Classic Comics & Crosswords

From MandrakeWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Classic Comics & Crosswords
First issue
Country/language: Mini usa.gif USA / English
Publishing company: Trader Publications
Publishing years: 1991-1992
Issues: 25 + 9
Format: ?×? cm, b/w

Classic Comics & Crosswords was first introduced in four US test markets (Phoenix, AZ; Tampa, FL; Dayton, OH; and Cleveland, OH; plus customary comic channels) on 3 November 1991, by Trader Publications.


The concept was to reproduce 40 syndicated comics and 6 crossword puzzles from King Features, five years after their original publication date. In addition to The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician, the comics included many other King Features daily strips of the period in alphabetical order: Andy Capp, Apartment 3-G, Beetle Bailey, Better Half, Big George, Blondie, Crock, Dennis the Menace, Family Circus, Flash Gordon, Funky Winterbean, Grin and Bear It, Hägar the Horrible, Hazel, Hi & Lois, Judge Parker, Lockhorns, Luann, Marvin, Mary Worth, Popeye, Prince Valiant (Sunday), Rex Morgan, Sally Forth, Snuffy Smith, They'll Do It Every Time, Tiger, Trudy, Tumbleweeds, and Wizard of Id.

The comics were distributed through newsstand and convenience store outlets alongside the company's Auto Trader, Truck Trader and other classified ad publications. They also had promotional booths at numerous comic shows in the various test markets, and at least one show featured the appearance of Fred Lasswell wearing his Snuffy Smith hat, drawing Snuffy Smith caricatures.

The original publication was 48 pages, and it was produced and distributed Weekly. Volume 1, Issue 1, appeared 3 November 1991, and subsequent issues were produced and distributed weekly through to 22 December 1991 (Volume 1, Issue 8). The press-run consisted of about 10,000 copies of Volume I, Issue 1; immediately dropped to 7,000 for the second issue; and subsequently reduced to under 5,000. The weekly version continued with Volume II, Issue 1 (29 December 1991) through Volume II, Issue 17 (20 April 1992). No further Weekly editions were produced after that date.

The Weekly comic did not sell as hoped in the four test markets, and the publisher concluded it needed to stay on the store shelf longer. They therefore decided to produce a Monthly version which would include comics for four weeks (instead of one), and each issue running for 132 pages. The Monthly version was launched within four new test markets on 2 March 1992, while the Weekly was simultaneously published in the original regions. The first two Monthly editions contained the same daily strips that appeared in the corresponding four Weekly editions for that month. When the Weekly ceased with Issue 17, the publisher substituted the Monthly in those test markets. The monthly continued for 9 issues, concluding with Volume I, Issue 9 which was distributed during October 1992.

Within the various test markets, the publisher experimented with different cover prices to determine whether price would impact sales. The Weekly was tested at $0.75 and $0.95 per issue. For example, they distributed the Weekly in Cleveland, OH at $0.75; and in Phoenix, AZ at $0.95. The Monthly was tested at $1.50, $2.50, and $3.75 per issue. They discovered that a lower price did not increase sales.

The inadequate sales of all versions resulted in the discontinuation of publication after one years efforts. This article, in the version of 9 September 2006, includes information from comics_crosswords.html.

Issue overview

Weekly Series

Mandrake stories

Title Issues Note
Aleena and the Smugglers Vol.I: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, Vol.II: #1, #2, #3, #4 missing the 5 first weeks
Return of the Tinies Vol.II: #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15
Deadman's Key Vol.II: #16, #17 the two first weeks only

Monthly Series

Mandrake stories

Title Issues Note
Return of the Tinies Vol.I: #1, #2 missing the 5 first weeks
Deadman's Key Vol.I: #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7
The Executioner from 8 Vol.I: #7, #8, #9 The first nine weeks only