Marvel 'L Miller & Co' UK Distribution Variants (May 1960 ~ September 1961)
Here is a summary of the L Miller & Co UK Distribution Variants that I have discovered hiding in first printing Marvel Comics produced between the dates of May 1960 and September 1961. If you'd like to know more about them, please click the picture below and you'll be magically transported to the discussion thread in which we talk about them:
Notes and Observations
Most knowledgeable UK comic collectors know that ‘L Miller & Son Ltd’ were a Hackney based publisher who specialised in the reprinting of US original comic material in repackaged publications for the UK market during the 1950s and 60s. What those collectors don’t tend to know is that, alongside their core reprint activities, Miller also requested original first printing comics from Marvel with unique UK cover prices and/or indicias for a 17 month period from May 1960.
You will find a separate journal entry for the Charlton UK Price Variants which Miller distributed under my main journal page if you’d like to read about them. This entry here covers the L Miller variants for Marvel Comics.
Miller variants exist for the following five Marvel titles:
- Amazing Adventures
- Gunsmoke Western
- Rawhide Kid
- Two-Gun Kid
- Wyatt Earp
You'll note that four of those titles are westerns. Marvel were actually producing five western titles at the time but the fifth title - Kid Colt Outlaw - was picked up by Thorpe & Porter and I can confirm that no Miller copies exist for that title.
Miller variants are identified by the presence of either a UK 9d cover price with a regional UK indicia, or a US 10c cover price with a regional UK indicia.
Here are two examples of the Miller indicias - one for a 9d pence book and one for a cents priced book:
To further illustrate, for Gunsmoke Western #61, two first printing versions exist.
The first is the standard US version below. It has a ten cent cover price and standard US indicia page:
The second version is the Miller indicia version.
It also has a ten cent cover price but the indicia has an additional two lines of printed data at the foot of the indicia page to show that it was 'Exclusively printed for UK distribution':
So two versions exist - one destined for the US and one for the UK. Both printed at the same time by the same printers.
Below is a summary chart which I have put together for the five confirmed titles which shows which issues exist, colour coded to their cover prices:
From the chart you can see that:
- All 26 eligible issues are confirmed
- All May 1960 to August 1960 cover dated copies are priced at 9d
- All September 1960 to August 1961 cover dated copies are priced at 10c
- September 1961 is a unique month in as much as it has one further 10c L Miller copy for the title Amazing Adventures whilst the Miller title of Gunsmoke Western changes to Thorpe & Porter distribution and is priced at 9d
- Issue #55 of the Two-Gun Kid, whilst clearly a Miller book, has no regional indicia but copies exist with the '6d LM' cover stamp on them
- From October 1961 Miller's involvement ends and all Marvel titles with 9d cover prices are then distributed by Thorpe & Porter
The only printed differences between a Miller copy and its US equivalent are the cover prices and / or the presence of the UK regional indicia. No other elements differ, although you may be able to spot a cents priced Miller by the presence of a '6d LM' cover stamp which appears on many of the copies that I have seen / own:
Occasionally, a hand applied 'PRINTED IN U.S.A.' stamp can be seen on the splash pages of early Miller copies:
These books have been hiding under the radar for 60 years now and it is quite remarkable that they have not been identified until now.
Happy hunting, if you decide to build a set!
By Stephen Cranch based on v2.7 Final of the ‘Marvel 'L Miller & Co' UK Distribution Variant Summary (May 1960 ~ September 1961)’