We've noticed a few people making the mistake of adding the wrong date to comic pages. This is all covered on the Comic Template Help page, but just so that everyone knows, let me explain:
The comic template uses the cover date for its month and year fields. You don't have to think hard about it. If it says Feb. 2017 on the cover, put "February" in the month field, and 2017 in the Year field. Do not put the publication month and year in those fields.
The day field, however, does use the publication date.
The date on the cover of a comic is not the same as the date the book comes out in stores.
The comic industry treats their publications the same way that the magazine industry does. While we might typically call the date on the cover of a comic the "cover date", the correct term is "pull date".
The reason it's called the "pull date" is because the date on the cover is actually the date that retailers are supposed to remove the book from their shelves to make way for new issues. For DC, this has typically been a two-month difference. A book that hits shelves in March is removed from shelves in May, even though it says "May" on the cover.
For simplicity's sake, the month and year field use the dates you can see on the cover.
Perhaps some confusion comes from the Day field, which does use the date of publication. This was a later addition to the template, which helps categorize comics by the week of publication.
The template automatically knows which month and year to categorize with by performing math-miracles on the cover date that's already input.
They are two separate functions, even though one relies on the other.
So, once again, just to be clear:
Use the date on the cover for the "Month" and "Year" fields.
Use the date of the actual release for the "Day" field.
For our purposes, it is far more important that you fill out the Month and Year fields correctly, so if you're still confused, just ignore the Day field, and let someone else handle it.
Actually I have a question that I'm unsure of for this reason. I'm just past the issues of Lobo where Mike Carlin replaced Jenette Kahn as executive editor. The issues I'm up to now have credits in the back, but the previous ones didn't, so I'm a little unsure which issue exactly Carlin took this role.
The comic template help page states Carlin's position started in March 1996, but I suppose that mean it will be beforeissue #25 which has the cover date of March. How would I find out which issue he should be credited for in terms of publishing dates, without any credits in the comics?
When it comes to Ex. Ed. credits, we should only consider the publication in which the person was credited as such.
That said, I've found that the transition between Kahn and Carlin is not really clean cut as it would seem in the comic template help page. When looking at the mastheads of the comics of 1996, I've found that Carlin started being credited somewhere between August and November 1996. The only problem is that he wasn't credited in all the published books. In Detective Comics for instance, Carlin didn't show up as Ex. Ed. in the masthead until Detective Comics #729 in 1999, meaning that all comics prior to that should still be credited to Kahn.
Bottom line, if you're unsure about the credit, it's probably best to leave it blank.
Yes, the Executive Editor list on the Help page is meant as more of a guideline, because sometimes the information is unavailable or hard to determine. Sometimes the credit is changed to "VP Editorial" or "Editorial Director". If the masthead lists someone other than the person in the guideline, use the masthead.
The comic template help page states Carlin's position started in March 1996, but I suppose that mean it will be beforeissue #25 which has the cover date of March.
I forgot to add that in this case, Carlin's first issue would theoretically be Lobo #25, because the "March" on the help page refers to the cover date. As in, he would technically have taken the role on in January (but the books he worked on then wouldn't come out until March, ye dig?). I did research to find dates for most of these people, but I don't recall whether I found an actual day that Carlin started versus just a statement that he took on the role in January.
This always seemed an issue to me. But I'm just glad that the day release date is being included as well.
Have comics always done it this way?
As far as I know, yes. At least, for DC. Having started as National Periodical Publications (And a newspaper syndicate before that), I expect that they started out using the typical publishing method for periodicals (which is the pull-date thing I was describing). For a time in the late 70s or early 80s (Somewhere in there), DC had a period of three months, instead of two, but since we haven't got exact release dates for most of those, and I don't know the exact dates that they started and stopped doing it, I haven't written it into the code yet to compensate.
I think the 3 month change-over to 2 months happened around 1991. It happened at DC & Marvel pretty much simultaneously but smaller publishers seemed to take longer to change up. It was early 1973 when they originally went to a 3 month shelf-life. For almost a year in 90-91 there was only 1 month between publication date & pull date. I think the changes have to do with the disappearance of spin racks in mass markets and comics had to fight for the limited shelf space in convenience stores & super markets with news, fashion & lifestyle magazines. That's to the best of my recollection anyway. I remember being somewhat confused with the changes in the early 90s because, at that point, I didn't know there had ever been anything but the 3 month gap and I'd been collecting for almost 20 years by then.
From the 1930s until the early 2000s, DC sometimes put a season on the cover. Thus Superman #1 has a cover date of Summer 1939, and Batman Chronicles #19 has a cover date of Winter 2000. It appears that you are replacing Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter with March, June, September, December, respectively. Is this correct?
The problem with this system is that DC has, over the years, been very inconsistent with the year associated with "Winter" issues. Example: at this moment (in the northern hemisphere), we are in the "winter" which began in 12/2016 and will end 3/2017. Should this be called "Winter 2016" or "Winter 2017"? DC has varied on this question.
So you should be clear what our policy is here. When we have a Winter issue, should the year be listed as (a) the year in which this winter began; (b) the year in which this winter ended; or (c) whatever year DC happened to print on the cover?
If you use option c, the results will be crazy, especially if you continue to convert "Winter" to "December". Example: Batman Chronicles #19 was dated by DC "Winter 2000", by which DC meant 12/1999 to 2/2000. But you have converted that date to 12/2000 -- which is an entire year after this issue's actual cover date! Notice that, by doing so, you have given Batman Chronicles #19 a date after the date of Batman Chronicles #20.
Lawrence, that's an important point.
I think converting seasons to months was a compromise we made a long time ago. I'm not sure how intensive the recoding would have to be to change it.
Seems like what makes sense would be to categorize and display the actual season using the cover dates, while using the actual publication month (if we can find it) for publication categories. I don't know if the latter can be done automatically.
Furthermore, the template that handles that aspect of the template is a little confused:
(The template that converts months to numbers for calculations is set up as you describe, using March for Spring, June for Summer, September for Fall, and December for Winter).
Can you suggest an appropriate rule to automate this? Is it true that every case of a "Winter" issue is published in the following year for January/February? If it's inconsistent, I'm not sure how we can best deal with it.
A quick scan through my copy of Mike's masterlist (you know, Mike... from that one website?) shows that it's very inconsistent, but that there are only 112 "Winter" issues (there are, however, also "Apr/Jun" issues etc).
So, it wouldn't be too tough to whip through them and enter actual publication dates with Pubmonth and Pubyear, using Mike's list as an about-as-accurate-as-we're-gonna-get guide.
(1) Books dated "Winter" published between 1939 and 1976. This was used only for books that were published quarterly (although some books, like All-Star, went back and forth between quarterly and non-quarterly). A full list of these "Winter" books is here:  As I mentioned earlier, DC was inconsistent about what year to list in the indicia for a Winter issue; you can get that date from GDC's links, and then use the "cover gallery" link to see where this issue fits chronologically and determine what the actual year was.
(2) Books dated "Winter" published in 1988. A huge number of books fall into this category, and they all use the same sequence: December 1988, Winter 1988, Holiday 1988, January 1989. A partial list is here , but I believe GCD occasionally erred in its listings of these, simply repeating "December, December, December" for all three sequential issues. This is probably because, in some cases, DC didn't print the date on the cover of the issue (e.g, Doom Patrol #16-17 and Batman #427-428, which are Winter 1988 / Holiday 1988 issues according to the indicia but not the cover).
(3) Books dated "Winter" published between 1990 and 2001. During this time, seasonal dates were used only for books that were published quarterly. I am 90% sure that during this era, the year was always the later year (in other words, "Winter 2001" means 12/21/2000 to 3/20/2001), although in some cases they actually specified both years (example: ). A full list is here:  Note, however, that GCD itself has errors in the year: if you look at the Batman Chronicles you'll see that GCD lists both #11 and #15 as "Winter 1998", when the latter should be "Winter 1999".
DC never used "Winter" between 1977 and 1987 inclusive (proof: ), nor between 2002 and the present (proof: ).
If you follow these links and then click on "Refine your search using the advanced search", you will see the fields I used to search for these, and can modify them accordingly. Be sure to select "Cover" in the "Type" box, or else you will get duplicate listings, one for each story, ad, and so forth in the comic.
Anyway, I agree that, if the software supports it, this wiki should actually display "Winter", "Summer", "Holiday" instead of converting it to a month that did not actually appear on the cover. If we do so, we still have to decide whether to force consistency on the years of Winter issues.
It's less important to display a "March-April" issue as "March-April"; many websites simply list such as "April" (GCD is one of the few websites that consistently records double-month dates). Using the second month doesn't cause any problems, although in the late 1960s it occasionally produces slightly strange results: for example, Batman #185 was "Oct-Nov 1966", #186 was "Nov 1966", #187 was "Dec-Jan 1966-67", #188 was "Dec 1966" -- but that was because Giant issues always got two months and regular issues one month, even if the results occasionally seemed to go back in time.