STAR WARS returns to Marvel in January 2015 with 32 variant covers

Commentary by comics historian Terry Hoknes of www.HoknesComics.com – hoknes@hotmail.com
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I was six years old in Grade 1 when Star Wars debuted in theaters in 1977. So Star Wars is possibly the most important franchise/concept in my life. So very excited to see Star Wars back at Marvel.
However their new slogan is “welcome Home” which I think is a bit funny since it was Marvel’s decision to stop publishing Star Wars comics completely back in 1986 as sales had dropped fairly low. The series lasted 107 issues. #107 is very valuable now as the last issue that also had the smallest print run. Those facts are true but note that #104-107 are almost the same small print run. The print run in 1986 was 65,000 copies for the final issue. Marvel’s average comic sales must have been fairly impressive to cancel a title with 65,000 considered a failure. In 2014 a print run of 65,000 would now make a title about the #6 best selling ongoing Marvel title and would be considered a great success.
So in January 2015 Marvel brings the series back after Dark Horse had the license for 23 amazing years.
In usual Marvel fanfare they are really hyping up the new series with 13 covers for the new #1 issue. The print run is going to be very high for this book and will be interesting to see if this book ever goes up in value or not. But a sellout is likely as Amazing Spider-man #1 sold out 550,000 copies in 2014.
But Marvel is also releasing 19 more superhero titles in January that pay tribute to Star Wars including issues of Amazing Spiderman and Uncanny X-Men. These are all 1:20 ratio variants meaning that comic stores have to order 20 copies of the regular cover just to qualify to order 1 copy of the Star Wars variant.
This is a great bonus for large comic stores or chains that will qualify for many of these. But the small comic store will have a time qualifying for any of these. Since the majority of the 19 regular superhero comics are just average issues with nothing special about them, there is no reason for stores to up their orders. So if they can only sell 10 copies of Daredevil a month its not likely they will bump up their order to 20 to qualify for just 1 of these comics.
So its going to be very interesting to see what happens with the secondary market of these Star Wars covers. Surely demand will be higher than the print runs but of course will depend on how great the cover art is.
Comic stores have to place their orders for these variants by November 29th and yet Marvel has not shown retailers the cover art for any of these comics guaranteeing some stores are not going to take chances on them.
So which 19 comics get a Star Wars themed variant cover? And which is the rarest?
The following chart ranks the best selling ongoing Marvel comic books from October 1014 to give us a rough estimate of popularity and print runs.
I have placed a YES in front of the titles that will have a Star Wars variant.
So its logical to believe that Thor and Amazing Spider-man will both have possibly the largest print runs.
Daredevil and Amazing X-Men will likely have the smallest print runs.
There is also an unknown factor that 7 new titles listed at the bottom will also have Star Wars variants so we have no idea what the print runs are likely to be but I would bet they are all higher than the 32,000 print run of Amazing X-Men. Wolverines #1 is likely to have the highest print run of all the Star Wars variants.
Out of Marvel’s 60 ongoing titles its not clear why they chose the 19 titles that they did but they have one thing in common. They are all fairly popular – Marvel did not choose any of their really weak selling titles.
YES 3 Thor 1 $3.99 Marvel 150862
YES 7 Amazing Spider-Man 7 $3.99 Marvel 116051
14 Captain America 25 $4.99 Marvel 74183
YES 20 Guardians of Galaxy 20 $3.99 Marvel 61072
YES 21 All New X-Men 33 $3.99 Marvel 60032
22 Guardians 3000 1 $3.99 Marvel 58574
YES 23 Uncanny X-Men 27 $3.99 Marvel 57908
YES 24 Rocket Raccoon 4 $3.99 Marvel 57830
YES 26 Avengers 36 $3.99 Marvel 56771
47 Hawkeye Vs Deadpool 1 $3.99 Marvel 47983
48 Death of Wolverine Deadpool and Captain America 1 $4.99 Marvel 47956
50 Bucky Barnes Winter Soldier 1 $3.99 Marvel 47471
51 Death of Wolverine Logan Legacy 3 $3.99 Marvel 47265
YES 52 Deadpool 36 $3.99 Marvel 46600
56 Deathlok 1 $3.99 Marvel 43991
YES 59 New Avengers 25 $3.99 Marvel 42979
62 Spider-Man 2099 5 $3.99 Marvel 40880
YES 71 Legendary Star Lord 4 $3.99 Marvel 37123
81 Hulk 7 $3.99 Marvel 35084
YES 85 Daredevil 9 $3.99 Marvel 33996
88 Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man 6 $3.99 Marvel 33057
89 X-Men 20 $3.99 Marvel 33004
YES 90 Amazing X-Men 12 $3.99 Marvel 32966
91 Ms Marvel 9 $2.99 Marvel 32915
93 Moon Knight 8 $3.99 Marvel 32434
95 Magneto 11 $3.99 Marvel 31642
99 Inhuman 7 $3.99 Marvel 29903
101 Punisher 11 $3.99 Marvel 28710
102 Wolverine and X-Men 11 $3.99 Marvel 28121
104 Silver Surfer 6 $3.99 Marvel 28052
107 Fantastic Four 11 $3.99 Marvel 26938
114 Loki Agent of Asgard 7 $3.99 Marvel 25430
120 Black Widow 11 $3.99 Marvel 23922
123 Nightcrawler 7 $3.99 Marvel 23379
127 Nova 22 $3.99 Marvel 22485
128 All New X-Factor 15 $3.99 Marvel 22240
132 She-Hulk 9 $2.99 Marvel 21418
136 Avengers World 14 $3.99 Marvel 21095
137 Men of Wrath By Jason Aaron 1 $3.50 Marvel 20927
141 Captain Marvel 8 $3.99 Marvel 20692
142 X-Force 10 $3.99 Marvel 20539
143 Thunderbolts 32 $2.99 Marvel 20414
147 Cyclops 6 $3.99 Marvel 20115
148 Storm 4 $3.99 Marvel 19862
151 Savage Hulk 5 $3.99 Marvel 19351
153 Secret Avengers 9 $3.99 Marvel 18974
156 All New Ghost Rider 8 $3.99 Marvel 17907
168 All New Invaders 11 $3.99 Marvel 16711
175 Superior Foes of Spider-Man 16 $3.99 Marvel 15304
177 Elektra 7 $3.99 Marvel 15021
179 All New Ultimates 9 $3.99 Marvel 14917
181 Miracleman 11 $4.99 Marvel 14824
189 New Warriors 11 $3.99 Marvel 14026
YES All New Captain America 3
YES Angela Asgards Assassin 2
YES Ant-Man 1
YES Shield 2
YES Superior Iron Man 4
YES Uncanny Avengers 1
YES Wolverines 1
So what is likely the print run of these variants?
Amazing X-Men having a 32,000 print run with a 1:20 ratio variant will likely be 1,600 copies – thats roughly 1 copy per comic store. Wolverines #1 which will likely hit over 100,000 copies could have up to 6,000 copies printed.
The regular ongoing Star Wars #1 will have a bunch of great variants even including a 1:500 ratio variant.
Its not likely that even 10% of stores will order one of those. So the print run could be as low as 200 copies for the worlds rarest mainstream Star Wars comic ever printed.
Marvel asked retailers if they would like their own exclusive variant cover but demand a print run of at least 3,000 copies so only the biggest comic chains are going to touch this one.
Thanks to John Jackson Miller at www.comichron.com for the initial Diamond sales figures data.
I am always happy to hear your comments and thoughts/criticisms on any of my posts.
Terry Hoknes (author) of Hoknes Comics loves analyzing statistics and watching the growth and fall of comic titles over a period of time. He sells all of the latest hot back issue secondary market new comics and all new Diamond products at www.HoknesComics.com and also self-publishes a series of books called “Investing In Comic Books” that focus on the Golden, Silver and Bronze ages of comics. hoknes@hotmail.com

15 thoughts on “STAR WARS returns to Marvel in January 2015 with 32 variant covers”

  1. I enjoyed Brian Wood’s latest series with Dark Horse. Not sure about them going back to Marvel, especially with so many variants. I’ll likely not even bother. I’ll likely pick up a #1 though to check out.
    As for the 65k being low enough to cancel back in the mid 80s, I can understand this since most need to realize this was also in a the day in age when we had no interwebs, ipads/tablets, Netflix (control what you want to watch), great computer and console video games and so on.. There’s so many distractions nowadays for kids. My kids are 6 and 8 (the 8 year old about to turn 9) and they want their own tablets for Christmas and other gadgets, etc. When I was their age I was hoping for my G.I. Joe figurines and such, not these fancy electronic gadgets. 😉

    1. My four year old has his own ipad and knows how to use it. The two year old does also. We have a thing where we turn off the tv and read. My oldest som likes comic books, thank god. His recent favorite was the first issue of Jim Henson Storyteller Witches.
      He loves toys too, so not all (or much even) time is spent on the ipad.

      1. Oh, we have the family shared iPad and they know how to do it all (they should, I work with computers for a living.. hehe). They don’t realize it (cause they beg and we tell them never gonna happen) but they are getting their own this Christmas, not iPad’s but Android tablets (cheaper and not gonna cost as much to replace if something happens).
        We limit their usage though, they don’t watch any TV during the week during school and only a few hours on weekends, along with about an hour or so on computer/tablets. My kids love to read and they still like to read comics as well, not as much but it’s a roller coaster ride for sure. They get plenty of outside time as well.. kids love going on hikes and just doing kid things up and down the street.

        1. Too cold this week for the kids to be outside sadly. As a side note, my mom retold my wife the story of how excited i was to get the Millenium Falcon for christmas one year. I played with it for hours on the kitchen floor.

          1. I miss my Millenium Falcon along with my Darth Vader with his TIE fighter. I would sit and play with mine for hours as well. I had so many, wish I still had them all along with all my original G.I. Joe’s.
            It’s been getting cold at night but great during the day here with highs in the upper 60s or lower 70s, no humidity, breeze.. kids are loving it.

      1. Many of the store variants I have seen have been top notch. I spoke to one retailer about the variant they are looking to do, and if they can pull it off, will be out of this world. Can’t talk about it yet but it will rock.
        Sent from my iPhone
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  2. Terry,
    Consider it was 65,000 “with” a licensing fee.
    That is what made it unprofitable at the time.
    Great write up.

    1. Ah most definitely. At one time, Marvel was not owned by Disney and Disney did not own Star Wars brand.. oh how the times have changed! 🙂

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