Hello I'm back once again with another post. I was looking on eBay at the starwars '77 comic book series and stumbled apon some that were priced at $0.99 and some at $10.00 or some at $2.00 as confused as I was I stumbled apon a user by the name of obiwon-kenobi
on eBay who wrote this simple little guide: I've embedded it into this post.
This is not a reprint this is a original copy.
Hey all you Star Wars Fans. If you are like ole' ObiWon, then there is just nothing better than combining two of your favorite hobbies. The comic books featuring Star Wars are a perfect example. HOWEVER, even the most casual comic book collector should be aware that some of the 1970's Marvel Star Wars comics are REPRINTS and therefore sell for less here on eBay than their first-print brethren.
Firstly, let me tell you exactly which issues have reprints, and how to know if they are reprints.
ONLY ISSUES 1 THROUGH 6 OF THE MARVEL 70'S STAR WARS COMICS WERE REPRINTED. So, just to be clear, this guide is just about the Marvel 70's Star Wars comics and of those only issues 1 through 6 had any reprints. Forget what you may have read in Price Guides, every issue from 7 on is a first print, check the CGC census if you like. "But what about the Black Diamond and what about the blank UPC box?" Good question, Padawan. The Black Diamond in the upper left corner and/or a blank UPC box DO NOT NECESSARILY MEAN REPRINTS. More on what black diamonds and UPC boxes really mean toward the end of the guide. With regard to reprints, what matters is the price, the design, and whether or not the word "REPRINT" is on the cover right below the price beside the small illustrated Luke Skywalker.
For issues 1 through 4 there is the additional complication of the 35 cent Marvel Price Variants, which are rare identical Marvels with an increased 35 cent price instead of 30 cents. Thus a whole 'nother set of issues 1-4 that are first prints and happen to be very very expensive and rare. Fear not ye fans of the Force, ole' ObiWon is here to make it all clear.
RULE #1: All issues 1 through 4 that have a 35 cent price INSIDE A BIG BLACK DIAMOND ARE REPRINTS, period. Issues 2 through 4 with a 30 cent price inside the big black diamond are actually first prints. Here below are 2 examples of reprints:
RULE #2: In addition to rule #1, all issues 1 through 6 that have "REPRINT" printed sideways on the cover right below the price ARE REPRINTS Here below are two examples:
RULE #3: EVERYTHING ELSE is a first print. Such as these two below:
There you go, true believer. If you can closely adhere to these simple rules you will know if you have a reprint or not. These rules are designed so that you can tell right from a pic of the cover if one of these here on eBay is a reprint, no need to check the first page indicia.
Still curious about all the black diamond and UPC price variant confusion? Well that would make for a another great guide for ObiWon to write. Here are the basics. The issues with big black diamonds with the price inside were shipped to toy stores and other outlets and sold in packs of three, not in the usual manner as newsstands and (at that time) comic book shops. "Black Diamond" editions sometimes have the UPC and sometimes not. Also during this time Marvel was experimenting with raising the price of its comics from 30 cents to 35 cents. Therefore issues 1 through 4 (NOT 5 or 6!!!) that are regular newsstand, with no black diamond, and a 35 cent price are RARE to VERY RARE and sell here on eBay for much much more than the regular first prints.
Final words from ObiWon:
Here I will rank, in my opinion, the order of the scarcity of all the different editions of issues 1 through 6
I believe the Black Diamond Reprints of issues 1 through 6 are the most common. Whitman (Western Publishing) basically had the rights to print as many as possible and by the time the first editions sold out the movie was a smash hit all over and Marvels comics were about the only way a fan could spend anything on Star Wars!
Next most common would be the newsstand reprint issues, these are common but not nearly as common as the black diamond reprints. Marvel had these printed by Curtis for newsstands but could not dedicate all their capacity this way.
Next up is the Newsstand first prints without the black Diamond. Marvel printed lots of these and they all sold out so they are common and always available for sale here on eBay.
The First Print Black Diamond issues are actually harder to find than the newsstand editions. They were only sold in packs of three for 79 cents (issues 2, 3, and 4). They are NOT RARE, not even close but they are much less common. Oh, and there is no black diamond copy of issue 1 that is a first print. Only issues 2 and onwards had black diamond first prints. These don't usually get valued higher than the newsstand versions but are harder to find and usually sell for more at auction here on eBay.
HOWEVER, the black diamond reprint version of issue 1 WITH A UPC (repeat WITH A UPC CODE ON FRONT COVER) is a rare and odd issue. It is a reprint but it is also rare. Whitman had to switch them to no UPC because they changed the look of the 3 pack baggies which revealed the UPC through the clear plastic and would be confusing to shippers and inventory personnel which were using bar code scanners, presumably. Reports of this issue are that a copy of it was confirmed as a reprint by CGC even though the first wrap of the comic had been switched with a first print. Judging from how this issue almost never appears anywhere, Whitman must have tried to destroy them all. So What value is a rare reprint? Hard to see the future is.
Finally the really valuable limited first edition newsstand version with 35 cent small price and no black diamond copies of issues 1 through 4 (not 5 or 6) are very rare and issue 1 in CGC 9.8 is probably the most valuable comic in the bronze/copper/modern ages.