Can we all agree that Marvel Whitmans are not a thing?
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As a Whitman collector, this has been driving me nuts over the past few years. Other than Treasuries, there are no Marvel Whitman books. They were Direct Market editions that were bagged by Whitman to be sold at shops other than traditional outlets. I pulled an excerpt from a well researched article on the topic written by Jon McClure. (The entire article on types of variants can be found here: http://jonmcclurescomics.com/history.html ) I know that there have been claims made by Jon that are disputed, but having been a long time collector, I do remember getting direct market versions that were the same books being sold in Whitman packs. 

There are 7 different types of Direct Market Editions that change over time. Type A Direct Market Editions have the price and issuenumber in a diamond, with a UPC barcode,and exist with or without the month in the diamond and are the scarcest, with only about 1 in 20 existing copies found in this format, used from 2-9/77. Type B Direct Market Editions have theprice and issuenumber in a diamond, with a blank UPC boxand without a month in the diamond, with about 1 in 15 existing copies found in this format, used from 10/77 to 6/78. Type C Direct Market Editions have theprice and issuenumber in a diamond with a normal UPC box, with the month inside a whitediamond in a black box. There is no cc next to the price, with about 1 in 15 existing copies found in this format, used from 8-9/78. Type D Direct Market Editions have theprice and issue number in a diamond and over a starburst,with a blank UPC box, and exist with or without the month in the diamond, with about 1 in 10 issues existing in this format, used from 10/78 to 2/79. Type E Direct Market Editions have theprice and issue numberin a white flattened diamond within a black square with UPC barcode lines that have a diagonal slash through them and exist with or without the month in the diamond, with about 1 in 5 existing copies found in this format, used from 5/79 to 2/80. Type F Direct Market Editions have a Spider-Man in the UPC box, used from 3/80 to 2/84, and Type G Direct Market Editions have character imagesin the UPC box, sometimes featuring Spider-Man or the title character of the book, a methodology used from 3/84 to 6/93, and Types F and G are more common than their predecessors. Captain America #234(6/79) is an exception; although it was intended to be a Type E Direct Market Edition, they forgot the flattened diamond and used the standard square box, making it different but not a Variant. The last use of the direct diamond on the cover was 9/82. All examples from 10/82 through 3/87 carried the Marvel "M" around the price. The words "Direct Edition"appear in the UPC box from 7/93 up on all issues. All issues dated 4/78 to 7/78 in the indicia had no month on the covers as an experiment to increase shelf life, as initially reported in Comic Reader #152(1/78), p. 2. From 1980-1985, Direct and Newsstand editions exist in equal quantities. From 1986-1990, the Direct Market Editions are somewhat less common. From 1991-1996 Newsstand Editions are 2-10 times scarcer than Direct Market Editions. Note that Direct Market Editions generally hit the stands two or moreweeks before Newsstand Editions, but were simultaneously published. Direct Market Editions cover dated from 2/77 to 2/80 are considered Variants and had low distribution. Direct Market Editions cover dated 3/80 and later are standard editions along as are their Newsstand Edition counterparts.

 

What do the Tooth Fairy and standard-size Marvel Whitmans have in common? They dont exist! To be fair, there are Marvel Whitman comics, but its an easy collection to complete, because only six of them exist, and all are treasury-size Type 7a Variants: Marvel Treasury Edition #17-18 (1978, Incredible Hulk and Amazing Spider-Man), Marvel Special Edition #1-3(1977-1978, Star Wars), and Marvel Special Edition #3 (V2, #1, 1978, Close Encounters of the Third Kind). So-called Marvel Whitmans are actually the first Direct Market Editions beginning with issues cover dated 2/77 and ending with 5/79, before disappearing forever with issues cover dated 9/82. Some books were skipped between 2/77 and 5/79, specifically 1-3/78, 7/78, and 3-4/79. These gaps, the packaging of Direct Market Editions and DC Whitmans in Whitman bags, and some conclusion jumping in the pages of Comics Buyers Guide ultimately led to the misconception and widespread use of the nickname Marvel Whitmans.

 

Type 6 Variants exist because Marvel wanted to prevent dealers from returning Direct Market Editions for higher newsstand credit, and were designed to be obviously different with their appearance, a large diamond in the upper left corner of the cover. The Direct Market was an evolution as certain as the cursed barcodes introduced in June 1976, and the large diamond was its clumsy initial introduction to a market that began to form in the late 1960s to mid 1970s through the efforts of people like Robert Beerbohm, Bud Plant, and Phil Seuling, primarily at conventions and local shops. Direct Market Editions of 1977 look more normal than the 1978-1979 Starburst Direct Market Editions, with the latters cover titles awkwardly repeated next to the Comics Code Authority stamp on the Marvel stripe. No Whitman publications of any kind have been published without the brand name on the cover, and no Whitman comics have ever had a cover date.

 

In order to exist, Marvel Whitmans would have to be a Variant third version. Comics in Whitman bags are identical to those sold as Direct Market Editions in the late 1970s because they are the same books. Whitman did not buy the rights to Marvels books, but most early Direct Market Editions were packaged in Whitman bags and distributed by Western Publishing, who did sometimes purchase the rights to other publishers books. Publishers like Charlton, DC, and Marvel employed Westerns bagged distribution service to market their books from 1967 and 1984. Archivist John Jackson Miller once wrote, Were convinced: From 1977 to early 1979, any diamond-label copy was probably sold by Whitman. In fact, this printing wouldnt have existed without Whitman[and] if Whitman wasnt always the sole purchaser of thesecopies from 1977 to early 1979, it ordered the vast majority. We take as proof the gaps in printing, which we found when we constructed our own timelinethere are two major gaps in the Marvel diamond-label editions, both of which support the claim the Whitman drove the diamond market. (Comics Buyers Guide #1609, October 2005, p. 40).

 

There are 3 gaps in printing for both the Marvel Direct Market Editions and the DC Whitmans that were cover dated from 2/77 to 4/80. Marvel Direct Editions are missing for the months of 1-3/78, 7/78, 3-4/79. The only gap that lines up is 3/79 to 4/79. DC Whitmans went missing for issues cover dated 6/78, 3-4/79, and 4/80. During the longest gap, that of January to March 1978, Western published Type 1b and Type 6 Variants of Gold Key and Whitman comics, regardless of other licensees books. Missing months and multiple gaps were par for the course with Westerns bagged comics and always had been. Production occurred during windows of opportunity with a focus on priority.

 

The first gap in printing for Direct Market Editions occurs from 1-3/78, otherwise known as the Star Wars explosion, when Marvel had amazing success printing and reprinting Star Wars comics. Overwhelmed with Star Wars reprints, Direct Market Editions temporarily fell by the wayside, and only Star Wars #7-9(1-3/78) were produced during this unique gap. Western Publishing went on to reprint all three of the Marvel Treasury Editions, with the Whitman logo, maintaining the pattern of all Whitman books ever published, because Western owned them. The second gap in printing for Direct Market Editions is 7/78. Western published Whitman Variants of Gold Key comics during this month as well as DC Whitmans. DC Whitmans were skipped the previous month in June 1978 but Marvels Direct Market Editions did get printed. The third gap in printing for Direct Market Editions occurs from 3-4/79, and Miller points out that this gap of two missing months is the same for Marvel Direct Market Editions and DC Whitmans, adding, That cant be a coincidence: Whitman must have been driving the printing for both. After that, the Marvel label changes in June from the fat diamond to the skinny one and DCs Whitman output suddenly skyrockets. (Comics Buyers Guide #1609, October 2005, page 40.) The delayed release of the Superman movie explains this pause. Whitman, obviously in anticipation of theSuperman film, has begun a toy-store blitz of Superman merchandise, including plastic bagged DC Comics with the Whitman symbol. (Comic Reader #157, 6/78, p. 5.) DC Whitmans were printed prior to the film delay, and the decision to wait before printing more delayed the Marvels. Doug Sulipa says he received Newsstand Editions during the printing gaps, proving that distribution continued without interruption, the gaps being one of many arguments used in support of the Marvel Whitman theory. Miller updated his opinion recently in the Overstreet Guide, and it seems our opinions differ only on what to call them, as he says that Marvel Whitmans were designed differently to keep them from reentering the newsstand system as returns. (The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #38, 2008, p. 1048).

 

Clearly, the nickname Marvel Whitman is easier to say than Direct Market Edition, although I question the value of this convenience when considering its effect on the market, considering the acronym DME would be easily understood. Bagging comics made it affordable to painlessly introduce the first Direct Market Editions without resorting to expensive small print runs. Profit was the objective, which explains minor inconsistencies, such as comics that exist with UPC codes, some that exist without, and some with both versions, like Star Wars #11(5/78). Western has signed an agreement with Marvel to distribute Marvel Comics in Westerns plastic bag series which is apparently doing quite well. The two companies will not be mixed in the bags. We believe that those Marvels to appear in bags will have slightly different covers in that a diamond will cover the space that currently houses the cover date and Curtis company symbol. The cost of three 30 cent comics will be 79 cents. (Comic Reader #140, February 1977, p. 10). Call them what you will, but they are what they are.

 

 

Edited by bellrules

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Amen, brother.

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I agree👍👍

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It's a name that has already caught on. You can be the smartest person in the room and try to educate people or you can simply accept what is common usage.

Choose your battles well.

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4 hours ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

There's a lot of decent information there; I wonder how much of that was lifted straight from what interested parties have been saying for two decades (me, @FlyingDonut, the guys at STL, for example. BIP once lifted an entire paragraph that I wrote and copied, word for word, from a post of mine.)

;)

There are no "Marvel Whitmans." They never existed. Whitman was, without a doubt, the largest early adopter of the Direct market (it suited their business model perfectly) and certainly drove that market until Marvel went company-wide in early 1979 (starting with June cover dates.) I wish McClure would give up his desire to try and label these books "Type A", "Type 1a", "Type B", because it's not organic or intuitive and no one is going to adopt it.

It is statements like these: "Doug Sulipa says he received Newsstand Editions during the printing gaps, proving that distribution continued without interruption..."

...that really damages McClure's credibility. That's an anecdote. It's not proof.

I interviewed Bud Plant last year about a lot of this. That interview will be published eventually. Can't wait. :)

 

Looking forward to it. I just want it to be settled. The Whitman variant term gets thrown around a lot, even for issues that were only published by Whitman from 1980 to 1984. 

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6 hours ago, shadroch said:

It's a name that has already caught on. You can be the smartest person in the room and try to educate people or you can simply accept what is common usage.

Choose your battles well.

Common usage, but  still incorrect. Let's fix that. Like when people refer to newsstand variants prior to there being as direct market. Drives me bananas when I see that in shops and shows.

Edited by bellrules

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5 hours ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

GAH! Turn down the color!

I tried, but couldn't without re-typing. 

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The Direct Market existed since around 1974, with Star Reach.  If it makes you happy to call the books Early Direct Market copies, go for it. Whitmans sound better and is commonly accepted. I've better windmills to tilt after.

Enjoy your crusade.

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6 minutes ago, bellrules said:

I tried, but couldn't without re-typing. 

Click on the "paste as plain text" and it removes the background color.

Spoiler

 

There are 7 different types of Direct Market Editions that change over time. Type A Direct Market Editions have the price and issuenumber in a diamond, with a UPC barcode,and exist with or without the month in the diamond and are the scarcest, with only about 1 in 20 existing copies found in this format, used from 2-9/77. Type B Direct Market Editions have theprice and issuenumber in a diamond, with a blank UPC boxand without a month in the diamond, with about 1 in 15 existing copies found in this format, used from 10/77 to 6/78. Type C Direct Market Editions have theprice and issuenumber in a diamond with a normal UPC box, with the month inside a whitediamond in a black box. There is no cc next to the price, with about 1 in 15 existing copies found in this format, used from 8-9/78. Type D Direct Market Editions have theprice and issue number in a diamond and over a starburst,with a blank UPC box, and exist with or without the month in the diamond, with about 1 in 10 issues existing in this format, used from 10/78 to 2/79. Type E Direct Market Editions have theprice and issue numberin a white flattened diamond within a black square with UPC barcode lines that have a diagonal slash through them and exist with or without the month in the diamond, with about 1 in 5 existing copies found in this format, used from 5/79 to 2/80. Type F Direct Market Editions have a Spider-Man in the UPC box, used from 3/80 to 2/84, and Type G Direct Market Editions have character imagesin the UPC box, sometimes featuring Spider-Man or the title character of the book, a methodology used from 3/84 to 6/93, and Types F and G are more common than their predecessors. Captain America #234(6/79) is an exception; although it was intended to be a Type E Direct Market Edition, they forgot the flattened diamond and used the standard square box, making it different but not a Variant. The last use of the direct diamond on the cover was 9/82. All examples from 10/82 through 3/87 carried the Marvel "M" around the price. The words "Direct Edition"appear in the UPC box from 7/93 up on all issues. All issues dated 4/78 to 7/78 in the indicia had no month on the covers as an experiment to increase shelf life, as initially reported in Comic Reader #152(1/78), p. 2. From 1980-1985, Direct and Newsstand editions exist in equal quantities. From 1986-1990, the Direct Market Editions are somewhat less common. From 1991-1996 Newsstand Editions are 2-10 times scarcer than Direct Market Editions. Note that Direct Market Editions generally hit the stands two or moreweeks before Newsstand Editions, but were simultaneously published. Direct Market Editions cover dated from 2/77 to 2/80 are considered Variants and had low distribution. Direct Market Editions cover dated 3/80 and later are standard editions along as are their Newsstand Edition counterparts.

 

What do the Tooth Fairy and standard-size Marvel Whitmans have in common? They dont exist! To be fair, there are Marvel Whitman comics, but its an easy collection to complete, because only six of them exist, and all are treasury-size Type 7a Variants: Marvel Treasury Edition #17-18 (1978, Incredible Hulk and Amazing Spider-Man), Marvel Special Edition #1-3(1977-1978, Star Wars), and Marvel Special Edition #3 (V2, #1, 1978, Close Encounters of the Third Kind). So-called Marvel Whitmans are actually the first Direct Market Editions beginning with issues cover dated 2/77 and ending with 5/79, before disappearing forever with issues cover dated 9/82. Some books were skipped between 2/77 and 5/79, specifically 1-3/78, 7/78, and 3-4/79. These gaps, the packaging of Direct Market Editions and DC Whitmans in Whitman bags, and some conclusion jumping in the pages of Comics Buyers Guide ultimately led to the misconception and widespread use of the nickname Marvel Whitmans.

 

Type 6 Variants exist because Marvel wanted to prevent dealers from returning Direct Market Editions for higher newsstand credit, and were designed to be obviously different with their appearance, a large diamond in the upper left corner of the cover. The Direct Market was an evolution as certain as the cursed barcodes introduced in June 1976, and the large diamond was its clumsy initial introduction to a market that began to form in the late 1960s to mid 1970s through the efforts of people like Robert Beerbohm, Bud Plant, and Phil Seuling, primarily at conventions and local shops. Direct Market Editions of 1977 look more normal than the 1978-1979 Starburst Direct Market Editions, with the latters cover titles awkwardly repeated next to the Comics Code Authority stamp on the Marvel stripe. No Whitman publications of any kind have been published without the brand name on the cover, and no Whitman comics have ever had a cover date.

 

In order to exist, Marvel Whitmans would have to be a Variant third version. Comics in Whitman bags are identical to those sold as Direct Market Editions in the late 1970s because they are the same books. Whitman did not buy the rights to Marvels books, but most early Direct Market Editions were packaged in Whitman bags and distributed by Western Publishing, who did sometimes purchase the rights to other publishers books. Publishers like Charlton, DC, and Marvel employed Westerns bagged distribution service to market their books from 1967 and 1984. Archivist John Jackson Miller once wrote, Were convinced: From 1977 to early 1979, any diamond-label copy was probably sold by Whitman. In fact, this printing wouldnt have existed without Whitman[and] if Whitman wasnt always the sole purchaser of thesecopies from 1977 to early 1979, it ordered the vast majority. We take as proof the gaps in printing, which we found when we constructed our own timelinethere are two major gaps in the Marvel diamond-label editions, both of which support the claim the Whitman drove the diamond market. (Comics Buyers Guide #1609, October 2005, p. 40).

 

There are 3 gaps in printing for both the Marvel Direct Market Editions and the DC Whitmans that were cover dated from 2/77 to 4/80. Marvel Direct Editions are missing for the months of 1-3/78, 7/78, 3-4/79. The only gap that lines up is 3/79 to 4/79. DC Whitmans went missing for issues cover dated 6/78, 3-4/79, and 4/80. During the longest gap, that of January to March 1978, Western published Type 1b and Type 6 Variants of Gold Key and Whitman comics, regardless of other licensees books. Missing months and multiple gaps were par for the course with Westerns bagged comics and always had been. Production occurred during windows of opportunity with a focus on priority.

 

The first gap in printing for Direct Market Editions occurs from 1-3/78, otherwise known as the Star Wars explosion, when Marvel had amazing success printing and reprinting Star Wars comics. Overwhelmed with Star Wars reprints, Direct Market Editions temporarily fell by the wayside, and only Star Wars #7-9(1-3/78) were produced during this unique gap. Western Publishing went on to reprint all three of the Marvel Treasury Editions, with the Whitman logo, maintaining the pattern of all Whitman books ever published, because Western owned them. The second gap in printing for Direct Market Editions is 7/78. Western published Whitman Variants of Gold Key comics during this month as well as DC Whitmans. DC Whitmans were skipped the previous month in June 1978 but Marvels Direct Market Editions did get printed. The third gap in printing for Direct Market Editions occurs from 3-4/79, and Miller points out that this gap of two missing months is the same for Marvel Direct Market Editions and DC Whitmans, adding, That cant be a coincidence: Whitman must have been driving the printing for both. After that, the Marvel label changes in June from the fat diamond to the skinny one and DCs Whitman output suddenly skyrockets. (Comics Buyers Guide #1609, October 2005, page 40.) The delayed release of the Superman movie explains this pause. Whitman, obviously in anticipation of theSuperman film, has begun a toy-store blitz of Superman merchandise, including plastic bagged DC Comics with the Whitman symbol. (Comic Reader #157, 6/78, p. 5.) DC Whitmans were printed prior to the film delay, and the decision to wait before printing more delayed the Marvels. Doug Sulipa says he received Newsstand Editions during the printing gaps, proving that distribution continued without interruption, the gaps being one of many arguments used in support of the Marvel Whitman theory. Miller updated his opinion recently in the Overstreet Guide, and it seems our opinions differ only on what to call them, as he says that Marvel Whitmans were designed differently to keep them from reentering the newsstand system as returns. (The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #38, 2008, p. 1048).

 

Clearly, the nickname Marvel Whitman is easier to say than Direct Market Edition, although I question the value of this convenience when considering its effect on the market, considering the acronym DME would be easily understood. Bagging comics made it affordable to painlessly introduce the first Direct Market Editions without resorting to expensive small print runs. Profit was the objective, which explains minor inconsistencies, such as comics that exist with UPC codes, some that exist without, and some with both versions, like Star Wars #11(5/78). Western has signed an agreement with Marvel to distribute Marvel Comics in Westerns plastic bag series which is apparently doing quite well. The two companies will not be mixed in the bags. We believe that those Marvels to appear in bags will have slightly different covers in that a diamond will cover the space that currently houses the cover date and Curtis company symbol. The cost of three 30 cent comics will be 79 cents. (Comic Reader #140, February 1977, p. 10). Call them what you will, but they are what they are.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

Click on the "paste as plain text" and it removes the background color.

  Reveal hidden contents

 

There are 7 different types of Direct Market Editions that change over time. Type A Direct Market Editions have the price and issuenumber in a diamond, with a UPC barcode,and exist with or without the month in the diamond and are the scarcest, with only about 1 in 20 existing copies found in this format, used from 2-9/77. Type B Direct Market Editions have theprice and issuenumber in a diamond, with a blank UPC boxand without a month in the diamond, with about 1 in 15 existing copies found in this format, used from 10/77 to 6/78. Type C Direct Market Editions have theprice and issuenumber in a diamond with a normal UPC box, with the month inside a whitediamond in a black box. There is no cc next to the price, with about 1 in 15 existing copies found in this format, used from 8-9/78. Type D Direct Market Editions have theprice and issue number in a diamond and over a starburst,with a blank UPC box, and exist with or without the month in the diamond, with about 1 in 10 issues existing in this format, used from 10/78 to 2/79. Type E Direct Market Editions have theprice and issue numberin a white flattened diamond within a black square with UPC barcode lines that have a diagonal slash through them and exist with or without the month in the diamond, with about 1 in 5 existing copies found in this format, used from 5/79 to 2/80. Type F Direct Market Editions have a Spider-Man in the UPC box, used from 3/80 to 2/84, and Type G Direct Market Editions have character imagesin the UPC box, sometimes featuring Spider-Man or the title character of the book, a methodology used from 3/84 to 6/93, and Types F and G are more common than their predecessors. Captain America #234(6/79) is an exception; although it was intended to be a Type E Direct Market Edition, they forgot the flattened diamond and used the standard square box, making it different but not a Variant. The last use of the direct diamond on the cover was 9/82. All examples from 10/82 through 3/87 carried the Marvel "M" around the price. The words "Direct Edition"appear in the UPC box from 7/93 up on all issues. All issues dated 4/78 to 7/78 in the indicia had no month on the covers as an experiment to increase shelf life, as initially reported in Comic Reader #152(1/78), p. 2. From 1980-1985, Direct and Newsstand editions exist in equal quantities. From 1986-1990, the Direct Market Editions are somewhat less common. From 1991-1996 Newsstand Editions are 2-10 times scarcer than Direct Market Editions. Note that Direct Market Editions generally hit the stands two or moreweeks before Newsstand Editions, but were simultaneously published. Direct Market Editions cover dated from 2/77 to 2/80 are considered Variants and had low distribution. Direct Market Editions cover dated 3/80 and later are standard editions along as are their Newsstand Edition counterparts.

 

What do the Tooth Fairy and standard-size Marvel Whitmans have in common? They dont exist! To be fair, there are Marvel Whitman comics, but its an easy collection to complete, because only six of them exist, and all are treasury-size Type 7a Variants: Marvel Treasury Edition #17-18 (1978, Incredible Hulk and Amazing Spider-Man), Marvel Special Edition #1-3(1977-1978, Star Wars), and Marvel Special Edition #3 (V2, #1, 1978, Close Encounters of the Third Kind). So-called Marvel Whitmans are actually the first Direct Market Editions beginning with issues cover dated 2/77 and ending with 5/79, before disappearing forever with issues cover dated 9/82. Some books were skipped between 2/77 and 5/79, specifically 1-3/78, 7/78, and 3-4/79. These gaps, the packaging of Direct Market Editions and DC Whitmans in Whitman bags, and some conclusion jumping in the pages of Comics Buyers Guide ultimately led to the misconception and widespread use of the nickname Marvel Whitmans.

 

Type 6 Variants exist because Marvel wanted to prevent dealers from returning Direct Market Editions for higher newsstand credit, and were designed to be obviously different with their appearance, a large diamond in the upper left corner of the cover. The Direct Market was an evolution as certain as the cursed barcodes introduced in June 1976, and the large diamond was its clumsy initial introduction to a market that began to form in the late 1960s to mid 1970s through the efforts of people like Robert Beerbohm, Bud Plant, and Phil Seuling, primarily at conventions and local shops. Direct Market Editions of 1977 look more normal than the 1978-1979 Starburst Direct Market Editions, with the latters cover titles awkwardly repeated next to the Comics Code Authority stamp on the Marvel stripe. No Whitman publications of any kind have been published without the brand name on the cover, and no Whitman comics have ever had a cover date.

 

In order to exist, Marvel Whitmans would have to be a Variant third version. Comics in Whitman bags are identical to those sold as Direct Market Editions in the late 1970s because they are the same books. Whitman did not buy the rights to Marvels books, but most early Direct Market Editions were packaged in Whitman bags and distributed by Western Publishing, who did sometimes purchase the rights to other publishers books. Publishers like Charlton, DC, and Marvel employed Westerns bagged distribution service to market their books from 1967 and 1984. Archivist John Jackson Miller once wrote, Were convinced: From 1977 to early 1979, any diamond-label copy was probably sold by Whitman. In fact, this printing wouldnt have existed without Whitman[and] if Whitman wasnt always the sole purchaser of thesecopies from 1977 to early 1979, it ordered the vast majority. We take as proof the gaps in printing, which we found when we constructed our own timelinethere are two major gaps in the Marvel diamond-label editions, both of which support the claim the Whitman drove the diamond market. (Comics Buyers Guide #1609, October 2005, p. 40).

 

There are 3 gaps in printing for both the Marvel Direct Market Editions and the DC Whitmans that were cover dated from 2/77 to 4/80. Marvel Direct Editions are missing for the months of 1-3/78, 7/78, 3-4/79. The only gap that lines up is 3/79 to 4/79. DC Whitmans went missing for issues cover dated 6/78, 3-4/79, and 4/80. During the longest gap, that of January to March 1978, Western published Type 1b and Type 6 Variants of Gold Key and Whitman comics, regardless of other licensees books. Missing months and multiple gaps were par for the course with Westerns bagged comics and always had been. Production occurred during windows of opportunity with a focus on priority.

 

The first gap in printing for Direct Market Editions occurs from 1-3/78, otherwise known as the Star Wars explosion, when Marvel had amazing success printing and reprinting Star Wars comics. Overwhelmed with Star Wars reprints, Direct Market Editions temporarily fell by the wayside, and only Star Wars #7-9(1-3/78) were produced during this unique gap. Western Publishing went on to reprint all three of the Marvel Treasury Editions, with the Whitman logo, maintaining the pattern of all Whitman books ever published, because Western owned them. The second gap in printing for Direct Market Editions is 7/78. Western published Whitman Variants of Gold Key comics during this month as well as DC Whitmans. DC Whitmans were skipped the previous month in June 1978 but Marvels Direct Market Editions did get printed. The third gap in printing for Direct Market Editions occurs from 3-4/79, and Miller points out that this gap of two missing months is the same for Marvel Direct Market Editions and DC Whitmans, adding, That cant be a coincidence: Whitman must have been driving the printing for both. After that, the Marvel label changes in June from the fat diamond to the skinny one and DCs Whitman output suddenly skyrockets. (Comics Buyers Guide #1609, October 2005, page 40.) The delayed release of the Superman movie explains this pause. Whitman, obviously in anticipation of theSuperman film, has begun a toy-store blitz of Superman merchandise, including plastic bagged DC Comics with the Whitman symbol. (Comic Reader #157, 6/78, p. 5.) DC Whitmans were printed prior to the film delay, and the decision to wait before printing more delayed the Marvels. Doug Sulipa says he received Newsstand Editions during the printing gaps, proving that distribution continued without interruption, the gaps being one of many arguments used in support of the Marvel Whitman theory. Miller updated his opinion recently in the Overstreet Guide, and it seems our opinions differ only on what to call them, as he says that Marvel Whitmans were designed differently to keep them from reentering the newsstand system as returns. (The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #38, 2008, p. 1048).

 

Clearly, the nickname Marvel Whitman is easier to say than Direct Market Edition, although I question the value of this convenience when considering its effect on the market, considering the acronym DME would be easily understood. Bagging comics made it affordable to painlessly introduce the first Direct Market Editions without resorting to expensive small print runs. Profit was the objective, which explains minor inconsistencies, such as comics that exist with UPC codes, some that exist without, and some with both versions, like Star Wars #11(5/78). Western has signed an agreement with Marvel to distribute Marvel Comics in Westerns plastic bag series which is apparently doing quite well. The two companies will not be mixed in the bags. We believe that those Marvels to appear in bags will have slightly different covers in that a diamond will cover the space that currently houses the cover date and Curtis company symbol. The cost of three 30 cent comics will be 79 cents. (Comic Reader #140, February 1977, p. 10). Call them what you will, but they are what they are.

 

 

Fixed, thanks for the tip. I did the original post from my phone. 

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1 minute ago, bellrules said:

Fixed, thanks for the tip. I did the original post from my phone. 

No worries, it was just really hard on the eyes to read. 

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L

11 minutes ago, shadroch said:

The Direct Market existed since around 1974, with Star Reach.  If it makes you happy to call the books Early Direct Market copies, go for it. Whitmans sound better and is commonly accepted. I've better windmills to tilt after.

Enjoy your crusade.

I prefer to just call them Direct Copies. It sounds better and avoids confusion.

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There’s a portion of the above text I’m a bit confused about, a statement made in the article: “The two companies will not be mixed in the bags”

I have opened one Whitman 3-pack that had 2 Marvel Comics and 1 Whitman comic in the middle - Marvel Team-Up #88, Battle of the Planets #4 and (of course, for the life of me, I can’t remember the other Marvel comic)  So there was at least one pack I know was mixed.

Is the statement referring to a specific time period, like when the Marvel Direct Editions had large diamond logos?

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1 minute ago, bellrules said:

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I prefer to just call them Direct Copies. It sounds better and avoids confusion.

It's really what they are. Calling them "Whitmans" is a misnomer, and doesn't give credit to an important part of the history of comics in the development of the Direct market. A lot happened in just a few short years.

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1 hour ago, Number 6 said:

There’s a portion of the above text I’m a bit confused about, a statement made in the article: “The two companies will not be mixed in the bags”

I have opened one Whitman 3-pack that had 2 Marvel Comics and 1 Whitman comic in the middle - Marvel Team-Up #88, Battle of the Planets #4 and (of course, for the life of me, I can’t remember the other Marvel comic)  So there was at least one pack I know was mixed.

Is the statement referring to a specific time period, like when the Marvel Direct Editions had large diamond logos?

I have that pack as well. I also have one pack that has a Hulk mixed in with some DC books. I'm guessing this is how they got rid of some overstock.

 

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1 hour ago, bellrules said:

The Whitman variant term gets thrown around a lot, even for issues that were only published by Whitman from 1980 to 1984. 

I can live with people calling Whitmans "Whitman variants" - it's when they call things that have no association with Whitman or Western Publishing "Whitman variants" that I begin to weep.

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I think I'll stick with Marvel Whitman for 1977 through May 1979.  The portion of the argument that maintains that because they don't have a Whitman logo on the cover then they're not Whitmans doesn't win me over.  It seems that most of the evidence suggests that these versions wouldn't exist if it were not for their production for Western.  I've heard that there were some additional sales channels that may have received them too, but the reason for their existence being Western and being (predominantly?) sold in packages with Whitman logos makes the Marvel Whitman nomenclature reasonable usage.

:fear:

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Nah. Western is not the reason these books exist. The Direct market that was being utilized by Western is.

Once Western found out about the Direct market, and that they could get a better discount than what they were getting, for exactly what they were doing, they signed up. Western never returned books in the first place, and they'd been doing bagged Marvels for years. But these books were made so that they could be sold to the Direct market and not be returned through newsstand channels, which wasn't limited to Western.

Western didn't invent the Direct market. Sueling did. Marvel almost certainly saw how Whitman handled their "multi-distribution" books, knew there were people cheating by buying copies through Direct channels (starting in 1973-74) at better discounts, then returning them for credit profit through newsstand channels, and knew they needed to come up with a way to differentiate the two, which they did by November, 1976.

The "fat" and "skinny" diamonds have nothing to do with Western, and everything to do with preventing returns from the Direct market.

After all....the very fact that the "Whitman" imprint exists in the first place is to differentiate Western's newsstand books (Gold Key) from its own "Direct" market books (Whitman.)

Are we going to call these "Western Whitmans" or "Whitman Whitmans"...?

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