Copper's Heating/Selling Well on Ebay
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15 minutes ago, RCheli said:

You can't honestly believe that 1.2-2.4 million copies of Forever People #1 were printed, can you?

The average print run for the issues including #134 was 555,000, with avg sales of 229k or 299k (Krause has conflicting data; the info is in #147 if anyone wants to look it up.)

Do I believe DC printed a million+ copies of FP #1? Absolutely. Without question. In 1970, #1s were what everyone bought. Kirby coming to DC was a BIG HUGE EVENT in comics.

For reference: the average print run of Superman for 1970 was 859,811. Superman was DC's best selling title, and, indeed, the best selling comic title of 1970, as issue #233 proclaims on the cover. So, yes, I believe it's not at all out of the question that DC printed a million+, to even 2 million copies of the FIRST issues (but certainly not the rest), and sold half a million to a million copies.

Kirby's move to DC was a very big deal. Unfortunately, we have no sales data for FP, New Gods, or Mister Miracle, but we do have most of the numbers for JO, and they continue the downward trend of the title (though Kirby definitely staved off the losses.) The numbers continued to decline until the title became Superman Family (and then continued to decline.)

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22 minutes ago, 500Club said:

No, it's unlikely over 1M copies of FP 1 were printed.  It's likely more copies than JO 134 were printed. 

Disagree, for the reasons stated above.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Lazyboy said:

I'm sure there's rarely much difference between two consecutive issues of a title, but you don't think there's a difference between the supply of a #1 issue and a random mid-run issue from the 70s? Um, okay...

As for Circe, the same problem arises any time a character becomes hot for the first time: incomplete information and/or misinformation about their first appearance(s). Will it ever get fixed? Maybe.

I don't have a copy of 17 but I don't see how, appearance-wise, WW18/19 is any different than IH180/181.

WW18, final-page full-body view, name and a dialogue intro, just like IH180.

WW19, cover app and story, just like IH181.

(shrug)

 

Which one is the market demanding WW18 or 19?

 

Edited by jcjames

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I wonder if Levitz would know these numbers...

hm

 

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1 hour ago, RockMyAmadeus said:
2 hours ago, 500Club said:

No, it's unlikely over 1M copies of FP 1 were printed.  It's likely more copies than JO 134 were printed. 

Disagree, for the reasons stated above.

hm

Possible, I suppose, if Superman was having nearly 900K copies printed.  Kirby to DC was a big deal back then.

The Krause data probably won't be helpful; it's likely to give an average print run of several months to a year of FP, and the run for #1 will be buried in the average.  Did DC overprint/overdistribute for an event book(s) like this?

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, RCheli said:

(I know this isn't copper and it's getting way off topic, but...)

There is a Statement of Ownership available for Jimmy Olsen #136. It reads: Average print run 627,102; average paid circulation 333,539. (That's for the average of the previous year's issues.)

That's a really big number -- bigger than possibly any Marvel book at the time. (Compare it to the Avengers #86: average print run 411,541; average paid circulation 239,986 or Fantastic Four #109: average print run 518,737; average paid circulation 285,639. I can't find a Spider-Man sales figure for that period, which I believe was Marvel's top selling book.)

I do not think that Forever People #1 touched that Jimmy Olsen number and probably was lower than even the Avengers. Even if DC/National started to speculate (which I doubt), printing 600k of a new #1 wasn't realistic, especially for characters nobody had ever heard of.

OK, Sandman 1 and Omac 1 clearly had big speculative purchases. Forever People is a little before those, true, but everything I read is that there was some hoopla about Kirby launching these titles and those early collectors and hoarders socking away copies of them. Forever People 1 may very well not have had an enormous print-run, but maybe not so many returns? Of course, there weren't that many collectors then, but obviously there was hoaring of some DC #1s just a year or two later like the two Kirby books and Shazam 1. Throw in Jimmy Olsen being read by a younger crowd, maybe a huge number of those 333K got trashed and tossed? Obviously there is nothing hard to find about Jimmy Olsens of that era. I have like 5 copies of 135 purchased from dollar boxes.

 

Edited by the blob

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It is incredible how many copies a terrible Jimmy Olsen book sold.

 

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Posted (edited)

I am curious how newsstand ordering was done then. Did the distributor decide how many of each book (since they were the ones who would have to accept the return) would be delivered to a newsstand, or did the guy running the newsstand put in an order for __ copies of each title?

Edited by the blob

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7 minutes ago, the blob said:

Of course, there weren't that many collectors then, but obviously there was hoaring of some DC #1s just a year or two later like the two Kirby books and Shazam 1. Throw in Jimmy Olsen being read by a younger crowd, maybe a huge number of those 333K got trashed and tossed? Obviously there is nothing hard to find about Jimmy Olsens of that era. I have like 5 copies of 135 purchased from dollar boxes.

I suspect you're right. I think that if people bought Forever People, they did so because of Kirby. If they bought Jimmy Olsen, they (or their parents) did so because of Superman. That latter group was significantly larger than the former. 

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, the blob said:

I am curious how newsstand ordering was done then. Did the distributor decide how many of each book (since they were the ones who would have to accept the return) would be delivered to a newsstand, or did the guy running the newsstand put in an order for __ copies of each title?

Newsstands got the same amount of issues that they sold of the most recently returned/checked-in issue, plus a percentage more.

So if the newsstand got 10 copies of Superman #200, and the returns (the top 1/3 of the cover) was 3 copies, they're probably get 10 copies of Superman #203. (It usually took a bit for them to see total returns.) If they sold out of all 10 copies, then they'd get 12 the next time. If they got 7 returns, they might get 8.

For new titles, there was usually a benchmark series that distributors would go by. A new Archie title might mean the newsstand got the same number as Jughead. A new Marvel title might mean they get the same number as the Avengers.

There was NO PREMIUM ON FIRST ISSUES BY THE PUBLISHERS. At least not until much later on (the 1980s). If there was speculation, that was for the buyers only, and not from the distributors/newsstands side. 

(Edit; Added "BY THE PUBLISHERS".)

Edited by RCheli

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7 minutes ago, faster friends said:

Lots of Shadow #1’s also.

There are a lot of Shadow #1s and Sandman #1s and She-Hulk #1s and many others because, by the that time, there was a direct market starting with Phil Seuling and others. Speculation was fed by the availability of a large quantity of these first issues. 

 

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3 hours ago, RockMyAmadeus said:
3 hours ago, RCheli said:

You can't honestly believe that 1.2-2.4 million copies of Forever People #1 were printed, can you?

Do I believe DC printed a million+ copies of FP #1? Absolutely. Without question.

Unfortunately, we have no sales data for FP, New Gods, or Mister Miracle.:sumo:

 

[W]e do have most of the numbers for JO, and they continue the downward trend of the title (though Kirby definitely staved off the losses.) The numbers continued to decline until the title became Superman Family (and then continued to decline.)

This is pure speculation. And JO was a dying title (even with Kirby.)

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1 hour ago, the blob said:

I am curious how newsstand ordering was done then. Did the distributor decide how many of each book (since they were the ones who would have to accept the return) would be delivered to a newsstand, or did the guy running the newsstand put in an order for __ copies of each title?

The newsstand guy said, "You see those shelves there, just give me enough every couple a weeks to keep 'em full." lol

 

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I emailed Mark Evanier and this is his reply:

"ME: DC was very secretive about exact numbers so I question whether  anyone had solid information on that.  But we were told they were printing around 400,000 per issue." 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, RCheli said:

Newsstands got the same amount of issues that they sold of the most recently returned/checked-in issue, plus a percentage more.

So if the newsstand got 10 copies of Superman #200, and the returns (the top 1/3 of the cover) was 3 copies, they're probably get 10 copies of Superman #203. (It usually took a bit for them to see total returns.) If they sold out of all 10 copies, then they'd get 12 the next time. If they got 7 returns, they might get 8.

For new titles, there was usually a benchmark series that distributors would go by. A new Archie title might mean the newsstand got the same number as Jughead. A new Marvel title might mean they get the same number as the Avengers.

There was NO PREMIUM ON FIRST ISSUES BY THE PUBLISHERS. At least not until much later on (the 1980s). If there was speculation, that was for the buyers only, and not from the distributors/newsstands side. 

(Edit; Added "BY THE PUBLISHERS".)

If you have any evidence of these claims, I'm sure it would be most appreciated by many. By the way, your math is a little wonky. If they got the same amount that they sold, and got 10 copies of #200, but only sold 3, by that calculation, they should only get 3 or 4 of #203.

I do not agree with you that publishers did not print more of first issues as late as 1970. Timely printed 75,000 copies of Marvel Comics #1 in 1939, then, a couple weeks later, after those sold out, printed 750,000 more...ten times as many.

Action Comics #1 was printed to just over 200k copies, according to court testimony by Donenfeld on the matter, and sold about 135,000 of them (the numbers are more accurately represented in another post of mine on the board, but finding it would be a chore.)

More recently, the success of Marvel's 60s #1s demonstrated that #1s can, and do, sell well. And, while comics fandom was in its earliest stages in 1970, it was not entirely without influence, as the naming of Kirby on the covers suggests. As I believe Paul Levitz wrote, up until the establishment of collectors and fandom in the early to mid 60s, comics readership almost completely turned over every 5 years, so even a substantial number of those who read Kirby's work in 1965 would have moved on by 1970...and there would be no need to note a creator on the cover, were it not for a small, but dedicated, group of buyers that called themselves fans.

As the public numbers attest, publishers obviously did not print the same amount of each title they published. And they would not know how many copies of any new title to publish, and would generally be more conservative...except in the case of obvious hoopla like Kirby coming to DC. It was almost certainly mentioned in the APAs and fanzines of the day. It is a reasonable guess to suggest that, as DC itself was aware of the "event" nature of these books, that they would certainly print them in large numbers...and it must always be kept in mind that, in printing, after a certain point, additional copies become very, very cheap. So, printing 1,000,000 copies wouldn't have been significantly more expensive than printing 500,000. 

With Superman averaging 859k copies a month, it is not out of the realm of possibility that DC printed more...not out of "speculation", but merely because of the confluence of these factors. They WANTED to sell copies, after all, and you can't sell what is sold out.

In any event, without any actual evidence, this is all just theory. I'll add it to the list of "questions I want to ask Paul Levitz at some point."

 

Edited by RockMyAmadeus

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, RCheli said:

I emailed Mark Evanier and this is his reply:

"ME: DC was very secretive about exact numbers so I question whether  anyone had solid information on that.  But we were told they were printing around 400,000 per issue." 

Per issue of what?

And what was the exact wording of your request?

Edited by RockMyAmadeus

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, RCheli said:

There are a lot of Shadow #1s and Sandman #1s and She-Hulk #1s and many others because, by the that time, there was a direct market starting with Phil Seuling and others. Speculation was fed by the availability of a large quantity of these first issues. 

 

The Direct market almost certainly did not exist when The Shadow #1 (DC) was published (July/August of 1973.) Sueling was, at this point, probably still in negotiations with the publishers. If Sea Gate had finalized deals with DC by this point, it still would have been far too small to have much of an effect.

She-Hulk #1 came out in very late 1979, after the Direct market had firmly been established.

Here are Mark Evanier's words on the matter:

"Around 1973, he began proposing to DC and Marvel that he sell their comics in a different manner, by-passing traditional newsstands and getting them directly to comic book dealers and shops."

At first, publishers rebuffed his proposal.  The "direct market," as it would come to be called, did not seem lucrative enough to warrant the attention, to say nothing of how it might further destroy the old method.  But before long, it became apparent that the old method was being destroyed, with or without selling books the Seuling way, so DC, Marvel and other companies tried it.  Within a year, around 25% of all comic books were being sold via "direct" distribution, through Seuling's company and about a dozen others,"

https://www.newsfromme.com/2004/12/31/phil-seuling-and-red-sonja/

I don't agree with Evanier that, by 1974 that there were "about a dozen others" in the Direct distribution market..Pacific Comics (the Schanes brothers) didn't open until 1975, and Bud Plant (whom I just interviewed about this in December) didn't get into Direct market distribution until around 1977. In fact, as I recall, Bud said Phil had a virtual stranglehold on Direct market distribution in its earliest years. I also don't agree with Evanier that around 25% of all comics were Direct market books by 1974. These are, however, mere quibbles, easily chalked up to faulty memory.

Side note: Evanier refutes Rozanski (and Rozanski's claims of what Shooter said) by saying "within a year, around 25% of all comic books were being sold to the Direct market (this would be 1974)...Rozanski claimed that Shooter told him that in 1979, the Direct market accounted for a mere 6% of all Marvel sales:

http://milehighcomics.com/newsletter/031513.html

How could Rozanski claim that Shooter told him that a mere 6% of sales were Direct market by 1979, while Evanier said it was 25% by 1974/5?

Obviously, those two don't jive. Personally, I think they're both wrong, but think Evanier is less wrong.

Side side note: Rozanski's letter to Marvel in May of 1979, wherein he states this:

" I am now purchasing over 10,000 Marvel comics a month on a nonreturnable basis. I get these books through Seagate Distributing (Jonni Levas, Phil Seuling )"

...handily refutes Beerbohm's rather absurd claim that he was ordering 10,000 copies of X-Men alone per month by issue #108, two years earlier.

http://www.milehighcomics.com/tales/cbg102.html

Speculators were well aware of the value of first issues even then; the 1968 Marvel #1s, led by Iron Man #1, were selling for $1-$5 each...a remarkable sum for 2 year old comics, equivalent to new $4 books from 2017 selling for $40-$200 now. And the 1968 Marvel #1s were not printed in small numbers.

In fact, speculation in new #1s got so bad, that when Shazam #1 was published, as the story goes, people actually "hijacked" the trucks carrying these books, and paying off the drivers for every copy, resulting in shortages around the country. That would have been late 1972.

Edited by RockMyAmadeus

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18 hours ago, divad said:
21 hours ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

Do I believe DC printed a million+ copies of FP #1? Absolutely. Without question.

Unfortunately, we have no sales data for FP, New Gods, or Mister Miracle.:sumo:

 

[W]e do have most of the numbers for JO, and they continue the downward trend of the title (though Kirby definitely staved off the losses.) The numbers continued to decline until the title became Superman Family (and then continued to decline.)

This is pure speculation. 

(emphasis added)

Correct. That is evidenced by me putting the words "Do I believe..." at the beginning of my question.

18 hours ago, divad said:

And JO was a dying title (even with Kirby.)

Also correct, as evidenced by my phrase "and they continue the downward trend of the title."

Glad we could find some common ground.

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19 hours ago, the blob said:

I am curious how newsstand ordering was done then. Did the distributor decide how many of each book (since they were the ones who would have to accept the return) would be delivered to a newsstand, or did the guy running the newsstand put in an order for __ copies of each title?

The distributor decided what each vendor would get. Newsstand vendors "got what they got"; there was no mechanism in place whereby newsstands could order anything.

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