The Distribution of US Published Comics in the UK (1959~1982)
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3,796 posts in this topic

I dont have a huge Archie collection, I dont like or collect cartoony type books,( I do have some though :) )

While searching for my Fly #1, I came across a Double life of Private Strong #1 ( not on the list )

Here they are




Its June 1959 if its hard to see

Edited by Kevin.J
poor scans
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2 minutes ago, Kevin.J said:

Had a quick look in my rooms today at the stuff that is easy to get to

I have most of the DCs on the list, most have no stamps but here are a few examples of the earliest mentioned on Steves list on the first page

I cant find Wonder Woman 110, so I must have it in a slab and cant check it.

I looked at least 10 issues back from the once mentioned on the list, found no earlier examples, I can state again if you see HG Pence books, snap them up, the difference in condition between my Pence/ Cents is huge, like looking at 10 issues in nice condition then see one totally knackered, its almost always a Pence copy/stamp, I guess we just read them to death.

The first one is dear to my heart as it is one of the first 3 comics I owned, my Dad brought them in for me when I was a kid and was ill off school.

I dunno where he got them, this one was not new, I am old but not that old lol 


Cheers Kevin, I'll add these three to the files and update the known stamped copy table. 

I like the story about the one your Dad got you. I lost my Dad in 2018 and my God do I miss him. That would be a treasured thing in my collection too.

I'm hoping to post the ACG and Marvel findings over the weekend. A few things have cropped up that might keep me away for a bit. Fingers crossed :wishluck:

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10 minutes ago, Get Marwood & I said:

I like the story about the one your Dad got you. I lost my Dad in 2018 and my God do I miss him. That would be a treasured thing in my collection too.


Sorry to read that, I know that pain mate, lost both parents 1 year apart aged 53 and 56, far too young, its over 25 years ago now and I still miss them :foryou:

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49 minutes ago, Kevin.J said:

Last post for now in case I am becoming boring

Never! Keep em coming Kev :headbang:

49 minutes ago, Kevin.J said:

this will make Steve smile I assume/ hope :) 

Smashing the War at Sea out of the water


October 58 :whatthe:


Theory to follow.....

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So, this Fightin' Air Force #12 dated October 1958 clearly blows the War at Sea #29 dated February 1959 out of the water (heh heh) as you say @Kevin.J

Interesting that the number on the stamp is prophetically (?) a '1'


I'm wondering though if this apparent outlier is a book that, as has been suggested prior, came over later than it's natural production / shipping date. Like the earlier Li'l Genius #38 I posted, this particular FAF issue turns up constantly in searches whereas the surrounding issues don't. The Li'l Genius examples had small price stickers, indicating that the may have preceded the &P stamps, but this FAF clearly has one. I just wonder if it got caught up in a wave of later unsold copies?

Add to that that we have no examples around it. The War at Sea #29 starts a run of Charltons cover dated Feb, March, April, May etc, but this book sits alone. So I'm inclined to leave it aside as an outlier for the time being and wait to see if other issues appear (I'm dying to get to the next London Fair for some further research, but that is probably a forlorn hope for now). As far as the 'Gold Medal' lark goes, it's still a Charlton so nothing changes from a publisher perspective.

I have another outlier to post soon which is similar. 

As has already been said, the stamps on all the examples we have posted so far may all have been done on the same day, having been stored and shipped in bulk in an event that started the ball rolling, maybe in early 1960. But it's a fun exercise either way and can only help to drive out a greater awareness as more and more informed people join in. 


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I've also got an Outer Space #22 with a bonus Popular Book Centre Stamp on it!

And here's Unusual Tales #16, but Kevin's beaten me to it!

The third offering is really 'Unusual' if you'll pardon the pun. Unusual Tales #17 July 1959. I'm sure it says 'PDC' at the top of the stamp, and it looks like 1/- on the left and something else on the right. I don't recall ever seeing that stamp before. It may not be British, of course, in which case it does not belong on this thread. Anyone any ideas?

Outer Space #22 May 1959 Popular Camberwell Church St.jpg

Unusual Tales #16   May 1959 9d T&P.jpg

Unusual Tales #17   July 1959 -PDC.jpg

Unusual Tales #17   July 1959 -PDCa close-up.jpg

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15 hours ago, Mr Thorpe said:

The third offering is really 'Unusual' if you'll pardon the pun. Unusual Tales #17 July 1959. I'm sure it says 'PDC' at the top of the stamp, and it looks like 1/- on the left and something else on the right. I don't recall ever seeing that stamp before. It may not be British, of course, in which case it does not belong on this thread. Anyone any ideas?

Unusual Tales #17   July 1959 -PDCa close-up.jpg

That's a cool one, thanks Mr T, which I don't recall seeing before. I've filed a copy in my 'other types of stamps' folder, examples of which I'll be posting later in the thread.

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14 hours ago, Kevin.J said:


The 8 is interesting, not sure if I saw that number that high before hm

Higher than an eight! :)

Play Your Cards Right GIF | Gfycat

I did quite of bit of research some years back into the T&P stamp numbering when I was capturing the DC UKPVs. The results were inconclusive, and I could detect no meaningful pattern. And none of the usual UK dealer suspects had any leads, including those with the longest experience.

I did at least identify that all the numbers from 1 to 9 existed on the early 9d stamps, as this pretty mock up of mine proves:


You get the odd blank one as well, although that may be a result of an ink smudge:


Hopefully one day we'll crack the code - my first thought was that the numbering might correspond with cover or 'on sale' months but that didn't pan out. Maybe it was a regional thing

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13 hours ago, OtherEric said:

As usual, I have nothing to add to this discussion, but I find it fascinating and appreciate everybody who is contributing!

Cheers Eric - always nice to get feedback on one's comical endeavours  :headbang:

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A quick recap then :)

By cover date alone, Charlton have the earliest known comic with a UK distributor stamp, Archie are in hot pursuit in second and DC take the Bronze medal publisher position. The next publisher in line is the American Comics Group (ACG).

 The earliest example I have of an ACG comic with a UK price stamp is the November 1959 cover dated Adventures into the Unknown #112 – here’s my copy:


ACGs are often dual monthed (is that a word?) but this copy is a singular November. The distributor is again Thorpe & Porter, and the number of the stamp is ‘1’. Make’s you wonder if there is a connection there doesn’t it, the ‘1’ and the fact that it appears to be the first imported copy for the title.

According to Mike’s Comic Newsstand ACG were producing these four titles around the time:


I have T&P stamped examples for all of them ranging from November 1959 to January and throughout 1960, indicating that all their books found their way to Englandville. Here’s a particularly nice example of Romantic Adventures #114, cover dated October 1960:


A nice, inconspicuous Thorpe & Porter stamp on this copy along with what may be a handwritten arrival date (8th of October possibly?):


I haven't got too much more to report on for ACG unless anyone can post an earlier example. But I wanted to post this final example – the dual monthed Unknown Worlds #4 cover dated Dec 59/Jan 60 – for no other reason than I think it is the most stamps I have ever seen on a comic book!

E.thumb.jpg.c106b2ec9b7c840d549a33f5cecfd034.jpg F.thumb.jpg.14a4ce46f53178c1e254d0d67576d393.jpg

We have two Miller 6d stamps (and not the usual kinds), a T&P 9d stamp, a Miller 6d book exchange sticker....


....and, on the back cover (no, they didn’t give up) another Miller 6d stamp along with a date of 1761:


So Miller got in first by 200 years. How cool is that! :bigsmile:

Marvel are up next!

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On 7/2/2020 at 2:29 PM, Kevin.J said:

Sorry to read that, I know that pain mate, lost both parents 1 year apart aged 53 and 56, far too young, its over 25 years ago now and I still miss them :foryou:

You never get over it really, do you Kev

On 7/2/2020 at 4:07 PM, Get Marwood & I said:

So, this Fightin' Air Force #12 dated October 1958 clearly blows the War at Sea #29 dated February 1959 out of the water (heh heh) as you say @Kevin.J


I have another outlier to post soon which is similar. 

On the subject of outliers, here is a book that completely bucks the trend.

Step forward, Spooky #30 from Harvey Comics:


The book is cover (indicia) dated April 1959 and has the same 'AM Co 9d' stamp on it that our DC 'Date With Judy' book had:

24261576_1959.04Spooky30LMStampcrop.jpg.b575e00c4ac072cb62a7726ef6f0c043.jpg  1522386163_F21959_12.01ADateWithJudy74AMCoStamp.jpg.cd9091facd309948f02b0e56a09e1d4b.jpg

More circular than oval, but clearly the same publisher's stamp.

What makes it odd is that Harvey Comics don't appear in the UK until January 1960 with L Miller price stamps on them according to my research. The Spooky beats that by 9 months and the Miller stamps that were to follow in 1960 looked like these:

1246524246_1960.11LittleMax67LMStampcrop.jpg.c9319e5f3c1408a3a9e558503051847f.jpg 2038181151_1963.02Wendy16LMStampcrop.jpg.9b38f411a858512e26cba375b7960851.jpg 2145788708_1969.08Casper132TPStampcrop.jpg.5fc582e252b67a47a721da32407c56ae.jpg

A Miller shilling is a rare event by the way, I tell you:


So we know that L Miller distributed Harvey Comics - I don't have an example yet of a T&P stamp on one - but the dates are inconclusive. If we accept the Spooky outlier, then they leapfrog Archie into second place. But until I find multiple examples dated April 1959, the book appears to be a one off outlier, much like our 1958 Charlton FAF #12. I'll put it to one side for now.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, Marvel....


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I'm going to have me dinner before I post the Marvel findings. In the meantime, who needs a price stamp when you can just write the price on the cover with a marker pen?

Whoever did this one got a bit cocky with it though I think...



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On 6/30/2020 at 8:22 PM, themagicrobot said:




What did it say, your post @themagicrobot? How will we ever know?

Come back!


(It's nothing personal - all board members first posts have to be approved by a moderator prior to posting due to an attack by the Chinese Mafia the other year!)

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OK, to Marvel.

Currently, the tale of the tape for each publisher's first cover dated book with a UK distribution stamp is either this (if you ignore outliers):

  • 02/59 - Charlton
  • 06/59 - Archie
  • 09/59 - DC
  • 11/59 - ACG
  • 01/60 - Harvey
  • 05/60 - Marvel

Or this (if you include them):

  • 10/58 - Charlton
  • 04/59 - Harvey
  • 06/59 - Archie
  • 09/59 - DC
  • 11/59 - ACG
  • 05/60 - Marvel

For the time being, I'm going to exclude the many L Miller stamped IW/Super books that I have found as they are proving very difficult to date accurately (more on that in a later post).

Whether you ignore the outliers or not, Marvel trail a distant sixth when it comes to offering up their first distribution book example in the UK. We already know from my research that the first two Marvel UKPVs are cover dated May 1960, and that one was distributed by T&P and the other by L Miller:

1861454588_JIM58May1960.thumb.jpg.7656477cf4eb946cfef0bda0d94638a7.jpg 547324065_GunsmokeWestern589dLM-CMay60.thumb.jpg.275a29cf4d51f6569508bb8d6b6610d9.jpg

The UK distribution aspect is definitive here of course, as the books have printed 9d UK cover prices and country specific variant indicias. In the case of the L Miller distributed Gunsmoke Western #58, not only do we have a UK specific indicia, but an L Miller 6d cover stamp. I speculate to some degree as to why Miller solicited 9d printed copies, only to place 6d stamps on them, in my L Miller thread. Miller was always bucking the trend though - here's #59 of Gunsmoke Western with the same printed 9d / stamped 6d scenario:


To date, I have yet to find an example of a cents priced Marvel book cover dated prior to the above May 1960 UKPvs with either a Miller or T&P price stamp on them. This suggests that Marvel were never in the game when the other publishers started having their books shipped over to the UK. I am in discussion with a fellow enthusiast offline as to why that may be - he knows far more about it than I do - but it looks very much like a contractual thing may be the cause. I'm trying to get that chap to join here and start posting - in the meantime, if anyone reading can find an example of a Marvel stamped earlier than 05/60, I'd love to see it.

In my Marvel UKPV research, I identify and document the first gap in the UKPV production run as follows:


What my subsequent research here has found is that there appear to be no Thorpe & Porter 9d stamped Marvels in the run up to the production gap. The first T&P stamped copies begin to appear, logically, around the time that the UKPVs stop, and are stamped 10d. Here is an early example, Amazing Spider-Man #19 cover dated December 1964:


My initial research has shown that the majority of T&P stamped copies surface around this time, the end of 1964, probably due to the noted temporary cessation of UKPVs.

But there are a handful of annual titles - none of which, incidentally, have known UKPV copies - which predate that main event. The earliest I have found (and I have seen multiple examples) is Strange Tales Annual #1:


According to Mike's Comic Newsstand, the book was on sale in the US from July the 3rd 1962, with a cover date of 1962:


I also have examples of T&P stamped copies for Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, Fantastic Four Annual #1 and Marvel Tales Annual #1 so, in summary for Marvel, it looks like a certain group of titles were solicited as pence printed copies from May 1960 and, when that formal process was interrupted around the end of 1964, cents priced copies were shipped over as a matter of course. But a handful of key annual titles beat them in 1962 and 1963 and were distributed as stamped copies even though all other ongoing titles were either subject to the UKPV process or not distributed at all.

It's quite a complicated, interesting picture over all for Marvel in the early days - multiple distributors (Miller and T&P) - printed prices and stamped, shipping gaps and so on. And of course the very fact that the UKPVs exist at all seems to be the reason why 14 US cents priced copies have multiple US fonts (new example found just the other day!)

So, please post any Marvels that you may have, especially if they contradict anything I have posted here.

Next up, a brief summary of the remaining publishers (Dell, Tower, IW/Super etc) 




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