Here is the latest installment of Comic Book Questions Answered, where I answer reader-submitted questions! Please feel free to send in any comic book questions that have been puzzling you!
Reader Anthony asks:
I’ve been looking for info on this book(see photo).It has a different price and the month is missing from under the issue #(should be May).I was wondering if you could tell me anything about this issue. It has everything that a normal American issue would have inside (ads,etc) on the inside cover it says- SOLE DISTRIBUTORS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM-THORPE + PORTER LTD.I’ve never seen another like it before.Thanks for any help.
Here is the picture of the cover…
For good measure, here’s the original Tales of Suspense #41….
Well, Anthony, back in the early days of the Silver Age, Marvel Comics would be distributed by a different company in the United Kingdom than the United States in just the manner you described. The dates and the prices on the covers would be changed, but otherwise, the interiors of the comics would be exactly the same, save for the bit where it says SOLE DISTRIBUTORS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM-THORPE + PORTER LTD. Thorpe & Porter, Ltd. printed a number of American comics for the UK audience, including Mad Magazine.
Marvel kept using them until they formed their own branch of Marvel in England in 1972, Marvel UK, and debuted their popular weekly reprint series, The Mighty World of Marvel.
The Thorpe & Porter, Ltd. comics were mostly likely printed at about a tenth of the print runs of the American versions of the comics, but they were printed at the same time, so they are actual original Silver Age Marvel Comics. In reality, they are a neat way to get original Marvel Silver Age comics at probably a smaller price point.
So there ya go, Anthony!!
Tom Russell asks:
Do you know what was the first “alternate” comic book cover to be published concurrently (as opposed to a later reprint)? Also, what was the first comic book issue to be _marketed_ as such– i.e. the whole “get this rare alternate cover by Hotty McArtistman” spiel?
Here’s one that readers can correct me on (and I know they will if they can, don’t you worry ;)) if I’m wrong, as I do not know the answer DEFINITIVELY, but as far as I can tell, the answer to both questions, Tom, is John Byrne’s The Man of Steel #1.
The whole “variant cover” craze was big with mass market paperbacks in the early to mid 80s, so it was only a matter of time before comic books picked up on it, as well, and I believe 1986’s The Man of Steel #1 was the first one to do so, and they definitely picked up on the idea to market it AS a collectible.
But I suppose there MAY have been a comic that tried this idea out before 1986, but I dunno. I’m sure folks will let me know if they think of one!
But otherwise, there ya go, Tom!
Thanks to Anthony and Tom!
To everyone else, send in your questions!!
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