Monday, September 21, 2015

Retro Marvel: 3 Cover Variations For Star Wars #11

Most Marvel Star Wars issues have 2 different cover variations.  The cover differences denoted the different distribution methods used and helped Marvel know which copies were returnable and which were not.  The copies distributed to newsstands have a UPC symbol in the lower left hand corner box and unsold copies were returnable.  The direct copies have either a fat or thin diamond in the upper left hand corner with a blank box or picture in the lower left hand corner box and were not returnable.  Many early direct copies were distributed by the Western Publishing Company in their Whitman 3-packs and are sometimes know as Whitman variants although these comics were not exclusively distributed in this manner.  Interestingly, Diamond Comic Distributors, the current exclusive distributor of most comics in the U.S., was named after the diamond symbol Marvel used on their direct market copies.

Star Wars #11 has 3 different cover variations.

Star Wars #11a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (May 1978)
Newsstand
Star Wars #11b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (May 1978)
Direct
Star Wars #11c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (May 1978)
Direct
Star Wars #11 has the standard newsstand and direct versions.  There is a 2nd direct version which has the diamond in the upper left hand corner but also has a UPC symbol in the lower left hand corner box.  It is not known why there are two different direct versions, but it is a good bet that the version with the UPC symbol is probably a mistake that was caught during the printing process and fixed.  Both versions are found in Whitman 3-packs and there is no discernible difference in the price among the 3 versions.

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