Whitman Variants, Direct vs Newsstand
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By the way, none of what I've said makes Whitmans less collectible.  In the current market, there are many variants, 3rd printings, and more that people collect and collectively agree on value.  I don't see why this wouldn't apply to the various iterations of a given issue of Peter Parker #10.

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13 hours ago, slpfi27 said:

5. As a collector of books (me personally). I want as many variants and rare stories as I can find. To collect them I need to establish a difference between common and rare. What do I call the various different variants of each book? How will I know if it is rare or not? How will I search for them? How will I create a standard of variants now and in the future? Calling these books Direct Market Editions is not fair and doesn’t classify them for what they are “SPECIAL”. After issue #31 Direct Versions are a dime a dozen, and 9.8 Galore! Newsstands are rare, and Early Diamonds and 35 Cent Variants near impossible!

 

7. For #04, #06, #07, #08, #09, #10, #11, #12, #13, #18, #21, #22, #24, #25, #26, #27, #30 these books need to be called “Diamonds Editions” (or something different) in my opinion. The intent behind what they should be was not an EXACT science and certainly was not executed perfectly. These books are RARE, hard to find,and darn near impossible to locate in perfect/near perfect quality. Does this sound like any Direct Edition you know of? Clearly something was different about their safety. If these books are Direct to Distributors then why are they uncommon? Why are they severely damaged? Where are the pristine survivors? If these are DIRECT to the Distributors, why don’t we see hundreds of CGC 9.8’s of these books? These books were destroyed! Pre-Issue #31 you will find it near impossible to locate one. Marvel must have got their act together after issue #31. Because, we can clearly see the understood definition of Direct vs Newsstand. Before then, it was something CLEARLY different!

Definitions and classifications shouldn't be (and aren't) subject to the whims of how some random guy collects. You're on the wrong side; the side of meaningless hype. Real value doesn't come from simply telling people that something is rare, even if that's actually true.

The Direct market began when Phil Seuling suggested to the publishers that they should sell him comics for lower, but guaranteed, profit per sale compared to the newsstand channel. Whitman did exactly the same thing, buying comics directly from the publishers. They both ordered exactly what they wanted, unlike the more complicated and fragmented newsstand system. Whether or not Whitman was the exclusive distributor for the copies that were definitely made based on their orders isn't even relevant.

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As for only newsstand issues havIng barcodes, may I present exhibit A. I don’t think they were reprints, I think they were stockpiled at the Whitman warehouse for a few months, so they could be put in themed packs with consecutive issues. 

29DB2202-6583-4112-95FB-B43217207115.jpeg

Edited by bellrules
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14 hours ago, Lazyboy said:

Definitions and classifications shouldn't be (and aren't) subject to the whims of how some random guy collects. You're on the wrong side; the side of meaningless hype. Real value doesn't come from simply telling people that something is rare, even if that's actually true.

Lazy Boy, I appreciate your kindness! You are a shining star of the CGC message boards. I have no doubt everyone here will agree your intellect is on display and your knowledge on this subject is supreme. I know you did not intend to offend anyone. So again, thank you! :golfclap:

 

As for the rest of us “know nothing” folks…

 

Review this and tell me if I am off base on anything…. (again)

 

FACTS: (Yes or No, and please no opinions. Let’s try and base it on fact.)

1. Not all Diamonds are Whitman’s (previous pictures prove this. So again, why call them “Whitman’s?”)

2. Some Diamonds came with UPC Codes, and some did not

3. Some were bagged with other comics, and some were not

4. The Large Diamonds stopped in 1979 (not the small Diamond)

5. The whole reason for marking the books was to prevent fraud and lost profits. This established a reason for Direct, and Newsstand.

6. The Diamonds could be re-prints; they did not share the monthly cycle as the Bar-Coded Versions. Some Diamonds could be with a blank box, or a UPC box, and so some appear to be Newsstand versions, while others appear to be bagged and boarded. So, they can’t be called Newsstand issues.

 

Questions:

1. If Direct Market Editions were purchased in MASSIVE quantities by Whitman and other publishers, why are these books not more common than their newsstands counterparts?  

2. Why wouldn’t they be more common, and easier to find? Clearly the Diamond wouldn’t even be worth marking if the quantity of these books were low print distribution or re-prints? See my point? Why bother?

3. If Diamond Box books are “Direct Market Editions” why are ALL of them destroyed? Anyone have 9.8 NM/M Candidates? Some should have survived. Not TONS but some. I haven’t found any. They look well-handled and cracked all over. This seems to indicate NEWSSTAND handling to me. Where are the pristine Diamond Spectacular Spider-Man’s out there?

4. Back to when this started…. Why not call them “Diamond Editions” (Or something different). Because, they were not ALL DIRECT, and they weren’t ALL NEWSSTAND editions?

 

Thanks again folks!

Brian W.

<slpfi27>

Registry set: Spectacular Spider-Man 1-263 + Annuals (NUFF SAID!)

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13 hours ago, slpfi27 said:

Questions:

1. If Direct Market Editions were purchased in MASSIVE quantities

How much is massive and where did you get that idea? It certainly wasn't from here or here.

13 hours ago, slpfi27 said:

by Whitman and other publishers, why are these books not more common than their newsstands counterparts?  

You mean distributors, right?

13 hours ago, slpfi27 said:

2. Why wouldn’t they be more common, and easier to find? Clearly the Diamond wouldn’t even be worth marking if the quantity of these books were low print distribution or re-prints? See my point? Why bother?

They were relatively low print compared to the total print run for an issue, but there were still obviously enough printed to make it worth it.

13 hours ago, slpfi27 said:

3. If Diamond Box books are “Direct Market Editions” why are ALL of them destroyed? Anyone have 9.8 NM/M Candidates? Some should have survived. Not TONS but some. I haven’t found any. They look well-handled and cracked all over. This seems to indicate NEWSSTAND handling to me. Where are the pristine Diamond Spectacular Spider-Man’s out there?

I don't know. I don't care. I'm sure there are some out there somewhere. There's no such thing as (uniform) newsstand handling and these copies were never on newsstands.

13 hours ago, slpfi27 said:

4. Back to when this started…. Why not call them “Diamond Editions” (Or something different). Because, they were not ALL DIRECT, and they weren’t ALL NEWSSTAND editions?

They were all Direct editions. Having a UPC does not automatically or necessarily make a comic a Newsstand edition, even before the early-mid 1990s when most Direct editions got UPCs.

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16 hours ago, slpfi27 said:

3. Some were bagged with other comics, and some were not

I don’t think this is correct in regard to the “square” diamond (Whitman) copies.  I don’t know of anyone that ever saw them sold individually at a store, newsstand or otherwise.

4. The Large Diamonds stopped in 1979 (not the small Diamond)

The “skinny” diamond started in the summer of 1979.  I don’t know when the “square” diamonds stopped

5. The whole reason for marking the books was to prevent fraud and lost profits. This established a reason for Direct, and Newsstand.

Perhaps, but I haven’t seen any proof of this, although it would make sense for comics in 3-packs and comics sold to comic bookstores.

6. The Diamonds could be re-prints; they did not share the monthly cycle as the Bar-Coded Versions. Some Diamonds could be with a blank box, or a UPC box, and so some appear to be Newsstand versions, while others appear to be bagged and boarded. So, they can’t be called Newsstand issues.

I’ve never seen bagged and boarded.  But I agree, they’re definitely not newsstand copies.  I don’t believe any of the “skinny” diamond copies had barcodes (exception for the early crossed out).  They usually had Spidey’s head eventually.

 

Questions:

1. If Direct Market Editions were purchased in MASSIVE quantities by Whitman and other publishers, why are these books not more common than their newsstands counterparts?  
They were incredibly common.  I just don’t think anyone treated them like they had value.  “Why waste a bag on a Whitman?” Is what any comic collector would have asked.  They were quarter box fodder for decades.  Which is also why there aren’t many (any?) high grade copies around of the “square” diamond books.  Incidentally, I believe this is also the genesis in interest now and subsequent attempts to legitimize those books in the CGC era.  Several people noted that these books were scarcer in high grade and started pursuing them for the challenge.

2. Why wouldn’t they be more common, and easier to find? Clearly the Diamond wouldn’t even be worth marking if the quantity of these books were low print distribution or re-prints? See my point? Why bother?

I think this logic is flawed.  Selling Whitman’s at toy stores, etc. was all to tap a new market of non-collector kids who just wanted to read the comics.  The cost basis for reprinting material is considerably less than having to write and draw, letter, color, edit new material.

3. If Diamond Box books are “Direct Market Editions” why are ALL of them destroyed? Anyone have 9.8 NM/M Candidates? Some should have survived. Not TONS but some. I haven’t found any. They look well-handled and cracked all over. This seems to indicate NEWSSTAND handling to me. Where are the pristine Diamond Spectacular Spider-Man’s out there?

See my answer to #1

4. Back to when this started…. Why not call them “Diamond Editions” (Or something different). Because, they were not ALL DIRECT, and they weren’t ALL NEWSSTAND editions?

None of them were newsstand editions.  I think the really defining difference is books that “skinny” diamonds were sold concurrent with newsstand editions and distributed to comic book stores vs. “square” diamond books that were sold many, many months later in toy stores, department stores, etc. as 3-packs.

See my responses in bold above.

Edited by Randall Dowling
Clarification
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On 4/8/2020 at 1:05 AM, slpfi27 said:

1. NOT all Diamond Issues are "Whitman’s" clearly, we have seen another boardie prove this. Diamonds came in bags from other distributors. So we KNOW that calling them Whitman’s is inaccurate. Even if it is popular.

 

Good thoughtful post.  Don't agree/disagree with everything in it but commend your approach.

A question on this point  - what other distributors packaged up the diamond versions other than Whitman?  Unless you're talking mid-1979 and later I'm not sure what example of this has been shared?

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1 hour ago, Randall Dowling said:

4. The Large Diamonds stopped in 1979 (not the small Diamond)

The “skinny” diamond started in the summer of 1979.  I don’t know when the “square” diamonds stopped

No, the skinny diamonds appeared much earlier.  I think this is the complete list of the small diamonds that appeared prior to Summer 1979:

  • John Carter #2 July 1977
  • Tarzan #2 July 1977
  • Spidey Super Stories #34, 36, and 37 from 1978.
  • Tarzan #11, 12, 13, 15 and 16 from 1978.

For example:

   1089634144_whitmanjcwom2.thumb.jpg.4d55cf63bfc92654ad2d61f91fc9eb00.jpg2095958319_whitmantarzan2.thumb.jpg.cca574394412a5e880ed89830fc08324.jpg

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Warlord said:

Good thoughtful post.  Don't agree/disagree with everything in it but commend your approach.

A question on this point  - what other distributors packaged up the diamond versions other than Whitman?  Unless you're talking mid-1979 and later I'm not sure what example of this has been shared?

We've seen some packs that don't say Whitman on them, but there isn't any non-Whitman distributor named, or documented, on any examples I can recall.  

As a for instance, there are some packs of this type that don't have a distributor name on them, and I don't think I've seen any documentation of who was the distributor:

185.jpg.383714a5414911b89a80989a91677ce2.jpg.dc3d32638f9593851786da583bec7970.jpg

 

However, this similar looking pack with Whitman markings is a strong indication that the earlier pack was, in fact, a Whitman product.  Maybe they belatedly realized there was a need to cover up the UPC code and so they added their logo and accompanying text?  

hm

 

839778657_asmwhitmanpack.thumb.jpg.8f6694d9442f43f234e73392c2a39863.jpg

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Direct editions were sold in comic shops, mostly to collectors who cared for their books.

Whitmans were sold in supermarkets, toy shops and the like and I believe they were read by a younger crowd. Speaking only for myself, I treated the books with no UPC as reprints and either didn't buy them when offered or stuck them in my 3/$1 boxes. That's why you don't find many hi grade ones.

I was pretty tight with a number of shop owners  and was a founding member of the first dealer association and don't remember ever having a discussion on these, or on the price variants. 

They just weren't a thing in the 1980s.

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49 minutes ago, Warlord said:

No, the skinny diamonds appeared much earlier.  I think this is the complete list of the small diamonds that appeared prior to Summer 1979:

  • John Carter #2 July 1977
  • Tarzan #2 July 1977
  • Spidey Super Stories #34, 36, and 37 from 1978.
  • Tarzan #11, 12, 13, 15 and 16 from 1978.

For example:

   1089634144_whitmanjcwom2.thumb.jpg.4d55cf63bfc92654ad2d61f91fc9eb00.jpg2095958319_whitmantarzan2.thumb.jpg.cca574394412a5e880ed89830fc08324.jpg

 

 

Interesting. Those look like some weird variation on the square diamond with large font for the price.  Pretty obscure list of books they were used on, no main stream titles.

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On 4/8/2020 at 2:39 PM, Randall Dowling said:

Last, and I can't emphasize this enough, the Whitman books did not show up for sale at the same time as the newsstand copies.  They showed up in packs many, many months (sometimes years) later (never in comic book stores) and they had the "square" diamond.  I don't know how to interpret that any other way than Marvel found a way to sell more copies later and they changed the cover so they didn't look like the copies that had already come out.  If that's not the definition of a later issue, or later edition, or reprint, I don't know what is. 2c 

I don't recall who brought up this issue of MTIO with the pink color error in between the "I" and "N" in the "Thing" part of the logo in 3 versions of this issue, but it's pretty interesting.  I've added the pence and 35-cent variant pics to the mix.

Either the Whitman, 35-cent variant, pence copies, and part of the newsstand print runs were printed with an error that was corrected before finishing the newsstand print run, or conversely, the error was introduced part way through the printing of the newsstand issue and then continued into the Whitman, pence copies, and 35-cent variant print run.  Or there's some other explanation, such as some newsstand issues were "reprinted" at a later date when the pence, 35-cent variants and Whitmans were "reprinted"?  hm

1042894500_MarvelTwo-In-One31withoutlogocolorerror.thumb.jpg.2f2c089261c96953d97dc412db19a8fe.jpg1316521011_MarvelTwo-In-One31withlogocolorerror.thumb.jpg.bd8d89f3bb4f2f0602068224ad125696.jpg1225719594_MarvelTwo-In-One3135-cenvariantwithlogocolorerror.thumb.jpg.5e04d6382116f8fc513ca538a7b98a65.jpg448547967_MarvelWhitmanTwo-In-One31withologocolorerror.thumb.jpg.3d975ce58a947ec061ef3e73f6166172.jpg2128136970_MarvelpenceTwo-In-One31withlogocolorerror.thumb.jpg.db6e931f11fd7b0fd1265c0318d10709.jpg

 

 

Edited by Warlord
Added pence copy!
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4 minutes ago, Warlord said:

I don't recall who brought up this issue of MTIO with the pink color error in between the "I" and "N" in the "Thing" part of the logo in 3 versions of this issue, but it's pretty interesting.  I've added the 35-cent variant pic to the mix.

Either the Whitman, 35-cent variant, and part of the newsstand print runs were printed with an error that was corrected before finishing the newsstand print run, or conversely, the error was introduced part way through the printing of the newsstand issue and then continued into the Whitman and 35-cent variant print run.  Or there's some other explanation, such as some newsstand issues were "reprinted" at a later date when the 35-cent variants and Whitmans were "reprinted"?  hm

1042894500_MarvelTwo-In-One31withoutlogocolorerror.thumb.jpg.2f2c089261c96953d97dc412db19a8fe.jpg1316521011_MarvelTwo-In-One31withlogocolorerror.thumb.jpg.bd8d89f3bb4f2f0602068224ad125696.jpg1225719594_MarvelTwo-In-One3135-cenvariantwithlogocolorerror.thumb.jpg.5e04d6382116f8fc513ca538a7b98a65.jpg448547967_MarvelWhitmanTwo-In-One31withologocolorerror.thumb.jpg.3d975ce58a947ec061ef3e73f6166172.jpg

 

 

I seem to recall a board member many years ago had an explanation of how that could happen during printing.  Start off fine and then lose a piece off of one of the plates (or was it that something got stuck on one of the plates while running?) or something.  But I don’t remember or know enough to offer an intelligent explanation.  The explanations you posited don’t hold up that well either.  Why would you print every other version of a book before the most widely sold versions?

By the way, this is what I’m referring to as “skinny” diamond which definitely looks different than those Whitman variants you posted before.

 

4D9C4E7D-4E65-4A89-95D4-A2863A0BBD03.jpeg

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You know, as I’ve been thinking of this, perhaps there’s a clue right in front of us.  During the Whitman period, not every issue was printed for Whitman.  There are gaps in individual runs and some books were never used.  The “skinny” diamond that I just posted was for comic book stores specifically and every title and issue printed had that and the newsstand version (possible exception for Spidey Super Stories which was a weird book put out by the electric company).  

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My friends, I am truly grateful for all the comments and wonderful information. I have spent the past months finishing up my set of Spectacular Spider-Man #01 - #263 (Nuff Said!). My goal is to complete the set in the most “Spectacular” fashion possible.

I suppose I found it surprising to notice CGC has never classified a difference between Direct Editions, and Newsstand Editions. I have read every post I could find regarding Diamond Issues, Whitman’s, Western, Big Diamond, Skinny Diamond, Bar-Code, No-Barcode, and clearly only the BRAVE attempted to discuss this topic.

Me personally, I know a rare book when I see it. CGC Slabbed or Un-Slabbed collectors and enthusiasts will KNOW when they see something rare. I never intended to come off as a “huckster” or somebody that was solely interested in profit and financial prospect. However, like most of you I appreciate the value of my books and have made profit and lost money. 

This collection that I have put together is about my passion and love for Comics in general. The Census is an incredible tool, and I feel that is one of the reasons why CGC is so much more collectable than CBCS, and PGX. (my opinion.)

When I see that Spectacular Spider-Man #3 has 139 CGC graded 9.8’s on the Census. I sure would love to know how many of those are Diamonds. That is how the whole thing got started. What do we call them?

If CGC were to BEGIN to call them “___________” and classify as many variants moving forward. We would begin to capture them properly. If CGC were to offer a Re-Slab (as they already do) with new classified labels, they would see a HUGE spike in their re-submissions and thus generate more revenue for this already awesome company. The Census would be updated, and we would have more solid information. As collectors we would have the benefit of enhancing our Slabbed collections. It is debatable but I feel this would generate added book sales for the industry in general. People like rare things plain and simple. To say it is rare does not make it rare, proving it is rare creates perception of value, and that is what it is all about. Post an early Diamond on eBay in raw condition, its worth few bucks. Post a 9.8 Early Diamond, and I bet it sells for a lot of money. If CGC recognized them in CENUS data, we could see definitively what we already know. THEY ARE SUPER RARE, in GREAT CONDITION.  The Census is a POWERFUL tool for ALL of us.

I have read a MOUNTAIN of information on this subject it is clear that “Direct Market Edition” is correct as that is what they are. Or is it? The Debate continues. Marwood was right, this subject is so brutal. I have learned a lot and I really cannot stress how appreciative I am of your comments. (on ALL posts regarding the books with the Diamond Box in the Corner.)

Somewhere in one of the posts RMA said something like, “it was 40 years ago.” He is right, we all have many pieces of a massive puzzle, but there is no picture to fully be assembled.

Anyway folks, I submit to your greatness. Since nobody can simply call them “Direct Editions”, “Early Market Editions” or “Whitman’s” I guess the experts in the room will know what they are and that is enough.

 

Sincerely,

Brian W

<slpfi27>

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10 hours ago, Randall Dowling said:

I seem to recall a board member many years ago had an explanation of how that could happen during printing.  Start off fine and then lose a piece off of one of the plates (or was it that something got stuck on one of the plates while running?) or something.  But I don’t remember or know enough to offer an intelligent explanation.  The explanations you posited don’t hold up that well either.  Why would you print every other version of a book before the most widely sold versions?

 

I'm no printing expert, so I can't guess at the mechanics.  Of the theories, I agree with your point and I suspect the newsstand version was printed first.  So the theory I favor is that the error was introduced part way through the printing of the newsstand issue and then continued into the Whitman and 35-cent variant print run, ie, they were all printed at roughly the same time, not that some were reprinted at a later date. 

But wait, there's more, how about the pence copies? hm

 

2117273897_MarvelpenceTwo-In-One31withlogocolorerror.thumb.jpg.bbffd670ea9eddffdede1f22754c96b2.jpg 

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17 hours ago, Warlord said:

No, the skinny diamonds appeared much earlier.  I think this is the complete list of the small diamonds that appeared prior to Summer 1979:

  • John Carter #2 July 1977
  • Tarzan #2 July 1977
  • Spidey Super Stories #34, 36, and 37 from 1978.
  • Tarzan #11, 12, 13, 15 and 16 from 1978.

For example:

   1089634144_whitmanjcwom2.thumb.jpg.4d55cf63bfc92654ad2d61f91fc9eb00.jpg2095958319_whitmantarzan2.thumb.jpg.cca574394412a5e880ed89830fc08324.jpg

 

 

These exceptions are due to the formatting of the cover differing in ALL cases for those books, there is no title box present on the left of the Marvel Comics Group banner of these titles, there's no banner at all for Spidey Super Stories. 

That "title box" area was part of the cover format even before the MCG banner which didn't start until $0.20 pricing and that area was obscured repeatedly by "still only" pricing formatting and this area was differentiated from the banner by a lack of colour around the start of the Whitman era.  It disappeared for good after the "still only 35 cents" era when I contend a "national direct market" began. 

Some general comments on the descriptors by timeline, clearly the changes from '72-79 are great but I think we misuse "newsstand" when describing the "standard" US versions.   I contend that for clarity pre-79 you have standard versions and the exception is the whitman (or early direct) that we're discussing in this thread....after 1979 you've got newsstand and direct (national).  Also the appearance of the UPC box on the cover only preceded the Whitman era by less than a year & those UPC boxes contains the "barcode", later printing & distribution distinctions by slashing, replacing with art or reformatting the "barcode" are all on the direct market side.  

Edited by bababooey
Typo and clarification
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13 hours ago, Randall Dowling said:

I seem to recall a board member many years ago had an explanation of how that could happen during printing.  Start off fine and then lose a piece off of one of the plates (or was it that something got stuck on one of the plates while running?) or something.  But I don’t remember or know enough to offer an intelligent explanation.  The explanations you posited don’t hold up that well either.  Why would you print every other version of a book before the most widely sold versions?

The cyan plate would probably have to break to produce that error. Which would mean the standard version was printed first for that issue. Not that it really matters which edition was printed first since they'd all be printed at basically the same time (the covers, that is, since the interiors are identical and were all printed together).

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Has anyone ever checked the internal ads ? If the Whitman books were printed much later, they should have different ads inside. If the ads are identical, it seems to indicate they were all printed at the same time.

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