Can we all agree that Marvel Whitmans are not a thing?
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230 posts in this topic

7 hours ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

Beerbohm and Rozanski are so shameless. It's hard to read through the bombastic self-promotion. They're always the heroes of all their stories.

:facepalm:

While everyone is prone to bad decisions, this is totally out of character with the Joe Koch I have done business with since 1990. If he sold 2400 copies to Beerbohm, and Beerbohm paid for them, I have a *very* hard time believing that Koch would then "desperately try to get the shipment reversed"...thus breaking a deal he had willingly made.

And if Chuck's recollections are correct, this would have been in May of 1980...Sparta was still bundling books, which makes the idea of having "cases" of X-Men #96...a five year old book by that point...a bit unrealistic.

I would be VERY surprised if The Buyer's Guide (it was not known as "CBG" until '82, '83) was being sent "overnight" through the USPS. 

It was a newspaper, after all. 

s-l1600.jpg

Who knows, maybe this was the issue that Koch advertised his $1 X-Men #96s in...

Sparta sent the books in bundles, but distributors and distributors usually used boxes. If I had ordered 1,000 copies, and they came in five boxes of 200, I'd have no problem calling them a case. 

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17 hours ago, bababooey said:

So he can't call them that if he wants?  meh

The Whitman/Western design from 77-79 was the antecedent to the design Marvel adopted for their direct program in 1979.  

See page five of American Comic Book Chronicles The 1970's By Jason Sacks, Keith Dallas, Dave Dykema

 

@bababooey Thanks for the tip.   The one-liner you posted reflects how I see the Marvel Whitmans up partway through 1979.

Do you know anything about the authors, Jason Sacks and Keith Dallas, and their backgrounds?  Are they well connected in or to the comics industry and its creators?  I do see in their introductions and acknowledgements that they offer thanks to some industry veterans such as Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart, Tony Isabella, and others (many names I don't recognize) including John Jackson Miller.

I skimmed the preview of this book on the twomorrows.com site and it certainly looks interesting.  (I saw a comment about uncredited work by Dave Stevens on Star Wars #6, for instance.  Fascinating.)

Edited by Warlord
I found it on Google books
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This was a great thread and I think RMA has it on point. 

I would agree that we need to rethink the way we talk about "variants" of all kinds, especially in the 70s. Except for those ridiculously high-selling Star Wars comics, all of these different covers -- whether it was different prices, different currencies, different modes of distribution, or different subdistribution (as in the case of the Whitman-logo DCs and Westerns) -- were printed at the same time. These are not reprints. 

Before digital printing, it was extremely expensive to set up printers to just start the job. (They say the most expensive copy of a print job is the first one.) So with comics and magazines, the guts -- the newsprint pages 1 to 32 -- were all printed at once. The covers were printed separately on nicer paper, and then the two parts were saddlestitched together. Those differences in pricing/diamonds/UPC/etc were done by stopping the printer that was producing the cover and altering the engraving (I believe you can put a screen on the various parts that are different) or by putting a completely new plate on the printer. But Marvel or DC or Western would just assign a total print run for the insides and then figure out the percentage of each that they would have for the difference covers: newsstands, Whitman, direct, pence, test price, Canadian newsstand, etc.

For them to reprint comics, you would need a print run to be comparable to the lowest selling book. They're not running that for 1,000 or 10,000 copies. (So all those people who 

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4 hours ago, RCheli said:

 

For them to reprint comics, you would need a print run to be comparable to the lowest selling book. They're not running that for 1,000 or 10,000 copies. (So all those people who 

Don't leave us hanging...

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3 hours ago, Brock said:

Don't leave us hanging...

Ha! Sorry, don't know why it cut off. I was just going to say that a lot of people have said that the early pence copies of Marvel Silver Age books were reprints, it's just not true. 

Other than those first 10 Star Wars, I don't know anything else they reprinted in the 70s.

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There is at least 1 dealer in the area who was actually in business at the time

He insists there were NO Marvel direct edition books at the time of the Whitman 3 packs

Further I KNOW when these 3 packs came out, as I am old enough to remember first hand

These were REPRINTS in the 3 packs, they came out 6 months after newsstand release

Call them what they are

Whitman exclusive reprints

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22 hours ago, NP_Gresham said:

There is at least 1 dealer in the area who was actually in business at the time

He insists there were NO Marvel direct edition books at the time of the Whitman 3 packs

Further I KNOW when these 3 packs came out, as I am old enough to remember first hand

These were REPRINTS in the 3 packs, they came out 6 months after newsstand release

Call them what they are

Whitman exclusive reprints

How many of each individual Whitman pack was made/sold? 10,000? 20,000? That seems generous. There were no comics with print runs that low at the time, and it would be cost prohibitive for Marvel to go back to press for that number. Remember, setting up a press in the 1970s was really, really expensive. It's not like today when you can have a digital press print copies easily under 5,000 copies without the huge initial cost.

This is why there were practically no reprints of any comics other than Classics for decades. Marvel reprinted the first few issues of Star Wars and DC did a second printing here and there when there was a push with a media tie-in, but they would never reprint the variety of books available in Whitman packs.

Then add to the fact that Whitman turned around and sold the books at a discount ($1.09 on $1.20 worth of comics) means that there's even less profit to be made. 

Whitman would not want to pay for short print runs on comics they're selling at a discount.

Finally, advertising is based on circulation. The higher the cumulative circulation for each month, the more expensive the advertising. If the total print run of all the Marvel comics in June 1977 going to the newsstand or the direct market was 2,500,000 (a complete guess), they're not going to want to go back to press 6 months later to add another 400,000 copies that may not benefit advertisers. They're going to print them at the same time and push that circulation figure up as high as possible.

 

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5 hours ago, RCheli said:

How many of each individual Whitman pack was made/sold? 10,000? 20,000? That seems generous. There were no comics with print runs that low at the time, and it would be cost prohibitive for Marvel to go back to press for that number. Remember, setting up a press in the 1970s was really, really expensive. It's not like today when you can have a digital press print copies easily under 5,000 copies without the huge initial cost.

This is why there were practically no reprints of any comics other than Classics for decades. Marvel reprinted the first few issues of Star Wars and DC did a second printing here and there when there was a push with a media tie-in, but they would never reprint the variety of books available in Whitman packs.

Then add to the fact that Whitman turned around and sold the books at a discount ($1.09 on $1.20 worth of comics) means that there's even less profit to be made. 

Whitman would not want to pay for short print runs on comics they're selling at a discount.

Finally, advertising is based on circulation. The higher the cumulative circulation for each month, the more expensive the advertising. If the total print run of all the Marvel comics in June 1977 going to the newsstand or the direct market was 2,500,000 (a complete guess), they're not going to want to go back to press 6 months later to add another 400,000 copies that may not benefit advertisers. They're going to print them at the same time and push that circulation figure up as high as possible.

 

It is not that hard to reprint the price box.

perhaps you are not aware of pence copies?

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39 minutes ago, NP_Gresham said:

It is not that hard to reprint the price box.

perhaps you are not aware of pence copies?

Of course, that’s all it took to create these reprints.  But, unfortunately, you’re arguing with beliefs.  The pro “Whitman books are the first direct market editions and as such should be worth more” posters in this thread have a desired outcome and are twisting/distorting logic to legitimize their preconceived notion.  None of it is based on rational thought process or evidence based understanding or even knowledge of the time period.  It’s all just imagine this and probably that and “Tada!  What I always wanted to be true actually is!  Hooray!”

There’s no reasonable discussion to be had, they’ve already locked in their beliefs.  It’s like trying to talk somebody out of Christianity.

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3 minutes ago, Randall Dowling said:

Of course, that’s all it took to create these reprints.  But, unfortunately, you’re arguing with beliefs.  The pro “Whitman books are the first direct market editions and as such should be worth more” posters in this thread have a desired outcome and are twisting/distorting logic to legitimize their preconceived notion.  None of it is based on rational thought process or evidence based understanding or even knowledge of the time period.  It’s all just imagine this and probably that and “Tada!  What I always wanted to be true actually is!  Hooray!”

There’s no reasonable discussion to be had, they’ve already locked in their beliefs.  It’s like trying to talk somebody out of Christianity.

Agreed

Love to know 100% sure what these books were.

It is becoming the new 'pressing thread".

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I don't want to come off as some know-it-all, but if those books were reprints, Whitman/Western would be losing money on every multipack sold.

You did not print four color comics in the 70s with print runs of less than 200,000 copies. And the same goes for reprints. Setting up the printers was time consuming and costly, and if they reprinted a comic for the Whitman market, with a print run of only 20,000 copies, the per copy price would be more than what you'd sell it for. Add to the fact that you're not getting any ad revenue (why would advertisers pay for an ad 6 months later?), it makes no sense.

These were not reprints. Pence copies were not reprints. Test price copies were not reprints.

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2 minutes ago, RCheli said:

I don't want to come off as some know-it-all, but if those books were reprints, Whitman/Western would be losing money on every multipack sold.

You did not print four color comics in the 70s with print runs of less than 200,000 copies. And the same goes for reprints. Setting up the printers was time consuming and costly, and if they reprinted a comic for the Whitman market, with a print run of only 20,000 copies, the per copy price would be more than what you'd sell it for. Add to the fact that you're not getting any ad revenue (why would advertisers pay for an ad 6 months later?), it makes no sense.

These were not reprints. Pence copies were not reprints. Test price copies were not reprints.

The stridex reprints, and ALL detergent copy of ASM #184 - more reprints.

The Whitmans are just one more kind of reprint, similar to Pence copies.

Not that hard to reprint books.

 

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5 minutes ago, NP_Gresham said:

The stridex reprints, and ALL detergent copy of ASM #184 - more reprints.

The Whitmans are just one more kind of reprint, similar to Pence copies.

Not that hard to reprint books.

 

But Proctor and Gamble paid for those reprints as part of a giveaway. It's not the same thing. 

And I'm not saying it's difficult to go back to press. You could reprint the same comic every month if you wanted (though the plates would get worn down). I'm saying it's expensive.

Edit: remember, with giveaways, they're not looking to make money. It's for advertising. Western wanted to make money!

Edited by RCheli
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4 minutes ago, RCheli said:

But Proctor and Gamble paid for those reprints as part of a giveaway. It's not the same thing. 

And I'm not saying it's difficult to go back to press. You could reprint the same comic every month if you wanted (though the plates would get worn down). I'm saying it's expensive.

Edit: remember, with giveaways, they're not looking to make money. It's for advertising. Western wanted to make money!

The thing about the All #184 is how few of those exist.

They must be stashed away in a warehouse somewhere. I agree with you, it makes little sense , reprint or not, to make such a small print run

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7 minutes ago, shadroch said:

Whitman weren't selling product at a discount. They were selling non-returnable books at a higher margin.

Sure they were. They were selling $1.20 worth of comics for $1.09.

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5 hours ago, NP_Gresham said:

I chased these books for years as an ASM completist.

In my experience the first 6 or so “Whitman’s are harder to find in high grade than the ASM 35 cent variants

 

DE6E8504-0F41-4689-80FE-0989DD1F3FFB.jpeg

That was my experience too - I had a set of high grade 30/35 cent variants but never found a high grade #165, as this old file image of my ASM completist days shows: 

whit.PNG.f2b4715e8e03b62e619eb2ee32034189.png.5ef10945c1e16292314a22bb8cbb38e7.png

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4 hours ago, NP_Gresham said:

The stridex reprints, and ALL detergent copy of ASM #184 - more reprints.

The Whitmans are just one more kind of reprint, similar to Pence copies.

Not that hard to reprint books.

 

What convinces you that pence copies are reprints NP? Have I not done my job properly or what? :D

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