The clean up effort continues here at Stately Beat Manor, and we’re uncovering all kinds of forgotten wonders — a complete run of Fiz(z) magazine; a near complete run of Escape (both digest and magazine sized); a run of Drawn & Quarterly magazine, which we didn’t even remember EXISTED.

We’ve also discovered some real puzzlers. An old notebook (nearly 30 years old) disclosed a startling find — a series of charts from the years 1978-1985 notating the very young Beat’s comings buying habits. We’ve attached one of them above (click for a larger version) and what’s really startling is that we have absolutely no idea what the fuck it means.

Clearly it meant SOMETHING, as we kept identically carefully notated charts for the entire period. The effort put into this was considerable for the time — nowadays we use Excel, but in the olden days we would take a ruler and create our own charts! and we loved it — we LOVED it.

Anyway while it’s clear that the amount of Marvel we read would make us a prime candidate for the Marvel Essentials line (and in our defense, as soon as Raw showed up in the comics shop championed by the Comics Journal, we were buying it so it doesn’t show up on this chart) what it means isn’t. The “A” column is definitely for “Annual” but what do the numbers mean? At first we thought it referred to the week of release (in the olden days of the direct sales market, comics each week would have a different color strip at the top) — but then what does 5 and 6 mean? And what does “51, 62, 62 etc.” mean in the Iron Man column???? Why does the January issue of Tomb of Dracula have an arrow to February???

Seriously, we have absolutely no memory of this or why we did it. And since we had no friends at the time, there is no one else who could possibly know either.

It is a mystery for the ages.


  1. I think this is one of those Da Vinci Code type clues that proves you were secretly the grand daughter of Stan Lee who was raised in the ways of the Merry Marvel Marching Society as a young girl. :D

    But seriously – you read Rom? You just earn 1000 cool points!

  2. With the occurrence of high numbers for IRON MAN, DEFENDERS and MASTER OF KUNG FU, it’s obvious that the Young Beat was keeping a tally of panels featuring lush, manly mustaches.

  3. On Tomb of Dracula – maybe you made a mistake and realized that the book was shipping b-monthly instead of monthly?

    What about the number 41 you have for Master of Kung Fu, Conan, Fantastic Four and What If? What is the relation correlated between those titles?

    Yeah, I was going through storage a few months ago and I came across a box of some magazines I had poetry published in when I was 19 or 20.

    I must have been out of my mind in those days.



  4. Everyone seems to be skipping over what (to me) is the most notable part of this post. That being the adorably heart-breaking comment “since we had no friends at the time!” How morosely cute is that? I’m sitting here, a 26 year old man-child, in a totally quiet office without a peep to be heard, and I actually uttered the sound “awww” outloud. If you hadn’t already accepted, and this was 1979 again, then The Beat would definitely get a friend invitation from me. Her comic books, charts, rulers, pencils, paper. I tell you that’s a picture so adorable in my head that’s maddening. Kinda like when Drew Barrymore tries to eat her steak like a cookie in ET.

  5. I noticed that all the numbers are from 1-6. I’m wondering if instead of reading the numbers like 52, it might be a 5 and a 2. Also note that on the two digit numbers one is a 1 or 2, and the other is 4, 5, or 6.

  6. I’m thinking either:
    – a primitive ranking system predating the good folks at the Savage Critic
    – a sales/inventory chart predating Marc-Oliver Frisch’s efforts much to the dismay of Brian Wood

  7. Jonathan: thanks for the kind thoughts; the young, isolated Beat is both far away from and very close to the current one. Anyway, it all turned out all right in the end.

  8. It’s not really necessary, in my opinion, to defend the buying choices of your 30-years-younger self from hypothetical accusations of not being indie enough.

  9. Heidi, if you figure this out please let us know. I just spent five minutes staring at that image trying to find a rhyme or reason (Why do some boxes have checkmarks? Why are so many Oct books marked “61”? Why does Iron Man have more double digits than the other books?).

  10. I think I figured it out.

    Here is what I see. At the top you start in the middle of the year.

    J(uly), A(ugust), S(eptember), O(ctober), D(ecember), J(anuary), F(ebuary), M(arch), A(pril), M(ay), J(une) and yes A is likely Annual, which typically came out in the summer.

    The numbers I’m think represent which week of the month they came out. the 15, 16, 61, 51 etc.. might just be a split week where the 30th was on a Tuesday and the 1st on a Wednesday. 15 may mean came out at the start of the month, 51 at the end.

    Shaded in areas are likely bi-monthly titles. They didn’t come out on those months.

    The checkmarks I’m suspect are issues that you bought but don’t know which week it came out. The arrows pointing to the next month where a deadline was missed and it came out the following month.

    The dashes I guess are issues you didn’t buy and don’t know which week they came out at.

  11. Could it be a ranking system for the first number, and if you put a 1 or 2 as the second number, that meant you either read that comic an extra one or two times or you obtained an extra copy or two? I’m pretty sure you were connected to the comic world even at a young age, so maybe extra copies were something you’d have run across.

    Man, this is a cool mystery. I mean, you have to take into account that Young BEAT made some mistakes. Why do you have check marks in most of the annual column, but a few Xs are thrown in there?

    I see a “79” up in the top left corner. So should we assume this was from 1979? January’s Iron Man was issue #124.

    I don’t know about Jamie’s theory, why would 51 be for the end of the month?? Also, if you look at a calendar, there’s no way those would be days of the month, or what number week of the year it’d be.

    I’m stumped. You have to provide an update Heidi!