Yesterday, I challenged you to tell me where the copy of Blue Devil #15 shown at left was purchased. I picked up my copy back in June of 1985 in the Gift Shop at Conneaut Lake Park where I was spending the summer working as a ride operator, but I wasn't looking here for that degree of specificity. To succeed at the challenge all you had to know was that the comic shown was NOT purchased at a comics shop.
As for how you're supposed to know that, cast your eyes down upon the little box in the lower left corner of the cover which contains the familiar and ubiquitous Universal Product Code (UPC) . I've noticed that until the early to mid-1990's, comics sold through the Direct Market, a.k.a. in comics shops, did not carry the UPC symbol, whereas copies of the very same comic sold outside the comics shop system did not. For example, this copy of Blue Devil #8, which has a little promo ad where the barcode would be, was clearly originally sold at a comics shop:
Now, I have another question to which I do not have the answer. Just why was this so? Why did Direct Market comics not carry the UPC symbol? If you happen to know the answer to that one, please share that knowledge with me. I will, of course, pass it along to the rest of my readers.