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Mistakes in Mile High Comics' newsstand comics program Options
outcast
Posted: Sunday, September 09, 2012 9:22:40 AM
Rank: Large Noggin
Groups: Member, Newsstand Edition Host

Joined: 7/28/2012
Posts: 414
Points: 1,828
I applaud Mile High Comics for serving the market segment (which includes myself) that prefers, for almost any particular issue, a comic with newsstand markings to a comic with direct-sales markings. Still, nobody is perfect and, in their zeal to serve this market segment, Mile High is making some mistakes that could result in their customers overpaying for comics.

The most glaring example of such mistakes is in MHC's handling of DC Comics ca. 1979-80. DC was slower than Marvel was to adopt the practice of marking comics distributed via direct sales to be distinguishable from comics distributed via the older newsstand channel. Marvel began such markings in spring of 1979; DC followed suit in summer of 1980. Despite this, MHC has separate listings (with premium prices) for newsstand "versions" of DC Comics published months earlier than DC was actually publishing direct-sales versions! Collectors who order newsstand "versions" of these issues published prior to DC's adoption of direct-sales markings would be paying more money for identical comics.

Consider, for example, DC's Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (retitled with the January 1980 issue to Legion of Super-Heroes). At milehighcomics.com, issues of S&LSH are listed under Superboy, while issues of LSH are listed under its own title. MHC's earliest listing (as of today) for a newsstand version of this series is #253 (July 1979) (listed on the website as Superboy #253). MHC's listed prices for newsstand copies of this issue are generally about twice the listed prices for an unspecified version of this issue (listed prices for the Whitman version are even higher), with the implication that orders for the unspecified version would be filled with a direct-sales version. But for this issue, no distinguishable direct-sales version exists! Copies of this issue sold in comics shops were indistinguishable from copies sold on newsstands! Similar situations are seen with other DC titles.

The earliest DC comics (that I know of) with differentiated direct-sales markings were published with October 1980 dates. In spite of this, MHC offers newsstand versions at higher prices for three issues of S&LSH, and for nine issues of LSH published with dates prior to Oct. 1980.

Newsstand collectors shopping at Mile High can save themselves a bundle of cash for DC Comics dated earlier than Oct. 1980 by ignoring the newsstand listings, and instead ordering the unspecified version.
SwiftMann
Posted: Sunday, September 09, 2012 9:44:42 AM

Rank: Beyonder
Groups: Approver, CCL Feature Crew, CR-Guidelines, Member, Super Seller

Shop at My Store

Joined: 4/19/2007
Posts: 11,025
Points: 1,821,221
Location: PA
Collectors can save themselves a bundle by not shopping at milehigh at all.

Has DC Done Something Stupid Today?

"The return of beards and 90's fashion makes hipsters and homeless people impossible to tell apart." - Woody, Quantum & Woody #5
outcast
Posted: Sunday, September 09, 2012 10:15:08 AM
Rank: Large Noggin
Groups: Member, Newsstand Edition Host

Joined: 7/28/2012
Posts: 414
Points: 1,828
SwiftMann wrote:
Collectors can save themselves a bundle by not shopping at milehigh at all.

True, but for collectors of newsstand comics, there aren't many viable alternatives on the Internet.
outcast
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 7:10:57 PM
Rank: Large Noggin
Groups: Member, Newsstand Edition Host

Joined: 7/28/2012
Posts: 414
Points: 1,828
Mile High Comics' newsstand listings also contain apparent errors for a set of Marvel comics published during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

During this period, Marvel published a number of comics with unusual characteristics. There is a lot that I hope yet to learn about these comics, but one conclusion that I have already reached is that these comics were not consistently published in distinguishable newsstand and direct-sales versions.

Most striking among the unusual characteristics of these Marvels is that the UPC barcodes appear to be newsstand barcodes, but that the CCC emblem (one large C surrounding two smaller C's, indicating Curtis Circulation Company distribution) does not appear. These Marvels mostly have the digits 24885 in the leftmost block of the UPC barcode. Most importantly, they are often difficult (impossible?) to find as back issues in distinguishable direct-sales versions. Examples include issues of Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme, The 'Nam, Power Pack, Akira, Foolkiller, Marc Spector Moon Knight, and some others. In spite of the fact that some issues appear not to have distinguishable direct-sales versions, Mile High is offering for sale (at premium prices) newsstand versions of such issues, as if such versions were not the most commonly available versions.

Let me get specific with Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme. This is a series that I bought as it was being published, at local direct-sales comics shops as new issues. In other words, every issue in my collection is a direct-sales copy. In spite of this, the following issues in my collection (published, remember, at a time before direct-sales comics had UPC barcodes) have UPC barcodes with newsstand characteristics (i.e., the rightmost block of numbers is two digits, not five digits): 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34. Furthermore, though I have looked on several sites (including milehighcomics.com) with cover scans, I have never found a cover scan of any of these issues having traditional direct-sales markings. I don't think they exist.

Regardless, Mile High is selling, at premium prices, "newsstand" versions of these issues that may not exist in any other version.

Newsstand collectors shopping at Mile High can save substantial money on some 1988-92 Marvels (those without the CCC emblem on apparent newsstand copies) by ignoring Mile High's newsstand listings, and instead ordering the unspecified versions, except for issues that can be verified, by a cover scan on a website, to have a distinguishable direct-sales version.
oakman29
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 7:54:23 PM

Rank: Herald of Galactus
Groups: Member

Joined: 1/30/2007
Posts: 2,213
Points: 6,530
Location: Anaheim Hills,California
If you enjoy paying 5X's more for your comics,Mile High is the place to go.Laughing

"You want me to trade you my comic for small rectangular sheets of green paper with the images of dead white men?"

icarus201
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 8:14:35 PM

Rank: Beyonder
Groups: Approver, CR-Policies, Member, Moderator, Movies Host, Subscriber, UK Host

Joined: 8/17/2007
Posts: 41,310
Points: 498,554
Location: United Kingdom
oakman29 wrote:
If you enjoy paying 5X's more for your comics,Mile High is the place to go.Laughing

This site lost a lot of credibility in my eyes when I saw how many issues they had listed that don't even exist.


Marvel Universe® ~ No-one Ever Really Dies.

Make sure that you read and understand the forum rules here
outcast
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 8:55:31 PM
Rank: Large Noggin
Groups: Member, Newsstand Edition Host

Joined: 7/28/2012
Posts: 414
Points: 1,828
icarus201 wrote:
This site lost a lot of credibility in my eyes when I saw how many issues they had listed that don't even exist.

By "this site," are you referring to milehighcomics.com? If you can provide specific examples, I would be very interested in more information.
outcast
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 9:10:35 PM
Rank: Large Noggin
Groups: Member, Newsstand Edition Host

Joined: 7/28/2012
Posts: 414
Points: 1,828
oakman29 wrote:
If you enjoy paying 5X's more for your comics,Mile High is the place to go.Laughing

5× sounds about right if you look only at the website prices. Wait for a good codeword sale, though, and the discounted prices can seem pretty reasonable considering the available depth of stock. For example, a discount of 60% off back issues is available right now with the codeword REPAIRS.
SwiftMann
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 9:23:07 PM

Rank: Beyonder
Groups: Approver, CCL Feature Crew, CR-Guidelines, Member, Super Seller

Shop at My Store

Joined: 4/19/2007
Posts: 11,025
Points: 1,821,221
Location: PA
outcast wrote:
oakman29 wrote:
If you enjoy paying 5X's more for your comics,Mile High is the place to go.Laughing

5× sounds about right if you look only at the website prices. Wait for a good codeword sale, though, and the discounted prices can seem pretty reasonable considering the available depth of stock. For example, a discount of 60% off back issues is available right now with the codeword REPAIRS.

Do those REPAIRS include the fixes to the "Near Mint" comics you order that come with marker spots and giant tears and obvious dollar bin wear?

Has DC Done Something Stupid Today?

"The return of beards and 90's fashion makes hipsters and homeless people impossible to tell apart." - Woody, Quantum & Woody #5
icarus201
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 9:55:07 PM

Rank: Beyonder
Groups: Approver, CR-Policies, Member, Moderator, Movies Host, Subscriber, UK Host

Joined: 8/17/2007
Posts: 41,310
Points: 498,554
Location: United Kingdom
outcast wrote:
icarus201 wrote:
This site lost a lot of credibility in my eyes when I saw how many issues they had listed that don't even exist.

By "this site," are you referring to milehighcomics.com? If you can provide specific examples, I would be very interested in more information.

Here's a good example of what I mean; A Marvel UK mag from the 70's.

http://www.milehighcomics.com/cgi-bin/backissue.cgi?action=list&title=54692015904&publisher=MVUK&snumber=41&instock=0

They have 400 issues listed, priced and graded. Nothing wrong, so far? Apart from the ridiculous high prices? Okay, this is what the reality is. That Super-Heroes title only ran 50 issues. They are listed here on CCL. These are accurate, I added them all myself from my personal collection. #51-352 don't actually exist. They were never published, that's why there are no covers for those listings. In fact, #353 onward aren't even the same title. They run on from the end of Mighty World of Marvel (UK) and Marvel Comic (UK). See my point, now? There are other examples I've noticed browsing their site too. Ms. Marvel (1977) #24 and 25 were once listed for sale (since removed, I've just noticed). They were never published as part of that first series.


Marvel Universe® ~ No-one Ever Really Dies.

Make sure that you read and understand the forum rules here
Thundercron
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 9:55:59 PM

Rank: Herald of Galactus
Groups: Member, Super Seller

Shop at My Store

Joined: 9/14/2008
Posts: 2,255
Points: 30,165
Location: Vancouver, Washington
Since we're on the subject of oddball newsstand/direct variants, check out your direct edition copy of X-Force #2:



You can still make it out slightly from the scan, but you'll notice that the Curtis Code was accidently printed first, and the UK Price was printed on top of it. Neat!
oakman29
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 10:03:09 PM

Rank: Herald of Galactus
Groups: Member

Joined: 1/30/2007
Posts: 2,213
Points: 6,530
Location: Anaheim Hills,California
SwiftMann wrote:
outcast wrote:
oakman29 wrote:
If you enjoy paying 5X's more for your comics,Mile High is the place to go.Laughing

5× sounds about right if you look only at the website prices. Wait for a good codeword sale, though, and the discounted prices can seem pretty reasonable considering the available depth of stock. For example, a discount of 60% off back issues is available right now with the codeword REPAIRS.

Do those REPAIRS include the fixes to the "Near Mint" comics you order that come with marker spots and giant tears and obvious dollar bin wear?

Exactly Swift,those codeword sales are meant to get chumps to actually pay just about High guide prices for books that are supposed to be NM.When in reality they are VF at best.But hey Chuck Rozansky loves people like that.It's kind of like paying 5.00 a gallon for gas for so long,that when it finally comes down to 4.00 you feel happy that you're getting a deal.When in reality gas should be at 2.00 a gallon.

"You want me to trade you my comic for small rectangular sheets of green paper with the images of dead white men?"

outcast
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 10:29:37 PM
Rank: Large Noggin
Groups: Member, Newsstand Edition Host

Joined: 7/28/2012
Posts: 414
Points: 1,828
icarus201 wrote:
Here's a good example of what I mean; A Marvel UK mag from the 70's....
They have 400 issues listed, priced and graded. Nothing wrong, so far? Apart from the ridiculous high prices? Okay, this is what the reality is. That Super-Heroes title only ran 50 issues. They are listed here on CCL. These are accurate, I added them all myself from my personal collection. #51-352 don't actually exist. They were never published, that's why there are no covers for those listings. In fact, #353 onward aren't even the same title. They run on from the end of Mighty World of Marvel (UK) and Marvel Comic (UK). See my point, now?

I do see your point. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

icarus201 wrote:
There are other examples I've noticed browsing their site too. Ms. Marvel (1977) #24 and 25 were once listed for sale (since removed, I've just noticed). They were never published as part of that first series.

I suspect MHC added them based on solicitations for orders, then failed to notice that they were never actually published.

The stories for those issues did finally see print, BTW, in Marvel Super-Heroes #10 (summer 1992) and #11 (fall 1992).
outcast
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 10:37:27 PM
Rank: Large Noggin
Groups: Member, Newsstand Edition Host

Joined: 7/28/2012
Posts: 414
Points: 1,828
Thundercron wrote:
Since we're on the subject of oddball newsstand/direct variants, check out your direct edition copy of X-Force #2:

(cover scan omitted)

You can still make it out slightly from the scan, but you'll notice that the Curtis Code was accidently printed first, and the UK Price was printed on top of it. Neat!

That looks familiar; I think I've seen it before.

In fact, I think I've seen quite a few issues from this time period with mistakes regarding the Curtis emblem. Between the high volume of comics Marvel was producing, and the comics I described earlier that intentionally didn't have the Curtis mark, and the production work required for the newsstand and direct sales versions, maybe the errors are not so surprising.
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