Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: Lando #1 (Topps variant)

Star Wars: Lando #1 came with the standard assortment of variant covers that we have come to expect from Marvel's Star Wars titles.  At the 2015 San Diego Comic Con in July 2015, Marvel distributed exclusive copies of Lando #1 which stood out from the other covers, the Topps variant drawn by Randy Martinez.

Star Wars: Lando #1m - Marvel Comics, U.S. (July 2015)
Topps variant
The art on the cover is not spectacular like the Alex Ross variant.  It is a nicely rendered drawing of Lando Calrissian with his aide Lobot and his posse of Cloud City guards.  The image is meant to look like a picture right out of The Empire Strikes Back and it succeeds at doing that.  What makes this cover stand out however is the design.  The star infested blue border with the Star Wars logo in the starburst is based on the now classic design for the first Topps Star Wars trading cards from 1977!

Topps is a trading card company with a rich history of printing Star Wars trading cards.  The first set of 66 Topps Star Wars trading cards were printed in 1977 to coincide with the release of the movie.  The cards were a hit and Topps went on to print 4 more sets of 66 trading cards for Star Wars.

Topps Star Wars Series I Trading Cards #1 - 9 (1977)
The trading card that looks the closest to the comic cover was printed in 1980 Topps Empire Strikes Back Series II trading card set.  It is card #198 and is titled Lando's Game.

Topps Star Wars Series II Trading Card #198 (1980)
Lando's Game
This comic variant was distributed in a poly bag which contains 2 trading cards inside.  There is no mistaking this comic as anything but a collaboration between Marvel and Topps.  The back cover contains an ad for the Topps contribution to the upcoming Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens promotion that is occurring in August 2015 to generate excitement for the new movie in December 2015.  Topps is hoping nostalgia for the original cards will help drive sales for the new trading card set they are advertising.

Star Wars: Lando #1m - Marvel Comics, U.S. (July 2015)
I speculate that when Topps drew up plans for this comic, there must have been some thinking that if this comic sold well and comic fans demanded it, Topps would commission Marvel to produce more trading card variant covers like Marvel's current action figure variant covers.  This comic can be found on eBay and sells for $10 - 15.

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