The Many Comic Books of Boba Fett

Posted on 4/26/2022

Tracing the first appearance of the popular Star Wars character is as nuanced as the bounty hunter himself.

While Star Wars #42 is widely considered the first comic book appearance of Boba Fett, this book is actually a reprint, and the character appeared in several books before its release. When Boba Fett debuted on screen in “The Empire Strikes Back,” fans were captivated by the mystique of his origin and backstory. Even his supposed death in “Return of the Jedi” was a source of fan speculation for many years.

So, of course, why should his first appearance in comics be any less mysterious?

Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®) has graded more than 4,800 copies of Star Wars #42, according to the CGC Census, making it one of the most popular issues in the initial 1977-1986 run of Marvel comic books inspired by the hit sci-fi movie franchise.

Star Wars #42 graded CGC 9.6.
(Offered in a Heritage Auctions sale May 1-2, 2022.)
Click image to enlarge

What is the first comic appearance of Boba Fett?

While Star Wars #42, published in December of 1980, is widely accepted as the first comic appearance of Boba Fett (and Yoda), several publications came before it.

The character of Boba Fett was created by George Lucas, inspired by Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” character featured throughout Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy” films. His armor was initially white and was designed as a type of Stormtrooper armor.

Boba made his first public appearance at the San Anselmo County Fair in California on September 24, 1978, in a costume worn by Duwayne Dunham. Two months later, Boba Fett appeared on screen for the first time in the “Star Wars Holiday Special,” in animation voiced by Don Francks.

By the time “The Empire Strikes Back” film was widely released in the United States on May 21, 1980, there were already two published graphic adaptations.

It all started a long time ago ...

Stan Lee Presents The Marvel Comics Illustrated Version of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (May 1980)

This was a paperback book that adapted the original film’s screenplay into an illustrated graphic novel by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson. This was perhaps the actual first time Boba Fett and Yoda ever appeared on the page. They were so new the illustrators and colorists didn’t yet know what Yoda should look like, so they drew him a little different, with purple skin that more closely resembled his original concept design by Ralph McQuarrie.

Before the more familiar green, Yoda was initially published with a purple look.
Click image to enlarge

Marvel Comics Super Special #16 (May 21, 1980)

This magazine-format graphic novel used the same cover art as the illustrated paperback. For the interiors, it’s the same comic, but the image of Yoda was fixed to more closely resemble his likeness on screen. This exact comic, as published here, was reprinted across Star Wars #39-44.

Marvel Super Special #16 graded CGC 9.6
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The Empire Strikes Back: The Illustrated Edition (July 1980)

Not to be confused with the Marvel Comics Illustrated, listed above, this paperback book was also released in 1980 as the novelization of the film by Donald Glut, with concept illustrations by Ralph McQuarrie. It does, however, include McQuarrie’s original Boba Fett concept art on page 140.

Star Wars Weekly #127 (July 31, 1980)

Released in the United Kingdom, this book reprints a portion of the Marvel Comics Super Special #16 in black and white. Boba Fett is featured prominently, along with other bounty hunters, on the first page. This full-page image appears to be unique to this edition only and does not appear in any other books.

Marvel Special Edition #2 : The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

This was an oversized Treasury Edition that simply reprints Marvel Comics Super Special #16, right down to the same cover art.

Star Wars #42 (Dec. 1980)

This is the book that many collectors have decided to recognize as the first appearance of Boba Fett, but — as stated above — it’s actually a partial reprint of a story already published four times in the books that precede it on this list. This is still the book you want if you're looking for value. High-grade copies of Star Wars #42 have sold for nearly $4,000 on auction sites.

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