Have you ever been bored with the same comics year after year?  On social media people are posting the same books.  Don’t you want something new, different and unique in your comic book collection?  Have you seen some of the foreign variants for popular issues?  Some are epic, difficult to find, and could make your collection one-of-a-kind.

Let’s dive into foreign comics, which have become more popular than ever! My first experience in foreign language comics was in Stockholm Sweden in the early 2000s, I found a shop in Gamla Stan, or the Old Town section of the city called Comics Haven (still there). I went in not knowing what would happen or what I’d find. 

 I thought it would be full of American pop culture and English language trade paperbacks. Turns out they were fairly well stocked with vintage Swedish language comics. I started digging. I was fortunate to find Stalmannen, Spindelmannen, and Stjärnornas Krig (Superman, Spider-man, and Star Wars) issues among others. Now for sure, I don’t read much Swedish language but I do enjoy collecting. I also really like to collect exotic items almost no one else has in their collection. With the lure of adding unique comics, I was hooked. I have been acquiring and enjoying this variety of collecting since!

Some would argue that these are just reprints. But that’s not exactly true. The fact that they are translated makes them first prints. Some of the international release dates are before the American releases. Not to mention that some non-cannon Mexican Spider-Man and German Superman are original stories not printed in English. 

In my opinion, International comics could be considered the first variants with the colors on the covers being different from country to country. Some feature promotional posters or cards and stickers! These variations entice the foreign comics community to build international sets. Collectors of these sets pick a cover they like and build a set of every iteration produced worldwide. I’ve been working on a few myself over the years, Star Wars 68 and G.I.Joe 21. 

Star Wars 68

G. I. Joe 21 International

If you want to make your comic collection unique, you might want to add in some foreign variants!  Thanks for reading and check back for my next blog post about foreign comics.

Steve Shepardson

(Cover Photo Courteous of Juha Pitkanen from Finland)

3 Replies to “Foreign Comic Books – Something Unique”

  1. Well written article. I also love that G.I. Joe #21 set. Nice to see people talk about foreign editions, it’s one of the collecting categories that I am collecting.

    I would like to nitpick a little bit, even though foreign edition covers are variations of their north american counterparts, they are not always foreign variants. Foreign variant would be a foreign edition comic that has a regular cover and a variant covers and when one talks about foreign variant they are talking about the variant cover version of the foreign edition comic (did I make that sentence confusing enough?). But yeah, the proper term is foreign edition collecting, and that term comes from book collecting where foreign edition collecting has been established long before it started in comic collecting.

    Another thing that is awesome about Foreign edition collecting is that there are some foreign editions that have exclusive covers (often regular covers, sometimes variant covers) to certain countries, so one can even find some really cool covers that are not even available in North America.

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