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"The fact that you think you are a person is a socially induced hallucination. There is not such thing as a person."
- D. Chopra, Playboy March 2011 interview

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Box Score 1949 prt 1

Today's artifact is a 4 page trade publication for the newsstand magazine trade.  I don't know exactly when it came out, probably in the first quarter of 1949, but it provides circulation numbers for comic books and magazines that were on the newsstand from July-December 1947 & 1948. 

There is so much here to explain that I'm going to save the actual numbers until another post.  To be able to understand what the numbers mean, you need to understand how circulation figures were obtained.

The S-M News Company, who produced this Box Score, was a national wholesaler of magazines.  One of the few alternatives to the dominant wholesaler, The American News Company, which distributed the vast majority of periodicals to newsstands in the 1940s.  S-M was considered one of the Independent distributors.  They were owned by five magazine publishers as indicated on the back cover:

Comparable circulation numbers were collected by the industry trade group called the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).  This organization accepted circulation data from publishers with supporting documentation to verify that the publishers were not just making the numbers up.  Not every publisher gave their data to the ABC, but if they took advertising for their magazines, this was the only way to have the newsstand and subscriptions sales checked.

Comic books at this time sold their advertising in blocks (Groups) of comic books, not by individual title or issue.  Since they were "all sold to kids" there wasn't a need to differentiate at this time.  Other types of magazines like fiction mags and men's mags also did this.

The comic book publisher groups reported in this issue of Box Score were:

- National Comics Group  (DC)
- Marvel Comic Group
- Fawcett Comics Group
- Quality Comic Group
- The Thrilling Comics Group   (Standard/Better)
- Lev Gleason Comic Group
- Harvey Comics Group
- Archie Comic Group
- American Comic Group  (ACG)
- Hillman Comic Group
- United Feature Comic Group
- The Premium Group of Comics  (Novelty)
- Famous Funnies-New Heroic Comics

This list is arranged in order of total circulation for the last half of 1948, with National at the top.  Names in parentheses are more common fan names of the companies.  These are the top 13 companies, but note the absence of one sure top company (Dell Comics) and others like David McKay, Fox, and Fiction House.  You can see this is not a complete list.

More details and numbers in later post.

1 comment:

  1. Have seen lots of score stuff like this for various years. This is a very small list of the comics publishers of the day. Dell was 50% of the comic book business all by itself like I posted to the comics scholars list. Nedor Standard, Avon, Ziff-Davis, Toby plus others you mention plus other publishers still are not part of these numbers. Publishers distributing thru American News are not part of these numbers. There is still a ton of work to be accomplished to get in to print for proper comics archeology to be performed.