Editions Vs Reprints ..

Posted by Tim Bildhauser on the CBCS Forum to clear up confusion when Editions are called Reprints.

There's been some debate recently about how & why CBCS labels foreign books the way we do. It's actually a fairly simple approach. But first, the Webster's Dictionary definitions of edition versus reprint.

Definition of edition

a : the form or version in which a text is published <a paperback edition> <the German edition>

Definition of reprint

: to print again : make a reprint of

This being said... the first time a comic book is printed in another country it is labeled as:

(insert country) Edition

on the front left side of our labels.

At present the notes on the back right side of the label will read:

"Prints (title & issue #[s]) in (insert language)."

Any later version of the same book will have the same notation on the front of the label with the following on the back right:

"Reprints (title & issue #[s]) in (insert language)."

By definition, a reprint would be an exact duplicate of the original. If you change the language this is no longer the case.

In the case of U.K. Pence copies (printed in the States) and other various comics published in English around the globe (i.e. Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa etc.) the locally produced comics are treated in the same manner regardless of the fact that they're still in the English language. Reason being, far more often than not, changes were made to these books. Sometimes artistically, sometimes editorially. Language aside, very few comic books printed, published & distributed outside the borders of the U.S. accurately fall into the classification of reprint.

There exists a small, but growing, group of collectors that are seeking out and researching these foreign comics and the publishing history behind them known as Foreign Comic Collector or FCC for short. The members of this group have been digging into it for around 7 years. There has been much discussion on how to accurately determine the classification of these comics and all evidence has clearly pointed out that categorizing them as reprints is simply not correct.

When you have versions of the same issue from various countries physically in front of you it becomes mush more readily apparent. Making a side by side comparison from one to the next it gives you a clear glimpse as to why these books should be classified differently. There are those that are almost identical to their American counterparts and others that are immediately recognizable as having an identity all their own.

You also have to factor in that, in a given language, these comics are the introduction to other countries of this material. Time frame is not necessarily relevant. Just because a comic was published in the U.S. in 1965 but not until 1982 in Yugoslavia, that doesn't classify it as a reprint. The FCC & CBCS viewpoint on this is taken from looking at the matter on a global scale, not simply by the point of view of American collectors.

The way these books are labeled in CBCS slabs doesn't threaten or diminish the value of anyone's collection in any way. It gives us, as a community of collectors, a little bit of insight into how American pop culture has managed to transcend borders and bring the characters & stories that we all enjoy to the rest of the world.

Tim Bildhauser
CBCS Foreign Comic Specialist
FCC Associate Editor
Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide Advisor