Ok, how about this for an idea.  We take it in turns to post a favourite (British spelling) comic cover every day.  This went really well on the comic fan website that I used to frequent.  What we tried to do was find a theme or subject and follow that, until we all got bored with that theme.  I'd like to propose a theme of letters of the alphabet. So, for the remainder of October (only 5 days) and all of November, we post comic cover pictures associated with the letter "A".  Then in December, we post covers pertaining to the letter "B".  The association to the letter can be as tenuous as you want it to be. For example I could post a cover from "Adventure Comics" or "Amazing Spider Man".  However Spider Man covers can also be posted when we're on the letter "S".  Adventure Comic covers could also be posted when we're on the letter "L" if they depict the Legion of Super Heroes.  So, no real hard, fast rules - in fact the cleverer the interpretation of the letter, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

And it's not written in stone that we have to post a cover every day. There may be some days when no cover gets posted. There's nothing wrong with this, it just demonstrates that we all have lives to lead.

If everyone's in agreement I'd like to kick this off with one of my favourite Action Comic covers, from January 1967. Curt Swan really excelled himself here.

Date Page/Reply Theme (and clickable link) Pages Replies
Oct 2016 1/1 Letter A 19 228
Dec 2016 20/1 Letter B 17 207
Jan 2017 37/4 Letter C 18 214
Feb 2017 55/2 Letter D 17 208
Mar 2017 72/6 Letter E 15 178
Apr 2017 87/4 Letter F 15 184
May 2017 102/8 Letter G 13 157
Jun 2017 115/9 Letter H 16 195
Jul 2017 131/12 Letter I 12 133
Aug 2017 143/1 Letter J 16 194
Sep 2017 159/3 Letter K 19 237
Oct 2017 178/12 Letter L 24 285
Nov 2017 202/9 Letter M 24 280
Dec 2017 226/1 Letter N 19 236
Jan 2018 245/9 Letter O 21 245
Feb 2018 266/7 Letter P 25 295
Mar 2018 291/2 Letters Q & R 20 243
Apr 2018 311/5 Letter S 22 270
May 2018 333/11 Superman’s 80th anniversary 21 250
Jun 2018 354/9 Letter T 21 250
Jul 2018 375/7 Letter U 17 207
Aug 2018 392/10 Letter V 19 228
Sep 2018 411/10 Letter W 20 233
Oct 2018 431/3 Letter X 15 180
Nov 2018 446/3 Letter Y 13 156
Dec 2018 459/3 Letter Z 13 156
Jan 2019 472/3 Person being carried 16 190
Feb 2019 488/1 Real people 17 214
Mar 2019 505/11 Homages/parodies 19 224
Apr 2019 524/7 Green-skinned people 17 207
May 2019 541/10 Wanted posters 17 201
Jun 2019 558/7 Boxing rings 15 180
Jul 2019 573/7 Empty uniforms 15 177
Aug 2019 588/4 Beaches 25 297
Sep 2019 613/1 Apes 28 340
Oct 2019 641/5 Haunted houses/graves 21 250
Nov 2019 662/3 Motor bikes 21 254
Dec 2019 683/5 Foreign language covers 17 209
Jan 2020 700/10 Playing cards/tabletop games 23 275
Feb 2020 723/9 Valentines and Cupids 22 259
Mar 2020 745/4 Statues 21 256
Apr 2020 766/8 Elephants 22 263
May 2020 788/7 Heroes & villains cooperating 17 198
Jun 2020 805/1 The Moon 26 322
Jul 2020 831/11 Flags & patriotic symbols 18 215
Aug 2020 849/10 Foreign locations (non-US) 20 233
Sep 2020 869/3 MST3K (with commentary) 24 292
Oct 2020 893/7 Vampires and Werewolves 20 245
Nov 2020 913/12 Giants 24 286
Dec 2020 937/10 Snow & winter scenes 24 289
Jan 2021 961/11 Doppelgängers 32 377
Feb 2021 993/4 Movies 23 275
Mar 2021 1016/3 Cats/cat-themed adventurers 22 263
Apr 2021 1038/2 Dogs/dog-themed adventurers 25 305
May 2021 1063/7 Big guns/Heavy weaponry 25 302
Jun 2021 1088/9 Dinosaurs/Time Travel 28 338
Jul 2021 1116/11 Big Questions/Question Marks 28 330
Aug 2021 1144/5 Highways, Travel etc 19 232
Sep 2021 1163/9 Favourite Covers/Comics 28 330
Oct 2021 1191/3 Lineups 21 260
Nov 2021 1212/11 JSA 80th Anniversary 23 269
Dec 2021 1235/4 Logos in the action 26 317
Jan 2022 1261/9 Dynamic Duos 29 348
Feb 2022 1290/9 Romantic Scenes 26 313
Mar 2022 1316/10 Bridges 29 339
Apr 2022 1345/1 Unexpected Green 23 286
May 2022 1368/11 Neal Adams
Jun 2022 George Perez
Jul 2022 Parents
Aug 2022 Fairgrounds/Carnivals

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I suspect you're right, Richard.  I don't really have any evidence for my claim that we in Britain had unsold American comics (i.e. returns) shipped to us.  It's something I've "always known", but it's probably just an incorrect assumption made many years ago.

When I first started reading American comics in the mid sixties, we got the comics a long time after they went on sale in the States.  The delay was, I believe, at least six months, possibly longer.  The British price was put onto the cover by hand, using a rubber stamp, or occasionally a tiny sticky label.  That price seemed to be rather less than the original price.  For example, I have 12-cent comics from 1964 that are rubber-stamped at 9d.  That's 9 old pence, when there were 240 pennies to the pound.  According to this website, £1 was worth $2.79 in 1964, so 9d would be about 10.5 cents.

Putting all that information together, it didn't seem too wild a leap to guess that we were getting comics that had already failed to sell in the States.  However, your counter-arguments are convincing.  I think I was mistaken.

Richard Willis said:

Peter's statement about comics unsold in the U.S. being shipped to the U.K. doesn't fit with what I know. Unsold comics in the U.S. (when they were still returnable) would be stripped of their covers. The covers were returned to the publisher for credit and the rest of the comics were supposed to be destroyed. Some would be illegally sold as coverless, but if the U.S. comics you were buying seemed brand new and had covers they were probably always intended for the U.K.

After the Army joined me and sent me to Vietnam, we had a PX (post exchange - a small store). Even though we had no plumbing, I bought a self-winding watch there that lasted for 40 years. I also bought comics there every week. Like you describe, they were about three months behind. I suspect that these were also always intended for us. They were just shipped the cheapest way possible - - hence the delay. This wasn't all bad because it made me try other titles from Charlton, etc, that I hadn't been buying already.

Peter Wrexham said:

For example, I have 12-cent comics from 1964... 

Talking of which...

Various people here have spoken of the comic that introduced them to the Legion.  I believe that this is the comic where I first encountered them, though sadly it's not one I still have.  In the early days of my comics buying, my parents persuaded me to pass them on to friends and family after I'd read them, and this was one of the ones lost in this way.  After I'd decided to start hanging on to my comics, I was able to acquire a fair number of earlier issues, but this one never turned up again.

The loss obviously lends this comic extra charm for me.  But I also love the cover because, although Lightning Lad is apparently being imprisoned for all time on the Moon in a cage that's open to vacuum, only about four feet across, and lacks any toilet facilities, the Legion has made sure he won't get bored.  Note the press-button control labelled "Books".  That's what I'll want if I ever get locked up for the rest of eternity!

It looks like Rip Jagger may have the full book online.



Steve W said:

I so want this guide - am going to check out ebay right now. Great cover too...

Dave Palmer said:

As a premium with your Charlton subscription you received this guide—I still have it.

I submitted stories to Charlton.  Nothing was accepted, but I did get a nice postcard signed by Nick Cuti.

I had always “heard” that American comics ended up in Europe because they were used as ship’s ballast.  This website indicates that that is true.

A very nice cover

Saturday mornings! The original Scooby-Doo Where are You? debuted when I was in kindergarten, and became my favorite cartoon. While I've never read many Scooby comic books and not this first issue of the Archie run, I think it captures the classic Mystery Inc. (and one interloper) rather nicely:

When I was in elementary school, my best friend, knowing my favorite character was the Hulk, told me his neighbor had a copy of Hulk #1. The neighbor boy was younger than we were, but the comics belonged to his older brother, who was away at either college or Viet Nam, I forget which. He kept his comics in a large box that a large appliance such as a kitchen sink might be shipped in. The box was large enough for two kids to sit inside it. Beyond that, the comics might as well have been strewn across the floor. This is the "Hulk #1" that was in the box. I wanted it desperately. It took some finagling, but I eventually got it.

This cover represents both "H" and "I" (as well as "S" although the face was redrawn by "M").

This was only the second issue of Avengers proper that I had, the first being #129. But I had a nice run of Marvel Triple Action (unlike Jeff, I do count reprints. Hey, any book you've never read is a new book!)

But, c'mon! How do you NOT buy this one? The Beast's appearance here struck me so much that I had to buy Marvel Team-Up #38 when it came out four months later!

The Circus of Crime (Silver Age version) debuted in a 10-page story in Incredible Hulk #3 (SEP62). This Spider-Man cover is a good representation of the gang (minus the Ringmaster). This was from the period when Peter would shine his spider signal. Bad guys were actually spooked by it then.

"...unlike Jeff, I do count reprints."

Me? What gave you the impression I don't count reprints? I have a complete run of Marvel Tales from #1-265. (I skipped on #266-291 because they were becoming too recent.) Speaking of Marvel Tales, though (and speaking of favorite covers), back when comics were only a buck or so I'd often buy comics simply because I liked the covers. The editor of Marvel Tales at the time would hire popular cover artists to do lengthy runs, and I would buy these, just because I liked the covers, even if I had the originals (which I most often did). 

These artists included Mike Zeck...

Todd McFarlane...

Marshall Rogers...

...and Sam Keith:

While the aforementioned Action Comics 484 was my first anniversary cover/issue, Superman 300 is my first milestone cover/issue.

Elliot S! Maggin and Cary Bates had just finished co-authoring a 4 part story between issues 296-299, but the tale for 300 had nothing to do with that adventure.

2001 seemed a long way off with a lot more possibilities in 1976 than what we actually experienced 25 years later.

At that time the average comic book was only 18 pages of story and art, so both this and Action 484 were big to dos coming in at 20 pages each. Not like the much bigger celebrations of Batman's 300 issue and beyond that I would see later in life.

The one thing that gets me is that the Grand Comics Database, from which the image below originated, solely accredits Bob Oskner for the cover. Oskner inked Curt Swan during issues 296-300, but I could have sworn Swan at least penciled 300's cover.

After Adventure Comics #321, my introduction to the Legion, I bought their stories intermittently until I acquired these comics.  It was Jim Shooter's two-part story "One Of Us Is A Traitor" and "The Traitor's Triumph" (great titles!) that turned me from someone who quite liked their stories into a rabid Legion fan.  I bought every comic they appeared in for the next three years.

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