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Direct editions without b&w barcode area Options
outcast
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013 6:36:49 PM
Rank: Large Noggin
Groups: Member, Newsstand Edition Host

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Here are a couple of unusual comics I didn't know about until a few days ago. What's unusual about them is that both seem to have been published in newsstand and direct-sales versions, and that the black-and-white barcode area on the newsstand versions is replaced with full, four-color art on the direct editions.

Avengers 278 (April 1987), newsstand edition...


...and direct edition:



Amazing Spider-Man 288 (May 1987), newsstand edition...


...and direct edition:


I know that Marvel published many direct-only comics before 1992 with no UPC rectangle, but to make the two different versions of film negatives for the cyan, magenta, and yellow plates (in addition to black) was something that Marvel had resisted (even going so far as to state in Marvel Age that it was not feasible) since publication of the earliest distinct direct edition comics.

I wonder how many other issues were published like this, with all four color plates changed for the direct edition to eradicate the barcode area?
Xylob
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013 9:47:00 PM

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or they simply super-imposed the bar code over the artwork to make the newsies...

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Thundercron
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013 11:24:39 PM

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Xylob wrote:
or they simply super-imposed the bar code over the artwork to make the newsies...


That's what I've always thought. Just slap the newsstand barcode on the cover during printing.

On the other hand, why didn't they just do that for all direct editions, if it were that simple?

Questions, questions....

But I've seen this on many books over the years.
comicscastle
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013 11:37:17 PM

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Thundercron wrote:
Xylob wrote:
or they simply super-imposed the bar code over the artwork to make the newsies...


That's what I've always thought. Just slap the newsstand barcode on the cover during printing.

On the other hand, why didn't they just do that for all direct editions, if it were that simple?

Questions, questions....

But I've seen this on many books over the years.
That's exactly what they do. They just glue the bar code or price box or CCA stamp on to the cover and print from that. A good example of this is Starfire from DC. http://www.comiccollectorlive.com/LiveData/Issue.aspx?id=aeabdba0-791c-4128-a720-efa92a091676 It was printed without the CCA stamp because the stamp fell off prior to printing.



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outcast
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013 6:36:26 PM
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I think we're all talking about at least two different things (if not four!).

@ comicscastle:
Yes, typical differences between newsstand and direct versions could be accomplished by pasting the differing elements onto the b&w original art (or by using one of a variety of other pre-press techniques, but I don't want to get sidetracked here). What sets these examples apart is that the typical newsstand-to-direct conversion involves changes to the black printing plate only, with no changes in the cyan, magenta, or yellow printing plates, whereas the Avengers example (above) appears to include changes to all four plates, while the Amazing Spider-Man example appears to include changes to three of the four plates (black, cyan, and magenta, but not yellow). This is something that, at one time, Marvel resisted in the face of strong pressure by retailers to do.

Another possibility (perhaps suggested by Xylob and/or Thundercron; I'm not sure if I'm reading your comments correctly) is that the barcode is actually on a sticker affixed to the comic. It's hard to tell when all you have to look at is a scan, but that may be what these are; I have a number of comics with such stickers. Maybe I will find actual newsstand versions of these issues someday, or maybe someone reading this owns the newsstand versions, and can tell us whether the barcodes are part of the original printing, or stuck on post-press.
Spider-Man
Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 7:17:40 AM

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What makes you think there were changes to the printing plates?






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outcast
Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 6:28:06 PM
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Placement of ink on paper is determined by ink-attracting areas on the printing plate (given most printing technologies, including that used by Marvel in 1987). The absence of cyan, magenta, and yellow inks over the UPC box on the newsstand versions, and the presence of cyan and magenta (and, on Avengers 288, yellow) inks in the corresponding location on the direct versions, is itself evidence of change in printing plates.

Unless (as discussed above) the barcodes were printed separately, and affixed to the covers post-press.
outcast
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:39:50 PM
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I found newsstand versions of both Avengers 278 and Amazing Spider-Man 288 at my LCS. In each case, the barcode is printed on the cover; it is NOT printed on a sticker stuck to the cover.
SwiftMann
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:26:04 PM

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I don't think anyone even implied the barcodes were individually stickered to the books. Just that the bar code was placed over completed art for the master printing the newsstand and not at all for the master direct.

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comicscastle
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:45:25 PM

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SwiftMann wrote:
I don't think anyone even implied the barcodes were individually stickered to the books. Just that the bar code was placed over completed art for the master printing the newsstand and not at all for the master direct.
+1



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Xylob
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 9:52:12 PM

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SwiftMann wrote:
I don't think anyone even implied the barcodes were individually stickered to the books. Just that the bar code was placed over completed art for the master printing the newsstand and not at all for the master direct.
Correct - not sure how anybody could have gotten stickers from what Pat or I said.

Need help with a Change Request?Click here to contact an approver!
Problems with CCL?
Send an email right away (don't delay!) to helpdesk@comiccollectorlive.com
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Offices are open M-F 8am-5pm Central Time.
You can also e-mail the Chief Brand Officer directly to try to resolve questions/stuff at steve@golocomedia.com for help with password resets, general customer service questions, store order resolution, credit card store updating, questions about comic books and CCL, etc...

Xylob's Most Wanted:

G.I.Joe Special Missions TPB 2
Tales from the Transformers Beast Wars: Critical Mass
Youngblood Bloodsport #2 maybe? can you help identify?
outcast
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 9:59:17 PM
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@ SwiftMann, comicscastle, Xylob:

OK, I think I see what you're getting at. Assuming a camera-ready, full-color image, you're suggesting (I think) that a b&w barcode was pasted on top of the full-color art when producing the newsstand plates.

The trouble is, colors for these issues were hand-separated (not photographically full-color separated nor computer-separated). And when colors are hand-separated, the fully resolved, full-color image is assembled for the first time on the press. In this process, the colorist's color guide is more instructional than artistic. Its use is to instruct human separators how to construct (with sheets of two-layer acetate and an X-Acto knife) and where to place the colors; it isn't used photographically in making plates.
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