1st Direct Market Exclusive: Dazzler #1

Slide from Newsstand Rarity Discussion & Estimates; discussion below.

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This slide is part of my post entitled Newsstand Rarity Discussion & Estimates where I have collected quotes and graphics related to the discussion of relative newsstand rarity over the years, compared to direct edition copies. In this slide, I am discussing a quote by Jim Shooter about the first Direct Edition Exclusive, Dazzler #1 in 1980:

“At the end of 1980, Marvel published the first regular comic book that was sold exclusively through the Direct Market, Dazzler #1. It sold 428,000 copies.”

“After that success, many more Direct-only offerings were published by Marvel and others. As the Direct Market boomed, increasingly it became the focus at Marvel. It was a low-margin business, yes, but it was firm sale, and it was pretty easy to target Direct Market consumers. We knew what they wanted. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.”

— Jim Shooter, Comic Book Distribution Part III

What I find particularly interesting about this quote is how “direct edition exclusives” such as this were something you could only find in the comic shops, i.e. they simply did not print any newsstand copies. So for these cases of direct edition exclusives, the number of newsstand copies sold of the issue would be -zero-… This may have had the effect of increasing total direct edition sales by year, i.e. the 1980 direct edition total sales number at Marvel would have incremented by the amount of those Dazzler #1 sales, with no corresponding increase to the total newsstand edition sales for that year.

Also particularly interesting is that “shooting fish in a barrel” quote, revealing how the top executives felt about the direct market. Something else I find interesting to contemplate about direct edition exclusives is how it would have had the incremental effect of drawing collectors away from the newsstands and into the comic shops, because these comics simply could not be bought on newsstands. Having come to a comic shop to buy one of these exclusives, the shop owner might then succeed in turning that shopper into a regular customer, perhaps even get them into the idea of collecting if they had just been a reader previously.

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