Saturday, May 27, 2017

Modern Marvel: 4 Star Wars: Vader Down #1 Disney Exclusives

The Walt Disney Company is a vast media and entertainment conglomerate that acquired Marvel Comics in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012.  When the Star Wars comic license was awarded to Marvel in 2015, nobody was surprised.  What has been surprising, however, is how few Disney exclusive comics have been published in the Star Wars line in the two and a half years Marvel has held the license.  Despite having amusement parks, stores, and other outlets for selling comics, Disney has only had four Star Wars exclusives, all for the Star Wars: Vader Down #1 one-shot.  In comparison, the number of exclusive Star Wars toys sold at their parks is enormous, ranging from static figurines, to Droid Factory action figures, die-cast action figures, plush characters, and more.  One can only imagine when the Star Wars-themed expansion opens in the Disney parks, even more exclusives will be introduced and maybe there will be a comic or two in the offering.

In January 2015 Star Wars #1 was released with 71 different covers and went back to print 6 more times bringing the total number of covers to 77.  And that is not including additional cover artwork published by Panini Comics!  The next modern Star Wars comic to have a large number of covers is Vader Down #1 with 44 variant and exclusive covers!  The Vader Down story arc was released during the buildup to The Force Awakens premiere, which helped contribute to the fervor.  Several Disney outlets had exclusive covers to offer at the time.

The Disney Parks exclusive is an image of Darth Vader holding his lit lightsaber while Rebel troops amass in the background and X-Wing Fighters fly overhead.  I am not sure if this comic was actually distributed at Disney Parks, but it was sold at the online Disney Store.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1ad - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2015)
Disney Parks exclusive
Built in 1926, the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood at first showed live plays, but by the 1940s, it began screening movies.  In 1980, Disney acquired the theatre which they renovated and began using for Walt Disney Studio film premieres.  The El Capitan Theatre showed The Force Awakens from December 18, 2015 through February 7, 2016.  Movie goers who purchased the VIP comic book admission would get a reserved seat, popcorn, drink, and one of two Vader Down #1 El Capitan Theatre exclusive comics.  Cover A shows C-3PO and R2-D2 being fired on by BT-1 with 0-0-0 no doubt urging him on.  Cover B is a montage with Luke Skywalker standing ready with his lightsaber and an image of Darth Vader piloting his TIE Fighter.  Surrounding Luke are several X-Wing Fighters attacking Vader's TIE.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1ae - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2015)
El Capitan Theatre exclusive A
Star Wars: Vader Down #1af - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2015)
El Capitan Theatre exclusive B
Next to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood is the Disney Studio Store & Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop.  On December 13, 2015, Todd Nauck attending the Disney Studio Store Pin Trading Event at the location and signed an exclusive black and white variant of the C-3PO and R2-D2 cover that El Capitan Theatre had in color.

Todd Nauck signing announcement/ Todd Nauck at event
Star Wars: Vader Down #1ag - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2015)
Disney Studios Store & Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop exclusive
All of these comics are easily found.  The Disney Parks and El Capitan Theatre exclusives list for $10 to $20 on eBay.  The Disney Studios Store & Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop exclusive is usually $100 to $125 in NM condition.  Most of the copies are signed by Todd Nauck, but a few copies did make it out unsigned.  This was the last cover for the Vader Down #1 I acquired to complete the set since I held out for a copy without a signature.


  1. Do you know the print run of Vader Down Disney Parks? I purchased those at Tatooine Traders inside Hollywood Studios.

  2. Unfortunately, I do not know how many copies were printed. We know Marvel requires a minimum of 3000 units for these exclusives, but if Disney Parks asked for the minimum or more is anyone's guess.