The Distribution of US Published Comics in the UK (1959~1982)
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In 1966/1967 my mind was blown by the contents of the Fantasy Masterpieces books. At least numbers 3 to 11. And the follow-on Marvel Super-Heroes 12 to 20 are perhaps my favourite Marvel comics. Later issues of MSH began that dreadful trend of reprinting stuff that wasn't really all that old at the time.

 

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On 12/8/2022 at 11:03 AM, themagicrobot said:

In 1966/1967 my mind was blown by the contents of the Fantasy Masterpieces books. At least numbers 3 to 11. And the follow-on Marvel Super-Heroes 12 to 20 are perhaps my favourite Marvel comics. Later issues of MSH began that dreadful trend of reprinting stuff that wasn't really all that old at the time.

 

fm7.thumb.jpg.29effe9f2ac4b7cc4b773d7480ae1e5e.jpg

 

2112610575_fantasymasterpieces7.thumb.jpg.8b556c9ead476a53eaf328251e418596.jpg

 

1978370537_fm72shillings.thumb.jpg.9e5c940ed94059b31095c1b19143e561.jpg

 

772047088_fm8.thumb.jpg.e95f3674810e758f01f70c34b80ef98e.jpg

 

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Double the pages, double (or more) the stickers or stamps!  I love it!

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On 12/8/2022 at 7:25 PM, OtherEric said:

Double the pages, double (or more) the stickers or stamps!  I love it!

@themagicrobot me too. Something interesting about the GSP sticker - I thought Gold Star Publications was the company Gold formed with David Sullivan in 1972, but it clearly predates that.  This is 1967.  That FM #8 has collected several distributors by the looks of things. 

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And we can't forget Marvel Collectors Item Classics. Those issues along with the Odhams "Power Comics" meant I had read all the important stories from the early beginnings of Marvel to the present day (which at the time was approx 7 years!?!?). Mind boggling when you think about it. "Classic" stories that were just 4 or 5 years old..... 

These prices vary from 10d to 2/9. Surely they all should be 1/6,1/9 or 2/- ....10d?.....One Shilling?..... Two Shillings and Ninepence? What was going on there?

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This US EBay seller claims he has an E-Man 3 UK price variant. (Although his price of $4 for 6 comics seems fair/what they're worth). I was under the impression that the UK 6p price on Charlton comics in the first half of 1974 (and on some not all December 1973 issues) was on every single issue printed and not just on copies destined for the UK. Perhaps someone somewhere (no doubt one of the usual suspects) could confirm. 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/285054303509?hash=item425e8f7d15:g:MZAAAOSwcl1jek2Y&amdata=enc%3AAQAHAAAA4J%2F4y%2FvnihIpvmU%2FEIf1Fg67oIYjaYJftzRaEo4lWrk4ltH2FUVRE1ibYblwm%2BUV7qiSTukDhquw1aFwZOlACmR2VR77CY6JwN%2FYsViO7xd9Ss3wwGwsiujD7ktGDlUfd6TrepukLPXulJX1rqGIrw54QOgLBIAhBudSHnmKhq6TKeljr7NJZkECaZeEIR61Du76xy%2BjVb7ztMtqCJgBFei90eMWHpBJXsNXN%2Fg4wxsnI9wmL9%2B4ooeg1mVGRa7hRYDFTZVdEcQ7uaNCtmvRYVq4hC4NKDeCGhk28bf4vJtT|tkp%3ABk9SR-qi0dGfYQ

Charlton missed quite a few months between issues of E-Man 2 and 3 and Midnight Tales 6 and 7 for reasons unknown. I remember fruitlessly spinning the Spinner rack for months looking for E-Man 3 in 1974.

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A lot of Charlton comics from this period appear to have arrived late. So late that the price of comics in general had increased since original publication.

 

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Edited by themagicrobot
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@themagicrobot

From my Charlton UKPV journal entry:

Note – Please do not confuse any Charlton books dated April 1973 onwards with pence prices on them with genuine UK Price Variants. They are not, as every copy is the same when dual pricing occurs. The only true Charlton UK Price Variants are those documented above between the 1960 to December 1963 period. 

I could probably word that a little better actually - I wrote it some time ago.

And here's the relevant date extract from the summary sheet supporting my full 'Charlton in the UK' distribution piece, which I've yet to post anywhere (click to enlarge):

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It's a coincidence that you posted Midnight Tales #7 as your example, as I purchased stickered and unstickered copies of it in support of the article:

697266457_1974.06MidnightTales78pSticker.thumb.jpg.8b55c9ab13a4177f263b05c8ce335108.jpg 854281301_1974.06MidnightTales7No8pSticker.thumb.jpg.a85cd8a7a13f208450a6def620038e03.jpg

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On 12/1/2022 at 1:55 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

Guys, what do we think was going on here then with these UKPV gap issues? The fact that all the second UKPV hiatus issues can be found in multiples with the 10d oblong / circular shilling stamp present is a clear indication that someone noted the UKPV absence and filled it. The distinct absence of other issues seems to indicate that the primary focus was just to fill that gap. The additional issues that we've found dotted about indicate that the stamps were applied to other issues around the main UKPV gap, but not in sufficient numbers to indicate anything systematic.

As for the little gaggle of Daredevil #29s, and the apparent absence of stamped copies for the issues in between it and the hiatus issues of 21/22, do they not indicate that the hiatus filler issues must have come to the UK very late? Why would someone go to the trouble of importing the missing Daredevil UKPV issues in a timely date manner, and then waiting six months to do it again just for issue #29? That makes no sense. What makes sense to me is that someone noted the UKPV Oct/Nov/Dec 1966 gaps and arranged to fill them in one hit some time after the date that the books, as UKPVs, would've landed in the UK. That's why we see DD #29 as well, and the other books. Maybe the deal was struck six months or so after the natural arrival date, and the missing UKPV issues were sent over along with 'some other stuff' as a sweetener or whatever.

If I'm right, to the UK collector, those UKPV gaps would have stayed gaps for half a year and then one day the missing issues would suddenly pop up (where, we do not know). Goldstar must've been very confident that they would sell. And why have two stamp types, one 10d and one shilling concurrently? North/South divide pricing, perhaps? Or could they have done it in two waves?

Whaddyathink?

 

OK, well, since you're asking....

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On 12/1/2022 at 1:55 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

Guys, what do we think was going on here then with these UKPV gap issues? The fact that all the second UKPV hiatus issues can be found in multiples with the 10d oblong / circular shilling stamp present is a clear indication that someone noted the UKPV absence and filled it.

I agree it’s clearly no coincidence that the ones which skipped the PV print run turn up later as oddly-stamped cents issues, but it is not a clear indication that someone was trying to fill the gaps. 

Edited by Malacoda
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On 12/1/2022 at 1:55 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

The distinct absence of other issues seems to indicate that the primary focus was just to fill that gap.

It indicates a clear correlation, but not necessarily that it was a focussed attempt fill the gap.

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On 12/1/2022 at 1:55 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

The additional issues that we've found dotted about indicate that the stamps were applied to other issues around the main UKPV gap, but not in sufficient numbers to indicate anything systematic.

Agree, though they do indicate it was not a one-off distributor. 

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On 12/1/2022 at 1:55 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

As for the little gaggle of Daredevil #29s, and the apparent absence of stamped copies for the issues in between it and the hiatus issues of 21/22, do they not indicate that the hiatus filler issues must have come to the UK very late?

Yes, as does the shilling stamp. 

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On 12/1/2022 at 1:55 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

Why would someone go to the trouble of importing the missing Daredevil UKPV issues in a timely date manner, and then waiting six months to do it again just for issue #29? That makes no sense. What makes sense to me is that someone noted the UKPV Oct/Nov/Dec 1966 gaps and arranged to fill them in one hit some time after the date that the books, as UKPVs, would've landed in the UK. That's why we see DD #29 as well, and the other books. Maybe the deal was struck six months or so after the natural arrival date, and the missing UKPV issues were sent over along with 'some other stuff' as a sweetener or whatever.

Agree it was later.  These other randos turn up all the way to cd July 1967 by my count, and according to recently discovered ancient scrolls (i.e. the Albert Diaries), he was finding them in July & August 1967, so that ties up nicely.  The only bit I dispute is that someone noted it. 

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On 12/1/2022 at 1:55 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

If I'm right, to the UK collector, those UKPV gaps would have stayed gaps for half a year and then one day the missing issues would suddenly pop up (where, we do not know). Goldstar must've been very confident that they would sell. And why have two stamp types, one 10d and one shilling concurrently? North/South divide pricing, perhaps? Or could they have done it in two waves?

More than one wave and more than one distributor? I think the Oblong stamps, assuming they’re GSP are one distributor and the shilling stamps are someone else later after the price had increased in Nov 1967.  

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If I don't believe there was someone taking careful note and going to great lengths to fill the gaps, what do I believe? 

Let’s speculate: some entrepreneur who does not work for T&P, and we believe it’s David Gold, somehow knows that certain Marvel comics were not imported in these months.  How does he know this?  Well, he’s distributing to newsagents, so maybe one of his reps hears it and passes on the info that a handful of Marvel comics were not delivered and David Gold thinks it would be worth his time to get into this for a one-off handful of 10d comics?  

I don’t believe that.


So let’s speculate it’s not an importer: it requires a lot of smart work on the part of someone who does not have access to T&P’s records and is therefore contacting newsagents to find out which ones never appeared, bearing in mind that the T&P reps replenished the spinners, not the newsagents, so the newsagents never really knew what was in the spinners and could not order specific titles, they just had a random batch of American comics whacked into the rack by the T&P rep.

 

Newsagents could not have told anyone which specific Marvel comics didn’t arrive. 

 

So how did this person find out which ones were missing?  Let’s speculate he’s either a collector or comic dealer.

 

There were virtually no comic dealers at this point (and there was not even one comic shop in the UK).  


This person then found out how to contact Marvel in the States, phoned them and placed an order for these back issues. 


Except Marvel didn’t keep back issues – they were gathered back up by the distributors & pulped, so he must have contacted local wholesalers? 


Nonetheless, he/she somehow did this, ordered a batch of very specific Marvel comics by title, number and month and paid for them in dollars, including shipping to the UK.  

The cost of importing this handful of comics would surely have far outweighed the profit. 


So if this scenario happened at all, it would have to have been a dealer who went over there with a couple of empty suitcases. But then if it was a dealer, how & why did they get stamped with the familiar oblong stamp and the other one? You’d only do that if you were distributing to newsagents. If you were an enterprising dealer who had gone all the way to the US to get these, not only would you not stamp them, you would certainly sell them for more than 10d or even a shilling. 


I don’t think any part of this really supports the idea that it was a dealer targeting these specific missing issues.

Far more likely: In 1966, payment to Marvel was getting erratic as T&P slid into bankruptcy.  Marvel restricted the titles for which they were willing to print PV’s, based on T&P’s now-shaky payment record.  Their intention was to send cents copies for the withheld titles for T&P to stamp once T&P sorted their cash flow out.  Bear in mind that Marvel’s shipment to T&P at this point was always made up of cents copies (MT, MCIC, FM and Kid Colt for a bit) and PV’s (everything else), so making a few more of them cents copies was not a change in process at all, just a re-shuffle. 


T&P then actually went bankrupt and there was a short hiatus in ownership, but the comic distribution business was rescued intact by the official receiver – Rothschild – by hiving it off as a going concern into a subsidiary company – T&P (Sales) Ltd – and selling it to IND. This is why you get no break in supply despite T&P going bankrupt.  


By the time the sale to IND was complete, the cents issues that had been put aside were out of date (or more likely just forgotten & rediscovered), so Marvel sold them as a cheap job lot to a secondary distributor.


This is how exactly those issues turned up later – not by cunning detective work by a collector who temporarily set up his own import business and, from somewhere, acquired back issues of exactly the right comics.  They simply WERE those issues, sat on a shelf in Waterbury and sold as leftovers to the most obvious candidate:  a secondary distributor. 


It’s less romantic and fun, but it’s very straightforward. It’s the answer Occum would choose. 
 

Edited by Malacoda
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