Catches variants just like flies.

§ September 1st, 2023 § Filed under variant covers § 7 Comments

So, in the culmination of a process that’s taken, oh, about a year and a half, I found myself finally in possession of Amazing Spider-Man #1, #2 and #3, as well as a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15. I’ve been buying (and occasionally consigning) Silver Age Marvels from this particular person for a while now, and I knew he had those early Spideys but he wasn’t quite ready to part with them…until NOW.

Well, by “NOW” I mean “a couple of days ago” and before you ask, I only have the #3 left as of this writing and even that will likely be gone shortly after you read this. Or long before you read this, if our giant-brained, spindly-bodied descendant are reading this ancient archived post in the very distant Weird Science-ish future.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about, mostly. What I’m here to talk to you about is another item that came along with this early Spideys…another early Spidy of some note. But first, let me show you a picture I took of the actual, real, straight-from-1963 issue #1 that I briefly had my mitts all over:

And here is the other Spidey…can you tell the difference between the two (other than my inability to take a decent photo that’s not at a weird angle)?

Yes, the 12-cent price is missing. And that’s because this comic is the reprint included in the Golden Records Book and Record Set from 1966, pictured here in an image “borrowed” from eBay:

Nope, I didn’t get the record, just the comic. But if you absolutely have to, you can listen to it via the YouTubes. WARNING: will challenge your ability to listen immediately.

There are a number of other differences between the two versions of the comic, as I’m sure comes as no surprise. The big one is the reprint has fewer pages, having removed all the ads. They also removed all the credits from the stories, much to Stan Lee’s chagrin I’m assuming. The story pages were also renumbered…in the original, once the second story starts, the page numbering starts over with “1” but the reprint just continues along enumerating the pages from 1 to 24. I’ll show you an example in a moment.

There were a few pages devoted to espousing the virtues of Golden Records and advertising their wares, such as this message to parents and teachers on the inside front cover:

And here’s a list of other records in the series. Tag yourself, I’m “Bozo Finds a Friend:”

And here’s the back cover, with a convenient order form that I’m going to clip out and mail in right away:

The most interesting difference is this, I think. The very last panel of the second story of the comic looks like this in the 1963 original:

Here it is in the Golden Records reprint, with the blurb removed (and you can see the page number now reads “24” instead of “10,” since, as it says in the parents/teachers note, the narrator reads off the page numbers and starting over again from #1 might have been confusing):

Someone had to go and draw in that little web to fill the panel. I’m assuming some art guy at the record company, or maybe Marvel did it for them. Unless that was something Steve Ditko did originally in that panel and it was covered by a pasted-in caption, but from what I know about actual comic production, that doesn’t seem likely. I don’t know, but still, it’s pretty neat. What a weird panel to end a story on in the reprint…and without that blurb, how will kids know there were any more Spider-Man adventures? Maybe they thought this was it! Spider-Man tried to get a job with the FF, then fought the Chameleon, and then was never seen again.

Anyway, neat item…and something I noticed when pricing the book was that in the latest Overstreet price guide, this comic is worth more on its own than with the record, which is…weird? And not something that was true in previous years’ guides, far as I can tell. It’s also not like that for the Fantastic Four Golden Record. I’m guessing it’s an error and prices got switched…or it’s simply a case of that’s just how the sale prices reported to the guide worked out. Strange, and I guess we’ll see how it looks in the next edition of the Guide.

Should also note that yes, this technically isn’t a variant, but a reprint…but what the heck, close enough. It’s been a while since I’ve done a variant covers post and it’s probably not a bad idea to remind people this series of posts exists.

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By the way, as of this month I’ll have been in comics retail for 35 years.

7 Responses to “Catches variants just like flies.”

  • LouReedRichards says:

    Congratulations – that’s quite an achievement!

    According to Hallmark’s anniversary gifts by year chart, 35th is “Reprint.”

    36th is “muck-encrusted mockery of a man,” so you’re almost there!

  • I, Warren says:

    I swear I read one of those records as “Romper Room Laughing Stock”

  • Thom H. says:

    It’s also missing the issue number, which is another reason why readers might not know to look for #2. Although, I assume that in 1966 the odds of finding a 3-year-old Amazing Spider-man #2 were probably slim to none.

    Also, you can find me @scuffythetugboat.

  • Roel says:

    No offense to the person that drew the extra bit of spider web, but they did a terrible job of it.

    Congrats on 35 years! Excelsior!

  • Snark Shark says:

    “(other than my inability to take a decent photo that’s not at a weird angle)?”

    Same for me, and I’ve been taking pics/selling on ebay for 20+ years!

    “his comic is worth more on its own than with the record, which is…weird?”

    Maybe certain people (*ahem*) would feel WEIRD splitting up the set, but don’t want to keep the record, but DO want the comic.
    Most people don’t even have record players nowadays.

  • I used to have the Thor record and comic, but I think I let it go with my first collection. I think I got it in a cutout record bin in a Woolworth’s, but that memory is fuzzy too.

    Congrats on your anniversary!

  • William Burns says:

    I’m Saggy Baggy Elephant!