“This series will be HOTTER than anyone knows!”

§ June 3rd, 2022 § Filed under retailing § 6 Comments

Now, onto the rest of that June 1983 order recommendation sheet!

The interesting thing about the Ka-Zar entry is noting the possible impact of competing newsstand sales. I can’t recall that being much of an issue for us back in the day when “comics selling on newsstands” were a thing. If anything, they might get people interested in comics and lookin’ for more, eventually leading them to a dedicated funnybook store. Which is a heck of a business model, I realize, but it did happen at least a few times. I mean, that’s more or less how I ended up going to comic book stores.

The note that Daredevil sales were going to slump after 200…well, considering I recently acquired seven copies of #201 in a collection, somebody was still buying the book. But with nice covers an’ stuff, I imagine sales probably stayed more or less stable until the eventual, if brief, returns of Frank Miller to the series.

Doing these two tipsheets I have in reverse chronological order is a little revealing about how fast things can change. Last time in the entry for New Mutants #11, our Tipstar was recommending dropping orders. This time, for New Mutants #10, we’re being told it’s still a strong title, order big! Not sure what happened exactly to cause the change in attitude here, as just content-wise the comics don’t appear to have had any kind of serious content change (not like a few months later when Sienkiewicz comes on). Just maybe a natural correction from retailers cutting orders to have less stock for back issues? Readers deciding 9 or 10 issues were enough? I don’t know.

Still consistent, however, is the “NOT PAUL SMITH” warning that we got for the later issue of Falcon last time. I think “NOT PAUL SMITH” should just be appended to all comics not actually by Paul Smith. Oddly, doesn’t turn up later in this sheet….

There’s no real explicit recommendation in the Captain America #288 entry, aside from an implied “(shrug) just order what you’ve been ordering, I guess.” Odd that they wouldn’t mention “AWESOME MIKE ZECK/JOHN BEATTY COVER,” because, c’mon:

Also, part one of the story had this cover:


“This story should be flying off the shelves. ORDER LOTS”

Now, Star Wars Annual #3 was a standalone story drawn by Klaus Janson and, if you haven’t read it, is pretty good. Plus, it had this Darth Vader cover, one of the few to nicely exploit that year’s annual “image framed in black” format:


…it doesn’t surprise me that orders would be bumped up for this. No idea if it actually sold that much more, if at all, than the regular series, but I certainly can’t keep them in stock.

Forgot how Magik (called “Illyana and Storm,” actually “Storm and Illyana” on the cover) was a “HOT” book at the time. In 1983, we weren’t yet quite overwhelmed with X-Men tie-ins, so a mini like this has more of a chance to catch on. Also, this was in the days before every title was essentially a mini-series, an actual mini was still a novelty.

I presume the S.H.I.E.L.D. comic referred to here is the Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD mini reprinting Steranko comics. And the Warlock #6 is from this reprint series of the (mostly) Jim Starlin material. As it turned out, there was enough demand for those Warlock reprints to be reissued a decade later. I can’t get a sense that similar demand is rising for the Nick Fury series, but if you’re having a hard finding ’em, blame the Tipster!

Oddly, the note for Uncanny X-Men #176 doesn’t say “NOT PAUL SMITH,” but I assume Smith leaving the book with #175 got enough attention at the time. And was it true that sales went up every time the artist changed? Weren’t sales just generally increasing as the series went on and grabbed more and more readers? Or did retailers bump up orders specifically on issues with new artists just in case it became “hot?” In the latter case, that would read as an aberration, a small spike in numbers before settling back to the typical overall increase in numbers. Anyway, our Tipster was right to note that John Romita Jr.’s popularity was about to change.

Cloak and Dagger – still hot! They’ll always be popular!

Mixed messages on the Krull #2 suggestion, saying order like any #2 (same or lower as #1, presumably), but then saying “hey #1’s beginning to sell!” Especially to whoever this guy was that bought 83 copies of the damned thing:


(Sorry, early pic from the site, I know it’s too small.)

I do get occasional demand for Marvel’s 1980s movie adaptations, including Krull, but more for Labyrinth and Dark Crystal, movies that still have followings, versus Krull and 2010. Though to be fair 2010 did have a peak in interest about, oh, 12 years ago.

• • •

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for these tipsheets at the moment. I’ll dig through my boxes of promo stuff as I get the time and see if I can track down any more. Thanks for your enthusiasm for these…they were fun to look at!

6 Responses to ““This series will be HOTTER than anyone knows!””

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Thanks, Mike, these were awesome! I can’t say the Tipster was 100% prescient, but overall he/she was pretty thoughtful and made a lot of good calls.

    Also, that X-Men #176 cover was one of my favorites as a kid (and still is!) with that underwater scene of Cyclops battling something with a tentacle and destroying the X-men logo with his vision blast.

  • Chris K says:

    Regarding Ka-Zar: Marvel’s 3 direct only titles – Ka-Zar, Micronauts and Moon Knight – all had double sized issues around this time that, unlike the regular issues, were also sold on the newsstands. I assume that Marvel was testing the waters to see if they could switch them from direct only back to newsstand. Sure enough, Micronauts went back to newsstand shortly after (“New Voyages”), and Moon Knight (“Fist of Khonshu”) also did after a delay. A Ka-Zar newsstand relaunch was announced but never came out.

    I think Tipster’s point was not about newsstand vs direct generally, but rather, “hey, comic book stores won’t be the only place people will be able to buy this specific issue, so heads up!”

  • Chris K says:

    (Sorry if I was telling you a bunch of stuff you already knew with all of that above!)

  • Thom H. says:

    Those issues of The New Mutants are in the middle of the arc that introduced Magma and her home in Nova Roma. That storyline comprises at least 5 issues, which was possibly a bit too long by 1980s standards. It dragged for me personally, at least. If the feeling was more widespread, maybe that’s why the Tipster changes their recommendations between tip sheets.

    I agree that Uncanny X-Men cover was amazing. I thought JRJr came to the X-Men a superstar because of his previous work on Spider-man. I suppose if any book was going to increase his popularity at that point, it would be Uncanny, though.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “AWESOME MIKE ZECK/JOHN BEATTY COVER,”

    All that, and DEATHLOK, too!

    “NOT PAUL SMITH,”

    I guess the lesson is, the Falcon SHOULD have been drawn by Paul Smith!

  • Patrick Joseph says:

    I love Paul Smith, but immediately took to Mark Bright. His art was great, and Falcon was his very first work. Now JRJR.. I did not enjoy that change. X-Men should STILL say “not Paul Smith”.

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