Fascinating thread at the MASTERWORKS board...
Here's a part I liked...
"Re Lammers article: I think one of things that gets missed about the implosion is how attractive getting distributed by ANC was. ANC had been in existance since the Civil War. It was the only distributor with 100% national coverage and the only one with its own regional distribution. This means that all the nasty things that regional distributors did to comics publishers like sending back stacks of comics unopened when their short of cash flow, ripping off the covers to get returns and then selling the coverless comics or just not putting certain comics on their trucks in a given month don't happen to you when you're with ANC. Dell was ANC's favored comics client and I think this was a hidden reason for Dell's dominance in the late 40s and 50s. Dell had an attractive product but they also were getting the best distribution that any comic company ever got. So when ANC offers Goodman distribution on favorable terms its a really, really attractive proposition.
ANC was having problems in this period and the story seems to me to really murky. The solid part is that a guy had a bought a controlling stake in ANC and apparently saw that the company's real estate (all those warehouses they had built around the country decades ago) was worth more than ANC's current value as a going concern. So he tried to jack up profits, apparently by squeezing their customers. There were rumors of a mob connection, but I've never read anything that gives specifics. Some of ANC's big customers bolted. The offer to Goodman was to replace these lost accounts.
So Goodman knew he was taking a risk. Going with ANC would probably mean a substantial sales boost. On the other hand there are the problems and the rumours. But would you really expect a company that had been in business for almost 100 years and was the biggest distributor to go bust? I think the ANC move was a reasonable gamble. I don't think Froelich's supposed games had much to do with the decision."
Thanks. This sounds right. You know, after awhile, if one has an open mind, you can begin to tell when something is on the level, and not just total B.S. (At least, I find I do.)
I can't remember the more recent article I read, but it seems to me PLAYBOY was somehow involved, or being discussed. Earlier, I had the impression ANC may have gone under as some kind of side-effect of the anti-comics witch-hunt. But it seems to me now it was more directly connected with a government crackdown on mob-related activities-- and that, to a much lesser degree, there were feelings among some that COMICS were partly bad because of THEIR mob relations (totally apart from their actual content-- which would mean there were more reasons for some people to hate comics than the ones usually given).
No doubt about it, the 50's must have been a strange time. On the one hand, you have increased censorship in certain areas, and on the other, you have other areas pushing the boundaries and defying censorship. And meanwhile, you have people insisting, "There's no such THING as the Mafia!"
I think you've hit almost all the prime examples, Luke... and it was probably in Strange Tales #107 where he's swimming with the sail fish near the ocean liner.
I didn't remember it, but there's a sequence like that in Fantastic Four #5 where he is spotted from a ship swimming with porpoises. They seem to obey him (he has them formation swim with him) and he calls them his subjects.
Hey, what's going on here? The discussion about Goodman closing down seems to have moved to a different thread, and this one has gone in a different direction, as well! : )
That's FF #6, by the way!
Thanks, Henry. My error.