“She’s daring. She’s dramatic. She comes from China.”

§ June 1st, 2022 § Filed under retailing § 7 Comments

Well, you folks seem to like these distributor order-uggestion fliers, and I only wish I had more than the two I’ve got.

First of all, in regards to that mystery Mantis #1 listing noted by The Tipster, it’s Daniel T to the rescue with this entry in Marvel Age #7 (October 1983):

Denny O’Neil and Val Mayerik, eh? That would’ve been something. Note there’s no inker listed, which certainly makes it sound like whatever they were working on here wasn’t ready to go. Not quite like the books that have “TBD” [“To Be Determined”] listed all over the credits, but at the very least the entire creative team hadn’t been put together yet.

Now we need to find any art/mock-up covers that may have been produced.

Anyway, at least Marvel gave themselves an out here:

And Matthew Murray had a couple of notes to add:

“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!”

I don’t get the feeling that our Tipster is talking about secondary market prices on any these. I think s/he’s strictly discussing initial order numbers.

And I keep forgetting the Marvels for the period under discussion are mostly Assistant Editor Month titles! For those who don’t know, “Assistant Editor Month” supposedly involved the Assistant Editors taking over the titles and doing wild things with them while the folks in charge were away at convention, or something like that. The results were mostly entertaining, none more so than Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #86, drawn by the legendary Fred Hembeck:

It seems weird that the Tipster would note “Black Cat appearance” and not say “oh, also it’s drawn by Hembeck,” as I feel it may have been noted as “it’s a goofy gag comic, not a ‘real’ issue, don’t raise orders.” Which would be foolish, because as can plainly be seen, this issue is awesome.

Okay, let’s move on to the other Tip Sheet I have here, this one dated June 1984 for books cover-dated…well, looks like between December 1983 to February 1984, based on the few I spot-checked here. You get another cool logo:

“Remember kids, be cool and smoke like Wolverine!”

It looks like the Tipster here is referred to as “our phantom writer,” which isn’t capitalized or anything so I don’t think that’s his intended nomme de distributing, so “Tipster” it remains here in this blog, nigh four decades later.

And dipping into the cover price thing…Batman went to 75 cents cover date November 1983. Uncanny X-Men went to 65 cents cover date April 1985, and 75 cents cover date October 1985. So Marvel held the line at “cheaper than DC” for a little while, anyway.

It feels a tad amusing to see the worry over comics going all the way up to 75 cents, in this time of everyone cranking out $5.99 books at the drop of a hat, but I’m sure it was still a matter of concern. My old boss Ralph likes to tell the story of going to the market with a dime to buy a new comic, only to discover they were 12 cents now. He had to root around in the vacant lot nearby to find a bottle or three to recycle to make up the difference. I don’t think too many people buying their comics in late ’83 were quite as inconvenienced, but I’m sure at the very least it was a little annoying.

And for the first batch of listings I’m presenting today:

…it’s not quite as info-packed as the last couple of entries, but that Batman and the Outsiders bit does remind us of what an influential sales giant New Teen Titans was at the time.

Looks like big dips recommended on DC’s two fancier-format, mature audiences titles Vigilante and Thriller. A tiny bit of a surprise here as I thought the Vigilante was something of a hot character then, having spun out of the aforementioned New Teen Titans book. Order drops on second issues are par for the course, but back then a 40% reduction probably meant cutting dozens of copies. Nowadays it’d be more like, I don’t know, 4 copies on some of Marvel’s slower movers.

And this Detective Comics listing finally makes it clear where The Tipster stands on the art of Gene Colan. Honestly, in that other flier I just couldn’t put my nickel down on what was being said.

That’s enough typing for now…come back Friday for the rest of this flier!

7 Responses to ““She’s daring. She’s dramatic. She comes from China.””

  • philfromgermany says:

    Wasn’t Mantis supposed to be Vietnamese?

  • Donald G says:

    My memory of the time was that when DC bumped prices up to 75¢, they also switched all their newsstand books to Mando paper.

    Marvel stuck with regular comic newsprint for their newsstand titles at the 60¢ and, later, 65¢ price points, but would use Mando on some miniseries (like the Stern/Hall West Coast Avengers) at the 75¢ price point.

    Am I misremembering?

  • Mikester says:

    philfromgermany – According to that issue description (“she’s never been seen before!”) this would have been a whole new Mantis. At least, that’s my interpretation.

    Donald G – the DC paper switch matches up with my memories. Unforutely I’m not quite as on top of Marvel’s paper stock shenanigans.

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    Mike – It was certainly an interesting time when DC fans were knowledgeable about all the different paper stocks they used.

  • Snark Shark says:

    from yer twitter: “Literally shocked a customer into silence when he asked me if I’d seen the original TOP GUN and I replied “no.””

    You didn’t miss much. Though I quite like the soundtrack!

  • Thom H. says:

    Yeah, my husband made me watch Top Gun a couple of years ago after he learned — to his horror — that I’d never seen it. The plot honestly didn’t make a lot of sense, but I enjoyed the strong ’80s vibe. In the end, it was a better movie in my head than it was in real life.

  • […] Now, onto the rest of that June 1983 order recommendation sheet! […]