Well, “survive” might be a harsh word to use, as that original Marvel Star Wars title had massive print runs for quite a stretch.
Let me back up, and give you the Cliff Notes version of how I got into really collecting comics:
I loved superheroes early on from watching Saturday morning and weekday cartoons, reruns of the Adam West camp Batman series, and playing with Mego Dolls.
Then of course, I became a Star Wars freak in the late ’70s; collecting the Kenner figures, vehicles, playsets, and whatever else. (I was four years old in 1977, but have recently pieced together that I probably first saw Star Wars in 1978, when it was re-released.)
While I was always interested in drawing and visual stuff, my parents were concerned with my lack of interest in reading. And thusly, in their attempt to encourage me to read, they got me a subscription to Marvel’s Star Wars comic…this was 1980, and the first issue I received was issue 39. Perfect coincidental timing, as that issue began Marvel’s mutli-part adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back.
My subscription ran to around issue 68, then wasn’t renewed for whatever reason. That was early ’83, still before Return of the Jedi was released.
Flash forward to let’s say spring of ’86, and I really started to notice the “modern” comics on the spinner rack at a local newsstand. Bought a few here and there, and I guess my parents picked-up on me wanting to seek out more; they found me my first comic shop, not too far away in one of the big malls. I then dove in, monthly pull list, getting into back issues, etc.
Tying this in to Star Wars 107, by the time I got into collecting comics on a monthly basis, Star Wars was at the tail-end of its run…but I didn’t immediately know that. So, I added it to my monthly list of titles to get back into it, but this was just as issue 107 — the last issue — was coming out. So, yes, snagged my Star Wars 107 off the rack, at cover price in 1986.
Marvel’s Star Wars series, again, was massively popular for years, in tandem with the cultural phenomenon of the original trilogy, especially the first two films. But by 1986, I think everyone was all Star Wars-ed out, and with 1983′s Jedi, the central Luke / Rebellion vs. Vader / Empire saga was resolved. So, post Jedi, the original Star Wars comic series lost a lot of steam…
…and that means towards the end, the final issues dropped to very low print runs and distribution, relative to the series’ height. (Talked about a little bit on this post.) Star Wars 107 logically had the lowest print run of the series, being the final issue. At the time (during the Copper Age), no one was after it at all, and it probably sat in quarter boxes…
…but then move forward to the early or mid ’90s, when Star Wars nostalgia started to really hit, especially with the anticipation of the prequel trilogy. Lots of collectors were then after Marvel’s original Star Wars series in its entirety. Priciest back issues? Yep, the final issues, legitimately difficult to find, given the low distribution. Star Wars 107 still fetches in the $50 range on eBay. My copy — bought in 1986 at cover price — is staying safe and sound in my collection.
More info / resources:
Def check out ComicsBronzeAge.com! Great site, tons of Bronze Age reviews.
The original Star Wars comic series has been collected in a series of trade paperbacks; click here for Volume 7 on Amazon.com, which collects the end of the run, issues 96 to 107. The earlier volumes are there as well.
But hey, we love collecting the original back issues, so hunt them down at your local comic shop or convention! If no luck, there’s always mycomicshop.com.