Thursday, 2 November 2017


Well, who'da thunk it?  I was right!  Browsing through an auction site (I'll be bidding on one or two items), I see that the free gifts (there were three) from issue #1 of SUPER DC are on offer.  One of the gifts was a 'wristwatch calendar' (three adhesive labels) bearing the dates of October and November of 1969, and January 1970.  In a previous post a couple of years back, I wondered why the comic had been copyright-dated 1969 and priced one shilling, when the free gift in my copy had borne the dates of 1970 and '71.  I knew I'd bought my original copy in 1970 because I was at secondary school when it went on sale, which I didn't start attending until that particular year, so I knew I wasn't wrong on that score.  I wondered whether the comic had perhaps gone on sale in England first, before being rolled out across the rest of the country a year later.  Well, thanks to Phil's Auctions, I now know that I was spot-on with that little speculation.  Below is my original post for your contemplative perusal.



SUPERMAN and related characters copyright DC COMICS

I've read that SUPER DC came out in June 1969 and lasted to July of 1970.  That may be true (in some parts of the country anyway), but it's not the whole story.  When I bought issue #1, one of the trio of free gifts was a 'wristwatch calendar', consisting of three adhesive strips (one month on each) to be applied to the strap of one's watch.  The months on my calendar labels were that of November and December 1970, and January 1971.  Not that they were any good to me, because I didn't wear a watch then, nor do I wear a watch now.  However, this fact tends to indicate that, at least in Scotland, the first issue didn't go on sale until September or October of '70 at the earliest.

So what's the scoop?  You're asking me?  I can only speculate, but here's what may have happened.  The comics were tried out in England first, and unsold copies were then distributed to the rest of the U.K. at a later date.  This would explain why all 14 issues bore the price of 1/- (one shilling) even after decimalisation on February 15th 1971.  In some (but not all) cases, issues on sale after this date had a 5p sticker covering  the old price.  Or perhaps there was some kind of nationwide delay between publishing and distribution, and the main reason that people think the comic came out in 1969 is because of the price and the copyright date in the indicia.

There's evidence to suggest that issue #1 (at least) was reprinted, as the indicia is different in two copies I have in my collection.  Take a look at page 39 (above) and spot the difference between both versions.  I suppose this could perhaps merely be as a result of the NATIONAL PERIODICALS copyright attribution being added during a pause in the print run when it was noticed it was missing, but that wouldn't explain why the comics are also slightly different sizes.  So it's anyone's guess as to the true history of this U.K. reprint monthly, published by TOP SELLERS and edited by MICK ANGLO (who also illustrated some covers and text stories).  If you think you can help clear up this minor mystery, feel free to chip in your two cents (or pence) worth in the comments section.


The above post was published on July 7th 2015, and it's good to finally know the answer.  One mystery yet remains though.  Was it unsold stock that was later released in other parts of the country, or were the issues reprinted with no amendments to the date and price?  The fact that I now have three copies of number one (got another one a while back), with the size and copyright indicia of one of them being slightly different, seems to suggest such a scenario as a distinct possibility - at least as far as the first issue goes anyway.  


-3- said...

The piece you posted on 12 October sent me off digging for this series. I hadn't really looked before, thinking it was just reprint strips. After you showed us a peek at the articles, the hunt was on.
The copy i found of #1 is the reprint edition, with two lines of credits on pg. 39.
No clue as to the reasons for the differences, nor can i help compare for variations with only the one version. Just wanted to tip the hat in thanks for putting me on to these.
And i liked that little bit about Patrick Macnee wanting to be a jockey and becoming an actor because he grew too tall. I wanted to be an astronaut, but growing past 185cm by the time 13 rolled around closed that and i followed the artist path instead.

You've got me thinking about another variation encountered a not long back, concerning something else you mentioned - The Trigan Empire. Which version of Episode One does the IDW collection use? Two or three page version?
I first encountered the saga in an American collection from Chartwell that's almost 40 years old now. Much later, upon finding Ranger #1, it was quite surprising to find the first three pages of my book was originally only two. (Sorry - didn't mean to hijack the topic)

Kid said...

Nice to know that an American likes a British comic that reprints American strips. As for The Trigan Empire, I don't think I've seen the IDW books of that series, so can't say with certainty whether they use 2 or 3 page strips, but I'd suspect it's the 2 page versions as IDW usually try to be as archival as possible and that's how the strips first appeared.

'Hijack' away, 3 - I don't mind.

-3- said...

Well, when i thought it was just reprints, the book got ignored. Though i do like many of the annuals that mix American reprints and unique material.
For Super DC, it was you showing the bits with the Cybermen from #2 and The Saint from #1 that sent me digging. I much enjoyed Roger Moore's version, as well as Vincent Price on the radio and the original Leslie Charteris novels. The reprints themselves i'm scarcely glancing through. It's the articles and features that i'm loving.
I prefer the look and flow of the 2 page original version on Trigan Empire, and heartily endorse their policy of accuracy to the original. I seem to remember later stories in the collection varying heavily from the Ranger/Look And Learn versions.
I'm going to have to run a piece or three on The Rise And Fall Of The Trigan Empire soon. Far too few of the folks around here are aware of the saga, and that's just wrong.

Kid said...

I'm sure you know that The Trigan Empire is now owned by DC Comics/Warner, so you'd think that they'd do something with the material to make Americans more aware of the strip. Incidentally, there's also a Super DC Bumper Book, so that may be worth your while trying to track down.

-3- said...

No - I was completely clueless in that regard. I pay so little attention to what Marvel & DC are doing in the publishing world these days that i missed that. When did it happen? I won't ask why they're just sitting on it. That's the way they work - buy up properties and warehouse them like the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

You included the Bumper Book in your previous post, so it was already here. I was surprised to find colour strips, but at first glance, it might actually be the least of them in terms of the articles & extras.

Kid said...

It's one of those cases where they might not even know they've got it. I think they acquired it automatically when they bought part of IPC, though my memory is vague on the details and might be misremembering some parts. I only noticed when I bought a 48 issue partwork of Look & Learn which features Trigan Empire from the first Ranger episodes, and the copyright line attributed the strip to DC/Warner.

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