A contributor to the GCD recently contacted me with his personal theory on the numbering of the IW/Supers. With his permission, I am copying it here:
In 1958 Israel Waldman finds 99 printing plates of comics in a warehouse that he has purchased. He takes 95 of them, divided into 4 stacks, to a printer. The biggest stack of 65 is supposed to have no series repeats in it, and the stack of 24 is supposed to contain only the 2nd copy of a series (for example, "Great Western" has both an issue #1 and an issue #2). However, Waldman has put 4 plates in the wrong piles. The big stack has 2 different copies of "Speedy Rabbit" (that is why the GCD has a #1 and a #1(b)). The stack of 24 has 3 plates ("Love and Marriage", "Romantic Love", and "Undersea Commandos") that should have been placed in the big stack. The error goes undetected. Regarding the remaining 6 plates, Waldman has placed the 3rd plate of "The Brain", the 3rd plate of "Little Eva", the 3rd plate of "Super Brat", and the 2nd plate of "Romantic Love" in the pile designated for issue #3; in the final pile, he has the only 2 series to have 4 plates, "The Brain" and "Little Eva". Issues #1 through #4 are then printed.
Waldman returns to his shop and eventually finds 3 plates ("Sensational Police Cases", "Strange Worlds", and "Teen-Age Talk") that had been misplaced. He takes them to the printer and says that he has no idea if these 3 titles have already been used, so he tells the printer that "Since we've already published issues #1 through #4, let's make this one #5."
Later he finds another misplaced plate ("Little Eva"), checks his shop thoroughly to make sure there are no others, and takes what is going to be #6 to the printer.
Waldman is then contacted by a friend of his, who tells him that he has 11 plates in his possession, and that he will let Waldman have them for a share of the profits. The friend is even sleazier than Waldman, because 6 of the plates are for Timely/Atlas/Marvel, a company that is still in business. These 11 plates arrive at the printer to become #7.
In either 1959 or 1960, Waldman purchases another warehouse and finds 90 printing prints. Rather than glut the market like he did with the first 4 issues, he decides to do a third at a time. He takes 29 plates to the printer for issue #8, followed by 30 plates for issue #9. The final 31 plates are bundled together and as Waldman is reaching for the doorknob to deliver them to the printer, there's a knock at the door. He opens it up, and there stand 2 men, who introduce themselves as lawyers for Timely/Atlas/Marvel. Waldman is told that if he doesn't cease and desist, he will be sued. He takes the final bundle of 31 and places it in his closet.
3 or 4 years later Waldman purchases another warehouse which has 121 printing plates, his best find yet. Overcoming his fear of being sued, he decides to go back into the comic publishing business. The first thing he does is take the bundle of 31 out of the closet and to the printer. He tells the printer he wants some changes made: (1) the triangle housing the I.W. will no longer appear on the cover, being replaced by Super Comics Seal of Quality; (2) the "is published by I.W. Enterprises, Inc." in the indicia will be replaced by "is published by Super Comics, Inc."; (3) the sentence "Contents copyrighted and must not be reproduced without permission" will appear in the indicia; and (4) a year will appear in the indicia. Waldman believes these changes will put enough distance between I.W. and the new comics to keep anybody from connecting the 2 and thus eliminate the possibility of a lawsuit. As careful as he is, there are still 2 things that can still connect these new printings to I.W.: (1) the address "62 West 47th St., New York 36, N.Y." appears in both indicias; and (2) rather than going back to issue #1, the new comics continue with the numbering in place. Thus, issue #10 is printed.
The 121 printing plates found in the latest warehouse are divided into 6 stacks (Waldman's theory is to put a low number of 20 into the market every month or so, thus keeping a low profile). He takes 21 plates to the printer for #11
The next 2 stacks (#12 and #14) are printed at the same time, but before I get into what happened here, I have to tell you that I looked at 8 indicias for #12 and 4 indicias for #14. All the indicias for #14 contained a date of 1963; #12 contained 3 dates of 1963 and 5 dates of 1964. If some of the #12s have a 1964 date, how can #14 have a 1963 date? This is the only scenario I can think of as to how this happened.
It's the end of the year, probably close to Christmas, and Waldman decides to do a special batch of comics (funny animals and mischievous youngsters) and digs through the plates that have already been printed. He finds 10, bundles them together, gets his regular batch of 20, and goes to the printer. He tells the printer "The bigger batch is #12 with a 1963 date; do not use #13 because it's unlucky; and #14 is the smaller batch with a 1964 date." The front covers for #12 are printed first; then the printer does the front covers for #14; he is now ready to do the inside-front cover and rather than taking the taller batch, he takes the shorter batch and puts a date of 1963 in the indicia. He then starts on the bigger batch and is part-way through when he realizes that he's made a mistake; the shorter batch should have been dated 1964. Rather than finishing with all 30 comics dated 1963 and telling Waldman he made a mistake, he does the remaining comics with a 1964 date, hoping that Waldman won't notice.
Nothing unusual about the last 4 batches....20 are taken over for #15; another 20 become #16; 20 more become #17; and the final 20 are #18.
Now, you may find fault with my speculations on issues #5, #6, #7, #10, #12, and #14, but you can't discount the fact that the issues were numbered using the printings. Waldman did not have a secret code whereby the number represented a month (in fact, I don't think the word "month" was even in his vocabulary); he didn't have a dartboard that was divided into 17 sections (again, no #13); he wasn't going to spend money by hiring someone to keep track of the numbers; and he sure wasn't going to keep track of them himself. So the easiest numbering system was to simply have the printing number determine the issue number.
1. Originally I thought the first 9 issues were all printed in 1958; however, #8 and #9 could not have been printed in 1958 because of the ads that appear in some of the issues. If you look at KAANGA #8 and DARING ADVENTURES #9, they contain a Davis & Bennett advertisement for Bruce Tegner's "Karate the Open Hand and Foot Fighting" and mention a Library of Congress Catalog Card number of 59-12896. By checking a couple of websites, I found out that Bruce Tegner's book was first printed in 1959; I also found that this same Davis & Bennett ad appeared in Popular Science Vol. 177, #3 (September 1960). So that means if my speculations on #5 and #6 are correct, the first 6 issues were printed in 1958; #7 was printed in either 1958, 1959, or 1960; and #8 and #9 were printed in either 1959 or 1960
2. Of the 41 indicias that I looked at for issues #1 through #9, only 1 had a 1958 date (the other 40 had no year); of the 47 indicias for issues #10 through #18, 45 had either a 1963 nor 1964 date (2 had no date)
3. The 10 issues of #14 reprinted these earlier I.W. issues
Brain #14 Brain #3
Casper Cat #14 Casper Cat #7
Kiddie Kapers #14 Kiddie Kapers #10
Little Eva #14 Little Eva #10
Marmaduke Monk #14 Marmaduke Monk #1
Muggsy Mouse #14 Muggsy Mouse #1
Pinky the Egghead #14 Pinky the Egghead #2
Speedy Rabbit #14 Speedy Rabbit #1
Tippy Terry #14 Tippy Terry #1
Sharpy Fox #14 Tuffy Turtle #1
4. So what happened to Israel Waldman in the 6 years after he printed #18 and his re-emergence in 1970 with Skywald Publications? I've got it narrowed to down to 3 possibilities:
a. He continued to purchase warehouses, but found there was more money in setting them on fire and collecting on the insurance, or
b. Immediately after #18 was printed, he vacationed in England, found a warehouse there containing bootleg copies of a recording group called The Beatles, brought the bootlegs back to the U.S., had the records distributed, and was responsible for the British Invasion of 1964, or
c. He spent the entire 6 years trying to figure out the numbering system of his comics.