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.