2nd Prints & Comparisons

Starting with issue #2 Marvel Comics Group began randomly reprinting issues, generally within 3 months of the original's release. The standard way of determining a 2nd print is to look near the copyright information section (generally on the first page) and look for the words "2nd Printing" usually typed in a different format. The content of the 2nd Print is identical to the original. But there are differences mostly on the cover:
  • Cover adjustments to the logos & price/date boxes. (see below for comparison)
  • Some have different cover prices.
  • The interior & back cover advertisements where different.

Inside Cover 2nd printing example
Larger Version
3rd Print example

Cover Comparisons

1st Print Direct Market 1st Print Newsstand 2nd Print Direct Market

Marvel released GI Joe every month in two formats, the first is "Direct Market" and the second is "Newsstand". The history of Direct Market can be read here. The Newsstand version would have been sold on racks in bookstores, convenience stores, newsstands and other retail locations.

The major difference between the two can be found in the lower left corner. The symbol in the box differs for both editions. For newsstands it was a UPC code, while Comic Book Stores (Direct Market) generally used a version of Spider-Man or some other Marvel character. As a general rule of thumb, neither edition is harder to find, nor are they considered more valuable or collectible than their counterpart.

What to look for to determine differences:

  • In the price/date section:
    • A "M" was used instead of the standard square.
    • Missing the "Approved by Comics Code" symbol.
    • International prices for UK and Canada are included on cover.
    • A code 02064 (generally under the date) (See Newsstand cover above) appears.
    • Price differences
Starting in the early 1990's, the Direct Edition generally used a UPC code with the words "Direct Market" printed next to it. Occasionally, a Marvel promotional Direct Market symbol replaced the UPC for a couple month run. During this same period, newsstand editions continued to use UPC codes but were not distinguished with words the way Direct Market editions were.

To see the variety of the Direct Market symbols used click here.

Coloration differences do not help in determining the print edition. Do to the style of printing of the time, it was common for an individual issue's color to differ, sometimes drastically, within the same print run. Issues printed in the morning may have brighter colors then the issues printed towards end of the day, as an example bright reds could pale to orange. (Some differences in color can also be attributed to the scan quality.)

Here is a chart of US & Canadian prices for all 155 issues including 2nd & 3rd prints. Marvel Chart

This is a comparison of a Canadian cover with the higher price & the lower priced American version.
US Priced Version Canadian Priced Version

Marvel GI Joe 2nd Print Issues: 2,6,7,8,10,11,12,14,17,18,19,21,23,25,26,27,29,30,34,35,36,37,38,49,51,52,53,55,63,64

Marvel GI Joe 3rd Print Issues: 21,29,63

Special thanks to Roger Taft at Captain Cosmos Collectibles for tons of information & Calvin Chymy for the chart & Canada covers.

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