Mara Jade's Star Wars Stardom? by Matt Tuck
Star Wars dominated the collecting world in 2020, and speculators made mad dashes for any and all issues with even remote live-action potential.
But there is one important character with a major upside that has seemingly gone unnoticed: Mara Jade.
WHO IS SHE?
In the pre-Disney era of Star Wars, Mara is Luke Skywalker’s wife. First introduced in the Heir to the Empire novels, she made her comic debut in the subsequent Dark Horse Comics adaptation.
Mara is an intriguing character with live-action potential. Her story takes her from servant of the Empire to rogue smuggler and eventually to being a full-fledged Jedi.
Originally an elite assassin for Emperor Palpatine who began her training as a sith, Mara ascended to the role of jedi master and sat on the Jedi High Council under Luke’s tutelage. Better yet, she firmly exists in The Mandalorian’s timeline.
With the myriad of Star Wars series on the horizon, Mara’s pedigree and timeline make her a prime candidate for Disney+ in either The Mandalorian or Ahsokah Tano’s spinoff series. She’s such a perfect addition to the Star Wars mythos that it would be a tragedy if she did not make it into live action.
That makes her key issues prime investment targets, especially when so many Star Wars keys are ridiculously over inflated.
Mara has just two true key issues: Heir to the Empire #1 and #4. While that limits the issues worth collecting, it also helps to narrow the scope instead of trying the shotgun approach and grabbing however many Mara comics you can find.
HEIR TO THE EMPIRE #1
As if this issue needed another reason to be expensive, Heir to the Empire marked Mara’s first comic book appearance.
With Thrawn having been named in the second season of The Mandalorian, this issue has quickly become one of the most prized Star Wars comics. If you are looking for a high-grade, be prepared to pay an inflated price. At a 9.8, the direct edition has a 90-day fair market value over $900, and the most recent sale was for a record $1,544 on January 8. Looking for a newsstand? A 9.8 brought a whopping $3,500 on January 3.
If you are looking for a grade that’s a bit more gentle on your budget, aim for a 9.4. At this level, you are getting a beautiful copy that will present well in a slab for less than $300 on average. Once we see a live-action Thrawn (or perhaps Mara), it could very well double in price.
HEIR TO THE EMPIRE #4
Out of all six issues of Heir to the Empire, this could be your sleeper pick.
What’s special about it is that Mara Jade makes her first cover appearance here. In today’s collecting world, the first cover appearance oftentimes is more treasured than the in-story first appearance.
For the most part, collectors have been overlooking this issue since it is not her premiere, and that could be to your advantage. Since 2017, there have only been two graded 9.8s sold online, both of which earned $115 at the tail end of last year. In fact, CGC has just 17 total copies listed in its census data.
The relative anonymity is seen in the “raw” sales, too. Over on eBay, the sold listings for those unslabbed copies generally bring about $40-$50. That is a small price to pay for a comic with such a large upside.
You will want to act quickly because Heir #4 may not remain a secret for much longer. There are rumors of Mara coming to the Star Wars cinematic universe. That likely fueled a sale from earlier this month that saw a 9.4 bring $72 after that same grade earned just $19 in December, 2020.
The potential for Mara Jade to become a huge star is undeniable.
She is everything Disney executives want from Star Wars - a strong female lead who defies stereotypes and could serve as a popular anti-hero. Her history and skillset makes her a combination of Luke, Leia, and Boba Fett, and she can hold her own in a fight against the Star Wars elite. She could even help connect the dots for Luke between the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi and his self-imposed exile in Force Awakens and Last Jedi.
What’s not to love?