Modern Discount Marvels

logosmText by HARRY MILLER


First and foremost, welcome to the STL Comics Modern Discount Marvel Gallery!

That is what I have heard them referred to, and it seems like a pretty appropriate name. These modern books employed a mass marketing strategy to bring in new readers by lowering the price to 9, 25, or 50 cents. Each book has a large circle on the cover, with the low, low price front and center. These prices scream ‘try me out”—and tons of people did.

But the direct market is not the only market for Marvel distribution. Book stores, newsstands and other outlets with spinner racks could not sell books at those prices. For this smaller market, Marvel printed newsstand editions, with regular monthly prices on them. This is where the fun begins.

What we have here are variants. Variants of some sort. Newsstand copies and Canadian copies of books exist all over the place, what makes these special? Those answers are obvious from looking at the cover, but we also need to go to the indicia.

The first thing that separates these books from the rest is the big circle on the front. Just this fact alone makes one book a cover variant to another. The circle in itself is much more than a simple change in price in the UPC. It is either there staring at you, or it is not.

Other differences- by book comparison:

Avengers #77

Newsstand Price Variant

avengers77_001
$2.99 Cover Price

Direct Edition
avengers77_002
$.50 Cover Price
  • Direct market has a 50-cent circle price, no circle on newsstand edition
  • The Direct Edition says “Direct Edition” in the UPC, the newsstand has no words in the UPC
  • The UPC number is different on each edition
  • The UPC bars look different
  • The newsstand book has the Curtis “ccc” in the UPC
  • The indicia is quite clear: $0.5 per copy in the US and $0.75 in Canada…in the Direct Market and $2.99 per Copy in the US and $4.25 in Canada…through the newsstand.

CONCLUSION: Avengers 77 has a COVER VARIANT.

ERROR Cover Exists!

avengers77.2_001
Both $.50 & $2.99 Cover Price

Same as newsstand book, except has both “only 50-cents circle”
on the cover and the newsstand $2.99/$4.25 prices in the UPC

DAREDEVIL #41

Newsstand Price Variant

dd41_001
$2.99 Cover Price

Direct Edition

dd41_003
$.25 Cover Price
  • Direct market has a 25-cent circle price, no circle on newsstand edition
  • The Direct Edition says “Direct Edition” in the UPC, the newsstand has no words in the UPC
  • The UPC number is different on each edition
  • The UPC bars look different
  • The newsstand book has the Curtis “ccc” in the UPC
  • The newsstand copy does not have the issue number in the “M” on the cover
  • The indicia is quite clear: $0.25 per copy in the US and $0.40 in Canada…

CONCLUSION: Daredevil 41 has a PRICE VARIANT.

FANTASTIC FOUR #60

Newsstand Price Variant


$2.25 Cover Price

Direct Edition
ff60_002
$.09 Cover Price
  • Direct market has a 9-cent circle price, no circle on newsstand edition
  • The Direct Edition says “Direct Edition” in the UPC, the newsstand has no words in the UPC
  • The UPC number is different on each edition
  • The UPC bars look different
  • The newsstand book has the Curtis “ccc” in the UPC
  • The indicia is quite clear: $0.09 per copy in the US and $0.15 in Canada…

CONCLUSION: Fantastic Four 60 has a PRICE VARIANT.

Incredible Hulk #55

Newsstand Price Variant

hulk55_001
$2.25 Cover Price

Direct Edition
hulk55_002
$.25 Cover Price
  • Direct market has a 25-cent circle price, no circle on newsstand edition
  • The Direct Edition says “Direct Edition” in the UPC, the newsstand has no words in the UPC
  • The UPC number is different on each edition
  • The UPC bars look different
  • The newsstand book has the Curtis “ccc” in the UPC
  • The indicia is quite clear: $0.25 per copy in the US and $0.40

CONCLUSION: Hulk 55 has a PRICE VARIANT.

UNCANNY X-MEN #423

Newsstand Price Variant

xmen423_001
$2.25 Cover Price

Direct Edition
uncxmen423_001
$.25 Cover Price
  • Direct market has a 25-cent circle price, no circle on newsstand edition
  • The Direct Edition says “Direct Edition” in the UPC, the newsstand has no words in the UPC
  • The UPC number is different on each edition
  • The UPC bars look different
  • The newsstand book has the Curtis “ccc” in the UPC
  • The indicia is quite clear: $2.25 per copy in the US and $3.75 in Canada…

CONCLUSION: X-men 423 has a PRICE VARIANT.
(interesting side note: based upon the indicia, the price variant is actually the more common mass produced 25 cent circle version—talk about a reversal…..)

ERROR Cover Exists!

xerror
Both $.25 & $2.25 Cover Price

Same as newsstand book, except has both “only 25-cents circle”
on the cover and the newsstand $2.25/$3.75 prices in the UPC

 

 

According to some, the Fantastic Four 60 is the most difficult to find. It was my first book of the run, and what got me started with them. I have since located a second copy, and know of more.

Marvel produced another book with the 25-cent circle: Namor 1. I have been trying to locate a newsstand copy of this book for a couple of months. I doubt it exists, but it would be cool if one surfaced (haha pun intended).

I hope you enjoy the Modern Discount Marvel Gallery here at STL Comics. Please feel free to join our forum and talk to us about variants.

Thanks James Jobe for another great gallery!


ADDENDUM:

Other versions of FF #60:

ff60balitmore_001

Baltimore Comic Book Show Giveaway

The Baltimore edition indicia states:

Vol. 3, No. 60, October 2002…

and $0.09 per copy in the U.S. and $0.15 in Canada.

“Mr. Fantastic”

The Mister Fantastic edition says “Not for Resale” on the cover.
The indicia states:

Fantastic Four Vol. 3, No. 60, July 2003. Contains material originally published in magazine form as Fantastic Four Vol. 3, No. 60, October 2002.

and…….

$2.25 per copy in the U.S. and $3.75 in Canada

ff60mrf_001