Comic Book Questions Answered: What Was the Deal With British Versions of Marvel Comics in the 1960s?

Comic Book Questions Answered - where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.

Today's question is about British versions of Marvel Silver Age Comics.


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!!

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