That Power Lords math works out, don’t question it.

§ May 30th, 2022 § Filed under retailing § 11 Comments

I did you folks a disservice last time when I started talking about this sheet of distributor ordering suggestions by not presenting the logo:


Very charming!

Anyway, before we get into part two, let me address this note from DonaldG:

“Avengers Annual #7 came out years earlier than the other comics on this list. The real Avengers Annual for 1983 was Avengers Annual #12.”

True facts, #12 was the one due out in January 1984. Well, despite all appearances I didn’t invent typos, and this anonymous tipster obviously was afflicted with brainfartitis and mixed up the Avengers Annual number with the X-Men Annual #7 on the very next line. Ah, well, worse things happen at sea.

And Matthew Murray had some questions about comic sales of yesterday as compared to today, plus ordering strategies and cutting/raising orders at the time, and I feel like that’s a longer post than just a quick response here. Let me ponder it a bit.

So here’s part two, with some straggling Marvels and the notes on DC boks:


Okay, first off, let me skip ahead just a tiny bit and say “um, Mantis #1?” Far as I know, Marvel didn’t release a solo title for (presumably) the Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy character. I presume one was apparently announced and on the schedule but pulled at the last moment. I checked through the “Coming Comics” sections of Amazing Heroes from that period and didn’t spot it in the listings, but maybe it was mentioned in one of the news sections? Something to check when I have more time. Or maybe somebody with the first year of Marvel Age can check for references to the title there?

Backing up a bit, I guess Black Cat was popular enough to be a sales incentive to bump orders up 25%. The character had only been around for about four years at that point, so, you know, I guess? This seems to suggest she was a hot commodity, which I didn’t remember but certainly not out of the question.

I wonder if there was a specific reason for The Defenders to suddenly bump up in sales this late in the run. Maybe the cover on #125 attracted new readers and they stuck around a bit?

Also, definitely pick up Dreadstar #7 and #6, as they had Bernie Wrightson back-ups. Also, #6 (which I bought because of that back-up) is a good jumping-on point for Dreadstar as a whole, apparently, since I read the lead story and had to read more.

Okay, to the DCs!

Atari Force: Aimed at kids. Order like G.I. Joe #1 sold.” I’m having trouble parsing this, because in usual comic shop parlance of the time (and sadly even today), “aimed at kids” means “ain’t gonna sell to your regular customers to don’t order a lot. But…G.I. Joe #1 did well, didn’t it? Also, Atari Force wasn’t necessarily “aimed at kids” as such. It was a solid science fiction adventure book with great writing and that wonderful, wonderful Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez art saddled with a baggage-laden name.

The advice for DC Comics Presents #65 may be why I used to find this issue in bargain boxes all the time. That’s how I got mine. Also, good issue. That Gray Morrow art is beautiful.

The “NOT [Pat] BRODERICK!” warning on Firestorm was sort of unnecessary, as the artist who took over, Rafael Kayanan, was honestly close enough. Book was still good, hadn’t hit the doldrums of the saggy middle of this 100 issue run yet, and it also had this striking cover.

Batman #367 did have a nice cover, and also it’s Poison Ivy. I don’t know if Ivy was much of a sales-bumper then but boy, given the number of requests I get for Ivy comics now, ordering up on the issue would be a no-brainer.

The reprint warning on Flash is definitely a sign of the times. That sure seemed to happen a lot, and I hated when I got hit with one of those. There was an issue of Green Lantern around this time that kind of annoyed me. Anyhoo, in this case the Comics Tipster may have gotten his/her wires crossed, as the previous month’s issue was the one with the reprint with the new framing story. #329, the one with the January 1984 cover date like the rest of the books listed here, is all new. Or maybe it was another last second schedule change swapping the order of release on these.

The Omega Men entry reminds us that this was once A Hot Title, particularly early on when it was somewhat controversial for its violent content (which I think would barely be noticed today, frankly).

Now I don’t recall lateness with the Green Lantern/Green Arrow reprints, as I was buying it at the time. In fact, checking the Grand Comic Database listings, the release dates for each issue were consistently a month part. Are those dates wrong, or did everyone just assume Adams was going to be late?

Harsh words for Power Lords from our tipster friend. I was going to say “and nobody still cares” but I looked on the eBays and someone managed to sell a set for $20, which is about $25 more than I expected. So what do I know?

I believe most retailers did indeed “GET THIS!” when it came to Thriller #3, as it was one of them newfangled “Comics Aren’t Just for Kids!” titles from DC on the nicer paper and also it was getting some play in the ‘zines. …Unless the store was one of those that didn’t order DCs, which, I don’t know, I kept hearing about stores like that but have never actually seen one in practice.

New Talent Showcase I have to admit, that’s a toughie to order. Even when DC did it again not so long ago that was tricky to order, even with loading them with regular DC Universe characters.

“[Gil] Kane is not the artist for Superman.” Oh, how very dare you, sir or ma’am. Don’t forget those issues of Action. Revel in them, SING THEIR PRAISES

“Pencils by [Gene] Colan” on this issue of Detective. “Need we say more?” Um, well, yes, I think so. I don’t know if you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I assume it’s good, but then I think about it a little longer and start to wonder “is s/he warning us?” Anyway, after the Kane comment, there’s no telling.

World’s Finest – “[Ross] Andru is a weak penciller. Keep it low.” Okay, now them’s fightin’ words.

Redeemer actually finally came out, kinda sorta, so I can’t bust out any gags on it being vaporware, I suppose. I don’t even know how to respond to the art comparison between Kubert and Byrne/Miller here, but I will say “DC hasn’t let us down yet!” — um, weren’t you just busting on Power Lords?

Okay, I found one more sheet of these tips to look at, so I’ll go through ’em later in the week. I’m glad you folks seem to be enjoying these as much as I do!

11 Responses to “That Power Lords math works out, don’t question it.”

  • Joe C says:

    Wow, I thought BatO was always a hot book — at least until everything went Baxter.And I’m going to assume that someone who thinks Gray Morrow is a selling point thinks the same of ol’ Gentleman Gene.

  • Jonathan K says:

    I’ll assume the idea was that GI Joe being based off a toy line was ALSO aimed at kids, so you should expect Atari Force to sell similarly.

  • Thom H. says:

    First of all, Daredevil isn’t helping hold up that logo at all. I’d be annoyed if I were Wonder Woman.

    As for Defenders getting a bump at #127, that was the third issue of the New Defenders era that included 3/5 of the original X-Men. I started buying it with #125 (with that beautiful cover you linked to), and I assume other readers were still coming aboard a couple of months later.

    I just realized that there are a lot of books missing: Uncanny X-Men, Alpha Flight, Fantastic Four, Legion of Super-Heroes, New Teen Titans, Superman. I assume if the message is “stay the course,” then the book was omitted from the list for the sake of brevity. Which is too bad — I’d love to know what the Tipster had to say about some of those books.

    Weird, I started buying Justice League with #222, too. I guess I was trying a bunch of new stuff around that time. Didn’t want all that hot birthday money to burn a hole in my pocket!

  • BobH says:

    I’d assume that “Mantis” was a typo for “Magik”, which came out at the right time, except I’d think it would have sold much better than Hawkeye.

    A few of those later “new” covers on GL/GA are pretty much reprints with some retouches and a gloss of 1980s Continuity colours, maybe there’s some backstory to that.

    Bet that tipster was thrilled when Flash did the mid-story unplanned reprint again a year later (#344]. Were those the last two examples of that kind of “dreaded deadline doom” reprints in comics? Well, I guess the flood reprint issue of Miracleman…

  • Matthew Murray says:

    I took the note on the issue of Peter Parker to be that it should sell for 25% more as a back issue. (So price it at $0.80 instead of $0.60?)

    Though looking at that issue, it was drawn by Fred Hembeck for Assistant Editor’s Month. Clearly that’s the real draw for that issue!

    (Also, sorry for all the questions! I am far too interested in the weird minutia of the comic book industry.)

  • Billy says:

    These were great Mike. So much fun to read!

  • Chris G says:

    Kane was so bad on Superman they published a nice hardcover of his run 25+ years later! Maybe they should do the same with Ross Andru’s Superman stuff…

  • Daniel T says:

    Ask about Mantis and you shall receive: https://imgur.com/a/o8nbUgi

    From Marvel Age #7. I didn’t have the wherewithal to peruse surrounding issues, but as Mike noted it’s not mentioned in Amazing Heroes–the issue listing the releases that month or the 1984 Preview Special.

    And if you can find info about it online than you are a far better Googler than I.

  • […] you folks seem to like these distributor order-uggestion fliers, and I only wish I had more than the two I’ve […]

  • BobH says:

    Doesn’t add much, but I did find one other reference to Mantis, in The Comic Reader #212 from August 1983, just mentioning Mayerik as the artist and it’s a new Chinese martial arts character. A quick check of later issues didn’t come up with any more mentions. Lots of mentions of Kubert’s Redeemer and other books from that era, and lots of projects that ended up being delayed or changed or unpublished (there seemed to be several different plans for a Magneto mini-series).

  • Snark Shark says:

    “The Omega Men entry reminds us that this was once A Hot Title, particularly early on when it was somewhat controversial for its violent content (which I think would barely be noticed today, frankly”

    Oh, i think the baby getting killed would still do it. It was an ALIEN baby, but still.

    And i had NO idea there was ever going to be a Mantis comic!

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