Movie Classic (1962)
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Publication Date: May/Jul 1962 - 1970
Country: United States
This is a somewhat "invented" title. In truth, each issue was published as a one shot, and came out roughly when the movie of the same name did. Despite the fact that these are essentially one-shots, convention amongst those who collect these issues is that they're all generally grouped together under the only words that appeared on the cover of all issues, Movie Classic. This "title" is consistently seen across a wide variety of referential and common usages, including The Overstreet Price Guide, the Michigan State University comic library, auction listings, specialized fan sites, and many comic review sites.
Cracking the code
Despite the wide usage of the term, "Movie Classic", there is great justification for viewing each issue of this "series" as a one-shot within its own title. In the first place, no issue bears an indicia which includes the words, "Movie Special". The titles given in each indicia are particular to the issue in question. Indeed, the strange numbering system on each cover reveals that they were clearly one-shots.
Each number is given in terms of an eight digit code: PP-TTT-YMM.
The first two digits had to do with the price. If the issue cost 15¢, it got the code "01". If it cost 12¢, then it got the code "12".
The next three digits were a numeric code based upon the title of series. This code was relative to the title's position in the alphabet. Hence Zulu was given the relatively high number of "950", while Around the World Beneath the Sea got the much lower "030". Titles beginning with letters of the alphabet between "A" and "Z" got numbers in between.
The final three digits were coded for the last digit of the year, plus two digits for the month. Therefore, a number ending in 010 would have been released in October, 1970.
When looked at in full, The Prince and the Pauper's code of 01-654-207 thus meant "a 15¢ issue with a title beginning with the letters "PRI" whose last month of release was July 1962."
Since the system applied across all Dell titles, the implication of no two issues of Movie Classic having the same title code is that they should be considered as separate titles.
However, this code was so deliberately obscure that most collectors weren't aware of its meaning until scholarship long after Dell stopped publishing. Thus, the words "Movie Classic" seen on every cover gave rise to a tradition of grouping these issues together. It is that tradition, more than strict indicia accuracy, that we respect here.
The series' run
Beginning and ending dates for this title are speculative and incomplete. Finding the complete list of everything that could be considered a part of this title is difficult, because of the ephemeral nature of these issues; they were tie-ins to movies that, generally, led to no further comic stories. Indeed many of the films that received treatment here are now themselves mostly forgotten.
Four Color "Movie Classics" vs. Movie Classics
Just to add to the confusion, Dell released a number of issues of Four Color with the words "Movie Classic" on the cover. However, Four Color Movie Classics are distinguishable from this series by a difference in the way the words "Movie Classic" appear on the cover. If the issue is a Four Color Movie Classic, the words "Movie Classic" appear in somewhat stylized type within the Dell logo box. If they're a part of the Movie Classic series, they appear elsewhere on the cover, in a simple sans serif font.
Also, the numbering system is different. Four Color Movie Classics are in the format XXXX-YYY, whereas "genuine" Movie Classics have the format PP-TTT-YMM. (For Four Color Movie Classics, this XXXX-YYY format is truncated to just XXXX on the cover, whereas the cover number for Movie Classics is the full PP-TTT-YMM code.)
Number of issues cataloged: 39