Boba Fett’s first comic book appearance isn’t as quickly determined as one might think. It all depends on your definitions of “first”, “comic book”, “appearance” and even “Boba Fett”. Settle in as we get sucked into a Sarlaac Pit of controversy over this one.
Now Boba Fett first appeared in the movie The Empire Strikes Back, as one of many bounty hunters, the one who took Han Solo’s charred body with him, to crime boss Jabba The Hutt. But in the comics? Well, the comic book adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back appeared in several publications. Written by Archie Goodwindrawn by Al Williamson and Carlos Garzón, colored by Glynis Wein, lettered by Rick Veitch of all people, with Jim Shooter like IEC. The serialization took place in Marvel Comics’ Star Wars #39 through #44, with Boba Fett appearing in Star Wars #42 – and on the cover as well. Then there was this story formatted in a magazine, called marvel super special #16, a treasure Marvel Special Edition #2: The Empire Strikes Backand the paperback Marvel Comics Illustrated version. And these are only those published in the United States.
star wars #42 was released by Marvel in the United States in September 1980, featuring Boba Fett on the cover, reflecting his popularity in the previously released film. But the other three previous versions were released in the spring of 1980 alongside the film’s release, but none had Boba Fett on the cover. With the Illustrated Marvel pocket version of The Empire Strikes Back first published in May 1980, with artwork to be changed later, showing a more gnome-like Yoda closer to the character sketches than the muppet used in the film. The art would be changed for later prints when someone realized it didn’t match the film.
Also note the British weekly comic Star Wars Weekly published by Marvel UK which had changed its name to The empire strikes back. The Empire strikes back every week #129 contained the last third of the American star wars #42 which featured Boba Fett, with a Boba Fett cover, but was released in August 1980, a month before it was released in the United States. While Boba Fett’s first appearance in British comics came on the front page of The Empire strikes back every week #127 of July 1980.
But what has the market decided? Well, they’re all for Boba Fett’s subsequent first appearance with star wars #42 in CGC 9.6 selling copies for between $1300 and $1600 in recent months. A 9.6 slab copy of marvel super special #16 sold for around $1200. The Empire strikes back every week #129 CGC slabed to 9.0 recently sold for $610. while The Empire strikes back every week #127 rated at 7.0 sold for $470.
But the real first impression of the paperback comic? Marvel Comics Illustrated: The Empire Strikes Back? Just $45 on eBay recently. Too thick for slab, you see. Copies are also much cheaper on Amazon. If you were a collector looking at the Boba Fett long term, this is where I could focus and wait for the market to catch up.
Then, of course, there are the appearances in the newspaper comics, but that’s a whole different box of Hoth iceworms to open…