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Variants--Going Way Too Far ?
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Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by btlfannz:
What's a parallel set if it's not a variant? /QUOTE]

That's a great question. A parallel set could easily be considered a variant by definition, yet I would never call those cards varients because they are made to be an offshoot of the main set produced in smaller numbers. If every copy, of every card, in a parallel set is the same, then there is no variant. If however there was a preceivable difference in a card in a parallel set from other cards of its number, than you could call it a variant.

Too many cards are being slapped with the variant label, usually in an attempt to make them seem worthy of a premium added to the price. Parallel cards get a premium because the production is short printed in comparison to the regular card run, not because they should be regarded as variants.
 
Posts: 7737 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of Potato Head
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Justice League of America 1 has 53 variants (not including any Comic Con Exclusives) - each variant had a State Flag on it.

Godzilla 1 (IDW) has 75 store variants each depicting Godzilla stomping on their own store (+ there was at least 5 over covers to collect)

Amazing Spider-man 666 had two different variants "Bugle" and "Lizard Battle" (some stores had both variants) in total there was 145 stores who participated in this promotion.

The Walking Dead 115 is coming out out with ten covers that interlink, telling the story of ten years worth of The Walking Dead (+ standard cover & blank cover)

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Posts: 751 | Location: UK | Registered: November 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I remember when this madness all started in the year 1990, when Marvel released the new X-Men title, which I believe had 5 different covers. No one had ever seen something like this before, although back in 1986, DC released the Man of Steel comic # 1 with 2 covers, one for comic stores, one for newsstands.
 
Posts: 2624 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Godzilla 1 (IDW) has 75 store variants each depicting Godzilla stomping on their own store (+ there was at least 5 over covers to collect)


I have to admit to buying the Godzilla variant because my favorite local shop (Rockin' Rooster) was on the cover. I'm not a big fan of variants in general, but I kind of enjoyed when IDW did the local shop covers.
 
Posts: 17 | Location: Cincinnati, OH | Registered: October 17, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Obi Wan Chrisobi
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quote:
Originally posted by Tommy C:
I remember when this madness all started in the year 1990, when Marvel released the new X-Men title, which I believe had 5 different covers. No one had ever seen something like this before, although back in 1986, DC released the Man of Steel comic # 1 with 2 covers, one for comic stores, one for newsstands.


The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 published in 1987 had two different covers for the wedding. One had Peter & MJ in front of various cast members while the other had Spidey & MJ in front of various heroes and villians.

One of the worst early offenders was Legends of the Dark Knight #1, published in 1989, which had a number of colored variants instead of different art on the covers (meaning one was blue, one was yellow, etc.).

Variants are annoying but one has to remember that companies are just producing what people are buying. If the demand for them wasn't there, variants would become a thing of the past. The "Gotta have 'em all!" mentality is what drives the sales on variants and if we want them to stop that practice, the only way to do so is to stop buying them.

As for parallel cards, they are cheap for companies to produce since they require very little alteration for printing so I can see why they do them. Honestly, though, they suck and it feels like a cheat to add them as part of a set when the only difference is a foil background or the addition of a different color stamp or background. I hate them and always dispose of them if found in a set I am collecting.

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Posts: 425 | Location: Canada | Registered: August 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are some early ones from DC comics, also from 1987, like the Spidey wedding issue.
It was a couple of random issues, Justice League #3 and Firestorm #61.
DC tried out a special "Superman" comics logo in place of the normal DC COMICS logo on a limited run of those books. Beyond that, they each also boasted entirely different cover art that was completely different than the regular cover, not just a variation of it.
I remember seeing the rare Justice League variant on the rack at either a Walden Books or B Dalton Bookseller in the mall, but having already purchased the regular edition, decided not to buy it. (Hey, 75 cents was a lot of money in those days!). I wish I had bit on that one, though, they are quite collectible. There was also a variant edition of the Sandman Neil Gaiman comic of the late 1980's. It was the #8 issue which also introduced Death, a very popular character in that series, so that variant edition is also still highly prized.

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Posts: 2934 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Do you recall in the early 1990s when Wizard magazine came out with comic store and newsstand variant covers ? I remember one early issue had Flash on the cover of the newsstand, X-0 Manowar on the comic store version

Also, some early issues of the Savage Dragon comic by Image had totally different newsstand covers

Finally, how about the Overstreet Comic Book price guide which comes out annually, at $40-50 an issue ? It's been coming out since 1970, but starting 10 or so years back, there are at least 2 covers every year, plus hardcover and softcover versions of each, AND bookstore variants with totally different covers, that you can only get at Borders, Barnes & Noble, or wherever
 
Posts: 2624 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The Hero Initiative, a non profit charity benefitting comic creators down on their luck has put out a 500 copy limited edition of the Overstreet Guide for the last four years including this year.
This year's cover is by Terry Moore who has dressed his Strangers In Paradise characters as DC Superheroes.

I don't buy the Overstreet Guide every year, but I did get this last year's and this year's Hero alternate cover editions. Last year, it was an awesome Batman/Grendel cover by Matt Wagner.

The 2013 edition just came out. Not only is it same price as the regular hardback, but it benefits a really worthy cause, and if handled carefully, it could very well be collectible itself in the years to come given its truly limited print run. I urge any one thinking of getting a copy this year's Overstreet book to get it from Hero Initiative.

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Everywhere around this burg they're running out of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Everywhere around this town, they're running out of nouns.
 
Posts: 2934 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Or how about the gimmick that has been going on for the past 5 years, plus (not so much in the past) of doing 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th prints on new comics, and creating brand new covers for each ? Actually, they DID do this in the 1990s with some independent comics, not so much Marvel and DC, like now

I recently learned of a 3rd print on a comic which I never knew existed. Even though I have been collecting the Hulk comics since the mid-1970s, I just found out that issue # 377, which came out in 1990, has a hard to find 3rd printing, with a different colored cover. I was aware of the 1st and 2nd prints for 23 years, but never knew a 3rd print existed
 
Posts: 2624 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Tommy C:
Do you recall in the early 1990s when Wizard magazine came out with comic store and newsstand variant covers ? I remember one early issue had Flash on the cover of the newsstand, X-0 Manowar on the comic store version

Also, some early issues of the Savage Dragon comic by Image had totally different newsstand covers

Finally, how about the Overstreet Comic Book price guide which comes out annually, at $40-50 an issue ? It's been coming out since 1970, but starting 10 or so years back, there are at least 2 covers every year, plus hardcover and softcover versions of each, AND bookstore variants with totally different covers, that you can only get at Borders, Barnes & Noble, or wherever


They may have stopped but for several years they had a spiral notebook edition which was great if you worked in a shop. It was a whole lot easier to handle.
 
Posts: 5623 | Location: Meridian, Mississippi | Registered: November 23, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Tommy C:
Or how about the gimmick that has been going on for the past 5 years, plus (not so much in the past) of doing 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th prints on new comics, and creating brand new covers for each ? Actually, they DID do this in the 1990s with some independent comics, not so much Marvel and DC, like now

I recently learned of a 3rd print on a comic which I never knew existed. Even though I have been collecting the Hulk comics since the mid-1970s, I just found out that issue # 377, which came out in 1990, has a hard to find 3rd printing, with a different colored cover. I was aware of the 1st and 2nd prints for 23 years, but never knew a 3rd print existed


I remember seeing that when it came out. I believe it was a quickie reprint that was issued with a different color scheme and at a higher price than when originally printed since the price of comics had increased over that span. I passed on it because I already had two copies of the first printing, and usually didn't collect reprints of comics I had the originals of. I could be mistaken, but I think it was made to help promote the Hulk Future Imperfect 2 issue Prestige series, and was only available in comic stores, hence it's relative scarcity.

I didn't buy one at the time, but about 3 years ago when I was (sadly) helping liquidate some of the comics for the owner when he decided to close the same store I'd seen them at, and I found three of them. Two were especially nice, and I sold those for a solid price for my friend, but I'm sure they've been CGC graded since then, and are worth a lot more now, given the current interest in variants.

The third one had some minor wear, so I kept that one, I think. I collected Hulk starting around issue #290 or so (near the time of the Secret Wars) all the way into the #400's well after Peter David's legendary original run ended, so I try to have every Hulk comic from that era.

I suspect there are some more of these comics with very little known variant runs.

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Everywhere around this burg they're running out of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Everywhere around this town, they're running out of nouns.
 
Posts: 2934 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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The logical extreme of this is to do a "white ink variant", also known as a 22 page totally blank comic book. That would even save paying the printer. Unless you got the white ink variant ultra rare "staple free edition."


Publishers need to focus on internal content. If we want posters we'll buy posters.

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Posts: 547 | Location: AZ | Registered: December 11, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Chesspiece,

I recall the Hulk 377 2nd print (black cover) when it came out in 1991, not 1990 like I originally said. But I never knew a 3rd print (yellow cover) existed until last year

Also, while I bought all of the Marvel GI JOE comics back in 1982-1994, I didn't know until last year that in 1995, Marvel did their final GI JOE book, the GI JOE SPECIAL, which reprinted the issue that Todd McFarlane did, with a brand new Snake Eyes cover. Apparently the print run was so low on the comic, that it easily sells for $200 on ebay ! Again, I never knew it existed
 
Posts: 2624 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ha, I remember passing on that GI JOE Special, too!

The cover was an homage to the classic Spider-Man #1 cover by McFarlane, which is why I was going to get it. Then I looked closer and saw that it was swipe by some other artist and didn't even say "after McFarlane" like it would these days, and so I put it back. Oops!

Todd was still pretty anti-Marvel in 1995 so there was no way there were going to get a cover from him around that time.

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Everywhere around this burg they're running out of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Everywhere around this town, they're running out of nouns.
 
Posts: 2934 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Believe it or not, one of our Card Talk members who chooses not to be identified, picked up all 38 D covers on Fathom # 1 ! As I mentioned above, there are seemingly 47 covers total (not 45), although I have yet to see Covers C and E anywhere. They go from A to J, of which there is 1 cover of each, aside from D which has 38.

Some more statistics on the Cover D. Of the 38, 30 are essentially the same cover of Fathom with her surfboard, but the other 8 are totally unique covers. But they still say Cover D on the fronts.

Also, someone asked how limited the 38 covers are. Well, I have seen them all, and this is what they say on the covers, as to how many exist:

2 to 1500
1 to 1300
1 to 1100
3 to 1000
1 to 900
8 to 750
4 to 700
1 to 730
1 to 650
5 to 500
1 to 400
1 to 350 (Game On Comics)
3 to 300 (Comic Kings, Gotham City, Warp 9)

Finally, 6 do not say on the covers as to how many exist
 
Posts: 2624 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by barobehere:
Unfortunately, I know too many shops that over inflate the price of these variant covers to cover the cost of issues that sit on the shelf. I know one dealer that 100% believes that the overpaying of his prices on variant covers is what keeps his shop in business.

He's probably 100% right. But isn't that a description of the whole business, you make your profit on a few hot items, while the rest sit around for a long time, and eventually can get 'dumped'?

I'd wager that there are quite a few storefronts that still exist only because special or exclusive offers. There aren't very many left anyway.

Me, I redefined "completeness" a long time ago so that I wouldn't obsess about having something that was only available at a specific place at a specific time.
 
Posts: 2370 | Location: North Augusta, SC, USA | Registered: November 28, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Personally, I love variant covers, I buy most connecting sets, and I buy covers done by artists that I like as well as covers that appeal to be. I don't do store variants as I see them as a seperate printing instead of a variant with a ratio (1:10 etc)

I do prefer to know the ratio before I decide whether I'm willing to pay the price. I don't like the 1:200 or higher stuff going around these days (the only one I have is the Danger Girl Revolver hand drawn J Scott Campbell that was 1:200, I thought that one was worth it)

I don't do colour variations either (I did back in the 90's with the Fathom and Danger Girl stuff with different coloured logo's, but I learnt my lesson there)

It's the same as with cards, buy what you like, no one has a gun to your head

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Posts: 154 | Location: Australia | Registered: July 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You guys think that is crazy? I was the first to (at least publicly) post that I had successfully collected all 142 variant covers to Amazing Spider-Man #666. As long as idiots like me continue to buy them...they will continue to make them.
 
Posts: 88 | Location: Kansas City | Registered: August 11, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Doughboy, what were the 142 variants on ASM 666 ?
Was each a store exclusive ? How did you get them all ?

More and more, I see newly discovered variants popping up. For instance, I never knew that 10-15 years ago there was a SPAWN # 1 variant from the NYC Museum of Modern Art. You can see a few up for auction
 
Posts: 2624 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Tommy C:
Doughboy, what were the 142 variants on ASM 666 ?
Was each a store exclusive ? How did you get them all ?

More and more, I see newly discovered variants popping up. For instance, I never knew that 10-15 years ago there was a SPAWN # 1 variant from the NYC Museum of Modern Art. You can see a few up for auction
There was the primary cover, a convention cover, a reprint and then 140 store variant covers from around the world. You can read about the chase here: http://comicbookrealm.com/doug...-great-variant-chase

Basically I partnered with another guy and we split the list. I got half of them and he got half. When we ordered we would get 2 copies each and then once we each had our half we shipped the half to the other person. The minimum was 500 per store and most only ordered the minimum. Some of the international ones were difficult.

Now on my site there are probably a dozen or so who have completed the task with others in various states. There are several of the issues that sell for $50+ now, and some asking 3 digits.

There is one guy who has the whole set listed for $15,000. I know of several that have completely sold out making it tough. One of them (A Big Comic Shop) out of Wichita apparently only sold so many of them and then went out of business...(my financial advisor had to hound the guy to sell him some).
 
Posts: 88 | Location: Kansas City | Registered: August 11, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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