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.
To Jeff of Earth-J: On the previous page, you mentioned that you didn't count an issue of Marvel Super-Heroes as one of your first Hulk books because it was a reprint. If I misinterpreted that, I apologize.
It's only because I got a lot of those reprint series as a kid and, believe it or not, my first Hulk book was Marvel Super-Heroes #36!
There is a big debate about how and why US comics were imported into the UK in the '60s. The main UK importer was definitely Thorpe & Porter - they were the ones who put the "T & P" stamp on all UK imported US comics. You can read some of the debate here
From my point of view I always believed that US comics were imported to the UK by ship after they had been returned to the US wholesaler as unsold. That's why there was always a huge time gap between the 'cover date' and the date I could buy them. But that was just something I believed. As you can see from the thread it was far more complicated than that. All I can say is - I'm so glad that somehow they got over here!
Peter Wrexham said:
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.
There's a rather more shortened version of the US/UK import debate here
"To Jeff of Earth-J: On the previous page, you mentioned that you didn't count an issue of Marvel Super-Heroes as one of your first Hulk books because it was a reprint. If I misinterpreted that, I apologize."
Oh, I see. I meant that of the two I bought on the same day (Hulk #167 and Marvel Super-Heroes #38), I considered Hulk #167 my "first", but I still think of MSH #38 as my second. I often refer to myself as a "bastard son of the first generation" (rather than a second generation) Marvel fan because I read Marvel Tales and Marvel's Greatest Comics and Marvel Super-Heroes, but I was the same age older fans were when they read the original. No apology necessary.
Here's the cover of the issue that Introduced me to the Legion of Super-Heroes:
'''and here's my first non-reprint LSF story (and a purple cover):
And so to choice no 4 from me. I had never heard of Plastic Man until this comic appeared on the stands. I was totally unaware of his previous incarnation in Police Comics in the '40s. I was just awestruck by the cover. I'd always believed that Reed Richards underplayed his stretching powers and that he was capable of far more stretching than he ever demonstrated. He always seemed to do the minimum stretching necessary for the occasion. But here was a super-hero not scared to demonstrate his powers to the max! I loved him and bought all 10 issues as soon as they became available. It also introduced me to the skills of artist Gil Kane.
My first issue of Justice League of America was #110, but that one had a really boring cover, so I'll choose the cover of #67 instead. It was advertised in one of the comics posted above, and I really, really wanted it.
Another comic I saw advertised and really wanted was Flash #189. When I finally scored a copy decades later, the story was kinda disappointing. Still a great cover, though... with quite a bit of purple!
My first LSH story was their first appearance in the comic above. I kept up with them for a while because I read some of the Substitute Legion stories. I didn't really become a big fan of the LSH because it was when I started to favor the Schwartz-edited books and then the (just about) ground floor of Marvel. I then stopped buying any Weisinger-edited books (also the Schiff-edited Batman books). I went back to Batman and Superman only when Schwartz took them over. So I know who Imra is because I've heard it so often but most of the birth names or the Legion members go over my head.
Justice League of America #110 (Ap'74), as I have said previously, is one of my favorite 100 Pagers!
Not only does it have a great Christmas story and the finale to Zatanna's Search which had been going on through other 100 Pagers but it was also my first Justice Society story! In the Bronze Age, DC had reprinted only EIGHT JSA tales from All Star Comics and I tracked them all down! Now I have a complete All Star Archives set!
Plus it was my first time seeing that iconic JSA portrait!