Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"A Golden Age Oddity"

For anyone who thinks variant-type comic books are something relatively new, think again. Comic book variants have been around since at least the time when DC Comics (then, National) stuck a fifteen cent sticker over the original price of the 1940 World's Fair comic and re-released it for sale.

What I think was one of the most interesting variants ever published was Red Circle No.4 (pictured above). Red Circle was published by Rural Home Publications (also known as Enwil Publications) from January to April of 1945, producing four issues. Each issue in the series contained stories about such characters as "The Pranster", "The Judge", or "Red Riot". But obviously, sometime in the early 1950's, this company discovered they had a LOT of left-over covers around for the 4th. issue. So they re-released the comic, but this time they put all of these covers on some OTHER comic!

Now, other companies had re-released remainer issues before, most notable Fawcett with their Gift Comics in which they bound together various comics with a cover and re-sold them, and even EC did that with a title or two, but each time they'd created a new cover , AND, they'd used their own publications. Enwil wasn't so picky.

They'd just used ANY coverless remainer comics they could find (or maybe even removed the original covers just so they could have coverless books) and reattached their OWN cover back on it. So finding a copy of Red Circle No.4(cover date April,1945) could have just about ANYTHING within it from the early 1950's.

Some of the variations that are known are: Woman Outlaws(published by Fox), Dorothy Lamour (also by Fox), Crime Does Not Pay (Lev Gleason Pub.s), Sabu (Fox as well), Diary Loves (Quality Comics), Love Confessions (also Quality), Young Love (Prize Publications), as well as the above book (that is from my personal collection) which contains Strange Adventures #24 (from 1952, and is a National/DC Comic).

I would'nt call the number of variations endless, but there are literally thousands of different variations of the interior of this particular comic!


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