Marvel Price Font Variations (Jun 1960 ~ Feb 1961)
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27 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, Aman619 said:

Keep in mind that covers are not printed alongside the interiors.  Or on the same machines in the same place.  But they are assembled on the same machines... newsprint pages folded trimmed then saddle stitched to the covers.

therefore, however they printed the covers, and price and indicia variations, if the interiors were identical for each variant cover, they just load up the cover intake point with all of the covers and separate them later... or pause between each cover variant .

 

Or, they COULD do it that way, ...

and as to why there were two different 10 cent fonts used, I think it relates to why there are white boxes.  The primary covers were the US 10c comics.  But in order to serve their international licensed distribs, I believe they "neutered" the covers to have NO PRICES on them, allowing each market to strip in their own price, and change the indicia if need be.  The way you do that is to "mask out" the US price on the negatives with a black box in same position on all four plates/CMYK.  Being a negative, that black box becomes a white box when printed.  And, being white, or clear when reversed, as positive film, it's an easy fix to add black type price back inside the box.  place a empty white box And there are different 10c versions because there was at least one market that also priced the comics at 10c.  

So in effect, they had to add back the same price that Atlas/marvel used here at home. Using a slightly different font (typefaces were not  nearly as ubiquitous back then. You had to order typesetting from a shop, nobody did it inhouse and choose from the font choices the shop had stocked up on.)

Even though the foreign comics also said 10c, so it feels like they could all have been printed here in the states, I think Atlas/Marvel just didn't want to be responsible for printing someone else's comics, preferring  that the licensed foreign distribs take care the trouble and expense (with no shipping costs) themselves.. in other words take the fee and be done with it.

 

im not sure this is what happened, but it makes sense from a technical basis.

 

Thanks for your thoughts @Aman619 

If I understand you correctly, you're theorising that Marvel produced a second set of copies with white boxes / no price to allow foreign distributors to add their own price at a later time? Whilst that makes sense, it opens up a lot of questions.

If the 9d copies were the product of someone else adding a 9d price to a white box, who was that person, and where were they based - Thorpe & Porter? All the online information I have found suggests that the 9d versions were printed in the US. They (Sparta?) run a set with a 9d price, changed the plates (or whatever the term is) and then run the cents priced copies (or vice versa). The 9d copies were then shipped to Thorpe & porter to distribute in the UK. The US copies were distributed in the US.

Re the 10c variations, if a portion of the run was made with a blank white box, to allow an alternative price to be added, there was (to my knowledge) no other country in the world which used cents where the exchange rate would have lead to a 10c price. So the logical assumption is that the 10c copies were all intended for the US. If they were intended for different regions of the US, again, why change the font if the price is the same? A reasonable assumption would be that the US copies have different price fonts because they were printed in separate places or at separate times / on separate presses in the same place. 

The reason I persist with this is that while there is doubt, there remains the possibility that one of these 10c copies is not part of the 'first printing' run and that, potentially, has significant implications given how collectors perceive the value in first and subsequent printings. I care not one jot about the financial implications personally. The production mechanics interest me and I hate a mystery. Wouldn't it be a laugh if we uncovered something which, say, lead CGC to have to state which version a specific font represented? How can CGC grade two issues of the same comic and make no mention of the fact that one is visibly different to the other? If they differ, there must be a reason. That reason could be something as significant as 'UK Edition' or 'Second Printing' which CGC state currently. Or it could be explained in a way that has no bearing at all (e.g. they're all first printings and the variation is because the guy on the presses was mucking about). 

You are much more conversant with printing techniques than I am Aman, and I appreciate your thoughts. There must be someone out there who worked on the presses and can tell us how, and where things were done. If we keep banging on, maybe one day that person will surface (thumbsu

 

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How are you sure all were printed in the US?  I must have missed that detail.

however, one overriding factor applies: whatever was done the reason was because it was the cheapest solution at the time. If all versions were in fact printed here in the US at Sparta, perhaps the big clue is the short 5 month period we are seeing the three versions.  That they juryrigged a solution that led to what we are trying to unravel for just a short while until they figured out a cheaper more efficient way.

Let's say Atlas is producing comics solely for the US for years.  Then they make a deal for Thorpe, and they agree to produce and ship them their comics.  Then at some point later on, they need more 10c cover priced copies Sparta would still have the plates, so the new 10c should look same as the first printed US copies.  Or, maybe as I have heard happen back then, the original plates are unusable again.  In this case they'd figure out the cheapest way to go... and that may have been to edit the U.K. Film.

overall I agree wth your goal to determine the order of the printings as the hobby is moving in that direction for all ages, 

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16 minutes ago, Aman619 said:

How are you sure all were printed in the US?  I must have missed that detail.

however, one overriding factor applies: whatever was done the reason was because it was the cheapest solution at the time. If all versions were in fact printed here in the US at Sparta, perhaps the big clue is the short 5 month period we are seeing the three versions.  That they juryrigged a solution that led to what we are trying to unravel for just a short while until they figured out a cheaper more efficient way.

Let's say Atlas is producing comics solely for the US for years.  Then they make a deal for Thorpe, and they agree to produce and ship them their comics.  Then at some point later on, they need more 10c cover priced copies Sparta would still have the plates, so the new 10c should look same as the first printed US copies.  Or, maybe as I have heard happen back then, the original plates are unusable again.  In this case they'd figure out the cheapest way to go... and that may have been to edit the U.K. Film.

overall I agree wth your goal to determine the order of the printings as the hobby is moving in that direction for all ages, 

I'm not sure they were, that's just what every other online comment I've ever seen has inferred. The reason is likely to be so simple and obvious, once we know it. I just wish we did!

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It's going to be hard to get the answer from someone who actually was there. Assuming a kid on the press run was 20 in 1960, he is 77 now and long out of comics biz. Stan would know, having made the deals, perhaps, but they say he's getting frailer.

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4 minutes ago, Aman619 said:

It's going to be hard to get the answer from someone who actually was there. Assuming a kid on the press run was 20 in 1960, he is 77 now and long out of comics biz. Stan would know, having made the deals, perhaps, but they say he's getting frailer.

You might be right. There must be someone on here who knows someone, or even who has contact with Stan. Maybe ask him at a signing. I tried writing to Steve Ditko and he wished me goodnight.  Maybe I could try writing to Stan but I doubt it would get to him even, nevermind him actually replying. 

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Stan only replies in one sentence answers now... because, in reality, so much of this is in his faraway past... just not that important.

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45 minutes ago, Aman619 said:

Stan only replies in one sentence answers now... because, in reality, so much of this is in his faraway past... just not that important.

I don't doubt it. Some one will chime in with the answer one day, I just know it.

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