Monday, November 28, 2011
Advance Comics #1
Since the new Diamond Comics Distributors' December Previews catalog arrives in comic shops this week, I thought I'd highlight the first monthly catalog for Capital City Distribution.
Though dated January, Advance Comics #1 actually came out in November 1988. The cover date was intended to indicate when the comic books in this catalog would arrive at the comic shop. And though it says #1 on the cover, it is actually v2 #1. The previous month actually was the first issue, v1 #1.
This catalog was intended for consumers; customers of comic shops. For a long time, there were 2 versions of this catalog, one for the retailer and one for the fan. Before this, readers could find out what was going to come out in the future from The Comic Reader, The Comics Buyers Guide, The Comics Journal, Amazing Heroes and other similar publications. This issue had 64 pages and over "800 new releases". Compare that to November 2011 Previews with its 426 pages and over 1900 item listings.
Advance Comics was the first coming comic book catalog/order form for fans and lasted 94 issues, until Diamond bought "selected assets" of Capital City in 1996. It listed comic books by publisher, with color comics first, then games, black & white comics, zines, books and the rest. No real editorial material except the Top 100 Comics list on the inside front cover. More on these in the future.
It wasn't the first advance order catalog for retailers as Glenwood had one in 1982. Its catalog was a quick and dirty paste up job of promotional pieces supplied by publishers. If anyone has copies of the Glenwood catalogs, I'd love to get my hands on them. Previews started in Jan. 1989.
Founded by Milton Griepp and John Davis in 1980, Capital City was the more innovative of the two big distributors of the 1990s as they had imports and computerized ordering first. They were also more open to erotic material than Diamond who has ghettoized adult material now that they are a monopoly. Milton Griepp now runs the excellent comic industry news and information site ICv2 (http://icv2.com).