Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Marvel Masterworks Variant Editions - We got 'em!

The good news started when Marvel decided to print all of their old and brand new Masterworks Editions in the original gilded gold frame and marble covers. The bad news is that they would only print to initial orders. The first 20 or so did not have the print run numbers on the back of the dust jackets - later Marvel would put the numbers on the dust jackets and they ran (approximately) from 1000 to 1600 copies with most around the 1200 number range. Yep, that's it - only around 1200 or so of each edition. You can go to the Marvel Masterworks Resource Page (well, there are SEVERAL pages...) to find out more about these editions. Particularly, go to the library page and you can find links to all the editions AND the print runs for the early editions.

What is interesting is that the variant edition of Marvel Masterworks Vol. 1 (Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1) only had a print run of 520, Vol. 2 (Fantastic Four Vol. 1) only had a print run of 500 - and there are some of the early volumes that even had lesser runs. Hence, you will see some of these early volumes on eBay or Amazon at really high prices. And yes, we have a few of those expensive early editions on eBay right now.

Around Vol. 30 or so, folks began to take notice and the print runs started going up (e.g. Vol. 33 - Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 6 - had a print run of 1420). Still, the print runs are still relatively low and so continue to the present. Marvel did the unthinkable by reprinting a few of the early variants - you can identify these by a) a Roman numeral 2 (II) and b) the presence of the print run - both on the back of the dust jacket. It looks like Marvel discontinued the reprints after just a few volumes. The print runs are small so it looks like lack of sales doomed these abominations.

Starting with Vol. 43 - Golden Age Captain America Vol. 1 - and Vol. 57 - Tales To Astonish Vol. 1 - fans could now start getting Golden Age and Atlas Era reprints. Although the regular editions are mostly still in print with a very few exceptions, the variant editions still go out of print almost instantly.

Here at Walkin' Willie's Comix, we try to get as many of the variants as we can afford each month. Usually, Marvel puts out two hardcover variants and one to two trade paperback variants per month. You heard right, Marvel has started reprinting their Marvel Masterworks in a more affordable trade paperback form - and again, both in a regular edition and limited variant edition.

If you are looking for some of these variants for about as affordable as we can go, we have some of our Marvel Masterworks hardcover variants at our eCrater store and some of them at Walkin' Willie's Comix. All of our Marvel Masterworks trade paperback variant editions are at Walkin' Willie's Comix - with more to come in the very, very near future.

But whether you are into the variant editions or the regular editions, the good thing is that Marvel is printing nearly ALL of their stuff from the Golden Age through the early 1980's and while the prices are a tad steep on the hardcovers, they represent a fraction of the prices you would pay to obtain mid-grade single issues. You can get the Journey Into Mystery Vol. 1 variant hardcover (Vol. 106 of the Masterworks series) for $47.99 at Walkin' Willie's Comix. That book covers issues #1 through #10 of the series, which if you were to buy the individual issues at just VG grade, it would run you in the neighborhood of $1800.00! Now that's a bit of price delta!

Anyway, if you want to read more about 'em, again go to the Marvel Masterworks Resource Page. Until next time, 'Nuff Said!