By Benjamin Nobel, August 5, 2020 — this post is for readers of the 2020 CPV Price Guide and features pictures from the collection of 1984 Whitman CPVs generously shared with us by Stefane Bellec. Stefane spent the last decade+ hunting all of these down, and we believe this is the full list of Whitman’s 1984 CPVs that exist (but let us know if you find others!). Huge thanks to Stefane for making this page possible!
“75 cent cover price issues of 1984 Whitman Comics that are 60 cents in USA; These are Quite Rare in High Grade, with 9.2 copies worth $75.00 or more each.”
— Doug Sulipa, Canadian Newsstand Cover Price VARIANTS 2018-2019 Market Report
As Doug touched upon more fully in the market report quoted above, there were a number of Whitman variants published over the course of time, including their 1984 batch of CPVs carrying 75¢ cover prices (versus the 60¢ cover prices on their regular counter-parts). [For even more Whitman information from Doug, see this inventory page on dougcomicworld.com]
Today we are presenting those variants from 1984, which occurred from publication dates 2/1984 through 7/1984. Interestingly, rather than the “direct edition versus newsstand” distribution circumstance that we’re used to with other 1980’s publishers of Canadian Price Variants, in this case with Whitman, every single one of these 75¢ variants looks to have been distributed in multi-packs like this example pack:
With bar codes on the outside of the bag itself, there was no need to have printed bar codes on the actual covers. Notice also the “Imported By” line on the bag, giving information about the comics being imported into Canada (from the United States):
This “Imported By” line is a great reminder about one of the “big picture” points that is so important for collectors to grasp about Type 1A Price Variants: even while the target market for distribution was outside of the USA, these books are in fact US-Published; they are from the USA. [If these Whitman CPVs had been from Canada, then they wouldn’t have needed to be imported into Canada, would they?]
Something else that strikes me about the above pack is that it contains two 75¢ cover price comics, for $1.49 — “a whole penny” of savings against the combined cover price. But meanwhile the packs sold in the US were much more of a bargain/discount; for example here’s a pack with two 60¢ cover price comics inside, a “$1.20 value” but with the whole pack priced at 99¢:
Here’s another pack I found with 60¢ cover price comics inside, this time a 3-pack, for $1.39:
So although they carry 60¢ cover prices, averaging the cost of a pack over the number of comics inside, US buyers were effectively paying about 46¢ to 50¢ per comic, whereas buyers of the $1.49 CAN pack were paying practically the full 75¢ each. I find this interesting in the context of the cover price hike to Canadians from other publishers in 1982 from 60¢ to 75¢ (where publishers started to charge 75¢ north of the border but left prices at 60¢ in the US) — at the time of that 1982 hike, Canadians saw the cost of comics increase 25% from the 60¢ they had been used to… By 1984, Canadians were used to paying 75¢ cover prices; but I still find it interesting that the 1984 Whitman packs effectively cost not 25% more but a full 50% more (1.49 CAN per two-pack versus .99 US per two-pack)!
An example indicia page is shown below shared by Stefane, from his 75¢ variant copy of Daffy Duck #144:
As you can see, the variants were published by Western Publishing Company, New York, NY, USA. No “expected” cover price is mentioned in the indicia, and aside from copyright dates there is no publication month or date specifically listed (which seems to be the case for most of these), making these issues harder to date — but Overtreet has dated nearly all of them, with publication months from 2/1984 through 7/1984. And just like the other Canadian Price Variants we are used to, the indicia on variant copies is a 100% match against the regular cover priced version: here below is a 60¢ copy I found on eBay with an indicia picture included, and as you can see it is the same as what we saw on Stefane’s copy.
Looking at the regular non-variant guide values in 9.2 from the Overstreet #49 guide, for the universe of Whitman 1984 issues the “typical” regular non-variant value is around $20-40, with an average of $31.25. The Uncle Scrooge issues appear to be stand-outs, with 9.2 values listed at $55. There were a couple of issues with “low print run” notes: Donald Duck #245, and Porky Pig #109. Mickey Mouse #218 has a note about being mis-dated 2/82 (and I noticed some others that have weird CGC census entries dated 1982 — so this may not be the only one that is mis-dated; or maybe with no month or year in the indicia CGC just entered the latest copyright date shown). For Bambi #1, Oversteet dates the issue to just the year 1984. Stefane notes that he suspects that Bambi #1 and Peter Pan #1 may have been packaged together given how difficult both of those issues are to find (these were the toughest find for him among all Whitman CPVs, but he notes that the distribution may have varied by region making different issues harder to find region by region).
Looking at the CGC census, as of the date of this writing there are a grand total of 440 of these 1984 Whitman issues that have been through CGC’s doors to date, 402 of which are denoted as regular 60¢ copies, and 38 of which are classified as the 75¢ type. That breaks down to approximately 91.4% regular to 8.6% variant — this is a higher variant percentage than we’ve seen for the 1980’s price variants from other publishers like Marvel and DC, which makes sense, given that we’d expect the rarity breakdown in this case to be driven by the difference in market size, i.e. with no bifurcation of the Canadian market into newsstand::direct edition for Whitman (recall that with other publishers like Marvel and DC, the variants were exclusively found on newsstands while the direct editions sold in comic shops throughout Canada were the identical ones sold in comic shops in the US).
Here below is the full list of 1984 Whitman CPVs — click any thumbnail to bring up a full-size picture.
Whitman 1984 CPV Picture Gallery
Happy Collecting! 🙂