5/8/05 - The oft delayed Part 2 of the Military Inserts...
Military Insert Mania - Part 2
Marvel Mark Jewelers Inserts
-The Cardboard Era-
July 1973 - May 1978
In Part 1, the National Diamond Sales (NDS) inserts ended in April 1973. It wouldn't mean the end of jewelry inserts in comics bound for overseas military exchanges. New inserts offering rings from a company called Mark Jewelers (MJ) would start appearing regularly in Marvel Comics in July 1973 issues. MJ inserts were placed in previous Marvel issues cover dated Nov and Dec 1972 during a gap in the NDS campaign. July 1973 would mark their regular run in the Marvel line.
Note: I have not found any May or Jun 1973 Marvel issues with inserts; either NDS or MJ. I've bought runs which contained these issues during the switch from NDS and MJ but they always have the inserts missing. After seeing this a number of times, I've come to the conclusion that inserts weren't placed in these comics and a two month insert gap existed on the newsstand. If you happen to have either May or Jun 1973 Marvels with the inserts please contact me with the info.
The Mark Jeweler inserts were made of cardboard vs. the slick paper of the NDS inserts. Also missing were the various ads for lingerie or technical schools. The ads contained all rings, and later pendants, throughout the four pages of the inserts.
It's my experience that comics with the cardboard MJ inserts are generally found in better condition than those with slick inserts. The cardboard acts the same as a backing board and keeps the comic generally flat. I've also seen many comics where the insert was pulled out. This is probably due to annoyed GIs ripping the insert out after the stiff cardboard insert got in the way of enjoying the comic.
Below is a typical MJ insert taken from Marvel Feature #10 July 1973...
Overall, there at least 15 different MJ cardboard inserts used. The different ads can be easily identified by numbering on the order form on the inside centerfold wrap. Confirmed numbers used:
The reason you see two 1s in the list above is cardboard was still being used when the numbering started over.
As a footnote, Jul and Oct 1973 comics, in addition to containing the MJ inserts, also had an additional inside cover wrap with advertising specifically targeting military members. These wraps, better known as the Mennen and Alka Seltzer/Club inserts, will be covered in a future segment of this series.
The cardboard inserts lasted almost 5 years until switching over to slick paper with the May 1978 issues. You will find both type inserts in May 1978 comics as prior cardboard ads were exhausted. Slick inserts started their numbering with 11. After this change and during the rest of the MJ ad campaign, cardboard wouldn't be seen again...