Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Modern Marvel: C-3PO and R2-D2 Action Figure Variants (12 Days of C-3PO and R2-D2 Covers)

Celebrating day three of the twelve days of C-3PO and R2-D2 covers!

Star Wars action figures are the quintessential Star Wars product.  The comics are important, but the toys are how many fans connect with the movies.  When Star Wars went away in the 1980s, the comics and books led the return in the early 1990s.  But it was Hasbro's release of new action figures in 1995 (Hasbro acquired Kenner in 1991) that really kicked the Star Wars revival into full gear.  Since then, Star Wars toys have become a perennial of toy aisles and is one of the strongest selling toy lines year after year.

It makes sense that Marvel would want to capitalize on the nostalgia fans have for the vintage action figures by publishing a series of original covers that look like Star Wars action figures in their original packaging.  Every issue of the main Star Wars title has an action figure variant cover as well as several issues of the other titles.  The first twelve action figures released by Kenner were: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, Stormtrooper, Death Squad Commander, Jawa, and Sand People.  The first ten Star Wars issues along with Princess Leia #1 and Darth Vader #1 include all twelve of these characters.  All of the action figure variant cover art to date are drawn by John Tyler Christopher.

C-3PO and R2-D2 are the subjects of the action figure variant covers for Star Wars #5 and 6.

Star Wars #5b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (May 2015)
action figure variant
Star Wars #6b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (June 2015)
action figure variant
The original twelve characters are joined by Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett to make up the characters on the Vader Down shared retailer exclusive.  The character art for this cover is the same art from the previous action figure variant covers.  Six retailers participated in this promotion: Midtown Comics, Forbidden Planet, All Heroes Comics, Buy Me Toys, Wanted Comix, and Wonderworld Comics.  Each has the same art but use the specific store logo on the cover.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1p - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Midtown Comics exclusive
Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1 was meant to be released closer to the debut of The Force Awakens in theaters.  It was delayed however and released in April 2016 with a C-3PO action figure variant representing the droid in that movie.  The action figure art is identical to the art on Star Wars #5, except the right leg is gold and the left arm is red.  The "cardback" art is different.

Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (April 2016)
action figure variant
Wonderworld Comics has an exclusive for the C-3PO one-shot which shows a boxed set of C-3PO, R2-D2, and the Death Star Droid action figures.  Kenner's original line included 3-pack action figure sets which are quite rare, although none included this combination of characters.  There is a vintage Droid Set that contains R5-D4, Death Star Droid, and Power Droid.  Like the retailer shared exclusive, the character art is re-used art from previous action figure variant covers.

Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1j - Marvel Comics, U.S. (April 2016)
Wonderworld Comics exclusive

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