. The direct-sales copy has an ad insert on heavier paper stock than the earlier issues; neither of my copies of the newsstand version has the ad insert.
outcast
Sunday, March 16, 2014 6:11:41 PM
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My Uncanny X-Men collection is rather hit-and-miss through this period. Here is what I could find:

Uncanny X-Men 271 (Dec. 1990): My direct-sales copy has a glossy ad insert (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Uncanny X-Men 272 (Jan. 1991): My direct-sales copy has a glossy ad insert (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Uncanny X-Men 277 (June 1991): My direct-sales copy has a glossy ad insert (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Uncanny X-Men 282 (Nov. 1991): My direct-sales copy has an eight-page heavy-stock ad insert; my newsstand copy doesn't have the ad insert.

Uncanny X-Men 288 (May 1992): My direct-sales copy has a newsprint ad insert (identifiable as an insert by observation that this issue's interior comprises 36 pages, but was printed on a newspaper press; this configuration isn't possible except with addition of an insert). I don't have a newsstand copy; I'm really interested in knowing whether the insert was included there.

Uncanny X-Men 302 (July 1993): My direct-sales copy has a sixteen-page newsprint insert at the centerfold, apparently in celebration of the X-Men's 30th Anniversary (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Uncanny X-Men 306 (Nov. 1993): Like Thor 468 (published the same month), my direct-sales copy of this issue has a sixteen-page newsprint ad insert, and a bound-in, one-third-height Kaybee toy stores coupon (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Uncanny X-Men 316 (Sept. 1994): My direct-sales copy of this issue has a glossy-paper, double-gatefold insert promoting the new Generation X title (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Uncanny X-Men 383 (Aug. 2000): My direct-sales copy has a complex, multi-gatefolded ad insert, about and inch and a half shorter than the height of the comic (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Uncanny X-Men 487 (Aug. 2007): This comic is on glossy paper throughout; my direct-sales copy has a glossy heavier-paper insert advertising Marvel's Annihilation Conquest crossover event (I don't have a newsstand copy).
outcast
Friday, March 21, 2014 6:40:29 PM
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My adjectiveless X-Men collection is rather sparse. Here is what I could find:

X-Men 30 (March 1994): My direct-sales copy has a cardstock insert of three Fleer cards, uncut (I don't have a newsstand copy).

X-Men 36 (Sept. 1994): My newsstand copy of this issue has the same glossy, double-gatefold promotional insert for Generation X that Uncanny 316 had (see last preceding post). I'm now guessing that this insert was included in both direct and newsstand copies of the titles that carried it.
outcast
Friday, March 21, 2014 7:19:41 PM
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Comics grading has been on my mind lately. So have the findings presented in this thread. It seems like there might be some overlap between the two topics. I'd like to share my thoughts, and solicit responses.

It seems to me that, if direct-sales comics of a particular issue were brought to retail market with an advertising insert, and if newsstand comics of the same issue were brought to retail market without the insert, then the question of completeness of the comics is implicitly raised. A direct-sales comic WITH the insert is clearly intact and complete. But is a newsstand comic withOUT the insert also intact and complete? I think it is. What, then, of a direct-sales copy from which the insert has been removed? I think it must be regarded as incomplete, and, by the grading standards presented in Overstreet's Price Guide, 41st edition, cannot be correctly graded better than Fair ("The centerfold may be missing if readability is generally preserved"; compare with the Fair/Good description: "Centerfold may be loose or detached").

If my reasoning is shared by others, then I think this is an area of grading that has not received the attention it deserves. In a perfect world, if CGC were grading a Captain America 380, they would have to check whether the copy is newsstand or direct, and if direct, they would have to check for the presence of the ad insert. In the real world, I would be astonished to learn that CGC is even aware of the difference, or that they would even take note of a missing ad insert.

Consider this situation: A comic published with a direct-only advertising insert becomes highly collectible and sells briskly at high prices. If CGC grades a direct-sales copy of such a comic with the insert removed, but otherwise in Gem Mint condition, and if CGC fails to notice the absence of the insert, and awards the comic a perfect 10.0, then would not CGC be liable for a misappraisal? (Perhaps they're insured against such contingencies.)

I'm genuinely interested in hearing other opinions on this matter.
Thundercron
Sunday, May 11, 2014 10:33:06 PM
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To add to this topic, I just went through three copies of Transformers #79 (June, 1991). Two were newsstand copies, one was direct. The direct sales copy contained the glossy ad insert/centerfold, while the newsstands did not.

As for scarcity/value/completeness...I don't think the ad inserts add any type of value. The direct sales editions are considered more common, so I don't think the presence of the insert in the directs makes them more valuable than would otherwise be the case. As for die-hard collectors go, the newsstands will still be the more sought after issues.

As for CGC--they're oblivious. Pay them no mind.
outcast
Thursday, May 15, 2014 7:40:01 PM
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I see your point, Thundercron, about ad inserts not adding value. In fact, for issues with such a difference between direct and newsstand, I'd rather read the newsstand, just to avoid the insert while reading (on the other hand, with issues for which the only direct/newsstand difference is cover trade dress, and for which I have both versions, I tend to read my direct copy, so as not to degrade my newsstand).

Still, I can't help wondering if we can be sure that all collectors from now on will see it that way. Time and again, we've seen collectordom embrace the previously scorned, and suddenly perceive value in a difference previously ignored. Also, there have been advances in the information available to collectors at large (thanks in part to this very site's Library). So far, little notice has been given to this issue; what if, ten years from now, direct/newsstand interior differences are fully documented here, at GCD, at Mile High, and at mycomicsshop? Properly informed, collectors might start developing preferences, and that might be reflected in prices paid.

It just seems to me like a huge blind spot in CGC's business plan, particularly if it could be proven that the differences were known to exist, and that CGC negligently failed to reflect the differences in grading.
outcast
Thursday, January 01, 2015 9:53:04 AM
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I wrote:
Uncanny X-Men 288 (May 1992): My direct-sales copy has a newsprint ad insert (identifiable as an insert by observation that this issue's interior comprises 36 pages, but was printed on a newspaper press; this configuration isn't possible except with addition of an insert). I don't have a newsstand copy; I'm really interested in knowing whether the insert was included there.

Filing comics this morning, I came across a newsstand copy of Uncanny X-Men 288. I compared it to a direct-sales copy and, sure enough, I found the ad insert to be absent from the newsstand copy. This tends to confirm my earlier suspicion that the insert was added to direct-sales copies, but not to newsstand copies.

It certainly appears that Marvel, at this point in time, was cramming extra shipping expenses onto comics-shop retailers for the benefit of Marvel's advertising revenues.
worldwarwarrior
Thursday, January 01, 2015 12:52:58 PM
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Fround this one In my collection
incredible hulk 376 December 1990 it is also a direct edition with the insert
I will be looking for these more often now
outcast
Thursday, January 01, 2015 2:02:19 PM
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As I have continued filing comics, I found a couple more items that I previously had incomplete information on:

I wrote:
Uncanny X-Men 271 (Dec. 1990): My direct-sales copy has a glossy ad insert (I don't have a newsstand copy).

Uncanny X-Men 272 (Jan. 1991): My direct-sales copy has a glossy ad insert (I don't have a newsstand copy).

I now have newsstand copies of both these issues. In each issue, the glossy ad inserts are absent from my newsstand copies.
worldwarwarrior
Thursday, January 01, 2015 3:09:09 PM
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Here is a list with all the comics with the inserts so far

Captain America 380 (December 1990)
Captain America 381 (January 1991)
Captain America 432 (October 1994)
Fantastic Four 347 (December 1990)
Fantastic Four 353 (June 1991)
Incredible Hulk 376 (December 1990)
Infinity Gauntlet 6 (December 1991)
Spider Man 6 (January 1991)
Thor 427 (December 1990)
Thor 428 (January 1991)
Thor 436 (September 1991)
Thor 437 (October 1991)
Thor 438 (Early November 1991)
Thor 439 (Late November 1991)
Thor 440 (Early December 1991)
Thor 441 (Late December 1991)
Thor 468 (November 1993)
Transformers 79 (June 1991)
Uncanny X-Men 271 (December 1990)
Uncanny X-Men 272 (January 1991)
Uncanny X-Men 277 (June 1991)
Uncanny X-Men 282 (November 1991)
Uncanny X-Men 288 (May 1992)
Uncanny X-Men 302 (July 1993)
Uncanny X-Men 306 (November 1993)
Uncanny X-Men 316 (September 1994)
Uncanny X-Men 383 (August 2000)
Uncanny X-Men 487 (August 2007)
X-Men 30 (March 1994)


I have also found these issues,direct,without the insert
Spider Man 8 (March 1991)
Spider Man 39 (October 1993)
Spider Man 47 (June 1994)
What If... 47 (March 1993)

Edit: Removed X-Men 36(if both newsstand and direct had the insert is was not technically an ad insert DIFFERENCE.)
worldwarwarrior
Thursday, January 01, 2015 4:19:32 PM
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If anyone is wondering what these look like here's a link

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/494410865317458649/
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