How To Tell If A Comic Is First Print

It may sound silly but collecting the first edition of a comic book has its own level of satisfaction. If you possess the same passion, then welcome to the crazy comic club! So, how to tell if a comic is first print and enrich your comic collection?

You can identify the edition of comics in two different ways: barcode and hashtag. The barcode consists of 5 digits – the first 3 digits signify the issue number, the 4th one represents a variant of covers, and the last digit indicates the printing number. A hashtag is pretty simple to find, and the digit beside the tag indicates the comic printing edition.

Some people don’t care about the first print as long as they can read the comic. But only a few passionate people have such emotions about collecting first print comics.

How To Tell If A Comic Is First Print

How To Identify The First Print?

Just reading the comics is not the only satisfaction you can get. Some fans like to collect the first print of their favorite comic books by any means. Despite their rarity, you should not lose hope of finding a valueless first edition of your comic books.

But first, you need to know how to identify these prints, or else you may get cheated. There are two ways to identify first print comic books.

The Barcode Identification

Reading the barcode is the most efficient way to recognize the true identity of a comic book’s edition number.

When you buy a comic book from any store, you will find a barcode attached to its backside. Sometimes the code can be on the cover page too. The barcode has a 5-digit code, and each of those numbers indicates a separate meaning.

Suppose you see a barcode with these digits: 00121 at the top of the barcode sticker.

So, the first three digits, 001, tell you its issue number. That means the comic is issued for the first time. If the first digit shows something like 152, the book has been issued several times (152times).

And the fourth digit tells you about the cover. That means digit-2 signifies that the comic book has a variant cover. If it has digit-1, it would mean the comic book has a regular cover.

The last digit tells you the printing number. As the number in the barcode is 1, it means you have the first print comic in your hand. Lucky you! If the digit has a 4 or 5, it will mean that you have a 4th or 5th print on your hand.

An important note on the issue number is that the first 3 numbers indicate the issue number, and its limit is 999. What if the comic has been more than that?

Well, then you will notice an extra number at the beginning, like 1001. It will mean the book has been issued 1001 times!

The Hashtag Identification

Identifying the hashtag is a simple and easy way to find the comic book edition. Typically, the comic book authority gives you the edition number. You will notice a hashtag on the cover page of your comic book.

For example, you see numbers like #2. It means your comic book is on 2nd print.

Usually, the color variations differ according to edition number. But a hashtag is pretty reliable when it comes to identifying the printer number of a comic book.

Unfortunately, you won’t always find the hashtag on the cover page. Maybe they are removed, or the book is too old to hold on to the ink.

However, the barcode still remains the most reliable way to find the first printed comic books.


Hopefully, your query of how to tell if a comic is first print will end with our identification method. So, beware of the fake ones if you ought to collect the first printed comic books. Have fun with collecting rare first editions of your favorite comic books!

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