Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Retro Foreign: Philippine Alemar's Star Wars #1

Between 1980 and 1985 the Philippines had a population of 47 - 54 million people.  During that time, between 1/3 to 1/2 of the population lived in poverty.  While the poverty rate in the Philippines has improved, it remains stubbornly high with close to 1/4 of the population still living in poverty.  High poverty is accompanied by extreme weather conditions that see a large amount of rainfall and high humidity on this tropical archipelago.  Because of these social and climate conditions, Philippine editions of U.S. comics are considered some of the rarest foreign comics.

Less than 10 known copies of Alemar's Star Wars #1 are in U.S. comic collections.  It is likely more are undiscovered in collections, probably brought back by U.S. servicemen stationed in the Philippines.  I believe one of the copies I have in my collection that I purchased off eBay and was located in Phoenix originated from a U.S. serviceman.  Regardless of how many copies are yet to be discovered, it is also believed very few were published which will keep the total number of copies lower than most foreign Star Wars comics.

Star Wars #1a - Alemar's, Philippines (1980 - 1985?)
contains Star Wars #1
One of the copies I have has a green banner at the top and the cover has red in the text boxes, Luke Skywalker's lightsaber and boots, and the shadow box around the title.  The other two copies have a yellow banner with orange text boxes, lightsaber, boots, and shadow box around the title.  This discrepancy in colors could have occurred for several reasons: the normal variation in colors that occur during the printing process or the two copies with the yellow banner have been exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time resulting in the colors fading.

Star Wars #1a - Alemar's, Philippines (1980 - 1985?)
two complete and one incomplete copy
The incomplete #1 is missing the center page and has a large chunk missing from the back cover.  One of the complete #1s has ink marks on the cover.

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