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: The Mystery of the First Marvel Comic
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Jan 29th 2008
This is about as obscure a subject as imaginable, but that's what blogs are for, right?
Anyway... just now perusing pics of Golden Age comics I can't afford, I came across this
Marvel Comics #1 October edition
October edition, right. Most known copies of this 1939 book, the very first Marvel comic, are cover-dated November. The November copies simply have a black circle blocking out the October with a "Nov" above the circle.
The most obvious explanation for this is that the November copies are second printings. October copies with known provenance have all come out of the East coast, and there's some anecdotal info out there that may indicate that the October run was ordered to test the waters of the then-developing comic market.
BUT! A few of us on a Golden Age forum spent far too much time one night examining scans of a number of copies and determining that the Circle/Nov shifts in relation to the black plate of the rest of the cover, which indicates it was added after the initial printing pass.
Surely, if they'd restarted the presses for a 2nd print at a later date, they'd simply have modified the original printing plates. Adding it after the fact (and after the covers had been trimmed, apparently) to ~900,000 copies would seem to represent a non-trivial amount of additional effort at the printing plant.
There's also the matter that the infamous "
", a copy of the book used by the studio/packager of the contents to record his payments to the creators, is a November copy. It seems reasonable to assume he'd have gotten his hands on a copy as soon as possible, though obviously there's not TOO much to be concluded from that.
So, the circumstances behind the existence of both Oct and Nov copies of the first Marvel comic remains something of a mystery.
Bringing this around to something vaguely more Whitechapel related, the cover was done by noted pulp cover artist Frank Paul, who has come up here from
. Incidentally, the pay copy indicates Paul received $25 for his cover art here.
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