Whitman Variants, Direct vs Newsstand
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9 hours ago, slpfi27 said:

Example: (for the slow ones) Amazing Spider-Man #XXX is out there Census Data says there is 661 Graded. Wouldn't it be cool? If the Census said, thus far CGC has recorded 100 Newsstand Variants, 500 Direct Editions, 1 Double Cover, 50 Mark Jewlers inserts, 10 Errors?

Then why are you posting here instead of communicating directly with CGC?

If you communicate directly with CGC, maybe something will happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, that something will almost certainly be that you become the 74th person to have that suggestion rejected, but at least you'll hear it from the source.

While they are noted, they've never separated stuff like double covers, inserts, and (most) errors into different entries for the same issue and, again, they've been quite inconsistent with the things they actually do separate.

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17 hours ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

Nope. They are, in fact, Direct editions, made expressly because they needed a way to differentiate Direct from newsstand copies, so that Direct copies wouldn't be returned through newsstand distribution channels.

Otherwise, there was no need for them to be made.

I respect that you bring facts to the discussions, RMA, but you speak in absolutes with your conclusion even though there is evidence that this is a gray area.  So I'll do the same.   I say the books in question up through May 1979 are, in fact, Whitman variants, made expressly for Whitman. We clearly know this based on a statement by a Marvel insider, Jim Shooter.  If you have a quote from a Marvel insider that says otherwise, I'd like to hear about it.   But maybe we should take it back to the other thread, and avoid further hijacking the OPs thread.   At least that's where I'll make any further posts.  The OP's interest is to discuss getting CGC to label these as *something*, and he's not interested in the more academic debate.

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34 minutes ago, Warlord said:

I respect that you bring facts to the discussions, RMA, but you speak in absolutes with your conclusion even though there is evidence that this is a gray area.  So I'll do the same.   I say the books in question up through May 1979 are, in fact, Whitman variants, made expressly for Whitman. We clearly know this based on a statement by a Marvel insider, Jim Shooter.  If you have a quote from a Marvel insider that says otherwise, I'd like to hear about it.   But maybe we should take it back to the other thread, and avoid further hijacking the OPs thread.   At least that's where I'll make any further posts.  The OP's interest is to discuss getting CGC to label these as *something*, and he's not interested in the more academic debate.

In this case, absolutes are fine, because of what we know. In 1976, when the program started, Jim Shooter was merely an assistant editor and writer, and would not (necessarily) have had any working knowledge of or interaction with the circulation department. And Jim Shooter has made errors before. This was a question asked to him nearly 35 years after the events, after all. 

This is what we know: the different cover markings are because someone(s) was/were buying books through the Direct market, at a substantially higher discount in exchange for no returnability. Either because it was actually happening, or because someone at Marvel suspected it was happening, or could happen, the cover marking program was developed to.prevent Direct market purchases from being returned through newsstand distribution channels.

In other words, the reason the cover markings exist at all was because of the existence of the Direct market.

It does not matter if those copies were going exclusively to Western. They may have been! It does not matter if it was some sort of mixture. That's the "gray area" you're referring to, but it's irrelevant as to cause, because the control and process of the Direct market as a program is why these books exist. 

On top of that, they are not identified, in any way, with Western/Whitman...which is NOT true of DCs (or actual Whitmans!) that were contemporary to these books. 

No doubt...Western was a huge early adopter of the Direct market. But it's the Direct market and its process...not (just) Western...which made these necessary, and why it's correct to call them Direct market editions...NOT "Whitmans."

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22 hours ago, Warlord said:

Call them Whitman variants if you want.  That's what they are, up through May 1979.  Those ARE NOT "direct" issues.

Aren't these absolute statements....?

hm

;)

 

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1 hour ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

Aren't these absolute statements....?

hm

;)

 

Yes, I was playing the same game ... because I copied your phrasing when I flipped one of your earlier statements:foryou: 

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32 minutes ago, Warlord said:

Yes, I was playing the same game ... because I copied your phrasing when I flipped one of your earlier statements:foryou: 

Uh huh.

lol

 

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1 hour ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

Uh huh.

lol

 

On 2/15/2020 at 8:44 PM, RockMyAmadeus said:

Those ARE NOT "Whitman" issues.

Not sure if your response means you are amused or that you don't believe me.  But your assertion above is why I responded with the text quoted below. 

Quote

Those ARE NOT "direct" issues.   

And then, back to more serious matters. :foryou:

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46 minutes ago, Warlord said:

Not sure if your response means you are amused or that you don't believe me.  But your assertion above is why I responded with the text quoted below. 

And then, back to more serious matters. :foryou:

You've missed the point. I don't have a problem with "absolute" statements. You implied that you did. Logically, then, it would make sense for the person who has a problem with them to not use them...even for "effect." 

Edited by RockMyAmadeus

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12 hours ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

In this case, absolutes are fine, because of what we know. In 1976, when the program started, Jim Shooter was merely an assistant editor and writer, and would not (necessarily) have had any working knowledge of or interaction with the circulation department. And Jim Shooter has made errors before. This was a question asked to him nearly 35 years after the events, after all. 

This is what we know: the different cover markings are because someone(s) was/were buying books through the Direct market, at a substantially higher discount in exchange for no returnability. Either because it was actually happening, or because someone at Marvel suspected it was happening, or could happen, the cover marking program was developed to.prevent Direct market purchases from being returned through newsstand distribution channels.

In other words, the reason the cover markings exist at all was because of the existence of the Direct market.

It does not matter if those copies were going exclusively to Western. They may have been! It does not matter if it was some sort of mixture. That's the "gray area" you're referring to, but it's irrelevant as to cause, because the control and process of the Direct market as a program is why these books exist. 

On top of that, they are not identified, in any way, with Western/Whitman...which is NOT true of DCs (or actual Whitmans!) that were contemporary to these books. 

No doubt...Western was a huge early adopter of the Direct market. But it's the Direct market and its process...not (just) Western...which made these necessary, and why it's correct to call them Direct market editions...NOT "Whitmans."

The brief era of fat diamond Marvel issues from 77-79 not being identified as Whitman on the cover doesn't make the case for not calling them Whitmans because DC's books have it printed out on the cover.   Do we not refer to any newsstand copies as newsstand by knowing the UPC barcode format?  Later copies (2005 ish?) had it spelled out 'newsstand or direct' so is that when it's proper to start calling non-direct copies newsstands?   The era of inconsistent production featured on the BIP link posted earlier is unique, there were far less copies produced for Western/Whitman than later on when the direct market went nationwide, it's also true that the books were thought of as reprints and shunned by some collectors in that era....but I never visited an LCS that carried those as their primary back issue stock and referring to them as "only' direct or early direct editions ignores that distinction.  That IS a critical distinction especially in an era where your early local comic shops in the early 80's were able be reckless with ordering since virtually any book ordered could and would be repriced, bagged, boarded and sold in a few months for more than cover price.  

The fact that the DC versions are marked Whitman is the best argument to refer to this brief era of Marvel's earliest direct books as Whitman copies.

 

Edited by bababooey

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Well...

I appreciate you all! I just wanted to throw that out there. I am interested in this debate/discussion. I just hope everyone keeps it friendly. I am sure we'd all have a Beer together if we met up. Text and type is so hard to evaluate sometimes. So I'll presume you are all my friends and if not friends at lease we respect each other for our many differences. I am honored to be part of this Community. Thanks again folks for your awesome knowledge!

 

Sincerely 

Brian W

<slpfi27>

P.S. CGC "Call them what they are." Please!

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6 hours ago, bababooey said:

 than later on when the direct market went nationwide,

There are still fundamental misunderstandings of the Direct market and how it came to be.

The Direct market was already nationwide in 1973-74. Phil Seuling's Sea Gate Distribution was a nationwide distributor to "comics specialty stores" (as they were called then) by 1974. 

Bud Plant, Rozanski, and other distributors pressured the publishers and broke Phil's monopoly on nationwide distribution in 1977.

The Direct market was already well-established nationwide at the time that Marvel's cover marking program started. It had been nationwide for years when Marvel took the cover marking program company-wide in early 1979.

6 hours ago, bababooey said:

Do we not refer to any newsstand copies as newsstand by knowing the UPC barcode format? 

Sure, because newsstand distribution was the default method of distribution since the beginning of comic books in the early 30s. That's where most comics were distributed to and sold at: newsstands. They could have just as easily been called "drugstore" copies, "corner store" copies, or "spinner-rack" copies, but the term "newsstand" seemed the broadest and most accurate description of how these books were distributed, so it stuck when the distinction needed to be made: that is, after the rise of the Direct market. 

6 hours ago, bababooey said:

but I never visited an LCS that carried those as their primary back issue stock and referring to them as "only' direct or early direct editions ignores that distinction. 

1. That's because, fundamentally, they were still experimental in nature. Marvel only made them for their most popular sellers; whether this was driven by Western or not (and I agree that it was!) doesn't change their experimental nature. 

2. Late 1976-early 1979 was the era of the developing comic book store stock. As Bud Plant, founder of Comics and Comix, and one of the earliest Direct comics distributors, explains, comics stores started as solely back issue dealers...most stores did not sell new books, because new books were easily available in traditional outlets. Stores carrying new comics was a process that evolved throughout the 70s. The idea of retailers buying more copies than they could sell, to turn into recent back stock to sell for higher prices a few months later is a distinctly late 70s concept, because prior to then, it was rare for a new book to be worth a premium 6 months or a year after publication. These things have no exact timeline; they developed independently and organically as the collector market grew (AND the reader market shrank! Marvel and DC were in dire straights by 1977-1978!)

3. As previously stated, the reason they exist is so that buyers who bought non-returnable copies at a deep discount (aka "Direct market copies") wouldn't be able to return them for credit through newsstand distribution channels. To call them "Whitmans", when there's no indication on the books themselves that they were produced solely for Western, and a clear intent to distinguish between Direct and newsstand distribution channels, would be a misstatement.

6 hours ago, bababooey said:

The fact that the DC versions are marked Whitman is the best argument to refer to this brief era of Marvel's earliest direct books as Whitman copies.

Why? They were different programs from different publishers. There's nothing to link the two, other than being contemporary. DC apparently didn't think Direct returns through newsstand distribution channels was a problem until mid-1980...over half a decade after they started selling Direct copies to Sea Gate Distribution. DC books did not receive the distinction company-wide until the October, 1980 cover dates...with the exception of books like Superboy Spectacular #1, which was the first Direct-only book from DC (beating Marvel by a year.)

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On 2/25/2020 at 2:29 AM, bababooey said:
On 2/24/2020 at 11:41 PM, RockMyAmadeus said:

Since Western didn't return books...it not being part of their business model...and they certainly wouldn't be cheating Marvel in any event...Marvel saw no need to make a "Whitman" version, unlike DC, which did.

You continually repeat this like it proves your point.  The point of redesign by Marvel for Whitman/Western was to prevent abuse by others who had the ability to return since the books could be remaindered by those who could.

Several reasons why this proves my point:

1. The window to return books, as I understand it, was not open-ended and indefinite. Now...I don't know *precisely* what that window was, but we get a clue by cover dates. Cover dates exist for periodicals so that news vendors would know when to take copies off-sale and return for credit, if necessary. Magazine distributors, no doubt, had different requirements, as did publishers, but it wasn't indefinite. If I had a copy of FF #165, cover date Dec, 1975 (on sale in Sept of 1975), I'm pretty sure I couldn't then return it for credit in August of 1976. I could be wrong about this...and I'm happy to be corrected with documentation...but I don't think I am.

2. Western stockpiled tens and hundreds of thousands of copies of books to assemble their 3-packs, which then were distributed to Western's clients. Granted, sometimes Western had three issues of the same month, but they also did tens of thousands of sequential issues of the same title...meaning, by the time the first issue in the pack hit the stands, it was already, if not past, the time to return it for credit. And that assumes that Western distributed them immediately after the last issue was shipped to them, which we don't know. This is why buyers at the time...including you...thought they were reprints: they were offered for sale months and even years after they were originally produced. There were many, many months in between their printed date and their "on the shelf at K-Mart for sale" date.

3. If someone was going to scheme and buy a bunch of packs from Western, with the intent to cheat the newsstand distribution system, they were already prevented from doing so by the fact that Western only received these "fat diamond" copies in the first place. Even if they didn't, they would be months late, possibly missing the window to return for credit, and for a smaller discount than Western got...or even if they got a better discount from Western than they would have from the newsstand distribution channels. Occam's Razor kicks in, and though possible, it becomes increasingly less likely the longer the process takes.

But...all of that isn't even relevant. The point is this: these books were made to prevent buyers of Direct copies at Direct discounts from returning them through newsstand channels, no matter who those buyers were. Whether they were produced solely and entirely for Western or not (and I'm 100% sure, though I can't prove it, that they were not), they are fundamentally Direct market copies, produced under the requirements and restrictions of that program, sold at a deeper discount in exchange for the inability to return them for credit, and marked on the covers to prevent that from occurring. 

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I never thought Whitmans were reprints.  (shrug)

Your assumptions are wrong about "stockpiling", the sales of three packs in the summer of '77 were month to month and only delayed by about two months, three months at most.  I never bought a 3 pack after that fall when I found my local newsstand outlet.  Here's my buying timeline using ASM, in the summer I bought 169 to 172, in early July issue 170 was the "current" 3 pack issue before Sept I'd bought 172, in November I bought 176 at my local stationery store.  Mind you these timelines are Canadian but I don't think they (western) were sitting on months and months worth of books.

The whole reasoning for the changes to the cover format were certainly made with the larger direct/LCS market in mind but the era prior to '79 is not the same as the later more plentiful direct editions.   I don't have any stake in identification by CGC, my first issues from the summer are mostly beaters with a mark in the comics code box to indicate I read it :D but personally as a nostalgia driven collector I'd rather have a 9.8 ASM 170 Whitman than a 35 cent variant.

Since I can't bother with point by point let's just say nothing you've stated changes my opinion about the fact that this brief time period from 77-79 is different from what followed.

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OK, glad to learn that the OP is interested in this discussion!  :applause:

This discussion is demonstrating that with limited facts available, the subject will remain open to debate.   I'll be sticking with the Whitman variant designation for those Marvels up through May 1979 unless definitive information about the intentions of Marvel is provided by those who worked at Marvel (or documentation about the recipients of these issues) during the 1970s.   Absent that, we're mostly looking at the same set of facts and speculation and coming to different conclusions.   Only for those issues from June 1979 and after, when Marvel went line-wide and began publishing diamond prices and slashed UPCs on all titles and all issues, will I adopt the newsstand vs direct nomenclature.   Before that sea change my conclusion is that they were making these comics for Western to put into their Whitman prepacks, making the Whitman variant term the most correct designation.

 

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7 minutes ago, Warlord said:

 

 

683439355_marvel3packMultiMagsamazingspiderman188thor279captainameria229-f.thumb.jpg.57e2d1452e39b6f371da14b50526985c.jpg657918942_marvel3packwhitmanamazingspiderman186187188-b.thumb.jpg.b69cfae4fe30cbc3a6b29c0276fe278a.jpg

Question unrelated to Whitman: I have sealed comics from this era (but from DC). Is it best to keep them sealed or take them out? The plastic feels horrendous on the outside, but the comics look nice in the inside. Not sure if I am doing better keeping them sealed or not. I do find it fun to have sealed comics from the 70s.

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31 minutes ago, William-James88 said:

Question unrelated to Whitman: I have sealed comics from this era (but from DC). Is it best to keep them sealed or take them out? The plastic feels horrendous on the outside, but the comics look nice in the inside. Not sure if I am doing better keeping them sealed or not. I do find it fun to have sealed comics from the 70s.

For value purposes, my general opinion would be to advise that they be kept sealed.  Unless you've got some key issues, then the answer could be different.  You mention the plastic feeling horrendous -- I once opened a 1970s pack (I had a duplicate pack preserved intact so it wasn't that great a loss for me) that had almost a gritty/dusty feel to the plastic.  Whatever was causing that feeling was inside, not on the outside of the plastic.  However the comics themselves were smooth, glossy, and appeared unharmed when removed.  So from the perspective of avoiding damage, I don't think I rescued them from any imminent threat from the plastic's condition.

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30 minutes ago, William-James88 said:

Question unrelated to Whitman: I have sealed comics from this era (but from DC). Is it best to keep them sealed or take them out? The plastic feels horrendous on the outside, but the comics look nice in the inside. Not sure if I am doing better keeping them sealed or not. I do find it fun to have sealed comics from the 70s.

It would depend on what your primary collecting objective is:  preserve the unopened pack or preserving the comics inside. 
 

When I was collecting sealed Whitman packs I knew the plastic bag was detrimental to the preservation of the comics inside. I also discovered that storing sealed Whitman packs inside Mylar bags - a much better material for preservation - was a bad idea as the Mylar clings to the Whitman bag and will pull the logo ink off the bag when removed from the Mylar. 
 

The “solution” I came up with (someone may have a better suggestion) was to put the sealed pack inside a golden age size polypropylene bag and then put that in a magazine size Mylar bag and board. 
 

The problem with that, of coarse, is there’s a a layer of polypropylene (not great) and then a layer of whatever garbage plastic the Whitman bag is made out of (even worse) between the comics and the Mylar. They comics are probably still stewing in their own juices. 
 

When I was collecting them, I tried to find 2 examples of each pack with the comics and bags in the best condition possible. I’d open one pack that appeared to have the nicest condition comics and store those in Mylar bags/boards.  The lesser condition pack I would keep sealed and store as above. 
 

I eventually gave up on collecting sealed packs because even setting aside the Disney stuff, which didn’t interest me, there’s just a ton of that stuff. I only have so much room and disposable income.  I still have most of the books I acquired from sealed packs.  
 

I suppose if I were to take up collecting packs again I would focus on finding the bag that looks to be in the best condition possible while simultaneously opting for the comics inside to be in lesser condition (which would hopefully result in an accompanying discount on price). That may sound weird, but again, my objective would be to preserve the sealed pack itself, I know that’s the worst way to preserve the comics themselves, and I’d want to acquire the packs for as little as possible since I know they’ll fair the worst with long-term storage. 
 

But anyway, that’s just me. 

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13 hours ago, RockMyAmadeus said:

There are still fundamental misunderstandings of the Direct market and how it came to be.

The Direct market was already nationwide in 1973-74. Phil Seuling's Sea Gate Distribution was a nationwide distributor to "comics specialty stores" (as they were called then) by 1974. 

Bud Plant, Rozanski, and other distributors pressured the publishers and broke Phil's monopoly on nationwide distribution in 1977.

The Direct market was already well-established nationwide at the time that Marvel's cover marking program started. It had been nationwide for years when Marvel took the cover marking program company-wide in early 1979.

Sure, because newsstand distribution was the default method of distribution since the beginning of comic books in the early 30s. That's where most comics were distributed to and sold at: newsstands. They could have just as easily been called "drugstore" copies, "corner store" copies, or "spinner-rack" copies, but the term "newsstand" seemed the broadest and most accurate description of how these books were distributed, so it stuck when the distinction needed to be made: that is, after the rise of the Direct market. 

1. That's because, fundamentally, they were still experimental in nature. Marvel only made them for their most popular sellers; whether this was driven by Western or not (and I agree that it was!) doesn't change their experimental nature. 

2. Late 1976-early 1979 was the era of the developing comic book store stock. As Bud Plant, founder of Comics and Comix, and one of the earliest Direct comics distributors, explains, comics stores started as solely back issue dealers...most stores did not sell new books, because new books were easily available in traditional outlets. Stores carrying new comics was a process that evolved throughout the 70s. The idea of retailers buying more copies than they could sell, to turn into recent back stock to sell for higher prices a few months later is a distinctly late 70s concept, because prior to then, it was rare for a new book to be worth a premium 6 months or a year after publication. These things have no exact timeline; they developed independently and organically as the collector market grew (AND the reader market shrank! Marvel and DC were in dire straights by 1977-1978!)

3. As previously stated, the reason they exist is so that buyers who bought non-returnable copies at a deep discount (aka "Direct market copies") wouldn't be able to return them for credit through newsstand distribution channels. To call them "Whitmans", when there's no indication on the books themselves that they were produced solely for Western, and a clear intent to distinguish between Direct and newsstand distribution channels, would be a misstatement.

Why? They were different programs from different publishers. There's nothing to link the two, other than being contemporary. DC apparently didn't think Direct returns through newsstand distribution channels was a problem until mid-1980...over half a decade after they started selling Direct copies to Sea Gate Distribution. DC books did not receive the distinction company-wide until the October, 1980 cover dates...with the exception of books like Superboy Spectacular #1, which was the first Direct-only book from DC (beating Marvel by a year.)

I'm not sure people understand how small Phil Seulings operation was in 1974.  Seagate opened and existed more to get him stock for his monthly show and to supply dealers at the show. Seagate co-existed with his comic store and I'm not sure they had any dedicated employees in Brooklyn. What people now refer to as his " distribution center" in Sparta was a backroom of a friend of a friend's. Even in its hay days of the early 1980s, Seagate worked out of a storefront with a front office of Phil, his girlfriend,  two salesmen and two girls who tried to make sense of the non computerized office. The shipping Department was one guy with a couple of high school kids who helped out the day the books came in.

Even when he was chartering a plane to bring new books to NY the day they were printed, he only needed one van to bring them to the warehouse.

If I recall correctly, Phil didn't move into a real distribution center in Sparta until Pacific Comics went belly up. 

By the way, no one persuaded Marvel to do away with Phil's monopoly. New Media sued in Federal Court and won. Marvel had no choice in the matter.

I might be wrong in saying New Media won the case, as it looks like the parties reached an out of court settlement. In any case, it was a slam dunk.

Edited by shadroch

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2 hours ago, shadroch said:

I'm not sure people understand how small Phil Seulings operation was in 1974.  Seagate opened and existed more to get him stock for his monthly show and to supply dealers at the show. Seagate co-existed with his comic store and I'm not sure they had any dedicated employees in Brooklyn. What people now refer to as his " distribution center" in Sparta was a backroom of a friend of a friend's. Even in its hay days of the early 1980s, Seagate worked out of a storefront with a front office of Phil, his girlfriend,  two salesmen and two girls who tried to make sense of the non computerized office. The shipping Department was one guy with a couple of high school kids who helped out the day the books came in.

Even when he was chartering a plane to bring new books to NY the day they were printed, he only needed one van to bring them to the warehouse.

If I recall correctly, Phil didn't move into a real distribution center in Sparta until Pacific Comics went belly up. 

By the way, no one persuaded Marvel to do away with Phil's monopoly. New Media sued in Federal Court and won. Marvel had no choice in the matter.

Appreciate the info.   Your summary gives a sense of scale of the volume that Seuling might have been distributing in those early years. 

I'm interested in the timeline of events regarding the late 1970s,  here are a few key items:

  • On sale in November 1976 (newsstand copies), Marvel's Feb 1977 cover dated comics begin appearing in Western's Whitman pre-packs.  Presumably Western's pre-packs containing these comics were on retailer's shelves within a short timeframe.

 

  • In November 1977, Seuling wrote in his newsletter:
Quote

For a few months, an off-the-wall pseudo "distributor" on the middle of the East Coast [New Media Productions/Irjax] has been telling everyone that "Seuling is out. He won't be able to deliver books any more." This nut has also suggested returning unsold books (bought from him) through the local distributor as "returns,", a policy which would automatically get you cut off from all supplies from all publishers...

This suggests to me that some? all? "distributors" (Irjax at a minimum of course) were receiving comics in 1977 that were identical to newsstand copies, otherwise the alleged returns fraud wouldn't be possible.  The Seuling comment comes almost one year after the debut of Western's Whitman pre-packs of Marvel comics.

  • Sea Gate began to expand into having regional sub-distributors in late 1977/1978.

 

  • Oct 2, 1978, Irjax Enterprixes sued Seuling and major comics publishers in MD federal court for antitrust, significantly cited were the favorable terms (discount!) including Seuling getting his customers' orders collated and shipped directly to them from the printer.

 

  • By the Summer of 1979, major issues of this 1978 suit had been resolved in a series of settlements.  No longer were orders shipped directly from the printer to retailer, but instead comic distributors received comics at their newly established warehouses.   [I'd like to find more specifics about the "series of settlements".  This change in the shipping meant that direct distribution was no longer quite so direct.] 

 

  • On sale in March of 1979, Marvel's June cover dated comics for all titles start to have either the slashed UPC and/or the diamond price box.

 

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I understand there is a debate of what to call these books, Whitman or Direct? I knew that it was a debate LONG before I started the thread. I probably chose the incorrect designations for these books. Which kicked us off on this debate once again all these years later. However, can't we call them "Diamond Editions" They have a Diamond on the cover, and this seperates them from the others does it not? It is my understanding there is variants of each Diamond as well? Some with month's and some without? We clearly have two sets of people that call them Direct Editions, and Whitman Editions. Is it possible that we can agree they have Diamonds on the Cover, and more informed Comic collectors could write a long and well thought out book on the subject? The Book would be titled, "Understanding Diamond Variants?" 

Just a thought. 

Keep it coming!

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