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The Search For Pre-1960 UK Price Variants

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Get Marwood & I

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Hello :)

I'm not going to post a big explanatory preamble this time, but just note that in this journal I will be looking to see if I can find any pre-1960 dated comics which could reasonably be referred to as 'UK Price Variants'. As we now know, a UK Price Variant is a book made for distribution in the UK, with a single printed UK cover price, but which was printed in the US as a junior subset of the same original print run as the primary cents priced version. We know from my research that UKPVs were produced post 1960 for seven US publishers, but I wanted to see if I could find any books prior to that date, either from the US or another country.

I have a number of books to post about, so let's get started.

I recently picked up this copy of 'Skunky Shopkeeper', undated, which carries a stickered one shilling price and an indicia which notes that the book was printed in Canada and distributed in the UK by 'Streamlined Books' (a possible misprint of the 'Streamline' of 'Pictorial Romance' fame?):

248737199_Skunky(CenturyPublications)Undated1ShillingSticker.thumb.jpg.b557d94efa1bdfdbb972927d15917de1.jpg

I then picked up a second corner-nibbled copy, also with a sticker, and painstakingly removed it to reveal this apparently overprinted 6d price:

499856460_Skunky(CenturyPublications)Undated6d.thumb.jpg.e136201c3dc326ebdff59aaa9655ed70.jpg

Here are the two prices, side by side:

973217549_SkunkyCrop1.jpg.4731475df2eec9c91c31a260f53562dc.jpg 2049922793_SkunkyCrop2.jpg.4875089caa6bae005e8bf1d214a18579.jpg

So my first thought was 'could this be a UKPV of an original Canadian book?'

I know very little about Gold and pre-1960s books. I'm sure there are people I could ask, but where's the fun in that? It's something to do, to potter on, explore and learn for yourself. 

That said, the GCD helpfully tells me that my Canadian Skunky reprints the US comic 'Funland Comics #1'

1994487432_SkunkyGCDInformation.thumb.PNG.07bef4bd1794b7d49dc4de56c7e20dd9.PNG

So I grab myself a copy of that book, also corner-nibbled:

1572213570_FunlandComics1(1945)Cover.thumb.jpg.26ff8189f9fae5057e1421a3262a0430.jpg

Is corner nibbling a thing in Gold?

The obvious difference of course is the cover which is manifestly absent from 'Skunky'.

The indicia of Funland advises that the book was printed in the USA, c1945:

1145391664_FunlandComics1(1945)Indicia.thumb.jpg.1908830b91c4ab703cb1a8353cfd3c86.jpg

The interior story pages and content are the same as Skunky - here are the two books side by side:

499856460_Skunky(CenturyPublications)Undated6d.thumb.jpg.e136201c3dc326ebdff59aaa9655ed70.jpg 435627194_FunlandComics1(1945)Splash.thumb.jpg.8ed248014a27eda20a6f2bac0ccfd783.jpg

A bit of Googling brings me to this image below, source unknown, which shows my Skunky as being one of a number of coverless Canadian comics, overprinted with UK prices by Superior/Century Publications for distribution in the UK by Streamlined of London:

Nostalgia-Canadian41.thumb.jpg.937cbf0bddec85869ad1862f2c01fab2.jpg

It further says "The majority of these were remainders". Hold that thought.

The assumption is that I have two copies of a comic that was printed in the USA for Croydon Publishing, of which unsold copies were picked up by Superior/Century Publications of Canada, who then stripped them of their covers and then overprinted them with a UK price (which were then subsequently stickered at a higher price).

Incidentally, could the 6d overprinted price be for Canadian sales and the copies sent to the UK be marked up with the one shilling sticker? Mebbe.

Back to the pre-1960 UKPV search, can the coverless guts of an original US book, that is then overprinted with a UK/Canadian price in Canada be considered a variant? It can't really, can it. Now if there was a copy of Funland #1 with a printed UK single price, which came from the same print run, then yes. But amended guts? That's pushing it a bit.

Anyway, on inspection, the guts that comprise 'Skunky' do not actually appear to be remaindered copies of Funland #1 at all. If we look closely at these examples, we can see:

1. A very different print quality and colouring - Funland is clean, Skunky has got all the sloppy production marks that tend to indicate a crude reprinting:

1859713250_SkunkyCrop4.jpg.c57032c989814efe7dffb2c46d4462ca.jpg 536200555_SkunkyCrop5.jpg.14a1aac9afbfff193b9424074fbfeea4.jpg

The next two images show that clearly too - one clean, one with additional bits and bobs and an inferior production quality:

1178558415_RoughPrintingComparison2Funland.thumb.jpg.c0117a18780ce0a375cf58d0a52d4621.jpg 2048612099_RoughPrintingComparison1Skunky.thumb.jpg.348d4252ac339631abc456415d64e18a.jpg

2. Next, we can see that the two sets of guts have different overall dimensions:

319765367_SkunkyvsFunlandSizing.thumb.jpg.586908698c35de717946a6565ec12272.jpg

3. Any notion that that might be due to trimming evaporates when you see that the actual printed images are slightly bigger on the Skunky page than on the Funland original:

107996166_PrintedPageSize1.thumb.jpg.53e265cdb5a7db827ca73e4f5adceaa8.jpg 1499515462_PrintedPageSize2.thumb.jpg.3767917814b631c5a2bc96f7d2947a94.jpg

4. The staples location is different on the two books too, and the Skunky ones are much bigger than the Funland's:

598673045_StapleAlignmentSize.thumb.jpg.79fa8f0655149d29ece51c94a8a6d02f.jpg

My staple's bigger than yours mate!

All the evidence, which is much clearer in hand I might add, indicates that our Canadian Skunky was reprinted rather than being a cover-stripped, remaindered original US book. So the 'Printed in Canada' of the indicia refers not just to the price / logo overprinting, but the whole book. From a UKPV search perspective, that takes Funland #1 out of the equation, as a UKPV must come from the same print run as the headline country copy. That leaves us with Canadian Skunky.

Every copy of Skunky that I have seen has the 6d overprinted price. Now, if someone was going to reprint the guts, why would they then overprint a UK price? Why not do it all in one go? I say this, as I have noted that the 6d price moves from copy to copy (my copy vs GCD copy below):

1215699519_SkunkyCrop2.jpg.2d41dadc165edb5b99be5644c38d9b40.jpg 1959523550_SkunkyCrop3.jpg.6f1a5bc63f66350048ec4b10e254711b.jpg

In summary, it looks like Superior Publishers of Canada obtained the rights (?) to reprint the guts of Croydon Publishing's Funland #1, minus the cover, did so and then added their company livery, an indicia and a 6d price. They then either sent the whole lot to the UK, who promptly increased that price with a sticker, or sold some of the 6d copies locally in Canada. 

Even if we view Skunky as its own thing, separate to Funland, there is only one reprinted/overprinted version in existence it seems, so it can't be a UK Price Variant. If there was a majority 6d printed Canadian copy and a lesser UK one shilling printed copy, both printed together, we could perhaps make an argument. But there isn't. It seems.

I rather enjoyed the exercise though, on this book, and it's fun to learn more about books of this age by mucking about with them directly and holding them in your hands. Especially when they include stories such as "Angel Pussy", the pages of which further illustrate the colour and quality contrast between the two books:

657922882_SkunkyvsFunlandColouring.thumb.jpg.846e91e0d80f67a10f70179c415a2dec.jpg

Play nicely, Angel Pussy!

Well, that's Funland vs Skunky out of the way, to get the ball rolling. Next up, Jeep Comics. Or Lucky Coyne. Or maybe K G Murray's Super Adventure Comic. Or another one of the various candidates I've amassed over recent years. I'll see which one takes my fancy before dropping Wonder Comics into the mix. 

See you next time then, if you're interested....

thumbnail.thumb.jpg.fc1260873a0a7e304db3f993522c8eef.jpg

 

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one clean, one with additional bits and bobs and an inferior production quality:

1178558415_RoughPrintingComparison2Funland.thumb.jpg.c0117a18780ce0a375cf58d0a52d4621.jpg 2048612099_RoughPrintingComparison1Skunky.thumb.jpg.348d4252ac339631abc456415d64e18a.jpg

I think this picture is the best comparison in proving it was not the same print run.  Those plate lines at the bottom edge of your Canadian copy (right) are a dead giveaway!

"Play nicely, Angel Pussy! "

(Why can't I quote someone in the journals like I can in the chat forum?  hm)  I love that Spatsy is wearing.... SPATS!!  So shouldn't Angel have some wings?

---

Can you please review the Superman book in your masthead....  please?  What is it?  Adventure Double Double?

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On 9/8/2022 at 7:43 PM, Yorick said:

I think this picture is the best comparison in proving it was not the same print run.  Those plate lines at the bottom edge of your Canadian copy (right) are a dead giveaway!

Yes, they are aren't they. 

On 9/8/2022 at 7:43 PM, Yorick said:

(Why can't I quote someone in the journals like I can in the chat forum?  hm)  

With the journals, you can't quote the opening entry, only the subsequent posts. It's something I was hoping CGC might look at one day, but I've given up on that now.

On 9/8/2022 at 7:43 PM, Yorick said:

Can you please review the Superman book in your masthead....  please?  What is it?  Adventure Double Double?

It's this Yorick:

1156382154_SuperAdventureComic576dMyCopy.thumb.jpg.7fcc8212b552334b06b2275279db83cc.jpg

Spoiler alert, it's not a UK Price Variant of this 8d copy:

2049008121_AUSReprints-8d.thumb.PNG.f210ec01dc180798f9c873e92aa4ca3e.PNG

But alas, poor Yorick, that's a story for another day....

 

(Thanks for reading and commenting though :))

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Batman used to be such a goof!  Wasn't it enough that he's looking at the crystal ball?  They had to put a turban on him?!

I've been chasing some World's Finest (when they're cheap) of some really goofy covers.  My favorites are around the 1951- 1954 period.

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On 9/9/2022 at 1:37 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

I just looked it up, Eric.

Stop wondering :eek:

You remind me, however unintentionally, of the worst cartoon Chuck Jones ever worked on, and I make you suffer as well...

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On 9/9/2022 at 9:47 PM, OtherEric said:

You remind me, however unintentionally, of the worst cartoon Chuck Jones ever worked on, and I make you suffer as well...

You, you...you rotter.

To get things back on track, I'm going to have to toss my lucky coin:

940429880_LuckyCoyne1Volume1(SuperPublications).thumb.jpg.d0141c0cf845a5afc63a8a921a924a93.jpg

Oh, that's 'Coyne', isn't it. 

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 'If there was a majority 6d printed Canadian copy'

Not possible after1858 when the Canadian dollar was introduced.

However, our antipodean brethren continued with shillings and pence until as late as 1966, only the blink of an eye before we abolished them.

 

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On 9/9/2022 at 11:37 PM, Albert Tatlock said:

 'If there was a majority 6d printed Canadian copy'

Not possible after1858 when the Canadian dollar was introduced.

However, our antipodean brethren continued with shillings and pence until as late as 1966, only the blink of an eye before we abolished them.

 

What a wally I am doh!

Told you I didn't know anything about Gold! 

I actually had Australia in my head when I rattled that thought off. Thanks for the correction, Albert.

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On 9/8/2022 at 10:34 PM, Yorick said:

Batman used to be such a goof!  Wasn't it enough that he's looking at the crystal ball?  They had to put a turban on him?!

Shame they didn't put one on Robin, then I could've done my D ick Turban joke :)

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On 9/9/2022 at 9:51 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

Shame they didn't put one on Robin, then I could've done my D ick Turban joke :)

Jimmy hat?

I hope some collector out there goes for all those Batman Turban covers.  There are a few...

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On 9/10/2022 at 7:58 PM, Yorick said:

Jimmy hat?

I hope some collector out there goes for all those Batman Turban covers.  There are a few...

Suits him though, doesn't it.

There are two versions of SAC #57 - here they are on the GCD, a 6d and an 8d:

GCD.thumb.PNG.ac2b56233898005b3190569e024763c8.PNG

I have the 6d copy and have been trying for ages to find a copy of the 8d version to make an in-hand comparison but it's clear from online images that the two books originated from different sources so the 6d can't be a UKPV of the 8d.

According to the indicia on the back page, my 6d copy was printed by Morrison & Gibb Ltd, of Edinburgh, Scotland:

852957846_MorrisonGibbLtd.jpg.a24d8006b4742bf528d9acc11718b56b.jpg

Here's the bloke actually printing it, McTavish, I think his name was.....

500534064_MorrisonGibbLtdb.thumb.jpg.4dba849b1536b83e8a8d7369f3cec3fe.jpg

...and here's a helicopter view of their estate...

1181325039_MorrisonGibbLtdc.thumb.jpg.cd23d3eda0aeaa93e0469da529d1a4db.jpg

 

My 6d copy is markedly shorter than the 8d copy, and has a different back cover and internal splash configuration.....

1718622702_SuperAdventureComic576deBayUK.thumb.jpg.318efb86d3b07710ffe77711afcd39a4.jpg1484934533_SuperAdventureComic576deBayUKb.thumb.jpg.8dd14cdbb525c28414ddf3519ddc268c.jpg650417737_SuperAdventureComic576deBayUKis.thumb.jpg.f65a5b28275a3bc5e44b0d4a21656be4.jpg

...to the 8d copy which is much taller and which was printed in Sydney according to the AusReprints website:

2090033786_SuperAdventureComic578deBayAUS.thumb.jpg.ebd55ff713ec52806cfd06151d86b814.jpg365809755_SuperAdventureComic578deBayAUSbc.thumb.jpg.50a300de13e745ea901ed682d34144bc.jpg

654897383_SuperAdventureComic578deBayAUSic.thumb.jpg.fe4b24b2139a0036b6c58e27fb51d166.jpg

All good fun :)

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Further to my earlier Skunky post (get your jokes in now)...

Nostalgia-Canadian41.thumb.jpg.76a59edae7b08e99be7e59dbee5e77db.jpg

...another one of the coverless Century Publications books is Zor The Mighty #2 which is noted on that online image I found above.

Here is my copy:

397870698_ZorTheMighty2(CenturyPublications)UndatedCopyA.thumb.jpg.c747d4a984452d987c51395c2da9c038.jpg

The indicia for this one says the book was printed in Canada and published by Century Publications, c1946. No UK distribution reference or cover price this time.

The source for this book is the Canadian (Bell Features) Jungle Adventures #10. I don't have a copy of that, but I did find these images on the Bay:

1822899390_JungleAdventures10.thumb.jpg.a3baa3fad563b66ba9155524b87bb1c1.jpg 1075870039_JungleAdventures10bc.thumb.jpg.da065bc2ad3d5bea9ebace66bf0d3f90.jpg

2024826048_JungleAdventures10ic.thumb.png.620a1eb15056622d33c9bf7df3bd1d56.png

2007390974_JungleAdventures10ibc.thumb.png.18054a5f24d687ea60f316c51b0fef89.png

(thank you eBay seller)

Those internal cover pages look oddly white, don't they.

The coverless UK bound Skunky turned out to be a full reprint of the guts of the US Funland #1. This coverless Zor however seems to be a quite different proposition.

First up, you can see that the indicia on the coverless version has been removed, but is still partially visible, on the guts of the Jungle Adventures #10 splash page:

819643661_ZorvsJA1.PNG.17e542246ad3cec1eb4350866dd70953.PNG 1127564817_ZorvsJA1b.thumb.png.6fee942d7bd2d4e20746f6900491f66f.png

In a similar vein, the Century Publication circular logo, present on the coverless copy, has been removed from the Jungle Adventures copy, making it look like a second moon:

712083899_ZorvsJA2.PNG.e609c010088de83adb4486dd52e6809d.PNG 1895748436_ZorvsJA2b.thumb.PNG.56d1e396849db4b5983e734cc1dec3d3.PNG

Here are the GCD notes for both comics:

1687405203_JungleAdventures10GCDInformation.thumb.PNG.91d20a21e2e8c1134a3b5587682b7870.PNG

2034136007_ZorTheMighty2GCDInformation.thumb.PNG.9399865ab642dab3ad9523b1305c815b.PNG

Taking everything into account, it looks to me like the coverless guts were printed first. Then, copies of those guts had the logo and indicia removed, and a cover then attached. That indicates that the coverless copy was the starting point. The GCD advises that the coverless copy was made available to the UK, but there is no indicia reference this time (as there was with Skunky) and I have yet to see a copy with a UK price. That makes sense though, as the covered copy is priced 10c, presumably for Canadian distribution, and perhaps all the coverless copies I have seen came from a warehouse find. 

Funny old to do, isn't it. I wonder if the Jungle Adventures #10 is itself a reprint of an original US book? I'll get searching....

Next up, the Conquerors!

1749139933_TheConquerors(CenturyPublications)UndatedCopyB.thumb.jpg.29eea34b79ed94881ccb5b912853274d.jpg

 

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On 9/12/2022 at 9:41 AM, Get Marwood & I said:

Funny old to do, isn't it. I wonder if the Jungle Adventures #10 is itself a reprint of an original US book? I'll get searching....

The plot thickens its consistency! lol

1520802822_ZortheMighty2GCD.thumb.PNG.16a3bc3fa53781af4dc3e488ed639c91.PNG

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On 9/12/2022 at 1:03 AM, Get Marwood & I said:

GCD.thumb.PNG.ac2b56233898005b3190569e024763c8.PNG

It makes me wonder why they used the same title "Super Adventure".  Those are two separate printers having to organize the pages for their own needs and also having to adjust the cover price.

18121.jpg.8a1fb84c026e13437b3d9be5c0682f12.jpg

Did DC issue the plates to those printers?  Why wouldn't DC simply make smaller adjustments to the magenta and black plates rather than changing the whole top curtain area?  Seems like more work the way they did it, but I'm assuming they didn't want the "World's Finest" title printed outside the US (or perhaps it wasn't allowed outside the US?).

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On 9/12/2022 at 7:37 PM, Yorick said:

It makes me wonder why they used the same title "Super Adventure".  Those are two separate printers having to organize the pages for their own needs and also having to adjust the cover price.

Did DC issue the plates to those printers?  Why wouldn't DC simply make smaller adjustments to the magenta and black plates rather than changing the whole top curtain area?  Seems like more work the way they did it, but I'm assuming they didn't want the "World's Finest" title printed outside the US (or perhaps it wasn't allowed outside the US?).

I've got no idea, Yorick! I keep meaning to delve further into what might have been going on, if indeed the knowledge is out there to find, but never quite get around to it. I can't see them using DC plates though. More like an Alan Class situation I would have thought. 

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On 9/12/2022 at 11:49 AM, Get Marwood & I said:

More like an Alan Class situation I would have thought.

If that were the case, the covers should look quite different (or slightly different).  Instead, the Super Adventures are the same reformatted plates with the exception of the price.  There must have been an international team at DC.  And I can only assume the title changed so that there wouldn't be any chance these foreign books made their way into the US market.

Class made his plates from printed pages (as he mentioned in that Youtube interview).  And we know that 30th Century stopped shipping plates outside the UK because it is so expensive due to the weight.

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On 9/12/2022 at 8:09 PM, Yorick said:

If that were the case, the covers should look quite different (or slightly different).  Instead, the Super Adventures are the same reformatted plates with the exception of the price.  There must have been an international team at DC.  And I can only assume the title changed so that there wouldn't be any chance these foreign books made their way into the US market.

Class made his plates from printed pages (as he mentioned in that Youtube interview).  And we know that 30th Century stopped shipping plates outside the UK because it is so expensive due to the weight.

Get digging and see what you can find out Yorick. Or do I have to do everything around here :grin:

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On 9/12/2022 at 12:13 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

Get digging and see what you can find out Yorick. Or do I have to do everything around here :grin:

Yes.  Yes, you do. 🤪

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I have issue #67 of Super Adventure Comic and that also has 6d and 9d copies in existence.

Here's my 6d copy:

543780312_SuperAdventureComic676dMyCopy.thumb.jpg.0bde7ce68e1a083ed61f4bd1eb653bae.jpg  1337779192_SuperAdventureComic676dMyCopybc.thumb.jpg.2d4e346a25d2fdd088b7a8b41673bb9d.jpg

It's quite a nice copy, for a 65 year old comic. No turbans though.

Sydney Australia's K. G. Murray had this printed by Morrison & Gibb of Edinburgh, Scotland, for distribution in the UK by Atlas Publishing of London:

1695784781_SuperAdventureComic676dMyCopybccrop.thumb.jpg.4038078a3e38d6eea4f87f75cbc875c5.jpg

Here is the book on the AusReprints site:

https://ausreprints.net/issue/75257/0

I can only find one image of the 9d (actually looks like 9p) copy and it's on the AusReprints site and lists the internal contents as:

2003379513_SuperAdventureComic679db.thumb.PNG.b899fbd64d993af9acf5322db2dff332.PNG

440694016_SuperAdventureComic679d.thumb.PNG.87738d0d900f1ba546b8e119d530be7f.PNG

It says there is no indicia but attributes the book to 'Colour Comics Pty. Ltd'.

My 6d copy has 28 pages to the 9d copy's 24, the same shorter cut and differing story contents, just like my #57.

I don't think that either publisher/printer used the original DC plates from World's Finest #78:

 1233484006_WorldsFinest78.thumb.jpg.94e0c8709e130a3b815a4152436bbd65.jpg 543780312_SuperAdventureComic676dMyCopy.thumb.jpg.0bde7ce68e1a083ed61f4bd1eb653bae.jpg  1474516148_SuperAdventureComic679dCopy.thumb.jpg.92d319a20fc4d1faa35592ae699ceec0.jpg

But there is clearly a relationship between the 6d and 9d copies, as they share the 'Colour Comics Pty Ltd' cover logo and each have the same pricing circle location. And yet each were printed in different locations, for different publishers.

Turns out that Colour Comics Pty Ltd was part of the K G Murray group, so that's the link:

Capture.PNG.43af3b3ae3b301cc1ea7e636ecc1a96f.PNG

One must have shared the plates with the other, I'm guessing.

@AJD Andrew! Anything else to add, oh King? It's quite fun just starting from scratch in an area you're unfamiliar with and digging around...

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After the war, the restriction placed on the importation of USA comics did not apply to Canada, so having original US material copied north of the 49th was a way to circumvent the intentions of Parliament. Those involved in this unpatriotic activity would have been hanging their heads in shame, while quietly chuckling on their trips to the bank.

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