11/12/05 - Without further ado, the continuation of the Military Insert articles...
Military Insert Mania - Part 3
Marvel Mark Jewelers Inserts
-The Slick Number Era-
May 1978 - September 1986
In Part 2, the Mark Jewelers (MJ) cardboard inserts ended in May 1978. During the same month, new MJ inserts appeared in Marvels on slick paper of the same consistency as those used on the covers. You will find either the cardboard or slick inserts in May 1978 cover dated comics as the cardboard inserts were apparently exhausted before the switch. The reason for the new paper could be cost related. It was probably cheaper to use the slick paper vs. cardboard. These new series of inserts restarted the numbering of the identification Ad Codes and would start tracking alphabetically once the single digit numbering was used up.
The format of the slick numbered ads themselves would change as well. Instead of a rectangle card to send to the company to get your desired gems, a half page ordering form was devised complete with self adhesive edges. Fill out the order form, bend in the middle, lick, seal, and mail away. No postage required.
These slick numbered inserts would run each month in Marvels for over 8 years. As has been mentioned in previous articles, the ads were only placed in typical 32 page comics. No squarebound or giant sized comics were used in the ad campaign..
The switch will cause some insert collectors no small matter of annoyance. Finding comics with cardboard inserts in the back issue boxes is generally an easy endeavor. There's no question when handling one that there's an insert in the centerfold due to the cardboard giving the comic a ridged feel and bulk not found in normal copies. The slick inserts on the other hand are difficult to differentiate unless you actually open the comic. And they are not easily visible when looking at the comic edgewise. So for those looking for these, you have your work cut out for you...
Below is a typical MJ slick numbered insert taken from Fantastic Four #195 June 1978...
Overall, there at least 27 different MJ slick numbered inserts used. The different ads can be easily identified by numbering on the order form on the inside centerfold wrap. Confirmed numbers used:
2, 22, 222
4, 44, 444
5, 55, 555
6, 66, 666
AA, BB, BBB, CC, D, E, F, G
Alphabetical codes were used from May 1985 until September 1986 once single digit numbering was exhausted.
As mentioned, the slick numbered inserts lasted over 8 years until switching to a non-numerical tracking system. There are a couple of reasons for this which I'll cover in the next and final installment of the MJ Marvel insert series. A part of that change has to do with DC...