Star Wars #1 Variant Covers: The Best and Worst


Marvel Star Wars #1 is set to sell enough copies to fill a galaxy far, far away. One of the reasons for the massive amount of sales is the number of variant covers set to be printed. Recently /Film and Bleeding Cool put many of the variants on their sites. After going through these covers, I’ve come up with my best and worst in a number of categories. There will be official variants which will be found in most comic shops across the country. There were also commissioned variants exclusive to specific shops or events. I’ve divided my picks into the official variant best and worst as well as retailer exclusive best and worst. I’ve then declared my grand prize winner. Here we go.

Official Star Wars Variants: Best

I thought Quesada’s cover was brilliant the first time I laid eyes on it. The scene gives us our big three front and center but in their typical tight spot. You can almost hear one of them saying, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” While these heroes have a look of concern, Darth Vader and his stormtroopers loom over them, ready to exact their revenge. This cover just has the perfect Star Wars feel and makes me want to get into these pages.

Cassaday’s cover is classic cover giving us our main characters with strong art. Nothing too showy or fancy but it gives you just what you need in an opening cover. I’ll admit, I’m probably biased toward this cover because it is the first we saw in association with the new series. This image will forever be connected to a new era of Star Wars comics.

Official Star Wars Variants: Worst

McCleod’s cover has the potential to give us what we want. He puts the main heroes in a spot of danger and ready for action while the scene is clean and simple. The problem is the facial art just doesn’t deliver. The only thing I can think while looking at this cover is, “What is wrong with all of their faces?” Close but just not quite what I want.

I love the mischievous looks Pichelli has given Han and Leia in her cover.I enjoy the art and even like the placement of these two characters in the midst of their destruction. My only problem with this particular cover is this isn’t a Han and Leia team-up book. This is the first issue of the new series and we at least need Luke, if not Chewie, R2, and 3PO. Nice art, wrong book.

The upside to these “worsts” is that they are still good! If this is the bottom of the official variant barrel then we have great choices indeed!

Retailer Exclusives: Best

Of the exclusives for retailers, John Tyler Christopher (Note the correction to the name listed on the picture above. Sorry JTC!) takes the prize. The simple, elegant picture of Luke, Leia, and Han in white with a white background is beautiful. This mostly white picture gives us all the wonderful A New Hope memories we could possibly want. The piece is gorgeous and I hope I can get my hands on it.

What makes Mark Brooks’ cover special is the spot-on drawing of characters. Those drawings could almost be photographs. There is a significant downside to this one. Where is Leia?

Amanda Conner’s cover causes me to break my own rules for selection. While this cover only features Leia and Darth Vader I couldn’t resist placing it among my favorites. This picture captures so much with so little. The comic is set after A New Hope and this cover reminds us of Leia’s captivity in the original movie but Vader’s position and the look on Leia’s face are perfect! This is a classic picture of an overbearing father with his rebellious teenage daughter. An amazing, and true to life, family portrait. For that reason this shot also makes its way into the best of this group.

Retailer Exclusives: Worst

Alex Maleev’s cover is beautiful and I would possibly choose it as one of my favorites if these were variant covers for a Boba Fett comic. This cover is representative of a number of the variants that just seem to miss the point of what is inside this book. This is a first issue and the cover needs to focus on the main heroes plain and simple. If this were a cover for a later issue in which Boba Fett was a major player, I’d be a huge fan. Unfortunately, I can’t support this for Star Wars #1.

So before a talk about the cover I like the least, let me say I’m no artist and I understand that art is hard! I respect every artist making these covers and marvel at how good they are at their craft. That being said, I really don’t like Frison’s work on this cover. The drawing and colors aren’t my favorite but there is a major problem with this piece. It’s like an earworm for my eyes and I can’t think about anything else when I look at this drawing. What in the world are Luke and Leia looking at? Why do they have their heads turned toward each other while their eyes are looking away? Their positioning seems awkward and unnatural and I can’t get past this feeling of unease the shot gives me. Maybe it’s just me, but this hangup is why I have to put this particular piece at the bottom of my variant cover list.

Grand Prize Variant

by Alex Ross

PERFECT! Alex Ross has done everything right in this cover. It takes so many of us back to that original Marvel Star Wars #1 giving us a fantastic feel of nostalgia while at the same time updating that cover with art that is absolutely amazing. Even if you’ve never seen the original cover, you can enjoy this one for its eye catching brilliance we see all the major players in this universe. I will track this variant down and add it to my collection. This is the cover I’m looking for.

What do you think? What are your favorites? Which are your least favorite? Leave a comment below and let’s talk about how wrong I am.