A History of Publisher Experimentation and Variant Comic Books
Godzilla is a gigantic monster with a notoriously bad temper. Who knew that one day, his comic book progeny could cause more turmoil in the collecting world than a rampage through Tokyo? It all started with a 35 cent price copy of Godzilla #2. The year was 1997, and I knew immediately there was something strange about it because I remember paying 30 cents at a Circle K for my copy in 1977. The book came from a long box of 1970s Marvels I picked up from a wholesaler, a little mid to high-grade inventory. Fortunately, having not yet processed the group into stock, I quickly found four more issues with the wrong price. Having previously sold two 35 cent Variants of Star Wars #1, I realized there had to be many more Variants out there, and before long I found some 30 cent Marvel Variants as well. The time had finally come to call Bob Overstreet.
I dialed Gemstones number in Baltimore and selected Bobs extension. In case youve never spoken with him, Id describe Bob as a polite, genial southern gentleman. When his pleasant voice answered, This is Bob, I introduced myself and told him Id been planning on calling him for the past twenty years but had been waiting until I had something important to say. Well, for Gods sake, what is it? he asked. I told him I had discovered several hundred Marvel comics that nobody knows about. His response was immediate: Thats impossible! Marvel is the most heavily-researched comics company ever, he said. I offered to have proof on his desk the next day. I asked him if I was right, if I could join the team, and he said, Absolutely. When I called the next day he was genuinely surprised and I have been an advisor to the Overstreet Guide ever since.
Bob wanted proof of more than the handful I could provide before listing them all. At the time, I had been reading Gemstones slick Comic Book Marketplace magazine for several years. Edited by Gary Carter, it was the finest comics publication of its kind, and in my mind remains the best magazine ever published on the subject of comics. I initially disseminated the existence of Marvel Cover Price Variants in Comic Book Marketplace #51(9/97) and #55(1/98), and in an update that appeared in #66(1/99). Three years later all of the Marvel Variants were listed in the Overstreet Guide. Completists pursue one of everything, and demand for Direct versus Newsstand Editions (or vice versa), and other Types of Variants, may soon justify individual listings. Because subjectivity is involved, and for the sake of clarity, I have included second and later printings, Deluxe Editions, Direct Market Editions, U.S. Published Editions intended for foreign distribution, and many other Types of Variants, in the Variant definitions, and this history of Variants covers books from approximately 1937-1994. Some promotional Variants are not included due to space, but many useful examples of such are, and additional Variants will inevitably surface. Underground Comix Variants exist that are not included, although the Variant definitions herein do not exclude such books from identical categorization. Jay Kennedys 1982 Underground price guide has a prophetic Variant joke on its cover, and is necessary to identify Variants listed in Dan Fogels 2006 Underground price guide.
Types of Variants:
The best definition I know for a Variant comic book is (1) any non-standard edition created for distribution with a unique purpose, (2) anything reprinted for distribution under the same title with some changes to the cover and/or contents, and (3) any non-standard edition created for distribution in an unplanned or imperfect way. The primary characteristic of a Variant is a strong similarity to the regular or standard edition.
Type 1 Variants: Cover Price Test Market Variants with regional or otherwise limited distribution, published simultaneously with standard or regular editions. Such Variants exist because publishers want to test the market prior to raising prices. The indicia and all aspects of the book, except for the cover price, are identical to regular editions. Examples include Marvel 30 and 35 cent Variants, and Archie 15 cent Variants.
Type 1a Variants: Cover Price Variants intended for foreign distribution with limited regional distribution, published simultaneously with standard or regular editions. The indicia and all aspects of the book, except for the cover price and sometimes the company logo, are identical to regular U.S. editions. One example is the Marvel Pence Price Variants, with the Marvel All-Colour Comics cover banners. Other examples include the Canadian Gold Key and Whitman Cover Price Variants.
Type 1b Variants: Cover Price Reverse Variants with regional or otherwise limited distribution, published simultaneously with standard or regular editions. Reverse Variants exist because material is accidentally printed with a lower price than intended, a mistake not always sufficient for the publisher to destroy otherwise saleable goods. The indicia and all aspects of the book are identical to regular editions, regardless of whether it is intended for U.S. or foreign distribution, and the primary characteristic is that there is another version with the same cover logo and markings and the correct cover price. The Gold Key 30 cent and Whitman 40 cent Price Variants are perfect examples.
Type 1c Variants: Cover Variants with limited or standard distribution, published simultaneously with standard or regular editions. This type of Variant exists because publishers choose to experiment with the market without making widespread appearance changes to their logos or regular editions, or to capitalize on current popularity. The indicia and all aspects of the book are identical to regular editions except for the front, inside, and/or back cover deviations, with Variant covers sometimes noted inside. If one book has two different covers, it may be impossible to identify a regular edition beyond cover 1a, 1b, etc. DCs Fury of Firestorm #61 Superman Logo Variant is one example. A good multiple cover example is DCs Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1.
Type 2 Variants: After-market reprints with changes and/or omissions made. These Variants may be labeled reprint on the cover but most have minor cover changes without the reprint notation, such as a missing UPC code or a price increase. The indicia and all aspects of the book, except for the cover, is identical to regular editions, although sometimes the indicia reads, This is a reprint of a previously published issue. Such Variants are published to capitalize on current popularity, and are sold in the same market and approximate time period as the originals. Marvels voluminous versions of Star Wars #1 are good examples, as one or more of the characteristics listed will appear.
Type 2a Variants: After-market reprints identical to the original printing except with no later printing notation, and with only minor changes, such as new interior ads, published to capitalize on current popularity, and sold in the same market and same approximate time period as the originals. One example is Marvels 1980s G.I. Joe reprints.
Type 2b Variants: After-market reprints identical to the original printing, including the original cover price, except for current ads. Second Printing is sometimes noted after the original indicia, although no copyright date may be present. Such Variants are not sold in the same market as the originals and may promote a business partner. Marvels 1994 Amazing Adult Fantasy #13, and DCs 1980s-1990s Batman reprints are examples.
Type 2c Variants: After-market reprints identical or nearly identical to the original printing, including the cover price, except for current ads on the back cover and inside covers, and with original ads labeled facsimile. Second Printing is sometimes noted in the indicia but a current copyright date is often not present. Such Variants are not sold in the same market as the originals and may promote a business partner. One example is Marvels 1994 reprint of Young Men #25.
Type 3 Variants: Licensed after-market reprints identical to the originals with a color cover, but with B&W interior pages and in a larger size, with original ads except for back cover ads promoting the series. The current copyright date, indicia and publishers information is present. One example is Don Marins Remember When reprints.
Type 3a Variants: Licensed after-market reprints promoting a business partner with a random mix of reprinted stories using a single cover with different contents. Back and inside covers and pages contain ads and games that reflect the business being promoted. Original stories appear to be unaltered and a current copyright date is present, but no information is provided regarding the original sources or publication dates. One good example is Harveys Astro Comics giveaways that promote American Airlines.
Type 3b Variants: Licensed after-market reprints promoting a business partner with changes and/or omissions made to the cover, sometimes with a back-up story replaced to fit the theme of the product, and/or with the centerfold replaced by an ad. The cover may include the name of the business partner, and such Variants are sometimes given away as premiums, with or without a cover price. Some books say complimentary copy on the cover. Specific issues may be reprinted but all issues may have the same issue number on the cover. The current copyright date appears in the indicia, and the back and/or inside covers and pages may contain ads from one or more sponsors. One good example is the many reprints of Action Comics #1.
Type 4 Variants: Second and later printings with the same cover price, a different cover price, or no cover price, and/or a later copyright date in the indicia, sometimes with a different cover and/or new house ads, articles, letters and/or other deviations such as cardstock covers, sold in the same market but in a different time period. Classics Illustrated comics myriad editions is one example, and another is Spire Christian Comics many printings.
Type 4a Variants: Second and later printings, usually but not always complimentary copies, that are educational and/or political in nature, altered for a specific purpose, that are otherwise identical to the standard or regular editions. Good examples include DCs WWII giveaways with simplified text for Navy servicemen, Gilbertons Picture Parade V1, #1 that exists as a contents unknown teachers edition, and Twin Circles communist propaganda reprint of the American Security Councils Design for Survival.
Type 5 Variants: Deluxe editions of standard editions published simultaneously to capitalize on current popularity with extra features such as signed and/or limited print runs, and including, but not limited to, enhanced and/or different covers and other deviations. One example is Marvels many versions of Spider-Man #1.
Type 6 Variants: Direct Market Cover Variants published simultaneously with Newsstand Editions for the purpose of controlling distribution. This type of Variant exists because publishers offer a larger discount to retailers on a non-returnable basis, and except for cover deviations, is identical to Newsstand Editions. The indicia and all aspects of the books are identical except for the covers, and both are considered standard editions. One example is Marvels early Direct Market Editions.
Type 6a Variants: Newsstand Cover Variants published simultaneously with Direct Editions with only the U.S., Canadian, or U.K. price on the cover, whereas Direct Editions have two prices, and sometimes all three prices. The indicia and all aspects of the books, except for the cover price(s), are identical and all are considered standard editions. DC, Marvel, Warren, Whitman and other publishers produced single cover price Variants during the 1980s.
Type 7 Variants: Cover Variants published simultaneously with standard editions sold concurrently by the same publisher. This type of Variant exists because publishers seek to broaden their market. The indicia and all aspects of the book, except for the cover logo, and minor changes, such as a missing cover date, are identical to regular editions. One example is the Gold Key Whitmans.
Type 7a Variants: Licensed Cover Variants published simultaneously with standard editions sold concurrently by a business partner. Such Variants exist because publishers seek to broaden their market by allowing distribution to a market outside of their normal access. The indicia and all aspects of the book, except for the cover logo, and minor changes, such as a missing issue number or cover date, are identical to regular editions. One example is the DC Whitmans.
Type 7b Variants: Cover Variants published before and/or after the standard or regular editions by the same publisher with a different cover logo, and sold in a different market. Such Variants exist because publishers seek to increase their sales by pursuing distribution in a different market. The indicia and all aspects of the book, except for the cover logo, and minor changes such as a missing cover date and different ads, are identical to regular editions. Western Publishings Top Comics series is a perfect example of such experimentation.
Type 8 Variants: After-market reprints released by the same publisher under a different company name with the same title, in a different time period than the originals, with a customized cover promoting the original issue with new ads. One example is Realistic Comics Cowpuncher issue from 1953 that reprints issue #1 with an early 1950s recycled Avon painted paperback cover that advertises the stories inside.
Type 8a Variants: Licensed after-market reprints released by a different publisher in a different time period than the originals, that include minor cover changes and new ads, but which otherwise have the same contents. One example is Modern Promotions Charlton reprints.
Type 8b Variants: Licensed after-market reprints released by a different publisher under the same title in a different time period than the originals, with new ads, using the same covers with different contents. One example is Accepted Publications Indian Warriors issue with the cover to issue #7 but with the contents of #11 inside. Such Variants are not legitimate representative copies.
Type 9 Variants: Unlicensed after-market reprints with the same title and issue number that are virtually identical. Such counterfeit copies are designed to pass for the scarce original books that have become pricy collectors items. One example is Cerebus #1.
Type 9a Variants: Unlicensed after-market reprints that have the same title, cover and issue number with only minor cover changes and new ads, but with different contents. One example is the I.W. reprint of U.S. Paratroopers Behind Enemy Lines #1 with modified art on the cover. Such Variants are not legitimate representative copies.
Type 9b Variants: Unlicensed after-market reprints with the same title and issue number as another book with the same title and issue number. Both have only minor cover changes, but both have different contents. The two I.W. issues of Speedy Rabbit #1 are perfect examples because no regular edition can be identified.
Type 10 Variants: Cover printing errors known to the publisher with a last minute correction and limited distribution, with almost all issues released as intended. The Black Circle Variants published by Marvel are superior examples.
Type 10a Variants: Cover printing errors unknown to the publisher, in limited distribution, with most issues released as originally intended. Missing information and/or incorrect colors are the common elements. One notorious example is Fantastic Four #110 featuring a green Thing, with blue faces and pink uniforms on the others.
Type 10b Variants: Internal printing errors unknown to the publisher, in limited distribution, such as pages out of sequential order, a missing centerfold, zero to four cover staples, inverted and/or unintended contents, multiple covers, etc., with limited distribution. Sandman #9, with Bergers commentary instead of Khans editorial, and Sandman #18-19 with pages out of sequence, both serve as examples. Recalled books that contain inappropriate or adult content due to an editorial oversight also qualify.
Type 11 Variants: Contemporary Ashcans, oversized, intended for limited distribution to dealers as a giveaway for promotion of products about to be released. Unlike their standard-size counterparts, such pre-release items are un-inked Black and White (B&W) versions of the standard or regular issue, without any extra features.
Type 11a Variants: Contemporary Ashcans in standard comic size or otherwise, intended for distribution and promotion of products just released or about to be released, whether sold or given away. Such Variants are often near-finished copies of the final edition, and often contain a few extras such as storyboards, concept sketches, commentary, and un-inked penciled covers and/or pages.
Type 12 Variants: Oversized after-market reprints usually with the original ads, released by the publisher or a licensed business partner, sometimes with an outer cardstock cover, with or without the promotion of other products. One example is DCs Famous First Editions series, and another is Modern Promotions Battlestar Galactica Treasury that reprints Marvel Comics Super Special #8.
Type 12a Variants: Undersized after-market reprints, with new ads or no ads at all, usually without original backup stories, released by the publisher or a licensed business partner, with or without the promotion of other products. One example is the mini-reprint of Amazing Spider-Man #42, originally November 1966, attached to the cover of the February 1969 issue of Esquire Magazine; another example is DCs 1989 cereal premium mini-reprints of Untold Legend of the Batman #1-3. Because such Variants are novelty items that are hard to read and often missing important aspects of the original issue, they are not legitimate representative copies.
Type 13 Variants: Published simultaneously with standard or regular editions, such Variants come with ad inserts bound on stiff cardstock, always four pages in length, that promote a business partner, but which change the structure and size of the comic. Staples are sometimes closer than normal, and the book is sometimes slightly taller, by up to 1/16 of an inch. Mark Jewelers created this unique Variant, with ads designed to appeal to military personnel on government bases in the U.S. and overseas. Due to the binding process, high-grade copies better than VF/NM are hard to find.
Type 13a Variants: Published simultaneously with standard or regular editions, such Variants come with ads inserted on cardstock, regular paper or glossy paper, usually four pages in length regardless of dimensions, that promote a business partner and/or the publisher. One superior example is Monsters on the Prowl #13, which includes a bizarrely risque lingerie page with women wearing teddies and a close-up of a woman in panties that reads, Best things in life are free, and another is the mini-booklet printed on cardstock found in Conan #47 entitled Mighty Marvel marches through your door, which promotes Marvels comics and magazines and also contains paid ads.
Type 14 Variants: Published simultaneously with standard or regular editions, such books are Variants of Variants, and are otherwise identical to regular copies. The primary characteristic is that the book is intended as a Variant edition, yet at least one Variant aspect is unintentional. One superior example is Captain America #212 with the Marvel Comics Group stripe at the top of the book an empty yellow line, that exists only as a 35 cent cover Test Market Variant. Since this mutant book is both a Type 10a and a Type 1 Variant, it is therefore a rare Type 14 Double Variant.
Type 15 Variants: Phantom Variants rumored to exist that are scarcer than a Sasquatch interview. Such Variants rarely surface, and are often wishful thinking, memory error, incorrect identification, or a fruitless hoax. One example is the Whitman version of DC Comics Presents #22, and another is Yanks in Battle #3. Such unconfirmed comics tend to lurk in the mist.
Related Items that Do Not a Variant Make:
One of several categories not included in the Variants list is Reprints under a new title. Marvel reprint titles from the 1970s sometimes have new character names as well as missing panels, the latter to reduce page counts for more ads. Such reprints have an indicia that reads, Originally presented as followed by the original title, but have new titles, and sometimes new covers with altered and/or missing panels, and thus do not qualify as Variants. Marvels 1974 Night Rider, which reprints the 1967 Ghost Rider title with only a name change, allows for the introduction of the new Ghost Rider in 1972.
Power Records comics are good examples of incomplete and seriously mutilated reprint combinations that are actually new and unique products. Books never intended for distribution such as Golden Age Ashcans, with only 1-5 copies printed for copyright purposes, do not qualify as Variants, because they contain previously published comic covers with a new title, with random issues unrelated to the apparent theme of the book inside, and thus form a unique product. Books created from parts after the fact, such as extra comic book covers being attached to coverless comics regardless of title, subject matter, or publisher do not qualify. Because such oddities are combined without regard to anything besides turning a profit from what would otherwise be trash, they are not legitimate Variants. Giving such mutant constructions a Variant category would be creating a monster, because bogus homemade Variants would inevitably surface. Equally ridiculous are the so-called price sticker Variants, where a comic has an after-market sticker on the cover over the printed price; greed and deception do not a Variant make.
Rebound Comics is another closely related category outside of the Variant definitions, because it is a new product with a new title. Rebound Comics usually contain three to six issues that did not sell, typically but not always with their covers removed. Because stories sometimes begin or end on the inside front and back covers, some Rebound Comics contain incomplete stories and often have different contents. Some Rebound Comics contain an unintentional mix of comics, while others have an intentional mix of comics from various publishers, and have Variant covers; a superior example is Double Comics from the early 1940s. Variants of Rebound Comics exist of both U.S. published and foreign published first printings. Regardless of completeness, Graphic Novels and Rebounds do not qualify as Variants. Polybagged comics are identical to standard editions except for trading cards and/or similar unattached extras found inside, and so are not included in the Variant definitions.
Another category of interest is Foreign Published U.S. Reprints that were never intended for U.S. distribution, such as the Philippine Marvel books with different ads and missing cover prices. Phantom Stranger #35 is the only known Philippine DC example. Australian and South African reprints also exist but are not Variants. Hybrid Canadian published versions of U.S. books exist from the 1948-1954 eraand contain stories from 2 or more comics, and keep the original title of one of the reprinted stories inside, but not necessarily for the same issue number. One example is the highly sought after Weird Suspenstories #1-3, which contain material from EC's Crime Suspenstories, an original product with a new title. Canadian Editions exist of many U.S. books that were published in the same or near sametime period that contain the entireU.S. book along with new art and text, new and/or altered covers and different ads, and can be identified by the words Canadian Edition on the cover, in the indicia, or both. Other examples exist that are identical to U.S. editions except for the Canadian Edition notation in the indicia and different ads. Such Canadian Editions of U.S. comics exist from the late 1940s to mid 1950s because the distribution of U.S. comics into Canada was restricted or not allowed, with ads being one of the points of contention. Printing plates were sent to Canada to bypass the rules, pushing U.S. products into the market faster without having to cross the border, with reprints roughly 10 times scarcer thantheir U.S. counterparts. Titles normally released in the same time period sometimes had a lag time of one or more months, and sometimes contents accidentally got switched. Some Canadian Editions have lower page counts, with 52 page books cut to 36 pages, and many have inferior paper covers.Most publishers replaced U.S. ads with Canadian ones, and some just left inner covers blank.Many Marvel annuals from 1961-1965 exist as Canadian reprints with blank inside front and back covers. Although Sparta, Illinois is often mentioned, most modern comic books published for U.S. distribution in the 1980s originated in Canada from Ronalds Printing, known today as Quebecor Printing, based in Montreal.
Readers in the United Kingdom had a difficult time experiencing the superhero Silver Age of DC and Marvel Comics, as distribution was sketchy for nearly three decades due to logistical problems such as books getting water damaged in transit. Prohibitive shipping costs and unsold returns thinned profits for an already marginal market. American companies had difficulty competing with popular U.K. comics that had dedicated followers of characters dating back to the 1930s, like Beano, Dandy, and other classics. 1950s publishers often printed separate foreign English Language editions for their market, mostly square-bound giants, in an avalanche of B&W anthology comics with mixed contents from U.S. publishers, and produced by various U.K. publishers including Arnold, Strato, L. Miller & Sons, John Spencer, Top Sellers, World, and others, which was the limited exposure to the Golden Age that U.K. readers received. Horror and Sci-Fi titles dominated the market throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, but some publishers also dared to dabble in Superhero comics. Prior to the resurgence of such characters as the Flash with the release of Showcase #4(9-10/56), Golden Age comics were largely unknown to European readers beyond a few Batman and Superman reprints. According to Duncan McAlpine, American comics books were not officially distributed in Great Britain until as late as the [beginning] of 1960 (The Comic Book Price Guide 1997-1998 by Duncan McAlpine, p. 715); in fact, Detective Comics #272(10/59) is the earliest known DC issue, followed closely by other issues the following month, such as Action Comics #258(11/59), which were stamped with the pence price in ink on the cover, often in an awkward place such as on a characters face or on a word balloon.
Beginning around 1960 and continuing successfully well into the 1980s, Alan Class emerged as the most prolific of the U.K. giant B&W anthology comics publishers.
From the early 1960s and beyond, Alan Class occasionally included a reprint of the Marvel Superhero comics in his Horror and Sci-Fi anthologies, with some reprints altered and/or shortened. In early 1966, the U.K. Market got their own editions of U.S. Superhero comic reprints with these titles: Fantastic (Power Comics Publications) #1 (2/18/1967) through #89 (10/26/1968), featuring the Avengers, Doctor Strange, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor; Pow! (Odhams Publications), #1(1/21/67) 51, featuring Spider-Man and Nick Fury, and #52 (1/14/68) 86 (9/7/68), featuring the Fantastic Four; Smash (Odhams Publications) #1 (2/5/66) through #162 (4/3/71), featuring the Avengers, Daredevil, Incredible Hulk and the Fantastic Four; Terrific (Power Comic Publications) #1 (4/15/67) through #43 (2/3/68), featuring the Avengers, Doctor Strange, and Sub-Mariner; and Wham (Odhams Publishing) #112 (8/6/66) through #187 (1/13/68), featuring the Fantastic Four. Fantastic and Terrific are magazine size, while Pow! Smash, and Wham are larger and very much like Sunday Funnies with rough edges.
In the early 1970s a slicker version of the British Weeklies emerged as thin glossy-covered magazine-size comics that serialize 1970s Marvels into several parts with new splash pages and new covers by unidentified artists, reprinting stories from various Marvel titles in B&W with new titles. One good example is Mighty World of Marvel #1(10/7/72) 19(2/10/73), which started over as Spider-Man Comics Weekly #1(2/17/73), and then continued as Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes with #158 until changing to Super Spider-Man and the Titans with #199, which continued as Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain with #231 until changing to Spider-Man Comic with #311, which continued as The Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly with #334 until changing to Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly with #376, which continued as Super Spider-Man TV Comic with #450 until changing to Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends with #553, returning to the title Spider-Man Comic with #634 until changing to Spidey Comic with issue #652, and ending with issue #666(12/14/85), a run that lasted over 13 years and which prevented a large number of U.S. published for foreign distribution Variants of Amazing Spider-Man comics from ever being produced. Many Bronze Age books have no Pence Price Variants for the same reason. British Weeklies remained strong sellers into the early 1980s until standard U.S. editions with multi-regional prices began to appear on Direct Market Editions cover dated October 1982. Such magazines featured Silver and Bronze Age reprints, some from Marvels B&W magazines and some from the color comics, with letter columns and an international editorial response. Two volumes entitled The Marvel Collection were released with 10 random British Weeklies rebound inside a new cardstock cover, and were sold in the U.S. with other remaindered books from 1976-1977 by B. Dalton and Waldenbooks stores, despite the fact that the books clearly state in the indicia, Not to be sold in the U.S.A. or Canada.
Publishers of Variants:
Cerebus (1977) #1 exists as a Type 9 Variant with a glossy inside cover instead of the flat appearance on the inside of the real first issue. A counterfeit of issue #2 is also rumored to exist.
Accepted Publications are undated reprints from 1955. No indicia contain the copyright dates, but by using identical ads published in some Marvel Comics from 1955, they were indeed dateable. Accepted Publications comics are Type 8b Variants with the same title and issue numbers but with mixed contents and covers, and are not legitimate representative copies. The following 13 titles and 25 issues exist, with the majority fairly easy to acquire: Algie (1953-1954) #1-3, Animal Adventures (1953-1954) #1-3, Blue Bolt (1949-1953) #103, Dick Cole (1948-1950) #6, nn, 4Most (1941-1950) #38-40, Frisky Animals (1951-1953) #53, Frisky Fables (1945-1950) #43, Holiday Comics (1951-1952) #2, 4, Indian Warriors (1951) #8, nn, Phil Rizzuta (1951) nn, Popular Teen-Agers (1950-
1954) #5-6, Sport Thrills (1950-1951) #12, nn, and White Rider (1950-1951) nn(2).
Algie has an alleged Variant of issue #1 listed in the Guide, a so-called binding error with the contents to Secret Mysteries #19 inside. It is not a Variant, but rather a mutant product made from bits and pieces. We know this because Timors Algie #1 was printed in December 1953, while the interior to Superior/Dynamics Strange Mysteries #19 was printed in July 1955. There is also a Holiday Comics #2 Type 10a Cover Error Variant published by Star with no blue color on the cover. Issue numbers and contents of Accepted Reprints appear to be random. Most Accepted Publications reprints are of Star Publications comics, but Curtis, Fawcett, Novelty, and Timor books were also reprinted.
Archie Publications (See So Much Fun! Inc., and Spire Christian Comics)
Like most major publishers, Archie Publications occasionally allowed business partners to use their comics for special promotions. Pep Comics#118(11/56) is one example of a Type 3b Variant of a standard issue. Seven other books published in November 1956 were not giants or annuals, and may also exist as Variants: Archie Comics#83, Archies Girls Bettyand Veronica#27, Archies Joke Book Magazine #25, Katy Keene #31, Lil Jinx #11, Pat the Brat #17, and Wilbur #69. Earlier and later examples may also exist.
From 1960 to 1961 nearly all of the major publishers were looking to raise the 10 cent cover price for regular comics, which had remained the same for over 26 years. Archie raised their price to 12 cents per copy in December 1961 with the exception of Archies Girls Betty and Veronica #72(12/61) and Archies Madhouse #16(12/61), both priced at 10 cents. Books such as Archie Comics #124(12/61) listed 10 cents per copy in the indicia yet had the new 12 cent cover price, an oversight not uncommon when major changes are afoot. Archie comics cover dated from 12/61 to 2/62 have a small price box format, with the exception of Archies Pal Jughead #81(2/62), Archies Girls Betty and Veronica #74(2/62), and Laugh Comics #131(2/62) which have large price boxes. The large price box format became universal with issues cover dated March 1962.
The first mention of an Archie Cover Price Variant was in the 30th Annual Overstreet Guide, where a copy of Archies Jokebook #66(10/62) with a 15 cent price is noted. Four years later collector/dealer Bill Alexander found a copy of Laugh Comics #144(3/63) with a 15 cent cover price, and he sent me a scan. I wondered if it was a Type 1a Canadian Variant like the 35 cent copies of Archie Giant Series Magazine, Archie Pals n Gals, Little Archie,Archie annualsand other giants with regular 25 cent cover prices produced from the late 1950s through the mid 1960s, all of which note in their indicia, 25 cents per copy in the U.S., 35 cents in Canada. Archie 15 cent Price Variants were cover dated from March 1962 to April 1963, and their indicia lack a Canadian price.
Having verified examples from all titles but Josie, and from every month in this time period, it is likely that all books within this window exist. Such Type 1 Test Market Variants have contents that are identical to regular 12 cent cover price Archie comics of the era, and all read 12 cents per copy in the indicia. Doug Sulipa has a massive inventory of Archie comics and found only two Variants when he checked his stock. Doug is based in Canada and has many Type 1a Canadian Price Variants well represented from most major publishers from virtually every comics era (including hundreds of 35 cent cover price Archie Giants), proving conclusively that the 15 cent issues are not Canadian Editions, and we estimate they are 100-200 times scarcer than their 12 cent counterparts. Bill Alexander spent over a year helping me pin down the range of 15 cent Variants, which extends to an astounding fourteen months, probably the longest test market experiment in comic book history. We extend a special thanks to collector Steve Barghusen, who generously shared with us his Variant of Pep Comics #153(3/62).
The following list of 12 titles and 106 issues probably all exist as Type 1 Test Market 15 cent Cover Price Variants of 12 cent Archie comics, 3/62 to 4/63. As we go to print, 36 issues (about one third) are confirmed to exist, noted at the end of each title.
Adventures of the Fly #18-25(3, 5, 7, 9-11/62, 2, 4/63), #21, 23; Adventures of the Jaguar #5-11(3, 5, 7, 9-11/62, 2/63), #8-9, 11; Archie Comics #126-136(3, 5-9, 11-12/62, 2-4/63), #128, 130, 134; Archies Girls Betty and Veronica #75-88(3-12/62, 1-4/63), #77, 82-83, 86, 88; Archies Joke Book Magazine #61-69(4, 6-10, 12/62, 2, 4/63), #63-64, 66; Archies Madhouse #18-25(4, 6, 8-10, 12/62, 2, 4/63), #18-19, 21, 24; Archies Pal Jughead #82-95(3-12/62, 1-4/63), #88, 91-92; Josie #1(2/63), Laugh Comics #132-145(3-12/62, 1-4/63), #135, 141, 144; Life with Archie #13-19(3, 5, 7, 9, 11/62, 1, 3/63), #15-16, 18; Pep Comics #153-161(3-5, 7-8, 10-11/62, 1, 3/63), #153-154, 156, 158; and Tales Calculated to Drive You Bats #3-7(3, 5, 7, 9, 11/62), #5-7.
The #1 key book in this amazing group of Variants is Archies Madhouse #22, featuring the first appearance of Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch, with issues #24 and #25 being her second and third appearances. The investment potential for a Variant copy of Archies Madhouse #22 is enormous. The first and second appearances of Big Ethel in Archies Pal Jughead #84 and #87 are noteworthy, as are Crickett ODells first and second appearances in Archie Comics #133 and in Archies Pal Jughead #95. Archies Girls Betty and Veronica #75 is another key book with potential, valued highly for the infamous story of Betty and Veronica selling their souls to the Devil to win Archies heart. Josie #1 is a scarce key with investment potential and her second appearance. Also noteworthy is Pep Comics #161, Josies third appearance. Archies Madhouse #18 is a minor key because of the format change to non-Archie characters. Archies Pals n Gals #23(Winter/62) is Josies first appearance, but is not on the list because it is a giant.
I expect many collectors to feel an allure for finding five previously unknown Silver Age keys. At the same time Amazing Fantasy #15(8/62) was hitting the stands, Archie was engaged in an experiment that eluded detection for almost fifty years! Some Silver Age Archie comics have Horror and Sci-Fi theme covers, and 41 of them are found in the test market period alone: Adventures of the Fly #18-19, 21-23, Adventures of the Jaguar #5, 7-11, Archie Comics #127, Archies Girls Betty and Veronica #75, 77, 79-80, Archies Joke Book Magazine #64, Archies Madhouse #18-19, 21-22, 24-25, Archies Pal Jughead #82, 85-86, 88, Laugh Comics #132-133, 136, 139, Pep Comics #153-158, and Tales Calculated to Drive You Bats #3-4, 6-7. These comics sell for an average of 50% more than surrounding issues. From 1958-1969, 121 regular and 21 giant-sized comics had Sci-Fi and Horror covers. Archies Girls Betty and Veronica #320(10/82) is the first appearance of Cheryl Blossom, which is cover-dated the same as Jughead #325(10/82), the second appearance of Cheryl Blossom, and which was released two weeks later; both books are Bronze Age key issues, both sell above Guide prices, and both exist as Type 1a Canadian Price Variants. Such Type 1a Variants exist of all Newsstand editions cover dated 9/82 to 4/97, and also exist of all Digests, cover dated 9/82 to 12/97. Basically Strange #1(12/82) exists as a Type 10b Variant with pages out of sequence.
The Catechetical Guild was a cold war publisher that released many sociopolitical titles without Variants, but the following titles have several different types of Variants confirmed, and all are quite rare: Blood is the Harvest (1950) exists as a B&W edition and an untrimmed edition. Cardinal Mindszenty (1949) exists as an untrimmed press proof and a preview copy. Commandments (1954) exists as a reprint from 1958 with a new cover. If the Devil Would Talk (1950) exists as a smaller B&W version, as well as a reprint from 1958 with altered art and text to appease church criticism of the original edition. Is This Tomorrow? (1947) exists as an advance B&W copy marked confidential with script and art edited out of the regular edition, while others exist with a 10 cent price on the cover, and still others with an empty circle instead of a price. Labor is a Partner (1949) exists as a confidential preview oversized B&W edition. Red Iceberg (1960) was reprinted 4 times with different back covers. While some of the Catechetical Guild Variants are clearly identifiable using the lexicon of Types, some do not qualify as Variants because they were not intended for distribution, and others are so unique that listing the individual qualities is more practical than creating new definitions.
Charlton Publications (See King Features and Modern Promotions)
Blue Bird Comics (1959-1965) are Type 3b promotional reprints of Charlton comics, used to promote Blue Bird Shoes: funny animal, hot rod, humor, mystery, war and western titles exist, and issues published in the same year often share the same issue number on the cover, regardless of the book reprinted, with different shoe store names printed directly onto the covers, instead of stamped on like Buster Brown Comics (1945-1959). King Features published new books as educational tools, but a handful of King Features comics were Charlton reprints with activities replacing original ads. Beetle Bailey #67-68(2, 4/69), and #71-73(10-11/69, 1/70) exist as promotional freebies. Charlton Classics Library (1973) Vol. 10, #1, (title: 1776), supposedly exists as a theatre giveaway and a Newsstand Edition, but no theater Variant has surfaced; perhaps Newsstand Editions were given away at the premiere, creating the rumor of a separate promotional edition. Teen-Age Love #22(9/61) exists as a Type 10a Variant with no cover price. At least one Type 10b Variant apparently exists with blank inside covers: U.S. Air Force #18(10/61). Some nn issues of My Little Margie and Robin Hood and his Merry Men also exist with blank inside covers, and others are likely to exist.
Texas Rangers in Action #32(3/62) exists as a Type 1 Test Market 15 cent Cover Price Variant. All comic publishers considered raising prices in 1961, and by mid 1962 all standard comics cost between 12 and 15 cents each. The following 16 issues from March 1962 may exist as Type 1 Test Market Price Variants: Brides in Love #29, Fightin Air Force #31, Fightin Army #45, High-School Confidential Diary #11, Hot Rods and Racing Cars #56, Konga #5, Lil Genius #37, Love Diary #20, My Little Margie #40, Nurse Betsy Crane #15, Romantic Story #59, Six-Gun Heroes #67, Space War #15, Submarine Attack #32, Teen Confessions #16, and Timmy the Timid Ghost #31. Earlier and later examples may exist. Type 1a Canadian Price Variants exist from for all books cover dated 2/83 to 8/84. Some Charlton comics with cover dates from at least 5/61 through 11/63 exist as Type 1a Pence Cover Price Variants, as do some issues with cover dates from at least 10/73 through 5/76. 1957 saw some test market experimentation with funny animal, romance, and war titles, but these were regular editions stamped with a pence price. Haunted #62(7/82) exists as a Type 10b Variant with inverted contents.
Chick Publications The Crusaders series exist as Type 4 Variants. Over 200 different titles in over 100 languages of 24 page mini-comics with up to 40 printings of each, for a total of over half a billion in total circulation, make Chick Publications the most prolific comics publisher. Chicks black and white philosophy steps well beyond the darkest of Steve Ditkos harshest Ayn Rand inspired Objectivist comic book stories, although Rand and Ditko are proponents of personal responsibility and not religion. Chicks hardcore Christian beliefs pound the reader with the message, Its His way or the Hell way. Out of print examples in nice shape sell for $20 and up. They can be identified by the code on the back cover, with first printings having an A, (note: some examples exist with a few other letters appearing before the A). The scarcest examples are: Breakthrough, Don't Read this Book, Kiss India Goodbye, Kiss the Protestant Goodbye, Lost Continent, Losing that Old Zip, Missionaries are Fools, My Name in the Vatican, Operation Somebody Cares, Pssst! Isn't it Time, Secret of Prayer, Secret Weapon, This Book is Banned, Titanic, Wordless Gospel-New Guinea Version, and You are About to See.
Classics Illustrated (See Twin Circle)
Classics Illustrated is the ultimate comic book title when it comes to Variants, and the history of the entire series is explained in condensed format by Dan Malan in the Overstreet Guide, but is fully explained in his book, The Complete Guide to Classic Collectibles, V1. Over 10,000 English and foreign language editions exist, which often have different numbers and usually altered contents as well, disqualifying them as Variants. Many unique foreign titles exist that do not exist as U.S. editions. Classics Illustrated comics printed in Canada that were intended for U.S. distribution are not Variants. One example of this is issue #2(HRN 89), Ivanhoe, which reads, Printed in Canada on the splash page but reads, Printed in U.S.A. in the indicia and has an American ad with a New York address on the back cover. Classics Illustrated comics printed in Canada for Canadian distribution were not intended for U.S. distribution and are not Variants. A small number of Canadian Editions have blank inside front and back covers, but more often than not, have text stories that replace U.S. ads are unique, making such foreign editions desirable to Classics Illustrated completists regardless of Variant definitions. Classics Illustrated comics printed in the U.K. for British distribution are not Variants. Some U.K. editions have pence cover prices only, while others have Australian and South African cover prices listed below the pence price. There are 71 known British editions of Classics Illustrated that have the same issue numbers as their U.S. counterparts, published by Thorpe and Porter from 1952-1962: #5-7, 10, 14-17, 22-23, 25, 29, 31-32, 37, 42, 46, 48-49, 53, 55, 57, 60, 62, 64, 68-69, 71-74, 77-80, 82, 84, 86, 88-91, 94, 96-101, 103-109, 111-115, 118-126, and 129. According to Duncan McAlpine, issues #95(5/52) All Quiet on the Western Front, and #110((8/53) A Study in Scarlet, had standard U.S. editions that were distributed in the UK by Thorpe and Porter, probably with U.K. cover prices, thus making them Type 1a Variants. Thorpe and Porter also published issues #95 and #110 with different titles for its own U.K. series, which are not Variants, and similar undocumented examples may also exist. Dan Malans The Complete Guide to Classic Collectibles, V2, lists such foreign editions in detail.
Most issues of Classics Illustrated have several U.S. printings that are Type 4 Variants with regular and/or cardstock covers, new covers, and different prices. Some changes, deletions, and fluctuations are unique to Classics Illustrated comics, but most would fall under the Type 1c category, and many of those are original issues. Classics Illustrated reprints with Variant editions are not Type 14 Double Variants because they are intentionally unique reprinted products without an unintentional Variant component. A Type 1c Variant of #5(9/42), Moby Dick, is known to exist with the inside front cover house ad pushing free copies of #5 that were to be given away by variety stores to hype the sale of Classics Illustrated comics, and offers multiple titles at a savings from the Newsstand price. Although meant as a giveaway, some copies were apparently bound into books with regular editions. Raymond True owns the only unbound copy known to exist, and his input concerning this unique and historical Variant is appreciated. The regular edition has an essay contest that begins, Dear Reader, and ends with, Yours for Victory and Peace, The Editor. The regular edition is sometimes mistaken for the Variant edition; the winners of the essay contest were listed on the inside front cover of #10(4/43), Robinson Crusoe. Variant editions of Classics Illustrated comics also exist of #2, 8-10, 17-23, 26, 37, 42, 44, 46, 49-51, 54-55, 58, 61, 64, 95, 105, 152-153, and 160. The title Classics Giveaways has multiple Variants published from 1941 to 1969, including Type 3b Twin Circle giveaways from 1967-1968, and similar Variants exist of some Classics Illustrated Jr. Twin Circle editions are recognizable by the empty price box found on the covers, with stickers or ink prices sometimes later added. Five U.S. published issues were not reprinted, so the only issues without Variants are: A Christmas Carol #53(11/48), The Cloister and the Hearth #66(12/49), The Black Tulip #73(7/50), Mr. Midshipman Easy #74(8/50), and In Freedoms Cause #168(Winter/69). In 1989, the restaurant chain Long John Silvers published a Type 3b Variant of #64, Treasure Island.
Comics Magazine Company
Funny Picture Stories (1936), V2, #7 also exists as a Type 3b promotional giveaway.
Key Comics #5(1946) exists as a Type 1c Variant with a back cover ad for an unpublished comic book pre-marketed as Masterpieces Illustrated.
David McKay Publications
Feature Books began in 1937 with newspaper strip reprints; several early issues were advertised in #3-4(7-8/37) with different covers, making them Type 1c Variants.
DC Comics (See Don Maris, and So Much Fun! Inc.)
New Book of Comics #1(1937) was thought to have been a giveaway until I found a Variant in 1998, the cover of which was published in Comic Book Marketplace #66(1/99, page 61). It is the only copy known to have a cover price, and another notable difference is that the cover states 96 Pages Full Color. Some issues cover dated Summer 1940 and September 1940 exist as Type 1a 15 cent Canadian Price Variants and are extremely rare. Currently, four such books are confirmed to exist: Action Comics #28(9/40), Batman #2(Summer/40), Detective Comics #43(9/40), and More Fun Comics #59(9/40). Others likely to exist include Adventure Comics #54(9/40), All-American Comics #18(9/40), All-Star Comics #1(Summer/40), Flash Comics #10(9/40), Mutt and Jeff Comics #2(Summer/40), and Superman #5(Summer/40). Subsequent issues had both U.S. and Canadian prices on the covers. Six Type 4a Variant giveaways exist with simplified text, produced for U.S. Navy servicemen during World War II: Action Comics #80-81, 84(1-2, 5/45), Detective Comics #97(3/45), and Superman #33-34(3, 5/45). DC sometimes experimented with the market using format instead of price, with one extended title employing digest, giant, and treasury-sized comics in the Silver and Bronze Age, while veiling their numbering system so chief competitor Marvel would not benefit. For details, see my article in Comic Book Marketplace #69(7/99) concerning giant-size books, such as the lost 80 page giant Young Love #69(8-9/68), another experiment within an experiment.
Type 7a Whitman Variants exist of some titles cover dated March 1978 through August 1980 that were originally sold in bagged sets of three, some with 40 cent cover prices and others with an empty price box. The DC logo was replaced with a Whitman logo, with issue numbers and dates obscured or missing. DC Comics Presents is the only title that didnt have a Whitman logo over the DC logo, for obvious reasons. Although they are about 20 to 100 times scarcer than regular copies, the average scarcity is about 40 to 1. Whitman Variants of Wonder Woman sell faster than Variants of a title like Superboy, but all are sought after and scarce in VF/NM or better condition, with issues cover dated 1/80 particularly difficult to find. Action Comics #506(6/80), The Brave and the Bold #143(9/78), DC Comics Presents #22(6/80), Justice League of America #177-178(4-5/80), and Super Friends #17(12/78) are rumored to exist as Variants. An anonymous scan of a Whitman DC Comics Presents #22 has surfaced but remains unconfirmed.
Two of the scarcest Type 7a Variants, Sgt. Rock #329(6/79) and Warlord #22(6/79), were published in June 1979 and are war themed. Only DC Comics Presents #10(6/79) with a Sgt. Rock team-up seems to fit the third issue profile, but since it is not scarce, it may have been included in other Superman-themed Whitman bags as well. No Variants are confirmed from 6/78, 3-4/79, 4/80 or 7/80. The following 15 titles and 164 issues that are cover dated from 3/78 to 8/80 are Type 7a Variants confirmed to exist: Action Comics #481(3/78), 482-483, 485-492, 495-499, 501-505, 507-508(6/80), Batman #306(12/78), 307-308, 311-320, 323-324, 326(8/80), Brave and the Bold #144(10/78), 145-147, 150-159, 165(8/80), DC Comics Presents #1(7-8/78), 2-4, 9-12, 14-16, 19, 21(5/80), Flash #268(12/78), 273-276, 278, 283, 286(6/80), Green Lantern #116(5/79), 117-119, 121(10/79), Justice League of America #158(9/78), 160-162, 166-169, 171-173, 176, 179, 181(8/80), Legion of Superheroes #261(3/80), 263-264, 266(8/80), New Adventures of Superboy #1(1/80), 2, 5-6, 8(8/80), Sgt. Rock #329(6/79), Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #244(10/78), 245-248, 251-258(12/79), Super Friends #13(8/78), 14-16, 20-23, 25, 32(5/80), Superman #321(3/78), 322-323, 325-327, 329-332, 335-345, 348, 350(8/80), Warlord #22(6/79), and Wonder Woman #250(12/78), 251-252, 255-264(12/7
The scarcest Variants are Sgt Rock #329(6/79), Warlord #22(6/79), Flash #286(6/80), Justice League of America #179(6/80), New Adventures of Superboy #6(6/80), Legion of Super-Heroes #264(6/80), Superman #348(6/80), Action Comics #508(6/80), and Super Friends #32(5/80), based on data from Byron Glass and Doug Sulipa. Two Type 7a Variant Whitman Treasury Editions exist: All-New Collectors Edition #C-56 (1978, Superman versus Muhammad Ali), and Famous First Edition #C-61 (1979, Superman #1, Summer/39). Type 1a Pence Cover Variants exist of 32 titles cover dated March 1978 to June 1980, so many issues have 3 versions. The earliest examples are Action Comics #480(2/78), Aquaman #60(2/78) and Showcase #97(2/78), and the latest is Brave and the Bold #179(10/81). Five scarce Type 1a Pence Price Variants are known to exist from the early Bronze Age: Action Comics #402(7/71), Adventure Comics #408(7/71), Detective Comics #413(7/71), Flash #208(8/71), and Supermans Pal Jimmy Olsen #139(7/71). Chief competitor Marvel had been publishing Type 1a Variants for over a decade, beginning with issues cover dated July 1960, and DC was apparently experimenting with the U.K. market in 1971, albeit briefly, with books priced at 5 pence for 36 page comics and 7 1/2 pence for 52 page comics, compared to Marvels prices of 6 pence and 8 pence each. Type 1a Pence Price Variants exist of DC comics cover dated 3/78 to 9/81. Type 1a Canadian Single Cover Price Variants exist of all Newsstand Editions and Digests from 10/82 to 9/88, but prior to this such Variants do not exist because the U.S. and Canadian prices were the same. Non-Variant Direct Market Editions with U.K. and U.S. prices exist that are cover dated 10/81 to 9/82, and non-Variant multi-regional Direct Market Editions with Canadian, U.K. and U.S. prices exist with all books cover dated 10/82 on.
Superboy Spectacular #1(1980) was the first comic distributed only through comic stores, and exists as a rare Type 1c Variant that was only available to book club members; a book club emblem sits in place of the issue number, date and price in the upper right hand corner. Amethyst #1-2(5-6/83) both exist as Type 1 75 cent Cover Price Variants of 60 cent issues, reportedly test marketed in Austin and Kansas City. Warlord #108(8/86) has a Type 1c Variant with a blue caption box that reads, And Morgan has nowhere left to run! Type 1c Variants of Fury of Firestorm #61(7/87) and Justice League #3(7/87) exist with a Superman Comics logo in place of the standard DC logo. Beginning in January 1981 and sporadically continuing to at least March 1983, DC published comics with 4 page slick ad inserts in some titles, and because the ad inserts were in all of the Newsstand and Direct Market Editions, they are incomplete without the inserts and thus not Variants; regular paper inserts exist outside of this time period that are also not Variants. Elsons Presents contain 3 DC issues from 1/81 that were published simultaneously with their regular, single-issue counterparts without covers, and are not Variants, but form a new and unique product. Six 1977 Type 3b Pizza Hut Variants exist of Superman #97(5/55) and #113(5/57), Batman #122-123(3-4/59), and Wonder Woman #60(7-8/53) and #62(11-12/53). Untold Legend of the Batman #1-3(7-9/80) exists as a 1989 set of Type 12a mini-Variants. The following Type 10a Cover Variants are known to exist: Batman #307(1/79) with issue number and month in a blue box; Sandman #1(Winter/74) with a purple background; Tarzan #229(3/74) with the DC logo and price in red, and Wonder Woman #66(5/54) with a green eagle. Sandman #9 exists with a Karen Berger editorial instead of Jeanette Khans, and #18-19 exist with pages out of sequence: all three are Type 10b Variants.
From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, many Type 2b promotional Variants were sold in bagged 3 packs, and some were giveaways. Almost all were Batman reprints with new ads. Some bagged sets contain issues of DC Comics Presents #55(3/83) and Worlds Finest Comics #289(3/83), sold in 3 packs with Batman #357(3/83) at Walgreens. Some Batman Variants read, Compliments of Mervyns on the cover, making them Type 3b Variants. Food, game, and toy companies ran ads that replace the originals, and reprints have up to six printings, all with various deviations such as UPC box messages, back cover ads, no month noted on the cover, single or multiple prices, etc. The earliest of such Variants confirmed to exist are Batman #352-353(10-11/82), 356-357, and 362 with no reprinting date indicated; the cover dates of other confirmed Variant issues of Batman extend from 7/86 to 10/96 and include: #397-416, 421-425, 427, 430-432, 457, 489-495, 497, 500, 503-504, 506, 509-511, 515, 520, 523-524, 529-533, and 535.
Many Type 12 Variants of classic issues exist, some of the best produced by DC, like the Famous First Editions series of oversized identical reprints within an outer cover. Numerous Type 3b Variants exist of Action Comics #1(6/38): one is a 16 page version with a paper cover that reads Reprint of the first Superman feature, in a box at the bottom of the cover, and an otherwise identical Safeguard giveaway also exists, both from 1976. A 1983 Nestle Quick Variant of Action Comics #1 exists with a 10 cent cover price; a 1987 edition exists with a 50 cent price in a black box; a 1988 edition exists with a 50 cent price in a white box, in both Direct and Newsstand Editions; a 1992 reprint exists with a $1 price, as does a 10 cent version, both part of different Death of Superman collectors sets. A 1984 Detective Comics #27(5/39) Variant exists as a 32 page issue from Nabisco/Oreo with a paper cover. Detective Comics #38(4/40) and #359(1/67, #350 on the cover) exist as mid 1980s Toys R Us Replica Edition Variants.
Dell (See Gold Key/Whitman)
The earliest known Dell Variant is Large Feature Comic #3 entitled Heigh-Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger (1938); regular copies have 10 cent covers, but this book exists as a Type 1a 15 cent Canadian Cover Price Variant, as does Large Feature Comic #8(1938) entitled Dick Tracy The Racket Buster. Both examples are oversized with B&W pages inside a rough cardboard cover. Series One includes issues #1-6, 8-9 with 76 pages, while issues #7 and #10-30 have 52 pages each. Other Large Feature Comics Variants are likely to exist, especially of issues #4-7, but the entire series could exist as Type 1a Canadian Price Variants. Both #3 and #7 feature The Lone Ranger, and both are additionally referenced in the Guide as Whitman #710 and #715, but are text stories mixed with illustrations, unlike the Dick Tracy issue which contains newspaper strip reprints. Donald Duck nn (1938) exists as a Type 1a 15 cent Canadian Price Variant with B&W newspaper strips from 1936-1937, in comic book form inside a cardboard cover.
In 1947, Dell published a giant issue intended for Canadian distribution only, with the title Roy Roger Annual, with rebound U.S. issues, making it a new and unique product and not a Variant. From 1948-1951, due to a customs embargo, Canadian citizens were only able to buy issues that were separately published in Canada by Bell Features, Wilson, etc., without U.S. ads. Such Canadian Editions are not Variants and changed ads, covers, page counts and issue numbers, and are 10-50 times scarcer than U.S. editions. Canadian Editions known to exist include Bugs Bunny Christmas Parade #1(11/50), Christmas Parade #1(11/49), and Vacation Parade #1(7/50). Such Canadian Editions of 1949-1950 Dell Giants are not Variants, have page counts of 68 instead of 132 pages, and have 15 cent covers. Other non-Variant Canadian Editions that may exist include Christmas Funnies #2(11/51), Christmas Parade #2-3(1950, 1951), and Vacation Parade #2(7/51). Dell began publishing giant square-bound comics for U.S. distribution in 1949 with the title Christmas Parade #1 that has 132 pages; Vacation Parade #1(7/50) also has 132 pages. No Type 1a Canadian Price Dell Giant Variants have yet been confirmed from 1951 or from 1960-1961. One 35 cent Type 1 Test Market Canadian Price Variant known to exist as a Dell Giant is Western Roundup #1(6/52); the indicia reads, 25 cents per copy without a Canadian price which Dell always included, and the price is at mid-cover instead of at the top of the book like standard editions, with the original price imperfectly obfuscated and barely perceivable. Bill Alexander discovered this Variant while assisting me with Type 1a Variant research, and it is among the earliest Type 1 Variants known to exist. Doug Sulipa believes he remembers selling a Tarzans Jungle Annual #1(8/52) 35 cent Canadian Price Variant several years ago, so other examples are likely to exist in this time period. Type 1a 30 cent Canadian Price Variants of Dell Giants exist from mid 1953 to mid 1958. Type 1a 35 cent Canadian Price Variants exist from mid 1958 to 1959, the latter scarcer than the former. The largest Dell Giant is Peter Pan Treasure Chest #1(1/53) with 212 pages. Thereafter Dell Giants ranged between 100, 112, and 116 pages until September 1959, beginning again in the second series with Tom and Jerry Picnic Time #21(9/59) at 84 pages, and continuing until December 1961. Many of these giants have back covers with and without ads, with the comic art back Variants bringing a premium of about 25-50%, and which after mid 1952 are Type 1a Canadian Price Variants. One scarce example, Tom and Jerrys Back to School (9/56), is a 100 page giant with an Apple for the Teacher cut-out on the back cover instead of the ad found on the back cover of the standard edition.
Many, but not all, standard 10 cent cover Dell comics from 6/56 to 1-2/61 have Type 1a U.S. published 15 cent Canadian Price Variants, and the majority of those currently confirmed to exist are Four Color titles. Examples that are not Four Color issues include titles like Huckleberry Hound, Looney Tunes, and Maverick, just to name a few. Type 1a Pence Price Variants also exist from this time period, but instead of having a higher price in cents, both the original U.S. price and the Pence Cover Price usually appear on the covers, although some books with only the pence price exist. The earliest known Pence Price Variant of a Four Color issue is #1087(4-6/60) featuring Peter Gunn, and the latest known example is #1236 which is undated, featuring King of Kings; about one third of the books in this time period are confirmed to exist, and most of them probably do exist. A Pence Price Variant of Zorro #14(6-8/61) exists with three cover prices, with the 15 cent cover price repeated in Dells Canadian style black circle; The Lone Ranger #139(4/61) also exists in this unusual Variant format, and other examples may also exist. Pence Price Variants were published sporadically, if not universally, with books cover dated from at least 4/60 to 8/61, and the handful of books with three cover prices provides a clue as to why Canadian Type 1a Variants are missing from 1960-1961: Dell distributed standard U.S. 15 cent editions to Canada because Dells were the most expensive standard size comics on the market, and would not have sold with an even higher Canadian price, as they were overpriced for the era and poor sellers in the U.S., hence their scarcity. Some, but definitely not all, books cover dated from early to mid 1961 had two redundant 15 cent cover prices. Dell Giant #42(4/61), Marges Little Lulu & Tubby in Australia, and #43(5/61), Mighty Mouse in Outer Space, are the only Giant Pence Price Variants known to exist.
Mickey Mouse #33 exists with two copyright dates, 10-11/53 and 12-1/54. Some books have been reported to have 12 cent Variant covers. Four Color #1057(12/59) featuring Mickey Mouse is confirmed to exist as a 12 cent cover Variant, with a different back cover than the original printing, which is probably a mid-1960s reprint, because the only other known example is Four Color #1235(3-5/65) featuring Mister Magoo, with a 12 cent cover and an indicia stating second printing. All Dell comics from 5/61 to 7/62 have 15 cent cover prices, but as is often the case, the price change from 10 cents per copy was not entirely consistent. The earliest known standard edition that exists with a 15 cent price, with February printed on the cover, is Looney Tunes #232(2/61), and the latest known standard edition with a 10 cent price, with April printed on the cover, is Colt .45 #8(2-4/61). Whether published monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, or as a one-shot, all comics from 1961 with May on the cover and beyond have 15 cent covers, and this is true of books dated in the indicia from 3-5/61 on, and comics dated in the indicia through 7-9/62 also have 15 cent covers. Comics dated in the indicia 8-10/62 and 9-11/62 have 12 cent covers, even if August or September is printed on the cover. Some books cover dated from 1-4/61, and a few earlier examples going back into the 1950s, were produced with no cover price at all on U.S. and/or Canadian versions; such entire print runs with no cent cover price are not Variants unless another version with a cent cover price exists, although some Pence Price Variants do exist of the same issues. Western ultimately split with Dell, partially over Dells ill-conceived and unsuccessful price-hiking experiment to produce a higher quality of comic, beginning with issues cover dated 10/62, otherwise known as Gold Key comics.
Many Dells have Type 1c Back Cover Variants, some with photos and others with comic art or gags, probably created for Canadian distribution without the U.S. ads. Four Color #710(6/56) Francis the Famous Talking Mule is the earliest known example. A list of these is being compiled by Patrick K. Simpson and will see print in an update in a future article, but for now, other confirmed issues include: #915(7/58), #1047(11/59), #1165(3-5/61), #1195(4/61), #1215(10-12/61), #1226(9/61), #1244(11-1/62), #1268(11/61), #1299(3/62), and #1354(4-6/62), the last issue. Type 1c cover Variants exist of comics outside of the Four Color title as well; Bat Masterson #2(5-7/60) and Movie Classics: The Mummy (9-11/62) both exist with different back covers. Four Color #847(1/58) exists with two different front covers, as does #668(12/55), which was reprinted in January 1958 with Timothy Mouse added to Dumbos trunk. Some Four Color issue numbers were skipped and do not exist, as such books were released as individual titles. Ensign O'Toole #2(1964), Espionage #2(8-10/64), Gullivers Travels #2-3(1966), and War Heroes #11(3/45) still evade detection and probably do not exist. The Lone Ranger #37(7/51) is both a Type 10a and 10b Variant with the Lone Ranger shown in a red shirt on the cover and the interior of the book; because there is no intentional Variant quality to the book, it is not a Type 14 Double Variant.
Don Maris Remember When Publications
The 1975 Remember When series published by collector Don Maris reprinted classic Golden Age issues in B&W with color covers and higher quality paper than the similar Dynapubs reprints produced in 1974. Companies with material reprinted include DC, Fawcett, Hillman, Quality, Vital, and Your Guide. Only Hit Comics #1(7/40) was reprinted by both publishers. Don Maris reprints are exact replicas of the originals except the pages are B&W instead of color, with back cover ads promoting other reprints, and original ads otherwise included. Ten Type 3 Variants exist, including: Air Fighters Comics #2(11/41), All Star Comics #3(Winter/40), Blackhawk #9(Winter/44), Hit Comics #1(7/40), Plastic Man #2(2/44), Police Comics #1(8/41), Silver Streak Comics #1(12/39), 6(9/40), Uncle Sam Quarterly #1(Autumn/41), Whiz Comics #1(2/40), and Wow Comics #1(Winter/40-41).
In 1970 Alan Light started publishing The Buyers Guide to Comics Fandom. His Flashback Nostalgia Incorporated Series was introduced in 1973 and ran for 10 issues, featuring the following Type 3 Variants: Human Torch #5a(Fall/41, #1), Air Fighters Comics #2 (11/42, #2), All Star Comics #3(Winter/40, #3), Whiz Comics #1(2/40, #4), Police Comics #1(8/41, #5), Silver Streak Comics #1(12/39, #6), Blackhawk #9(Winter/44, #7), Uncle Sam Quarterly #1(Autumn/41, #8), Silver Streak Comics #6(9/40, #9), and Wow Comics #1(Winter/40, #10). In 1974 and 1976, Alan Light published B&W Golden Age reprints with color covers. Flashback editions are complete reprints of original the issues numbered #1-38, except for back cover ads for other Dynapubs products. Reprinted publishers include DC, Fawcett, Lev Gleason, MLJ, Quality, Timely, and Your Guide. The following 38 Type 3 Variants exist, with the Flashback issue number in parentheses after the original title, issue number and cover date: All Select Comics #1(Fall/43, #14), All Star Comics #2(Fall/40, #13), #4(3-4/41, #6), All Winners #1(Summer/41, #23), Americas Greatest Comics #1(5/41, #25), Bulletman #1(Summer/41, #30), Captain Marvel Adventures #1(3/41, #10), #2(Summer/41, #15), #3(Fall/41, #32), Captain Marvel Jr. #1(11/42, #17), Daredevil Battles Hitler #1(7/41, #1), Doll Man Quarterly #1(Fall/41, #9), Hit Comics #1(7/40, #31), Human Torch #2(Fall/40, #21), Marvel Mystery Comics #4(2/40, #26), Master Comics #21(12/41, #18), #22(1/42, #22), Military Comics #1(8/41, #5), Pep Comics #1(1/40, #7), #17(7/41, #16), Plastic Man #1(Summer/43, #11), Special Comics #1(Winter/41-42, #4), Special Edition Comics #1(8/40, #2), Spy Smasher #1(Fall/41, #24), Sub-Mariner Comics #1(Spring/41, #19), U.S.A. Comics #1(8/41, #3), New York World Fair Comics 1939(#12), 1940(#20), and Young Allies #1(Summer/41, #8). Six final Flashback issues appeared in 1976: Captain Marvel Adventures #7(2/42, #35), Captain Midnight #1(9/42, #37), Flash Comics #15(3/41, #36), Ibis the Invincible #1(1/42, #34), Plastic Man #2(2/44, #33), and Worlds Finest Comics #8(Winter/42, #38).
Eastern Color Printing Company
Toy Land Funnies (1934) and Toy World Funnies (1933) both exist as Funnies on Parade Type 3b Cover Variants that are promotional giveaways.
Crime Suspenstories #1(10-11/50) exists as a Variant with the number #15 inside that was stamped over. Picture Stories from the Bible (1942-1946), was published by All-American, Bible Pictures Ltd., DC, and EC, the latter in 1955-1956. Up to eight printings are known to exist of these Type 4a Variants. E.C. Classic Reprints, published by East Coast Comix Company from May 1973 to 1976, lasted for 12 issues, with all but one under their original title: The Crypt of Terror #1(5/73), the first in the series, is a new title that reprints Tales from the Crypt #46(2/55), and which was the original title intended by William M. Gaines as a fourth EC Horror title, before Frederick Werthams psychological silver bullet of morality Seduction of the Innocent (1953, 1954) dealt the comic book industry a near fatal blow in terms of creative freedom, by handcuffing the writers and artists with strict limitations of theme and illustration. Eleven other issues are Type 8a Variants: Crime Suspenstories #25(11/54, #6), Haunt of Fear #12(4/52, #4), Haunt of Fear #23(2/54, #10), Shock Suspenstories #2(4-5/52, #12), Shock Suspenstories #6(12-1/53, #8), Shock Suspenstories #12(12-1/54, #3), Two-Fisted Tales #34(7-8/54, #9), Vault of Horror #26(8-9/52, #7), Weird Fantasy #13(5-6/52, #5), Weird Science #12(3-4/52, #11), and Weird Science #15(9-10/52, #2). From 1985-1986, Russ Cochran published twelve EC Classics, some with a mix of stories and some true to the originals.
Total Eclipse #4(5/88) exists as a Type 10b Variant with pages #7-14 upside down.
Captain Marvel Adventures #62(6/46) exists as a Type 1c Back Cover Variant edition: one edition has a Popular Mechanics ad, and the other has an Items for one dollar ad. Mighty Midget Comics were Type 12a mini-reprint Variants of Fawcett comics published by Samuel E. Lowe & Co., from 1942-1943. Such Variants were glued to the covers of Captain Marvel Adventures #20-21(1-2/43), and 23(4/43). Although the series is known as Mighty Midget Comics, all of the issues were numbered #11, and titles include: Bulletman, Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Adventures, Captain Marvel Jr., Golden Arrow, Ibis the Invincible, and Spy Smasher. Covers and contents were sometimes mixed, and these books were also sold separately with other childrens products. Type 1c Variants exist with back cover ads that were not glued to the Newsstand Editions.
Fiction House Magazines
Planet Comics #52(1/48) has a Type 10a cover error Variant with no green ink.
Picture Parade (1953) V1, #1 exists as a Type 4a Variant teachers edition.
Gold Key/Whitman Comics (see Dell)
Western Publishing began printing Dell Comics in the 1930s, and eventually published their own line of Gold Key comics beginning with books cover dated October 1962, including many original titles, and continued publishing titles from the most successful cartoon character licensee, Walt Disney Productions, as well as many popular Hanna-Barbera titles. Western changed the name of their comics line to Whitman comics in 1980. Currently over 7000 unique Gold Key/Whitman comics, digests, and treasuries are known to exist. Golden Magazine V1, #1(2/64) began a long-running experiment as an educational childrens monthly that featured activities, cartoons, and comics similar to the late 1960s Gold Key Club, which allowed readers to interact with the publisher and create characters, much like DCs Dial H for Hero series that appeared in House of Mystery and later in Adventure Comics. Most Golden Magazine issues had ads for Gold Key comics as well as Golden Comics Digest and Walt Disney Comics Digest. Golden Magazines cover symbol, a parrot named Cracky, appeared in features called Jokes by Cracky and The Cracker Barrel, beginning with the first issue. Featured on many painted covers, Cracky eventually launched Gold Keys Wacky Adventures of Cracky (1972). Some issues have 3 page glossy color sections of Little Lulu comics, including V6, #1(1/69), V6, #4(4/69), V6, #7-8(7-8/69), and V7, #4(4/70).
Whitman Comic Book (9/62) is an 8 issue hardcover comic series that was simultaneously published. Issues #1-6 are reprints of U.K. comics, with #7-8 being U.S. reprints. The Flintstones at the N. Y. Worlds Fair (1964) exists with both 25 cent and 29 cent cover prices, but are listed as J.W. Brooks and Warren Publishing for the latter version, despite being Hanna-Barbera characters otherwise exclusively published by Western during this time period. A treasury-sized Whitman edition of Walt Disneys Jungle Book (1/68) is the first Whitman version of a Gold Key book, with the standard size issue released later, cover dated March 1968, which is an early experiment with both format and cover logo. More than a dozen treasury-sized comic-book-story coloring books were published with a Whitman logo in the 1970s, featuring DC and Marvel characters in separate books, none of which are Variants. There are three digest-sized Whitman titles with fourteen Type 7 Variants confirmed to exist: Golden Comics Digest #20(11/71) - 48(1/76); #32-33(9, 11/73), 43(5/75) - 46(9-10/75), Mystery Comics Digest #1(3/72) - 26(10/75); #13-14(9-10/73), 23(5/75), and Walt Disneys Comics Digest #32(12/71) - 57(2/76); #43-44(10, 12/73), 52-54(4, 6, 8/75). Walt Disney Paint Book (1975) is a coloring book series that partially reprints 1930s comic magazines with the original dates.
Some titles are known to have Type 1c Variants: Avengers #1(11/68) exists as a standard edition with an ad on the back cover and has a photo back cover Variant, Fantastic Voyage #2(12/69) exists as a Variant with a cover banner that reads Civilian Miniaturized Defense Force, and Movie Comics: Darby OGill and the Little People (1/70) has a Variant with a photo inside front and back cover, and a Word about Leprechauns story on the inside back cover. Star Trek #1(10/67) is said to have a photo back cover Variant, but this is the only version that exists and is not a Variant. Star Trek #2(6/68) exists with an ad on the back cover and also as a scarcer photo back cover Variant; both versions exist with 12 and 15 cent covers. Star Trek #3(12/68) exists as a standard edition with an ad on the back cover and also as a scarcer photo back cover Variant. Tiger Girl #1(9/68) exists as a back cover Variant with a pin-up instead of an ad. Walt Disneys Comics and Stories #351-360(12/69-9/70) have standard 15 cent editions and also 25 cent Type 5 Variant editions with a poster inside. From 1973 to 1975, Gold Key comics contained Mark Jewelers inserts in about 60% of the issues that were sold overseas in military bases in England, Italy, and elsewhere. Type 1a Gold Key Pence Cover Price Variants are known to exist, with cover dates ranging from 5/73 to 11/75. Earlier and later examples may also exist.
Top Comics was an experiment dated July 1967 that featured reprinted comics in plastic bags of five for 59 cents, and these reprints feature a new version of an old logo. Uncle Scrooge: The Lemonade King #2465(1960) is a small Disney childrens book with Carl Barks art that says Top Top Tales and Whitman on the cover. Quick Draw McGraw: Badmen Beware #2469(1960), a Hanna-Barbera product, has the same cover symbol, a top that is remarkably similar to that of the Top Comics logo. Trademarks are often recycled and appear long after their prior usage, like Westerns obscure 1992-1993 Gold Key Golden Comics to Color series. A total of twenty Top Comics without cover prices were sold in four different bagged sets of five each, and are Type 7b Variants. All Top Comics except for Gnome Mobile were reprints; the Movie Comics version of Gnome Mobile is dated October 1967, which makes the Top Comics issue the first printing. Top Comics was the prototype for Westerns new plan of using their department store connections to sell bags of comics. With a distribution system in place, Whitman editions of Gold Key comics became a reality in late 1971.
Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #80-86(2, 4, 6, 8-11/78) are 48 page giants and probably do not exist as Whitman editions. Walt Disney Showcase #48(1/79) is confirmed to exist as a Whitman edition, the only giant-size issue of its kind. Whitman Variants bring about 50% over Guide on average. Years of hard work and research by Patrick K. Simpson, Doug Sulipa, and others created a list that is close to completion. Previously unknown books still occasionally surface. Doug Sulipa estimates Whitman logo issues to be 20-50 times scarcer than Gold Keys. The following list of Type 7 Cover Logo Variants contains 94 titles and 1633 comics, or about 69% of them, for which Whitman Variants have been confirmed to exist, with cover dates ranging from 11/71 to 4/80, with 2377 Variant issues possible. All possibilities are listed, with confirmed Variants listed after.
Adam 12 #1(12/73) - 10(2/76), #3(5/74) -6, 8-10; Addams Family #1(10/74) - 3(4/75), #1;
Adventures of Mighty Mouse #166(3/79) -172(1/80), #166, 168-169, 171-172; Adventures of Robin Hood #1(3/74) - 7(1/75), #1-7; Amazing Chan & the Chan Clan #1(5/73) -4(2/74), #1-3(11/73); Aristokittens #2(4/72) - 9(10/75), #2-9; Baby Snoots #6(11/71) - 22(11/75), #7(2/72) 22; Battle of the Planets #1(6/79) - 5(2/80), #1-5;
Beagle Boys #13(7/72) - 47(2/79), #13(7/72) 16, 18-24, 26-32, 34-39, 41-47; Beagle Boys versus Uncle Scrooge #1(3/79) - 12(2/80), #1-9, 11-12; Beep Beep, the Roadrunner #27(12/71) - 88(2/80), #27-33, 35, 37-40, 42-47, 51-55, 57-60, 63-68, 70-88; Beetle Bailey #120(4/78) 131(4/80), #120-128, 130-131; Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #38(12/71) -97(2/80)Brothers of the Spear #1(6/72) - 17(2/76), #9(6/74) -13, 15-17; Buck Rogers #2(8/79) - 6(2/80), #2-6; Bugs Bunny #139(11/71) - 217(2/80), #139-144, 146, 148, 150-152, 155-159, 164-170, 172-176, 178-179, 181-190, 194-217; Bullwinkle #3(4/72) - 25(2/80), #3-7, 9, 13-17, 20-22, 24-25; Chip n Dale #13(12/71) - 64(1/80), #13-17, 20-24, 26-31, 33-38, 40-43, 45-64; Christmas Parade #9(1/72), Daffy Duck #72(11/71) - 127(2/80), #72-77, 80-81, 83-84, 87, 89-91, 95-99, 101-104, 106-111, 115-123, 126-127; Dagar #1(10/72) - 18(12/76), #5(10/73), 7-11, 13-15, 17-18; Daisy and Donald #1(5/73) - 41(11/79), #1-8, 11-14, 16-20, 22-27, 29, 31-41; Dark Shadows #11(11/71) - 35(2/76), #21(8/73) 22, 25, 27-28, 30, 33-35; Donald Duck #140(11/71) - 216(2/80), #140-145, 148, 150-161, 164, 166-168, 172-178, 180-191, 193-213, 216; Fat Albert #1(3/74) - 29(2/79), #2(6/74) 3, 8-11, 13-15, 17-21, 24-29; Flash Gordon #19(9/78) - 27(1/80), #19-27; Fun-In #10(1/72) - 15(12/74), #10-11, 13-15; Funky Phantom #1(3/72) - 13(3/75), #1-4, 7, 10-12(11/74); Gold Key Champion #1(3/78) - 2(5/78), Gold Key Spotlight #1(5/76) - 11(2/78), #1-2, 5-10(10/77); Grimms Ghost Stories #1(1/72) - 54(11/79), #11(8/73), 15-22, 24-25, 28-29, 32-35, 37-42, 46-48(11/78); Hair Bear Bunch #1(2/72) - 9(2/74), #1-4, 6-8(11/73); Happy Days #1(3/79) - 6(2/80), #1-4, 6; Harlem Globetrotters #1(4/72) - 12(1/75), #1-3, 5, 7, 9-11(10/74); H.R. Pufnstuf #6(1/72) - 8(7/72), #6-8; Huey Dewey and Louie Junior Woodchucks #12(1/72) - 61(2/80), #12-16, 19, 21-23, 25-30, 33, 35-41, 43-48, 51-59, 61; Inspector #1(7/74) - 19(2/78), #2(10/74) 3, 6-8, 10, 12, 14-17(10/77);
Jungle Twins #1(4/72) - 17(11/75), #7(10/73), 9-13, 15, 17; Korak, Son of Tarzan #44(11/71) - 45(1/72), Krofft Supershow #1(4/78) - 6(1/79), #1-6; Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp #3(11/71) - 8(2/73), #4(2/72) 6(8/72); Lidsville #1(10/72) - 5(10/73), #1, 3, 5;
Little Lulu #207(9/72) - 257(1/80), #207, 210, 212-215, 217-222, 226, 229-231, 233-234, 237, 239-240, 245, 247-250, 253-254, 256-257; Little Monsters #15(12/71) - 44(2/78), #15-18, 22, 25-27, 30-32, 34, 39, 41-42; Little Stooges #1(2/72) - 7(3/74), #1, 5(9/73); Lone Ranger #17(11/72) - 28(3/77), #18(9/74) 20, 22-24, 26(9/76); Looney Tunes #1(4/75) - 30(2/80), #3(8/75), 5-6, 8-9, 12-16, 18, 21-27, 29-30; Magnus Robot Fighter #29(11/71) - 46(1/77), #35(5/74) 38, 40-45(10/76); Marges Little Lulu #202(12/71) - 206(8/72), #202, 204-206; Mickey Mouse #133(12/71) - 204(2/80), #133, 135-137, 140-141, 143-154, 157-161, 163-175, 177-178, 180-201, 204(2/80); Microbots #1(12/71), Mighty Samson #21(8/72) - 31(3/76), #24(6/74) -27, 29-31; Moby Duck #12(1/74) - 30(2/78), #13(4/74), 15-16, 19-24, 26, 28-29(1/78); Mod Wheels #4(11/71) - 19(1/76), #14(10/74), 16, 18-19; Movie Comics: Lady and the Tramp nn(3/72), nn; New Terrytoons #14(11/71) - 54(1/79), #15(2/72) 18, 20-23, 25-28, 33-34, 36, 38-39, 41, 43-46, 49, 52-54; Occult Files of Dr. Spektor #1(4/73) - 24(2/77), #4(10/73), 7, 9-10, 12, 15, 17-18, 21-22; O.G. Whiz #4(11/71) - 11(1/79), #5(2/72) - 6, 8-11; OMalley and the Alley Cats #3(7/72) - 9(1/74), #3-6, 8(10/73); Pink Panther #4(1/72) - 73(2/80), #4-8, 10-11, 13-15, 18-22, 27, 29-31, 34-39, 41-48, 50-73; Popeye #139(5/78) - 156(3/80), #140(7/78) 150, 152-155; Porky Pig #39(12/71) - 93(1/80), #39-44, 47, 49-51, 53-57, 61-65, 67-71, 73-81, 83-89, 91, 93; Raggedy Ann and Andy #1(12/71) - 6(9/73), #1-3, 6; Ripleys Believe It or Not#30(12/71) - 94(2/80), #42(8/73) 43, 47-50, 52, 55-60, 64-65, 69-73, 84-85(1/79); Roman Holidays #1(2/73) - 4(11/73), #2(5/73) 4; Scamp #7(5/72) - 45(1/79), #7-9, 12-13, 15-21, 24-38, 40-45; Scooby Doo #9(12/71) - 30(2/75), #9-13, 15, 17, 19-21, 24-29(12/74); Smokey Bear #8(12/71) - 13(3/73), #8-11(9/72);
Space Family Robinson #37(10/73) - 54(12/77), #37, 39, 41, 43-47, 49, 52-53(10/77);
Spine-Tingling Tales #1(5/75) - 4(1/76), #3(11/75) 4; Star Trek #12(11/71) - 61(3/79), #20(9/73), 23-27, 29, 31-36, 38-41, 45-48, 51-61; Super Goof #19(11/71) -57(2/80), #20(2/72) 23, 26-33, 35-37, 39-40, 42-43, 45-57; Tarzan #205(12/71) - 206(2/72), Three Stooges #53(12/71) - 55(6/72), #53-55; Tom and Jerry #261(12/71) - 327(2/80), #261-267, 270, 272-273, 275, 280-287, 289, 292-300, 303-304, 308-314, 317-319, 322, 324-327; Tragg and the Sky Gods #1(6/75) - 8(2/77), #2(9/75), 4, 6-7(11/76); Turok, Son of Stone #76(1/72) - 125(1/80), #89(3/74) 95, 98-99, 101-102, 104-106, 110-111, 113, 116-117, 119(1/79); Tweety and Sylvester #21(12/71) - 102(2/80), #21-26, 29, 31-33, 36-41, 47-55, 57-64, 66-74, 79-97, 99-102; Twilight Zone #40(11/71) - 91(4/79), #51(8/73), 55-60, 62, 64-70, 72-73, 77-80, 85-88(12/78); UFO & Outer Space #14(6/78) - 25(2/80), #14-19, 22-23(10/79); UFO Flying Saucers #3(11/72) - 13(1/77), #4(11/74) -5, 7-9, 11-12(11/76); Uncle Scrooge #96(12/71) - 173(2/80), #96-101, 104, 106-117, 120-125, 128-133, 135, 137-147, 150-170, 172-173; Underdog #1(3/75) - 23(2/79), #3(9/75) 5, 7-9, 10-12, 14-15, 18-23; Wacky Adventures of Cracky #1(12/72) - 12(9/75), #2(3/73), 4-5, 7-9(12/74); Wacky Races #5(11/71) - 7(4/72), #6(2/72) 7; Wacky Witch #5(1/72) - 21(12/75), #5-9, 10-17, 20(10/75); Walt Disney Showcase #6(1/72) - 54(1/80), #6-10, 14, 16-18, 20-21, 23-26, 30-43, 48(1/79); Walt Disneys Comics and Stories #374(11/71) - 473(2/80), #375(12/71), 379-381, 383, 395-396, 400, 402-404, 406-409, 411-412, 414, 418-419, 422-426, 428-435, 437-446, 450-451, 453, 455-473; Walter #1(8/73) - 23(1/78), #1-2, 4-6, 9-14, 16, 18-21(9/77); Wheres Huddles #3(12/71), #3; Winnie the Pooh #1(1/77) - 17(2/80), #2(5/77) -3, 5-15, 17; Woodsy Owl #1(11/73) - 10(2/76), #1, 3-5, 8, 10; Woody Woodpecker #120(11/71) - 187(2/80), #120-125, 128, 130-133, 135-139, 144-149, 151-152, 154-160, 163-164, 166-175, 177-182, 185-187; and Yosemite Sam #5(12/71) - 65(2/80), #5-9, 12-13, 15-18, 20-25, 29-34, 36-41, 43-48, 50, 52-63, 65.
About 90% of all 63 titles of Type 1a Gold Key Canadian Price Variants are confirmed to exist with cover dates ranging from April 1968 to August 1968 for 15 cent covers of 12 cent issues, from March 1972 to April 1973 for 20 cent covers of 15 cent issues, and from January to July 1984 for 75 cent covers of 60 cent issues; all books within these windows of time are likely to exist unless accidentally skipped. Eight issues exist that have an empty banner where the 16-Page Fun Catalog on standard versions is advertised: Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #58(12/74), Bullwinkle #10(1/74), Jungle Twins #12(1/75), Mickey Mouse #146(12/73), Mod Wheels #15(1/75), Ripleys Believe It or Not #44(12/73), Scooby Doo #22(12/73), and Uncle Scrooge #109(12/73). Delays in publishing sometimes contributed to numbering errors, and 8 books do not exist: Buck Rogers #10, Daffy Duck #132-133, Daisy and Donald #48, Popeye #160-161, Porky Pig #99, and Woody Woodpecker #192. The date 13/81 always follows 2/82 and only appears on ten books: Bugs Bunny #234, Chip n Dale #76, Daffy Duck #140, Donald Duck #237, Huey Dewey and Louie #373, Super Goof #68, Tom and Jerry #340, Tweety and Sylvester #114, Uncle Scrooge #194, and Walt Disneys Comics and Stories #496.
Western was sometimes forced to honor contractual agreements at the midnight hour, which caused several monthly issues to be published at once, wreaking havoc with their dating and numbering system. In late 1981, Whitman briefly changed the cover logos to specify Direct Market copies, known today as White logo Variants. Beginning with comics printed in November, the direct sales copies of all Whitmans will be printed without the yellow underneath the corner trademark and number[in order to prevent] conventionally distributed copies [from] being returned for credit, which was one of the reasons distribution had been spotty to comic shops over the past year (Comic Reader #196, page 7). The following 31 titles and 54 issues are Type 6 Cover Variants confirmed to exist: Beep Beep, the Roadrunner #100(3/82), Bugs Bunny #237(5/82), Chip n Dale #75-77(2/82, 13/81, 3/82), Dagar the Invincible #19(4/82), Daisy and Donald #53(2/82), Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #30-31(2-3/82), Donald Duck #236-240(2/82, 13/81, 3-5/82), Flash Gordon #36-37(2-3/82), Grimms Ghost Stories #59(5/82), Little Lulu #265(3/82), Looney Tunes #42-43(2, 4/82), Mickey Mouse #215-216(2, 4/82), Mighty Samson #32(4/82), Movie Comics: Snow White nn(4/82), Movie Comics: Pinocchio nn(4/82), Occult Files of Doctor Spektor #25(5/82), Pink Panther #82-83(3-4/82), Popeye #166(2/82), Shadowplay #1(6/82), Space Family Robinson #59(5/82), Super Goof #67(2/82), Tom and Jerry #339(2/82), Tragg and the Sky Gods #9(5/82), Tweety and Sylvester #114(13/81), 116(4/82), Uncle Scrooge #193-197(2/82, 13/81, 3-5/82), Walt Disneys Comics and Stories #495-499(2/82, 13/81, 3-5/82), Winnie the Pooh #27(2/82), and Yosemite Sam #76-78(2-4/82).
A Type 10a Variant of Porky Pig #67(6/76) exists with a White logo, a printing error produced before Direct Market Editions existed. Whitman Variants were published simultaneously with their Gold Key counterparts, and sometimes Gold Key issues were produced incorrectly, without the higher price they were supposed to receive. Some issues exist with three versions: a standard Gold Key edition, a standard Whitman edition, and a Variant Gold Key edition. Doug Sulipa has a solid inventory of the 30 cent cover Variant Gold Key issues, which indicates they were designed for Canadian distribution, and are thus the only comics ever published for Canadian distribution with a lower cover price than their standard U.S. counterparts, albeit accidentally. Eleven Type 7 Whitman 35 cent cover Variants of Gold Key issues from December 1977 to March 1978 exist and are noted below with an asterisk. The following list of 38 titles and 59 comics are Type 1b 30 cent Reverse Variants of 35 cent Gold Key comics, cover dated December 1977 to March 1978, that are confirmed to exist: Beagle Boys #39-40(12/77, 2/78), Beep Beep, the Roadrunner #69(1/78), Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #79(12/77), Bugs Bunny #191-193(12/77, 1-2/78), Bullwinkle #18-19(12/77, 3/78), Chip n Dale #50(1/78*), Daffy Duck #112-113(12/77, 2/78), Daisy and Donald #28(1/78), Donald Duck #190-191(12/77, 1/78), Fat Albert #22-23(12/77, 2/78), Gold Key Spotlight #11(2/78), Huey Dewey and Louie Junior Woodchucks #47-48(12/77*, 2/78), Inspector #18-19(12/77, 2/78), Little Lulu #243(1/78), Little Monsters #43-44(12/77, 2/78), Looney Tunes #17-18(12/77, 2/78*), Mickey Mouse #178, 180(12/77*, 2/78), Moby Duck #29-30(1/78*, 3/78), New Terrytoons #48(1/78), Pink Panther #49(1/78), Porky Pig #79(1/78), Ripleys Believe It or Not #76(2/78), Scamp #39(1/78), Space Family Robinson #54(12/77), Star Trek #50(1/78), Super Goof #45(3/78*), Tom and Jerry #301, 303(12/77, 2/78), Turok, Son of Stone #113(1/78*), Tweety and Sylvester #76-78(12/77, 1-2/78), Twilight Zone #82(1/78), Uncle Scrooge #147-149(12/77*, 1-2/78), Underdog #16-17(12/77, 2/78), Walt Disney Showcase #42(1/78*), Walt Disneys Comics and Stories #448-449(1-2/78), Walter #23(1/78), Winnie the Pooh #5(2/78*), Woody Woodpecker #163(2/78), and Yosemite Sam #49-50(12/77, 2/78*). Only three books on the list are cover dated March 1978: Bullwinkle #19, Moby Duck #30, and Super Goof #45, probably because Western realized they were repeating their mistake, and stopped production with the first three-pack of comics from the latest batch. Giant-sized issues were not produced for Canadian distribution, thus Mickey Mouse #179(1/78) and Tom and Jerry #302(1/78) do not exist as Type 1b Variants.
The following nine comics are Type 1b 40 cent Whitman Reverse Variants of 50 cent Whitman comics, cover dated November 1980 to January 1981, that are confirmed to exist: Bugs Bunny #222-223(11/80, 1/81), Donald Duck #225(1/81), Huey Dewey and Louie #67(1/81), Little Lulu #262(1/81), Pink Panther #78(1/81), Super Goof #63(1/81), Uncle Scrooge #182(1/81), and Walt Disneys Comics and Stories #484(1/81). Doug Sulipa has no copies of Whitman 40 cent cover Variants in stock, and thus they were probably not intended for Canadian distribution. Few if any comics publishers perfectly coordinate their price changes: Jungle Twins #10 has a 20 cover, and Scooby Doo #26 has a 25 cover, both cover dated July 1974. The lowest print runs are Type 1a Canadian 75 cent Cover Price Variants.
Not all Whitman comics were sold in bags. In January 2001, at a flea market in Eugene, Oregon, I found a cardboard box of ten Whitman comics cover dated from 7/77 to 9/77, and a Warner Brothers box with ten Whitman comics cover dated from 7/77 to 8/77. Both boxes have painted covers with previously unknown Disney and Warner Brothers character art. At the time I was using dates of issue from the Comic Reader combined with patterns of advertising found on the inside front and back covers of 1980s Whitmans as a means of dating the 105 undated issues produced from May 1982 to July 1984. Disney historian Michael Naiman helped track down Wally Green, Whitmans former managing editor. When I spoke with him in 2001, I asked what he thought had killed Whitman, and he answered, Because they went with lower print runs, the profit margin was less, and with reduced sales and a higher cost to print each issue, the profit margin wasnt there. They never took that into consideration. Wally summed it up well by saying, They didnt know what the hell they were doing.
Green Publications (see Norlen Magazines)
Green was the original name for a small publisher that reprinted original covers and contents in 1957. Both Green and their other company named Norlen, published only a handful of titles, books that are not legitimate representative copies of the originals. Cosmo Cat #2, for example, has the cover to #3. The Norlen issues read, 1959 Edition on the covers and are otherwise identical. When I noticed the same titles and issue numbers, I decided to check the business addresses, which proved that they were the same outfit at the same address. All Top Comics has five Variant #6 issues under different names, including Green (1957), Literary Entertainment (1958), Norlen (1959) with 2 Variants of #6, and Cornell [n.d.]. Existing Variants include All Top Comics #6 (5 Variants, four company names), Animal Crackers #9 (Green and Norlen), Cosmo Cat #2-4 (Green and Norlen), Ribtickler #3, 7-8 (Green and Norlen), and Wotalife #1-5 (Green and Norlen), all of which are Type 8b Variants.
Boys Ranch #5-6(6, 8/51) exist as Type 3b Variants identical to the originals except for the Simon & Kirby centerfolds which are replaced with shoe store ads. Richie Rich, Casper & Wendy National League (1976) have Type 3b Variants for a dozen different teams plus at least one with a Newsstand Edition. Weather-Bird Comics (1957) are simultaneously published issues from that were promotional giveaways for shoe stores, some of which contain key issues, such as Hot Stuff, the Little Devil #1(10/57) and Harvey Hits #3(11/57), the first book devoted to Richie Rich. Because the covers are all identical, they are Type 3a Variants, at least as far as Weather-Bird is concerned, but they could also be considered Type 1c Cover Variants of Silver Age key issues; they are not rebound comics because there is only one set of staples and the covers are perfectly aligned with the interior books, with the only indicia inside that of the Harvey original issue given an alternate cover for promotional purposes. Astro Comics are Type 3a Variants published in 1968 that contain assorted reprinted stories with the same cover. Post 1968 Astro Comics use the same cover, but with numbers or symbols on the covers that make them clearly identifiable, and thus they are not Variants. Most if not all Type 1a 35 cent Canadian Price Variants exist of 25 cent Harvey Giants from 1959 to 3/74.
I.W. and Super Comics
I.W. Publications began in 1958 and was named after the company's owner, Israel Waldman. The company published comics in 1958, 1963 and 1964. As of 1963, the company used the name "Super Comics" and changed its cover logo to match. In place of the normal Comics Code Authority seal of approval, a little box reads, A Top Quality Comic, which appeared on all 1958 I.W. reprints, while 1963-1964 issues have a Super Comics seal of quality. The 1958 books reprinted the original covers with minor changes. Covers were often used multiple times on the same title, and some books have contents that do not match the original cover, Type 9a Variants. One title, Pee-Wee Pixies (1958, 1963) has three total issues (#1, 8, 10), with the same cover. Waldman was later involved with Skywald Publications in the early to mid-1970s, which reprinted old horror comic stories in B&W magazines, and some color comics as well. Many of the color comics contained new material, but some stories that appeared in Skywalds Tender Love Stories (1971) and other titles came from the I.W./Super Comics inventory.
Waldmans strategy was direct and effective: he would buy out printing plates and original art from defunct comics publishers, sometimes gaining possession of material from companies still in business, probably by accident. There is no legitimate reason for issues of Plastic Man or The Spirit to have been published by Super Comics in 1963-1964. Waldman allegedly dealt directly with Eastern Color to obtain material from defunct publishers who owed Eastern money. Waldman successfully avoided one risk that every other publisher had to endure: he accepted no returns (Andru & Esposito, 2006, p. 74). Unlike other I.W. issues, My Secret Marriage #9 (1958) notes in the indicia, Reprinted by Eastern Color. The indicia of all I.W. books also read, Reproduction in part or whole is prohibited, which is ironic because Waldman was able to obtain and reprint material from at least 27 companies, some without any legal right or permission, including Ace, Ajax, Avon, Cambridge House, Harry A. Chessler, Comic Media, E.C., Fiction House, Fox, Marvel, Merit, Nesbit, Novac, Prize, Quality, Realistic, Red Top, Spark, Standard, Stanley Morse, Star, St. John, Stanhall, Steinway, Superior, Toby, and Universal Phoenix Features. Only further research will ultimately provide the total number of publishers and details hidden in the contents of I.W./Super Comics.
Joe Simon describes Israel Waldman as cordial but all business. He took the comic books out of the envelope I shoved at him: Bullseye, Foxhole, In Love, Police Trap. He rifled through a few pages of each, [and] set them down next to [his] checkbook. I was disappointed that he hadnt read a story or two. Simon told Waldman, We need to keep the copyrights. Normally this sort of deal would include legal documents and agreements, but Waldman didnt have the time or the inclination to mess around with such trifles. Waldman reportedly said, So keep them. What do I need with copyrights? (The Comic Book Makers, p. 165.) Al Hewetson, an editor and writer for Skywald Publications until its demise in 1975, claims he left Jim Warrens employment for the creative freedom Waldman embodied. Waldman ran Skywald with his son and Sol Brodsky, the latter having worked with him on I.W./Super Comics. He once told me his philosophy of management, Hewetson quotes Waldman: Surround yourself with extremely competent people, and leave them alone to do their job. Waldman was a savvy businessman and apparently also a nice person; Pablo Marcos recounts their first meeting and Waldmans kindness as the reason he kept working with Skywald when other publishers were paying him more money. (Skywald Horror-Mood, pp. 68, 182.)
No I.W. or Super Comics were cover dated because they were designed to have an indefinite shelf life. Waldman was the first publisher to sell comics in plastic bags, in groups of three. Waldmans bags were generic blanks, allowing retailers to set their own price. Major publishers like Charlton, D.C., Gold Key and others would later follow this practice, selling slightly discounted groups of two to five comics per bag, with company logos and best-selling characters prominently featured on the bags. Wholesaling bagged comics to discount retail and grocery stores put Waldmans products in a different category, that of toys and novelties. Keeping I.W./Super Comics under the radar was a cunning strategy that kept him out of the clutches of the Comics Code Authority, a problem that would have increased expenses, to say nothing of publishing delays and potential legal problems. Few books from the 1958 period qualify as Variants, with none yet identified in the 1963-1964 period, as most if not all issues have new covers and reprint random issues regardless of the issue number. Some material purchased by Waldman is unpublished material from failed comics companies. Professionals including Abel, Andru, Colletta, Esposito, Severin, Simon and others, created covers for the reprints and the unpublished stories, some of which are first printings, including issues of Danger (1963-1964), Daring Adventures (1958, 1963-1964), and Fantastic Adventures (1963-1964).
One Variant example is Avons U.S. Paratroops Behind Enemy Lines #1 and the I.W. reprint of the same title. The covers are the same except for some minor changes to the I.W. version, but the contents are from a different issue than #1, making it a Type 9a Variant. Another terrific and unique example of an I.W. Variant is the title Speedy Rabbit, which has two first issues with different covers and contents, making them Type 9b Variants. A few books state I.W. on the cover and Super Comics in the indicia. Consider Human Fly #1(1958), a book with Blue Beetle and other reprints, where the Human Fly never makes an appearance! Waldman preferred turning a profit to fruitless perfectionism, unlike certain unnamed comics historians, some of whom have argued that the I.W. and Super Comics issue numbers are meaningless, but all of the books can be dated with the issue numbers. Issues that read #1-9 were published in 1958, and issues that read #10-11 were published in 1963. Books assigned #12 were published in both 1963 and 1964, and comparing ads from other comics of the time would probably determine the specific years. Waldman avoided the number #13, possibly to evade the karmic debt inherent in many horror comic stories of the day. Issues that read #14-18 were published in 1964. I.W. comics published 168 books in 1958, and 173 Super Comics were published in 1963-1964. About 25% are scarce and rarely for sale, while another 25% are elusive, and about 50% are easily acquired. The existence of Yanks in Battle #3(1958) remains in doubt, but 117 titles and 341 I.W. and Super Comics are confirmed to exist, with the correct issue numbers listed here for the first time anywhere:
Algie (1964) #15, Apache (1958) #1, Avenger (1958) #9, Battle Stories (1963-1964) #10-12, 15-18, Billy and Buggy Bear (1958, 1963) #1, 7, 10, Black Knight (1963) #11, Blazing Six-Guns (1958, 1963-1964) #1, 8-12, 15-18, Brain (1958, 1963-1964) #1-4, 8-10, 14, 18, Buccaneer (1958, 1963) #1, 8, 12, Buster Bear (1958, 1963) #9-10, Candy (1963-1964) #12, 16-17, Casper Cat (1958,1964) #1, 7, 14, Cosmo Cat (1958) #1, Cowboysn' Injuns (1958, 1963) #1, 7, 10, Danger (1963-1964) #10-12, 15-18, Danger is our Business (1958) #9, Daring Adventures (1958, 1963-1964) #8-12, 15-18, Dogface Dooley (1958, 1964) #1, 17, Doll Man (1963-1964) #11, 15, 17, Dream of Love (1958) #1-2, 8-9, Dr. Fu Manchu (1958) #1, Dynamic Adventures (1958) #8-9, Dynamic Comics (1958) #1, Eerie (1958) #1, 8-9, Eerie Tales (1963-1964) #10-12, 15, Famous Funnies (1964) #15, 17-18, Fantastic Adventures (1963-1964) #10-12, 15-18, Fantastic Tales (1958) #1, Fighting Daniel Boone (1958) #1, Firehair (1958) #8, Foxhole (1963-1964) #11-12, 15-18, Frontier Romances (1958) #1, 9, Full of Fun (1958) #8, Great Action Comics (1958) #1, 8-9, Great Western (1958) #1-2, 8-9, Gunfighters (1963-64) #10-12, 15-16, 18, Hollywood Secrets of Romance (1958) #9, Human Fly (1958, 1963) #1, 10, Indian Braves (1958) #1, Indians of the Wild West (1958) #9, Intimate Confessions (1958, 1963-1964) #9-10, 12, 18, Jet Power (1958) #1-2, Jungle Adventures (1963-1964) #10, 12, 15, 17-18, Jungle Comics (1958) #1, 9, Ka'a'nga (1958) #1, 8, Kat Karson (1958) #1, Kiddie Kapers (1963-1964) #10, 14-15, 17, Kid Koko (1958) #1-2, Kit Carson (1963) #10, Krazy Krow (1958) #1, 2, 7, Leo the Lion (1958) #1, Little Eva (1958, 1963-1964) #1-4, 6-10, 12, 14, 16, 18, Little Spunky (1958) #1, Love and Marriage (1958, 1963-1964) #2, 8, 11, 14-15, 17, Malu in the Land of Adventure (1958) #1, Man o' Mars (1958) #1, Marmaduke Monk (1958, 1963) #1, 14, Marty Mouse (1958) #1, Master Detective (1964) #17, Meet Merton (1958, 1963-1964) #9, 11, 18, Mighty Atom and the Pixies (1958) #1, Muggsy Mouse (1958, 1963) #1-2, 14, Muggy-Doo, Boy Cat (1963-1964) #12, 16, My Secret Marriage (1958) #9, Mystery Tales (1964) #16-18, Pee-Wee Pixies (1958, 1963) #1, 8, 10, Pinky the Egghead (1958, 1964) #1-2, 14, Planet Comics (1958) #1, 8-9, Plastic Man (1963-1964) #11, 16, 18, Police Trap (1963-1964) #11, 16-18, Purple Claw (1958) #8, Realistic Romances (1958) #1, 8-9, Red Mask (1958) #1-3, 8, Robin Hood (1958, 1963-1964) #1-2, 9-10, 15, Romantic Love (1958, 1963) #2-3, 8, 10-11, Sensational Police Cases (1958) #5, Sharpy Fox (1958, 1964) #1-2, 14, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (1958) #9, Silver Kid Western (1958) #1-2, Space Comics (1958) #8, Space Detective (1958) #1, 8, Space Mysteries (1958) #1, 8-9, Speedy Rabbit (1958, 1964) #1(2 versions exist), 14, Spirit (1963-1964) #11-12, Star Feature Comics (1958) #9, Strange Mysteries (1958, 1963-1964) #9-12, 15-18, Strange Planets (1958, 1963-1964) #1, 9-12, 15-16, 18, Strange Worlds (1958) #5, Sunny, America's Sweetheart (1958) #8, Super Brat (1958, 1963) #1-3, 7-8, 10, Super Rabbit (1958, 1963) #1-2, 7, 10, Teen Romances (1958, 1964) #10-11, 15-17, Teen-Age Talk (1958) #1, 5, 8-9, Tell It to the Marines (1958, 1964) #1, 9, 16, Three Rascals (1958, 1963) #1-2, 10, Tippy Terry (1958, 1964) #1, 14, Tom-Tom the Jungle Boy (1958, 1963) #1-2, 8-10, Top Adventure Comics (1958) #1-2, Top Detective Comics (1958) #9, Top Jungle Comics (1958) #1-2, Torchy (1964) #16, Tuffy Turtle (1958) #1, Undersea Commandos (1958) #1-2, U.S. Fighting Air Force (1958) #1, 9, U.S. Fighting Men (1963-1964) #10-12, 15-18, U.S. Paratroops (1958) #1, 8, U.S. Tank Commandos (1958) #1, 8, Wacky Duck (1958, 1963) #1-2, 7, 10, Wacky Woodpecker (1958, 1963) #1-2, 7, 10, Wambi (1958) #8, Western Action (1958) #7, Westerner (1964) #15-17, Whip Wilson (1958) #1, Wild Bill Hickok (1958, 1963-1964) #1, 10-12, Wild Western Roundup (1958) #1, Young Hearts in Love (1964) #17-18, and Ziggy Pig (1958) #1-2, 7-8.
King Features were printed by Charlton Publications and published educational and promotional giveaways, some of which were original. Beetle Bailey #67-68(2, 4/69) exist as 1969 armed forces giveaways with complimentary copy printed on the covers, and Flash Gordon #1(9/66) exists as a 1968 army giveaway with complimentary copy printed on the cover; all three are Type 3b Variants. Flash Gordon #9(10/67) exists as a Type 1a Pence Variant, and other unknown Variants are likely to exist. Phantom #29 (1968) is rumored to exist as a foreign edition, but there is no U.S. published counterpart.
Some Type 1a Canadian Cover Price Variants exist from 1964 and from 1/78 to 1/79.
Marvel Comics (see Charlton, Modern Promotions and So Much Fun! Inc.)
Marvel Comics #1(10-11/39) has two versions, one with November stamped inside over the October date, and the scarcer version without the overprint. Two unnumbered 132 page B&W issues of Marvel Mystery Comics exist: one from 1942-1943 with the cover of #33 in color, with blank inside covers, that contains Captain America Comics #22(1/43) and Marvel Mystery Comics #41(3/43), and another from 1943-1944, also with the cover to #33 and with blank inside covers, that contains Captain America #18(9/42) and Marvel Mystery Comics #33(7/42). Blue Bird Comics (1947-1950) are promotional reprints by various shoe stores, 36 pages in length, including material from Human Torch and Sub-Mariner Comics, but are not legitimate representative copies. Four Type 3b Variants were released in 1966 as Golden Record Comic books, sealed tight with a 33 1/3 rpm record, including Amazing Spider-Man #1(3/63), Avengers #4(3/64), Fantastic Four #1(11/61), and Journey into Mystery #83(8/62). Such Variants are true to the originals except for missing numbers and prices on the covers, and with interior ads replaced by Golden Record Comic ads. The Journey into Mystery #83 Variant has one original backup story replaced with a Thor story, but is otherwise a solid reprint of the original. A Type 12a mini-reprint of Amazing Spider-Man #42 exists, originally cover dated November 1966, that was attached to the cover of February 1969s Esquire Magazine.
Spectacular Spider-Man #1(7/68) exists as a Type 1a Canadian Price Variant with a 40 cent price on the cover, instead of the standard dual-priced 35 and 40 cent U.S. and Canadian Edition. Crazy #1(2/73) exists as a Type 1c Variant with the word bonus where the 20 cent cover price should be, a reprint inserted into Crazy Magazine #58(1/80), following the tradition of Nostalgic Mad inserts. Warlock #8(10/73) exists as a USC (United Service Club) Army ad insert Variant. Fantastic Four #128 is not a Variant and is the only Marvel comic ever published with a 4 page glossy centerfold of pin-ups, a unique one-shot experiment. Outlaw Kid #9(12/71) is not a Variant either, but has printed on the spine the 25 cent price, Outlaw Kid, and Marvel Comics Group, as only 52 page giants had during this time period, when Marvel briefly tested 25 cent square-bound giants for several months in late 1971. One variation of such giants is the 52 page saddle-stitched format issues, or round-bounds, that became an experiment within an experiment, and only four such issues exist: Monsters on the Prowl #13(10/71), My Love #14(11/71), Mighty Marvel Western #15(12/71), and Captain America Special #2(1/72). Monsters on the Prowl #13 also exists as a unique Type 13a Variant containing a 4 page glossy National Diamond Sales insert with the last page an ad from California Gift House that includes a bizarrely risque lingerie page with women wearing teddies and a close-up of a woman in panties that reads, Best things in life are free. Conan #47(2/75) exists as a Type 13a Variant with a mini-booklet printed on cardstock inserted in Conan #47 entitled, Mighty Marvel Marches Through Your Door, which promotes Marvels comics and magazines and also contains paid ads. The scarcest Marvel round-bound in cents format is the 52 page giant My Love #14. Fantastic Four #116(11/71) was incorrectly printed with a 6 pence British price, when other 52 page giants were priced at 8 pence each, but it is not a Variant because the entire print run is thusly priced. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #14 (1980) was the only saddle-stitched issue to appear that year, and from 1981 on, Marvel annuals exist only as round-bounds.
Marvel published some Type 10 Variants in January 1962 on the cusp of changing prices from 10 to 12 cents per copy, and three issues got stuck with last minute changes that were quickly rejected: these January 1962 Black Circle Variants include Gunsmoke Western #69, Journey into Mystery #76, and Love Romances #79. All three books have black ink in the price circle that imperfectly obfuscates the original 10 cent price, with a 12 cent price positioned next to it, but the vast majority of the run exists with only the 12 cent price. Most printing errors concerning a books cover involve missing color(s) or information. The following Type 10a and 10b Variants range from the Golden to the Modern Age, with classic issues and a few curious examples noted in detail: Amazing Spider-Man #85(6/70), 96(5/71), 114(11/72), 149(10/75), 188(1/79), 342(12/90), 375(3/93), Avengers #146(4/76), 170(4/78), 178(12/78), 375(3/93), Captain America Comics #1(3/41, no red), Captain America #103(7/68, blue star on shield), 210(6/77), Conan #88(7/78), Daredevil #1(4/64, faded costume), 132(4/76), Devil Dinosaur #1(4/78), Doctor Strange #21, 24(2, 8/77), Fantastic Four #110(5/71, a green Thing), 119(2/72), Howard the Duck #6(11/76), Incredible Hulk #190(8/75), Invaders #38(3/79), Iron Man #15, 19(7, 11/69), Marvel Premiere #34(2/77), Marvel Spotlight #1(7/79, no #1 on the cover), #27(4/76), Marvels Greatest Comics #81(1/79), Sgt. Fury #109(4/73), Spectacular Spider-Man #23, 27(10/78, 2/79), 160(1/90), Spider-Man Unlimited #3(11/93, production strip on top), Tales of Suspense #62(2/65), Thor #281(3/79), Web of Spider-Man #90(7/92, no hologram), Western Outlaws #2(4/54), and What If?#12(12/78). Amazing Spider-Man #188, Marvels Greatest Comics #81, and Spectacular Spider-Man #160 each have two moderately different Type 10a Variants. A Type 10b Variant exists of Amazing Spider-Man #5, with a green web-slinger on p. 13.
Marvels 30 and 35 cent Cover Price Variantsare now among the hottest of all Bronze Age comics.The 30 cent Variantssell at 300% of the price of regular 25 cent editions at a minimum,and up to 1000% or higher in some cases. The scarcer 35 cent Variantssell at 600% of the price of regular 30 cent editions at a minimum,and up to 2000% or higher in some cases. The scarce horror, war, and western reprint Variantssell for a premium in any grade. Strangely enough, despite mentions in fanzines of the day, no one cared. The Comic Reader #128(3/76), p. 5, reports that certain test areas of the country have been receiving 30 cent Marvels for a couple of months already[the] Grand Rapids, Michigan area is one. Marvel Review, a fanzine from mid-1976, begins in issue #1 reviewing May 1976 Marvels, and issue #2 reviews June Marvels, showing covers in B&W, including Inhumans #5 and Ka-Zar #16, noted on p. 19 as: the first of the 30 cent books from Marvel. Both books were another experiment within an experiment, as all copies have 30 cent covers and are not Variants. Collector/dealer Dan Cusimano publicized a letter from Sol Brodsky confirming that the Star Wars #1-4 Variants were indeed experimental.
The following list of 181 books and 59 titles with cover dates ranging from April to August 1976 exist as Type 1 30 cent Cover Price Variants: Adventures on the Planet of the Apes #5-7(4, 6, 8/76), Amazing Adventures #36-37(5,7/76), Amazing Spider-Man #155-159(4-8/76), Astonishing Tales #35-36(5, 7/76), Avengers #146-150(4-8/76), Black Goliath #2-4(4, 6, 8/76), Captain America #196-200(4-8/76), Captain Marvel #44-45(5, 7/76), Chamber of Chills #22-23(5, 7/76), Champions #5-7(4, 6, 8/76), Conan #61-65(4-8/76), Daredevil #132-136(4-8/76), Defenders #34-38(4-8/76), Doctor Strange #13-17(4-8/76), Eternals #1-2(7-8/76), Fantastic Four #169-173(4-8/76), Ghost Rider #17-19(4, 6, 8/76), Howard the Duck #3-4 (5, 7/76), Incredible Hulk #198-202(4-8/76), Inhumans #4, 6(4, 8/76), Invaders #6-7(5, 7/76), Iron Fist #4-6(4, 6, 8/76), Iron Man #85-89(4-8/76), Jungle Action #21-22(5, 7/76), Ka-Zar #15, 17(4, 8/76), Kid Colt Outlaw #205-209(4-8/76), Kull #16(8/76), Marvel Adventures #3-5(4, 6, 8/76), Marvel Chillers #4-6(4, 6, 8/76), Marvel Double Feature #15-17(4, 6, 8/76), Marvel Feature #4-5(5, 7/76), Marvel Premiere #29-31 (4, 6, 8/76), Marvel Presents #4-6(4, 6, 8/76), Marvels Greatest Comics #63-64(5, 7/76), Marvel Spotlight #27-29(4, 6, 8/76), Marvel Super Heroes #57-58(5, 7/76), Marvel Tales #66-70(4-8/76), Marvel Team-Up #44-48(4-8/76), Marvel Triple Action #29-30(5, 7/76), Marvel Two-in-One #15-18(5-8/76), Master of Kung-Fu #39-43(4-8/76), Mighty Marvel Western #45(6/76), Omega #2-3(5, 7/76), Powerman #30-34(4-8/76), Rawhide Kid #133-134(5, 7/76), Ringo Kid #27-28(5, 7/76), Sgt. Fury #133-134(5, 7/76), Skull #5-6(5, 7/76), Son of Satan #3-5(4, 6, 8/76), Strange Tales #185-186(5, 7/76), Super-Villain Team-Up #5-7(4, 6, 8/76), Thor #246-250(4-8/76), Tomb of Darkness #20-21(5, 7/76), Tomb of Dracula #43-47(4-8/76), Two-Gun Kid #129-131(4, 6, 8/76), Warlock #12-14(4, 6, 8/76), Weird Wonder Tales #15-17(4, 6, 8/76), Werewolf by Night #38-39(5, 7/76), and X-Men #98-100(4, 6, 8/76).
The 10 rarest 30 cent price Variants presented in order of scarcity, with approximately 6-12 copies known to exist of each in any grade, are Weird Wonder Tales #15, Ringo Kid #28, Kid Colt #209, 205-208, and Two-Gun Kid #131, 130, and 129. Other hard-to-find issues to find include Chamber of Chills #22-23, Marvel Double Feature #15-17, Marvel Tales #66, Mighty Marvel Western #45, Rawhide Kid #133-134, Ringo Kid #27, Sgt. Fury #133-134, Tomb of Darkness #20-21, Weird Wonder Tales #16-17, and Werewolf by Night #38-39. Western titles had low print runs, due to marginal sales and high returns. The most common 30 centers seem to be: Black Goliath #2-4, Defenders #34-38, Doctor Strange #13-17, Eternals #1-2, Howard the Duck #3, Kull #16, Marvel Presents #4-6, Omega #2-3, and Super-Villain Team-Up #5. X-Men #98-100 are harder to find than Amazing Spider-Man #155-159, with #155 scarcer than #156-159, and X-Men #100 scarcer than #98-99. Iron Man #89 is the scarcest non-reprint superhero Variant.
The following list of 184 books and 52 titles with cover dates ranging from June to October 1977 exist as Type 1 35 cent Cover Price Variants: Amazing Spider-Man #169-173(6-10/77), Avengers #160-164(6-10/77), Black Panther #4-5(7, 9/77), Captain America #210-214(6-10/77), Captain Marvel #51-52(7, 9/77), Champions #14-15(7, 9/77), Conan #75-79(6-10/77), Daredevil #146-148(6-7, 9/77), Defenders #48-52(6-10/77), Doctor Strange #23-25(6, 8, 10/77), Eternals #12-16(6-10/77), Fantastic Four #183-187(6-10/77), Flintstones #1(10/77), Ghost Rider #24-26(6, 8, 10/77), Godzilla #1-3(8-10/77), Howard the Duck #13-17(6-10/77), Human Fly #1-2(9-10/77), Incredible Hulk #212-216(6-10/77), Inhumans #11-12(6, 8/77), Invaders #17-21(6-10/77), Iron Fist #13-15(6, 8-9/77), Iron Man #99-103(6-10/77), John Carter, Warlord of Mars #1-5(6-10/77), Kid Colt Outlaw #218-220(6, 8, 10/77), Kull #21-23(6, 8, 10/77), Logans Run #6-7(6-7/77), Marvel Premiere #36-38(6, 8, 10/77), Marvel Presents #11-12(6, 8/77), Marvels Greatest Comics #71-73(7, 9-10/77), Marvel Super Action #2-3(7, 9/77), Marvel Super Heroes #65-66(7, 9/77), Marvel Tales #80-84(6-10/77), Marvel Team-Up #58-62(6-10/77), Marvel Triple Action #36-37(7, 9/77), Marvel Two-in-One #28-32(6-10/77), Master of Kung-Fu #53-57(6-10/77), Ms. Marvel #6-10(6-10/77), Nova #10-14(6-10/77), Omega #9-10(7, 10/77), Powerman #44-47(6-8, 10/77), Rawhide Kid #140-141(7, 9/77), Red Sonja #4-5(7, 9/77), Scooby Doo #1(10/77), Sgt. Fury #141-142(7, 9/77), Spectacular Spiderman #7-11(6-10/77), Star Wars #1-4(7-10/77), Super-Villain Team-Up #12-14(6, 8, 10/77), Tarzan #1-5(6-10/77), Tomb of Dracula #57-60(6-9/77), 2001: A Space Odyssey #7-10(6-9/77), and X-Men #105-107(6, 8, 10/77).
The 10 rarest 35 cent price Variants presented in order of scarcity, with approximately 1-5 copies known to exist in any grade, are Kid Colt #218 (with one known VG/F copy), Flintstones #1, Scooby Doo #1, Kid Colt #219-220, Rawhide Kid #140-141, Sgt. Fury #141-142, and Marvel Super Action #2. When I presented my findings at the Overstreet Advisors meeting in Baltimore in 1999 and explained that the Marvel Price Variants were eventually going to be the most valuable books published after 1964, I was considered insane and treated with mockery and derision by the majority of attendees. Eleven years later, as you hold the 40th Annual Overstreet Guide in your hands, the market has spoken: Marvel Price Variants sell for more money in grade than any other comics published in the last 45 years. In November 2009 a non-CGC copy of Amazing Spider-Man #169(6/77) sold in apparent 2.0 good condition on eBay for $152.50, which is just over 10 times guide; the same price spread would put a 9.2 copy at just over $2800.00, which is likely what the future holds, based on scarcity and demand. The most common 35 cent Variant, Star Wars #1(7/77), sold in 2007 for $10,500.00 in CGC 9.4, in 2008 for $12,025.00, and in 2009 in CGC 9.6 for $26,250.00. Iron Fist #14(8/77) has outrun other Bronze Age keys and sits in second place, having sold in 2007 for $5200.00 in CGC 9.4, in CGC 9.2 in 2008 for $4100.00, and selling most recently in CGC 9.4 in 2009 for $6100.00. The Iron Fist #14 Variant is far scarcer than Star Wars #1 Variant, with only 20 or so copies confirmed to exist compared to hundreds of copies. Captain America #212(8/77) exists as a Variant with an empty yellow line where the Marvel stripe should be, but only as a Type 1 35 cent Cover Price Variant, and because this mutant issue is both a Type 1 and 10a Variant, it is also a rare Type 14 Double Variant. Marvels Greatest Comics #74(11/77) Direct Market Edition exists as a 30 cent mistake and is not a Type 1b Reverse Variant as some have suggested, because the entire run has a 30 cent cover price, whereas the entire run of Newsstand Editions of Marvels Greatest Comics #74 has the correct 35 cent cover price. Marvel Super Special #5 (1978) was withdrawn from U.S. distribution and exists only as a foreign edition in French, and thus is not a Variant.
There are 7 different types of Direct Market Editions that change over time. Type A Direct Market Editions have the price and issuenumber in a diamond, with a UPC barcode,and exist with or without the month in the diamond and are the scarcest, with only about 1 in 20 existing copies found in this format, used from 2-9/77. Type B Direct Market Editions have theprice and issuenumber in a diamond, with a blank UPC boxand without a month in the diamond, with about 1 in 15 existing copies found in this format, used from 10/77 to 6/78. Type C Direct Market Editions have theprice and issuenumber in a diamond with a normal UPC box, with the month inside a whitediamond in a black box. There is no cc next to the price, with about 1 in 15 existing copies found in this format, used from 8-9/78. Type D Direct Market Editions have theprice and issue number in a diamond and over a starburst,with a blank UPC box, and exist with or without the month in the diamond, with about 1 in 10 issues existing in this format, used from 10/78 to 2/79. Type E Direct Market Editions have theprice and issue numberin a white flattened diamond within a black square with UPC barcode lines that have a diagonal slash through them and exist with or without the month in the diamond, with about 1 in 5 existing copies found in this format, used from 5/79 to 2/80. Type F Direct Market Editions have a Spider-Man in the UPC box, used from 3/80 to 2/84, and Type G Direct Market Editions have character imagesin the UPC box, sometimes featuring Spider-Man or the title character of the book, a methodology used from 3/84 to 6/93, and Types F and G are more common than their predecessors. Captain America #234(6/79) is an exception; although it was intended to be a Type E Direct Market Edition, they forgot the flattened diamond and used the standard square box, making it different but not a Variant. The last use of the direct diamond on the cover was 9/82. All examples from 10/82 through 3/87 carried the Marvel "M" around the price. The words "Direct Edition"appear in the UPC box from 7/93 up on all issues. All issues dated 4/78 to 7/78 in the indicia had no month on the covers as an experiment to increase shelf life, as initially reported in Comic Reader #152(1/78), p. 2. From 1980-1985, Direct and Newsstand editions exist in equal quantities. From 1986-1990, the Direct Market Editions are somewhat less common. From 1991-1996 Newsstand Editions are 2-10 times scarcer than Direct Market Editions. Note that Direct Market Editions generally hit the stands two or moreweeks before Newsstand Editions, but were simultaneously published. Direct Market Editions cover dated from 2/77 to 2/80 are considered Variants and had low distribution. Direct Market Editions cover dated 3/80 and later are standard editions along as are their Newsstand Edition counterparts.
What do the Tooth Fairy and standard-size Marvel Whitmans have in common? They dont exist! To be fair, there are Marvel Whitman comics, but its an easy collection to complete, because only six of them exist, and all are treasury-size Type 7a Variants: Marvel Treasury Edition #17-18 (1978, Incredible Hulk and Amazing Spider-Man), Marvel Special Edition #1-3(1977-1978, Star Wars), and Marvel Special Edition #3 (V2, #1, 1978, Close Encounters of the Third Kind). So-called Marvel Whitmans are actually the first Direct Market Editions beginning with issues cover dated 2/77 and ending with 5/79, before disappearing forever with issues cover dated 9/82. Some books were skipped between 2/77 and 5/79, specifically 1-3/78, 7/78, and 3-4/79. These gaps, the packaging of Direct Market Editions and DC Whitmans in Whitman bags, and some conclusion jumping in the pages of Comics Buyers Guide ultimately led to the misconception and widespread use of the nickname Marvel Whitmans.
Type 6 Variants exist because Marvel wanted to prevent dealers from returning Direct Market Editions for higher newsstand credit, and were designed to be obviously different with their appearance, a large diamond in the upper left corner of the cover. The Direct Market was an evolution as certain as the cursed barcodes introduced in June 1976, and the large diamond was its clumsy initial introduction to a market that began to form in the late 1960s to mid 1970s through the efforts of people like Robert Beerbohm, Bud Plant, and Phil Seuling, primarily at conventions and local shops. Direct Market Editions of 1977 look more normal than the 1978-1979 Starburst Direct Market Editions, with the latters cover titles awkwardly repeated next to the Comics Code Authority stamp on the Marvel stripe. No Whitman publications of any kind have been published without the brand name on the cover, and no Whitman comics have ever had a cover date.
In order to exist, Marvel Whitmans would have to be a Variant third version. Comics in Whitman bags are identical to those sold as Direct Market Editions in the late 1970s because they are the same books. Whitman did not buy the rights to Marvels books, but most early Direct Market Editions were packaged in Whitman bags and distributed by Western Publishing, who did sometimes purchase the rights to other publishers books. Publishers like Charlton, DC, and Marvel employed Westerns bagged distribution service to market their books from 1967 and 1984. Archivist John Jackson Miller once wrote, Were convinced: From 1977 to early 1979, any diamond-label copy was probably sold by Whitman. In fact, this printing wouldnt have existed without Whitman[and] if Whitman wasnt always the sole purchaser of thesecopies from 1977 to early 1979, it ordered the vast majority. We take as proof the gaps in printing, which we found when we constructed our own timelinethere are two major gaps in the Marvel diamond-label editions, both of which support the claim the Whitman drove the diamond market. (Comics Buyers Guide #1609, October 2005, p. 40).
There are 3 gaps in printing for both the Marvel Direct Market Editions and the DC Whitmans that were cover dated from 2/77 to 4/80. Marvel Direct Editions are missing for the months of 1-3/78, 7/78, 3-4/79. The only gap that lines up is 3/79 to 4/79. DC Whitmans went missing for issues cover dated 6/78, 3-4/79, and 4/80. During the longest gap, that of January to March 1978, Western published Type 1b and Type 6 Variants of Gold Key and Whitman comics, regardless of other licensees books. Missing months and multiple gaps were par for the course with Westerns bagged comics and always had been. Production occurred during windows of opportunity with a focus on priority.
The first gap in printing for Direct Market Editions occurs from 1-3/78, otherwise known as the Star Wars explosion, when Marvel had amazing success printing and reprinting Star Wars comics. Overwhelmed with Star Wars reprints, Direct Market Editions temporarily fell by the wayside, and only Star Wars #7-9(1-3/78) were produced during this unique gap. Western Publishing went on to reprint all three of the Marvel Treasury Editions, with the Whitman logo, maintaining the pattern of all Whitman books ever published, because Western owned them. The second gap in printing for Direct Market Editions is 7/78. Western published Whitman Variants of Gold Key comics during this month as well as DC Whitmans. DC Whitmans were skipped the previous month in June 1978 but Marvels Direct Market Editions did get printed. The third gap in printing for Direct Market Editions occurs from 3-4/79, and Miller points out that this gap of two missing months is the same for Marvel Direct Market Editions and DC Whitmans, adding, That cant be a coincidence: Whitman must have been driving the printing for both. After that, the Marvel label changes in June from the fat diamond to the skinny one and DCs Whitman output suddenly skyrockets. (Comics Buyers Guide #1609, October 2005, page 40.) The delayed release of the Superman movie explains this pause. Whitman, obviously in anticipation of theSuperman film, has begun a toy-store blitz of Superman merchandise, including plastic bagged DC Comics with the Whitman symbol. (Comic Reader #157, 6/78, p. 5.) DC Whitmans were printed prior to the film delay, and the decision to wait before printing more delayed the Marvels. Doug Sulipa says he received Newsstand Editions during the printing gaps, proving that distribution continued without interruption, the gaps being one of many arguments used in support of the Marvel Whitman theory. Miller updated his opinion recently in the Overstreet Guide, and it seems our opinions differ only on what to call them, as he says that Marvel Whitmans were designed differently to keep them from reentering the newsstand system as returns. (The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #38, 2008, p. 1048).
Clearly, the nickname Marvel Whitman is easier to say than Direct Market Edition, although I question the value of this convenience when considering its effect on the market, considering the acronym DME would be easily understood. Bagging comics made it affordable to painlessly introduce the first Direct Market Editions without resorting to expensive small print runs. Profit was the objective, which explains minor inconsistencies, such as comics that exist with UPC codes, some that exist without, and some with both versions, like Star Wars #11(5/78). Western has signed an agreement with Marvel to distribute Marvel Comics in Westerns plastic bag series which is apparently doing quite well. The two companies will not be mixed in the bags. We believe that those Marvels to appear in bags will have slightly different covers in that a diamond will cover the space that currently houses the cover date and Curtis company symbol. The cost of three 30 cent comics will be 79 cents. (Comic Reader #140, February 1977, p. 10). Call them what you will, but they are what they are.
A Variant of Tower of Shadows #5(5/70) exists as a Type 10b Variant with inverted contents. A Variant of Amazing Spider-Man #84(5/70) exists as an All detergent giveaway from 1983. Ka-Zar the Savage #12(3/82) exists as a Type 10b Variant printed with a missing panel, with only 1600 known copies correctly printed, and also exists as a second printing, while Ka-Zar the Savage #29(12/83), a giant-size issue,was not intended as a Newsstand Edition but exists as one. Dennis the Menace Comics Digest #1(4/82) has a Variant with the DC emblem on the cover, and the same is true of The Very Best of Dennis the Menace #1-2(4, 6/82). Micronauts #57(3/84), a giant-size issue,should not exist as a Newsstand Edition but does. Moon Knight #25(11/82), a giant-size issue, was intended to be a Newsstand Edition but does not exist as such. Heathcliff #1(4/85) exists as a Variant Type 1c Variant with a "Star Chase" game on the last page and on the inside back cover, and also as a Type 13 Variant with a 4 page Mark Jewelers insert. Planet Terry #1(4/85) exists as a Type 1c Variant with a "Star Chase" game on the last page and on the inside back cover, as does Wally the Wizard #1(4/85). Classic X-Men #36(6/89) exists as a Variant Newsstand Edition with no UPC code. Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn #1(4/92) exists as a Type 10a Variant with no cover price and two later printings. Venom: Lethal Protector #1(2/93) exists with both gold and black cover Type 5 Variant editions. Type 12a Shan-Lon mini-reprints exist from the early 1990s, including Amazing Spider-Man #1(3/63) and Captain America #113(5/69).
Type 1a Pence Price Variants exist sporadically of titles cover dated July 1960 to November 1964 minus their cover dates, with no issues published at all from 12/64 to 8/65. Beginning with issues cover dated 9/65 and continuing through 11/67, the cover month is present. Early Pence Price Variants had the cover month removed due to shipping delays from the U.S., as books usually took at least one month to arrive overseas, and Marvel wanted to prolong their shelf life. There are no Pence Price Variants of issues cover dated 12/67 through 3/69. Marvel licensed their U.K. business partners to reprint material from different time periods, titles, and characters so as to avoid competing with themselves with Pence Price Variants outside of the breaks in production. Marvel resumed sporadic production of Pence Price Variants with books cover dated 4/69 through 3/74, published no books from 4/74 to 7/74, and continued production with books cover dated 8/74 through 9/80, with the cover altered to read "Marvel All-Colour Comics, in one form or another. Pence Price Variants in regular format continue with books cover dated 10/80 to 12/81, but issues cover dated 9/81 to 12/81 had the cover month deleted, another short-lived experiment to extend shelf life; issues cover dated 1/82 to 9/82 continue in regular format with the cover month restored.
Marvel ceased production of Pence Price Variants at this point, when multi-regional prices first appeared on Direct Market Editions cover dated 10/82. Canadian Variants, with a single higher Cover Price,exist for all Newsstand Editions comicsbeginning with issues cover dated 10/82 and continuing through issues cover dated 8/86, with no Variants of Direct Market Editions during this time period; prior to this such Variants do not exist, as the U.S. and Canadian prices were the same, with the only known exception being Spectacular Spider-Man #1(7/68).
In the 1982-1986 period about 10% of Marvels print run was Canadian, with Newsstand and Direct Market Editions split at about 50% each; because Newsstand Editions have a far lower survival rate than Direct Market Editions, Canadian Newsstand Editions may be as scarce or scarcer than Pence Price Variants, with both estimated to have original print runs equivalent to approximately 5% of U.S. Print Runs, but with an estimated survival rate of only 1-2%. Because almost all Pence Price Variants are still in the U.K., they appear quite rare in the U.S. Many Pence Price Variants are now uncommon even in Britain, because many large U.K. dealers, and many collectors,have been importing US editions to the U.K. while avoiding pence issues that were considered inferior. Pence Price Variants exist of many Silver Age key issues, including historic gems such as Amazing Fantasy #15(8/62), Amazing Spider-Man #1(3/63), Fantastic Four #1(11/61), Incredible Hulk #1(5/62), and Tales to Astonish #27(1/62). Not all books were published as Pence Price Variants, and some key issues were skipped, especially during the Bronze Age, including Amazing Spider-Man #129(2/74), Incredible Hulk #181(11/74), and X-Men #94(8/75). Some highlights and key issues from the Bronze Age of Pence Price Variants confirmed to exist include: Amazing Adventures #11(3/72), Astonishing Tales #25(8/74), Avengers #93(11/71), Daredevil #168(1/81), Ghost Rider #1-2(9-10/73), Incredible Hulk #141(7/71), Iron Man #55(2/73) and #128(11/79), Marvel Spotlight #12(10/73), Son of Satan #1(12/75), Sub-Mariner #34-35(2-3/71), Tomb of Dracula #10(7/73) and #12(9/73), Werewolf by Night #32-33(8-9/75), and X-Men #120(4/79).
G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero, was so popular in the mid-1980s that it was heavily reprinted. Type 2a Variant second printings known to exist include issues #2, 6-8, 10-12, 14, 17-19, 21, 23, 25-27, 29-30, 34, 36-38, 49, 51-53, 55, and 63-64. Third printings known to exist include #21 and #29, and others are likely to exist, although the only way to tell later printings from originals or one another is the different internal ads. From 1992 to 1994, Marvel Comics and JC Penney sold boxes of Type 2b Variants known as Vintage Pack Reprints, and since I bought a set in 1994 from a comic shop, it seems that distribution was not exclusive. The 1992 group consists of 20 comics, 19 of which are superhero reprints, including Captain America #384(4/91), Daredevil #267, 273(6, 11/89), Darkhawk #5(7/91), Fantastic Four #351, 355(4, 8/91), Iron Man #258(7/90), New Warriors #10(4/91), Silver Surfer #32-33(12/89, 1/90), Sleepwalker #8(1/92), Spectacular Spider-Man #145-146(12/88, 1/99), Uncanny X-Men #268(9/90), Web of Spider-Man #81, 83(10, 12/91), Wonderman #2(10/91), and X-Men Classic #47(5/90). One Marvel Masterworks edition of the Incredible Hulk #1(5/62) with a non-glossy newsprint cover and the word facsimile visible above the price was also included. The 1993 group consists of 20 comics, 10 of which are modern superhero reprints, including Amazing Spider-Man #330(3/90), Captain America #241, 371(1/80, 6/90), Excalibur #27(8/90), Ghost Rider #10(2/91), Incredible Hulk #330(4/87), Namor #6(11/03), New Warriors #3(3/90), What If #4(10/89), and Uncanny X-Men #245(6/89). There are 3 Marvel Masterworks editions with darker grey covers than regular editions, and with newsprint covers instead of glossy: Amazing Spider-Man #1(3/63), Tales of Suspense #39(3/63), and X-Men #1(9/63). 7 other classic reprints include Avengers #4(3/64), Fantastic Four #51(6/66), Spectacular Spider-Man #26-27(1-2/79), Thor #312(10/81), and X-Men #60-61(9-10/69). The 1994 group is the most historical, but not all issues were reprinted from the originals. According to the indicia, Fantastic Four #66 was printed from Marvels Greatest Comics #49(5/74), Sgt. Fury #13 was printed from Special Marvel Edition #11(7/73), and X-Men #28 was printed from X-Men #76(6/72). All three sets have new ads except for one issue, Young Men #25, which has the word facsimile under the original ads inside, a Type 2c Variant. The 15 issues are: Amazing Adult Fantasy #13(6/62), Amazing Spider-Man Special #5(11/68), Avengers #88(5/71), Captain America #109(1/69), Fantastic Four #66-67(9-10/67), Incredible Hulk #140(6/71), Sgt. Fury #13(12/64), Sub-Mariner #8(12/68), Thor Special #2(9/66), Tomb of Dracula #25(10/74), X-Men #28, 62-63(1/67, 11-12/69), and Young Men #25(2/54). Marvel Pressman issues are Type 12a Variants created as a game promotion, with reprints of Uncanny X-Men #297, 303, 307(2, 8, 12/93), and X-Men #11(8/92).
Modern Promotions began publishing comics in 1972 with treasury-sized editions of newspaper strip reprints featuring Beetle Bailey, The Katzenjammer Kids and Mandrake the Magician, followed in 1973 by Flash Gordon, Henry, and Little Iodine, all of which are scarce in any grade. In 1977 Modern produced its so-called Modern Comics line, an erratic series of mostly marginal quality Charlton reprints from the 1960s and 1970s, which were marketed in bagged sets of three. In 1978 Modern published Battlestar Galactica, a treasury edition reprinting Marvel Comics Super Special #8(1978). In 1979 they erratically published two B&W horror magazines, Terrors of Dracula and Weird Vampire Tales, both of which ceased by March 1982, and which are related to the Eerie Publications B&W horror magazines of the 1960s and 1970s, rumored to contain some incomplete and/or altered reprints. In 1977 they produced a handful of Hanna-Barbera Big Little Books. In 1985 they published a three issue original comic called Voltron. The 1977 Modern Comics Charlton reprint series contains material from early 1967 to late 1976, but only Judo Master #1(#93, 2/67) has a new issue number.
The following 32 titles and 62 Modern Comics reprints are 1977 Type 8a Variants:
Army War Heroes #36(2/70), Attack #13(9/73), Beyond the Grave #2(10/75), Billy the Kid #109(10/74), Blue Beetle #1, 3(6, 10/67), Captain Atom #83-85, 87(11/66, 1, 3, 8/67), Cheyenne Kid #87, 89(11/71, 3/72), Creepy Things #2-4, 6(10, 12/75, 2,6/76), Doomsday +1 #5(3/76), Drag n Wheels #58(3/73), E-Man #1-4, 9-10(10, 12/73, 6, 8/74, 7, 9/75), Fightin Army #108(3/73), Fightin Marines #120(1/75), Geronimo Jones #7(8/72), Ghost Manor #19(7/74), Ghostly Haunts #40-41(9, 11/74), Haunted Love #1(4/73), Hercules #10-11(4-5/67), House of Yang #1-2(7, 10/75), Judo Master #1, 94, 96, 98(2, 4, 8, 12/67), Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves #12, 25(2/69, 4/71), Midnight Tales #12, 17(4/75, 3/76), Monster Hunters #1-2(8, 10/75), Outlaws of the West #64, 79(5/67, 1/70), Peacemaker #1-2(3, 5/67), Scary Tales #1(8/75), Texas Rangers #76(2/70), Thunderbolt #57-58(5, 7/67), Vengeance Squad #5-6(3, 5/76), War #7, 9(7, 11/76), World of Wheels #23(12/68), and Yang #3, 10-11(7/74, 11/75, 1/76).
Norlen Magazines (see Green Publications)
Norlen was another name for Green, a small publisher that reprinted original covers and contents in 1959. Both Green and their pseudonym Norlen published only a handful of titles, and did so in a way that the numbered issues, all Type 8b Variants, are not legitimate representative copies. The Norlen issues read, 1959 Edition on the covers.
Penny King Co.
Three Comics (1944) exists as a Type 1c Variant with two different covers.
Quality Comics Group
Feature Comics #26(11/39) has four different Type 10a Cover Error Variants that exist, including three with missing colors and one example with a blank back cover.
Avon published comics in 1953 with the Realistic imprint, a logo they first used in 1951 with some of their paperbacks and on their own comics published from 1951-1952, such as the title Intimate Confessions. Realistic comics are Type 8 Variant reprints that are no number one shots with painted covers recycled from Avon paperbacks. Covers differ only in that they advertise the stories inside. New titles are not Variants but are unique, original products. Existing issues include: Campus Romance, Cowpuncher, Flying Saucers (with two pages of new Wallace Wood art), Jesse James, Kit Carson and the Blackfeet Warrior, Romantic Love, Sparkling Love, Speedy Rabbit, Spotty the Pup, and Women to Love.
Remington Morse Publications
Yankee Comics #4(3/42) 7(1942) exist as Type 12a Variants, and are 68 page miniature reprints distributed to servicemen during WWII, published between 1943-1945.
So Much Fun! Inc.
In 1987 Archie Comics, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics each allowed So Much Fun! Inc. toy stores to distribute reprints of a few of their books. All 12 issues are uncommon because print runs were limited to 5000, and most copies are found in low grade. The word classic appears under the titles on the covers (except for the Incredible Hulk) and So Much Fun! Inc., appears in the UPC code box on all of the books. The Archie issues are: Archie Comics #282(7/79) and Betty and Veronica #289(1/80). The DC issues are: Batman #401(11/86), Justice League of America #217(8/83), Star Trek #6(7/84), Superman #161(5/63), and Superman: The Man of Steel #1(7/91). The Marvel issues are Amazing Spider-Man #292(9/87), Fantastic Four #306(9/87), G. I. Joe, A Real American Hero #63(9/87), Incredible Hulk #335(9/87), and Uncanny X-Men #221(9/87). Of such Type 3b Variants, Incredible Hulk and Amazing Spider-Man generate the most interest.
Spire Christian Comics
Produced by the Fleming H. Revell company from 1972-1984, Spire was one of the most prolific of the religious publishers. Spire is the most collected of the religious comics, and most are found in low grade, so a Fine copy is desirable and Very Fine or better copies are relatively scarce, although a warehouse find in the summer of 2008 added some high-grade books to the marketplace. Earlier editions are more common than the later Barbour editions, which were published into the early 1990s. The 19 Archie titles are the most sought after, often selling for double Guide. The scarcest examples are Archies Circus (1990), Archies Sports Scene (1983), and Christmas with Archie (1973).
While some books were released only as first editions, most Spire comics exist as Type 4 Variants. First editions and reprints have no issue numbers, but the books have copyright dates inside and the cover price can help to date them, beginning with 35 cents in 1972, and over time increasing to 69 cents by 1984. Second and later printings are easily identified from the copyright date and cover price. Of the non-Archie titles, the two most requested books that bring double Guide are Hansi, The Girl Who Loved the Swastika (1973), and Hello, Im Johnny Cash (1976). The scarcest examples are Barney Bear Family Fun (1982), Barney Bear Family Tree (1982), Barney Bear: The Swamp Gang (1977), Barney Bear Toyland (1982), and Yankee Doodle the Spirit of Liberty (1984).
Startling Terror Tales #11(8/52) exists as a Type 10 Variant edition with a black cover, theoretically due to a pressrun change, while the standard edition has a blue cover.
Star Rider Productions
Star Rider and the Peace Machine #2(10/82) exists as a Type 10b Variant with stories printed out of sequence.
Mystic Comics #4(8/40) has two versions, one with an August cover date sticker over the July date, and a Type 10a Variant, with the July date stamped over with August in silver ink. The Adventures of Big Boy (1956) is the longest running promotional comic; East and West Variant copies exist, and other as yet undocumented Variants also exist.
Twin Circle (see Classics Illustrated)
In 1967, Classics Illustrated was sold to Patrick Frawley and his Catholic publication, Twin Circle. From 1968-1976, Twin Circle (the Catholic Newspaper) serialized Classics Illustrated comics and published Type 4 Variants of Classics Illustrated books. A number of Twin Circle editions of Classics Illustrated exist, as well as a Type 4a Variant reprint of the political comic book Design for Survival (1968).
United Features Syndicate
Captain and the Kids #1(1938) exists as a Type 2 Variant dated December 1939 that reads Reprint on the cover.
Type 1a Variants exist of Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella, with many issues known from 3/77 to 3/83. Vampirella #113 (1988) exists as a Type 1a Variant with a $4.95 cover price and the standard $3.95 price; both are Newsstand Editions.
Western Publishing (see Dell, Gold Key, and Whitman)
The promotional comic Mutual of Omahas Wild Kingdom (1965), received a different front and back cover when reprinted by Western in 1966, a Type 1c Variant.
Whitman (see DC, Gold Key, and Marvel)
How we categorize books, and especially what we name them, has a tremendous impact upon value and desirability. Just as calling early Direct Market Editions Marvel Whitmans may increase their value, calling any U.S. Published intended for foreign distribution Cover Price Variants reprints, or foreign editions, instead of Canadian Price Variants or Pence Price Variants, may reduce their value. CGC has improved its Type 1a Variant description in recent years; Variants once referred to as U.K. Editions are now referred to as Country/Variant books, but terms such as Pence Price Variant or Canadian Price Variant would be better still. Pence Price Variants often sell for half or less of regular U.S. editions, and this disparity of value increases dramatically with high-grade books and expensive key issues, when collectors are hesitant to drop serious money for the wrong kind of copy. The lexicon of definitions provides a powerful tool for understanding what exists and the inherent differences between Variant issues, but such definitions should never replace calling an item what it is: naming a book a Type 6 Variant instead of a Direct Market Edition is one self-defeating example. The open market will always determine true value, indifferent to predictions or dealer bias, the latter sometimes influenced to knowingly identify a book incorrectly for financial gain.
Due to the broad scope and complexity of this article, it is a work in progress. Please contact the Guide with proof of unknown material and contribute to the body of knowledge. Several excellent websites were referenced for the writing of this article, including www.bipcomics.com, www.comics.org, and www.stlcomics.com. I offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped me, including many people that space has prevented me from mentioning, and especially to my loving wife for her support. And you can all blame J.C.Vaughn for asking me to write this thing in the first place.
Jon McClure is a longtime advisor to the Overstreet Price Guide and an award-winning historian. He has written numerous articles for Gemstones Comic Book Marketplace magazine and was featured in the August 2001 issue of Diamond Dialogue. Jon recently released a feature length film, Face Eater (2007), with director Jarrod Perrott, and in 2010 will release the card game Face Eater that he created and illustrated, partnering with John Harris of a5, a marketing company based in Chicago. He is currently writing a book about comic history, a zombie comic book series, some short stories, and another screenplay, and lives with his wife Dyan, three cats and a dog in Durango, Colorado.