More variant covers
June 1, 2016
In my quest to reach the furthest dusty corners of comicology I’d like to mention these two comics that I just happened to be reading recently. Marvel Treasury Editions were those comics produced between 1974 and 1981 that although not quite the largest comics ever produced (see elsewhere in this blog for one of those) at “tabloid” size they were certainly much bigger than the regular ones. Surprisingly, the majority of them had variant covers produced for UK distribution featuring pence rather than cents for the price.
I don’t know by what means Archie comics were distributed here in the UK. Before the advent of comic shops and direct distribution I hardly ever saw any. They didn’t very often appear on spinner racks when I was a youngster so I’m not sure if Thorpe and Porter officially imported them (although they were responsible for some black and white British reprints of Archie comics for a time here in the UK in the 1950s). Perhaps Archie comics (and Harvey comics…..which didn’t seem that commonplace either) came over in bundles of unsold back issues like the Dell/Gold Key/King comics you’d find in Woolworths selling for 6d each in the 1960s.
This Sabrina comic sports a UK only price on the cover. Oddly enough, none of the other issues in the series before or after show a similar UK price (although there are some other issues sporting two different barcodes, presumably for News stand and Direct distribution variants).
All Marvel comics (and presumably Archie comics) of the 1960s to 1980s that sported variant UK price covers were printed in the States at the same time and place as their own issues. But how many of these comics destined for export would actually have been printed?? These american comics showing UK prices must have surely accounted for less than 10% of the total print run. Therefore my prediction is that when the rarity of our UK variant issues are finally appreciated (like is already beginning with Canadian/Whitman/different cent prices variant covers) then they must at some point in the future become extremely valuable and much in demand for $$$$thousands by comic collectors in the States. Or not.