Marvel 30 Cent Price Variants
By Roger Perez:
Marvel 30 cent variants are the test price versions of all the regular 25 cent titles that Marvel published from April to August 1976. Marvel raised the price of all their titles in six test markets to see what the resistance to a 5 cent price increase would be. The only exceptions are Ka-Zar #16 and Inhumans #5 since all of those issues have a 30 cent price.
However, all of the other regular Marvel titles have 30 cent variants for a total of 186 possible variants. These variants were only distributed in six markets and apparently not all outlets in those markets received all the variants. The six test markets were:
- Grand Rapids, MI
- Baltimore, MD
- San Antonio, TX
- San Jose, CA
- Albuquerque, NM
- Somewhere in Massachusetts
These variants went mostly unnoticed for over 20 years until 1997 when an article by Jon McClure in Comic Book Marketplace #55 showed that several 30 cent versions of 25 cent Marvels existed. Since then at least 5 collectors have obtained complete sets including Paul Merolle who started the first 30 cent variant website.
The Marvel 30 cent variant set is one of the toughest variant sets to complete. The rarest issues are the Horror reprint and Western reprint variants. There are less than 10 known examples of most of these variant issues. Needless to say completing a set is very difficult when you consider how few existing copies of these variants remain.