This is a question asked so often from new collectors. What is the difference between Newsstand Editions and Direct Editions and how can you tell them apart. Well there is a long drawn out complicated answer. Then there is the short to the point answer I am gonna share here with you.
When Newsstands were the main way to get comics and the barcode was introduced, the barcode was how you bought and paid for comics. In 1979 as more shops began opening and there needed to be a way to tell the difference from where the comics were bought, a slash was added through the barcode for the direct editions sold at comic shops. But most people, nor the shops liked the slashes. So the programs became unified with logo’s that lasted till 1987. These are the Spider-Man mask, Hulk face, Captain America and etc. After 1987 publishers used what ever they wanted in the block. So initially barcodes were for Newsstand Editions and logos and other gimmicks were for Direct Editions. There is even a short time that both went back to barcodes but inside the barcode are the words: Direct Edition or Newsstand Edition. In 2013 Marvel stopped Newsstand Editions altogether. Below are some examples for you to see and compare. Join us next time as we discuss ways to find which Printing Edition you are buying.