UPDATE: While Diamond Distributors is showing these four issues as 1:25 incentive variants, Penguin Random House Comics is not. One of the two distributors is incorrect. Let’s hope the issues are open order.
The Sprouse Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary Variants have been consistently well conceived, well drawn, colored, and executed, and done on time week after week, month after month to boot! Their popularity has fluctuated as the covers have tracked Lucasfilm’s entire 50 year history of film and television production. Obviously, not every cover will resonate with every Star Wars fan, the same way not every film and TV entry resonates with every Star Wars fan either. However, some covers became uniquely popular. Of note, the Darth Vader #20 Sprouse variants were wildly popular and sought after. This was a product of the fact that art for the cover was released the day after final order cut off, and the fact that the cover depicts the first cover appearance of the Mandalorian Din Djarin, and Grogu (“Baby Yoda”) on a traditional comic book publication. It’s the only Sprouse variant so far to go back for a second “Beskar” print.
The price on Darth Vader #20 Sprouse Variant, while remarkably high for a moment there, has settled to a somewhat reasonable mark up at present. This is thanks in part to Marvel honoring orders made the day after final order cut off.
Well, now the Sprouse Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary Variant line has had another shake up. Looking at the next four Sprouse Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary Variants solicited for May 2022, they appear to be 1:25 incentive variants. What this means is that your local comic shop cannot simply order as many as they like as has been the practice for all the prior “open order” Sprouse variants. In order to qualify, your local comic shop will need to order 25 copies of open order covers to receive one copy of these Sprouse variants. So far, the comics included in this structure are Bounty Hunters #23 (5/11/22), Star Wars #24 (5/18/22), Doctor Aphra #21 (5/25/22), and Darth Vader #23 (5/25/22).
One can only speculate that this is Marvel capitalizing on the market’s enthusiasm for the Mando first cover appearance. Hopefully, along with this new incentive structure, we get more first cover appearances. I’m hoping for Bad Batch, among other characters yet to grace comic covers.