Really obsessive fans may wish to earmark comics with different cover logos and markings as musts for their collections. Here's a roundup of these variants.




The Western Publishing Company's Gold Key brand ended in 1979, with the company turning its focus to the more profitable Whitman bagged comics line, sold as non-returnable items through department and other general stores.
   DC and Marvel licensed their books through Whitman so that they could have their books in two- or three-pack formats sold in department stores, where Whitman had an exclusive deal.
   These went on sale through 1978 and 1980.
   For many years, fans have debated whether these oddities should be classified as variants. But one thing is clear: because of their limited distribution, the issues are scarce and have proven to be much in demand.
   The Whitmans have for a long time been regarded as secondary prints and treated as such. But it's worth noting that DC Whitmans are not reprints. They were printed at the same time as their newsstand counterparts.
   Only in the past few years has the value and collectible worth of these issues risen, particularly as some are so rare that less than 10 copies of the issues exist.
   Altogether, there were 13 issues of SUPERBOY which received the Whitman branding treatment: 244-248; and 251-258.

A typical Whitman bag of comics.

SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: Some Whitman versions (note the logos often varied in design and colors).

Another four issues of LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (formerly SUPERBOY) were also found in three-packs: 261, 263, 264 and 266.
   The real gem here is 264. It is estimated that less than 100 copies of this issue exist, making it one of the rarest DC Whitmans around, and almost impossible to secure.

The extremely rare Whitman print of LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 264 is on the right.





Then there were issues which featured logos inside the UPC boxes, which would normally include bar codes.
   One such subset comprise the DC universe UPC printings. These were essentially reprints and are only discernible by the logo printed in the UPC box. They are rare, often the last printed edition and were limited to distinct retailers in comic packs or multipacks.
   Not all titles featured these DCU boxes, and of those that did, not every issue had them. Legion issues which featured them were LEGIONNAIRES 10, 12, 16, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 29, and 33.


During the ZERO HOUR month, some issues were also included in specialist collector's packs, which contained 20 different comics and a trading card. Every title that was included in these packs bore a ZERO HOUR logo in the UPC boxes. LEGIONNAIRES #0 was one of them. The regular LEGION title was not included.






Differing logos, markings or art on covers are usually found on second printings of any particular title, ostensibly to distinguish them from the first printings. Here are the Legion-related titles of note. The issue numbers on the cover barcodes of second printings usually end in a "2" rather than a "1" to indicate the type of printing. A "3" would mean a third printing, and so on.

The second printing bears different color Zero Hour logos, and different text in the price box ("II" to indicate a second printing).


VALOR 23 (1994)
Like LEGIONNAIRES 18, this issue was part of the End of an Era storyline, and DC must have assumed fans would collect them in bignumbers for the significance, releasing second printings which bear different color Zero Hour logos, and different text in the price box ("II" to indicate a second printing).


The second printing is easily distinguishable by a sketch version of the original cover.


The cover of the second printing shows two vertical reddish boxes on either side of Lightning Lad, who is also tinted red.


The second printing is easily distinguishable by a sketch version of the original cover.


The second printing bears a mono version of the cover art used for one of the first printing cover variants.


Strictly speaking, there is no official second printing of this collection of the Blight/Legion of the Damned saga. The first release misprinted the chapters out of order, and DC quickly printed a corrected version, which has a cover with different-colored logo.
The issue numbers in the barcode boxes are the same for both covers.


LEGION LOST 1 (2011)
The cover of the second printing bears a red background color.


The cover of the second printing bears a red background color.

SUPERMAN 14 (2019)
The first printing features the Legion with Lightning Lad apparently shown as a Caucasian. The issue was recalled by DC Comics. In the second print Lightning Lad is more dark-skinned, and the cover art has a red background.

The covers of first print issues had green-colored logos and issue number/price circles. On the second printings, these are orange (or perhaps gold, to reflect Gold Lantern's first major appearance).




Finally, let's mention another format some collectors hunt down: those with advertising inserts for Mark Jewelers.
   In the mid 1970's DC and Marvel comics started to include a four-page, heavy paper stock color insert from this company in many of their comics. It is believed they were distributed near US military bases, both at home and abroad, to reach out to servicemen so that they could purchase jewelry and engagement rings.
   These inserts appeared in about five per cent of most newstand comics from 1972 to 1986, which of course included many Legion-related issues. There are no obvious differences on the covers.
   The inserts don't really add to the aesthetic appeal of the comics and if anything, probably makes them less attractive, but like all collectibles, these "variants" are worth only as much as a collector is happy to pay for.
   In general, demand is low for these issues, and they can sell for about the same price as guide or just slightly more.