Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Invincible Iron Man #9: Date stamp bonus!

Nice to have this copy of The Invincible Iron Man #9 rock into the Junkyard over the weekend:

Nice of it to also come complete with a June 1982 date stamp on the rear cover. Being a 'tall' digest with a $0.70 cover price and no Australian indicia date I figured it was an early/mid-1982 issue, but pleasing to have it confirmed nonetheless.

This issue could have been on the shelves in March 1982, but I tend to favour a later date of April. As often mentioned in these parts, newsagency markings on the Yaffa's suggest a 2 or 3 month shelf life, but the fact that this was the last issue in the series - I don't know of, say, a #10 reprinting the first issue - suggests to me it was more likely published quite late in the piece in this phase of Yaffa's Marvel reprints.

And I don't have a copy of The Invincible Iron Man #8 to check - nor do I recall ever spotting one - but I'm betting that it is also a 'tall' digest. And the date - should it come to light - will be no earlier than September 1981, and not later than February 1982. So let's say November 1981. Just calling it now.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dating the Federal DC's: The logo story

Federal Comics used five distinct logos on their DC reprints between 1983-86:

Murray the Cat/Federal logo
March-June 1983
A transitional logo amending the pre-existing Murray the Cat design.
Many issues were actually cover-dated March-April or April-May 1983. Some also replicated the CCA stamp.

Federal Comics FC (red and blue) logo
July 1983-January 1984
The first fully-fledged Federal Comics logo

Federal Comics FC (black and white) logo
January-March 1984
A distinct short-lived variation on the FC logo

Australian Edition DC logo
March 1984-June 1985
DC replaces FC in the circle, and Australian Edition replaces Federal Comics in the outer ring

DC bullet
July 1985-March 1986
Australian Edition tagged alongside the standard DC logo

Clearly the logo story outlined here begins earlier, not just with the Murray variations but with Planet Comics and the Colour Comics Pty. Ltd. branding, but for the moment we are just concerned with the Federal Comics period.

With most of these changes there is a transitional month in which both logos appear. I've noted above the ones which cross over in my data - January 1984 and March 1984 -  but I wouldn't be surprised to find crossover instances in June-July 1983 and June-July 1985.

The DC bullet logo appears in random colours - blue, red and black being the most common, but I've seen a pink one, and there may be other others. I doubt there's an underlying pattern to them.

The above images are placeholder samples pending clear high-resolutions samples of each without the masthead intruding.

Obviously the Federal Marvel editions have a different logo story.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dating the Federal DC's: Funtastic Toy Offer, 1986 Calendar Poster and A View to a Kill

Dating the Federal Comics DC editions from December 1985 is quite straight forward - the rear cover carries the Funtastic Toy Offer advertisement, and most issues will also feature one or both of the following ads on the inner covers:

 1986 Calendar Poster offer

A View to a Kill ad

But really, all you need to date these issues is the Funtastic Toy Offer ad on the rear cover.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dating the Federal DC's: Real Life Romance Comics

The following three Federal Comics house ads appeared in romance comics between 1983-84:

 Real Life Romance Comics [1]

Real Life Romance Comics [2]

Every Kiss...Real Life

Real Life Romance Comics [1] and [2] also appeared in a few super hero comics, typically headlining female super heroes such as Supergirl and Wonder Woman, and at least one New Teen Titans issue.

There are probably other romance comics house ads. I haven't reviewed my romance comics collection in this regard - these samples are from one-off titles such as Romance Time, Destination Paradise, Follow Your Heart, Last Kiss and Gift of Love. 

I expect a review of such ads in romance comics may provide some guidance to the publication dates of those titles, but it may depend on how many such varieties there are - the more the better.

At this stage I'm not sure how reliable they are as a guide to dating the super hero titles they appear in. There is some degree of genre cross-promotion in the first year of Federal Comics - there are a few instances of super hero titles pairing a Superman or Batman ad with a romance or western ad on an inner cover. But I don't have enough samples and data at the moment to confidently assess whether such pairings were across the board on all titles for a given month, or selectively weighted towards series such as Supergirl and Wonder Woman.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Dating the Federal DC's: Murray the Cat Fan Club

In my overview of the Federal Marvel advertisements I began with the Professor Teddy Woods ad which appeared on issues dated up to August 1984.

Of course Federal's DC reprints had been up and running for well over a year earlier, and they begin with this advertisement on the rear cover:

Murray the Cat Fan Club
April 1983-November 1983

Federal Comics DC issues with this advertisement on the rear cover will date between April-November 1983 - possibly also December 1983, which I will cover in a separate entry.

This advertisement crosses over two different Federal imprint logos - the Murray the Cat/Federal transitional logo and the red FC logo. I will also cover the logos in a separate entry.

After the Professor Teddy Woods ad took over rear cover duties the following ad could be found on inner covers of Federal Comics DC issues:

It is identical to the blue ad and it appeared in issues dated up to May 1984, by which time the black DC Australian Edition logo was in play.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dating the Federal DC's: Basic Electronics and Rock Stars Scrapbook

In my overview of the Federal Marvel advertisements I noted that the Hanimex ad could be found on the rear cover of issues dated October-November 1985. At the time I also noted a gap in my data re: September 1985. I can now confirm September 1985 issues also have the Hanimex ad.

Further, the September 1985 issues can be identified by the following two advertisements on the inner front and inner rear covers respectively:

 Basic Electronics ad

Rock Stars Scrapbook ad

At this stage I don't have enough data to say anything meaningful about the advertisements in the October-November issues with Hanimex ads. They may be the same as the September issues, but are likely to be variations on this combination.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Dating the Federal DC's: Rock Video

In my overview of the Federal Marvel advertisements I noted that the Battle of the Sounds ad could be found on the rear cover of issues dated June-August 1985.

These issues also carry one of the three variations of the Rock Video ad on their inner front cover:

 Rock Video [1]
June 1985

  Rock Video [2]
June 1985-August 1985

I've verified these by cross referencing with a number of issues.

You'll note that June 1985 issues could have either variation of these Rock Video ads. When I first noticed this I thought there was a bug in my system, but this may actually be helpful  - I think it may indicate whether an issue was released early June or late June. I say this because this combination of ads can be further distinguished by whether the rear inner cover contained one of the following ads:

 A Fantastic Rock Poster Magazine

Rock Poster Magazine

In other words, a Battle of the Sounds issue from June 1985 may contain a pairing of either Rock Video [1] and A Fantastic Rock Poster Magazine, or Rock Video [2] and Rock Poster Magazine. Given that issues containing Rock Video [1] and A Fantastic Rock Poster Magazine are also related to the Stars & Rockers ads for issues published March-May 1985, I surmise their appearance in June 1985 alongside Battle of the Sounds ads is a carryover from that period before settling into the Rock Video [2] and Rock Poster Magazine pairing.

I mentioned at the beginning that there are three variations of the Rock Video ad but I have only referred to two so far. This is the third:

 Rock Video [3]
February 1985

The Rock Video [3] ad predates issues containing Rock Video [1] and [2]. It appears on the inner front cover of issues with the  Stars and Rockers [1] ad on the rear cover and the 24 Rock Post-Cards ad on the inner rear cover - but I will detail that pairing in a separate post. 

And yes - I really should have designated Rock Video [3] as Rock Video [1] - but let's call it the  Earth 1/Earth 2 Syndrome.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dating the Federal DC's: Stars & Rockers

In my overview of the Federal Marvel advertisements I noted that the Stars & Rockers advertisement could be found on the rear cover of issues published between December 1984 and April 1985. I now think they may date as early as November 1984, and can confirm they appear on issues in May 1985.

There are actually two versions of the Stars & Rockers advertisement - the initial Coming Soon! [1] version and the subsequent Now available [2] version:

 Stars & Rockers [1]
December 1984-February 1985

 Stars & Rockers [2]
March-May 1985

I'm quite confident in the months attributed to [1] as I have a number of samples to verify the date. I have fewer samples related to [2] but it does appear to be correct.

These advertisements are a good firm guide but may not be as absolute as I would wish. They may appear either side of December 1984-May 1985, but if they do they would outliers, certainly in the case of a June 1985 issue. November 1984 is a different case which I will address in a separate blog entry.

Having qualified my assertions so, let me go further and suggest these ads can be broken down into individual months by pairing them with the advertisements found on the inner front and inner rear covers. For example, an issue with [1] on the rear cover, a Prince ad on the inner front cover, and a 24 Rock Post-Cards ad on the inner rear cover is likely to be dated January 1985.

I have more of these pairings and dates to detail. I've catalogued two boxes of Federal DC comics in this regard. There's a bit more information for me to sort and process, but I'm feeling pretty good about getting this close to narrowing down the publication dates of Federal comics which don't have newsagency dates marked on them. By the time I'm done I expect to have a quite accurate guide to publication dates. I already know it won't be 100% accurate, but it should narrow the variable down to within a month or two - I hope!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Dating the Federal DC's: Comic Comments...

In the waning days of Federal Comics' DC reprint tenure a letter column appeared titled Comic Comments...:



These are useful for dating the issues carrying these letters. Issues containing the first letter can be dated to January 1986, and issues containing the second letter can be dated to February 1986.

That is, if they are printed on the inner covers - the first letter appeared in at least one earlier issue as filler on the last page, and that issue I have dated as December 1985. However, if they appear on the inside front covers - and the inside back cover has a Wham! advertisement - I think you can safely attribute a January or February date to the issue at hand. I've verified this with at least three samples of each.

I think of the first letter as the Dark Maple letter - it does appear to reference the LOC'er T.M. Maple. And in doing so it does beg the question as to whether these were legitimate letters or Federal contrivances. There does appear to be some effort to reference recent local editions... but as I say, my interest in these is in the dating information and guidance they provide, and I really haven't spent much time considering provenance.

Rather, I've been spending too much of my holiday break poring over the Federal DC's and their advertisements with the aim of establishing a dating guide. Lots of stuff to report, and also, of course, a few frustrating anomalies... TBA!

PS: There is a reference to Dark Maple/T.M. Maple on AusReprints, but I don't recall which issue it was related to. I'll update the information when I come across it again. Credit where credit's due and all that...

Update: A third letter column has emerged, a variation on #2 above