A Fisherman’s Tale: Why so Pricey??
In my collecting and digging I have come across some pretty cool books that are worth nothing, by artists who should be considered comic masters. I have also had the good fortune to find a few variants of non-key books that are worth more than their ratio would suggest. I have written about some variants before that are worth a lot, but most of these variants have significance in their story; first Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, or Kamala Khan, so even the regular covers can fetch a few hundred. I was curious if there are some variants out there that are worth a lot, but the regular cover can be found in dollar bins. Some rules I am giving myself are …
- No number 1 or milestone issues
- No first appearance
- No themed covers (carnage-ized, venomized, every issue had captain america or iron man)
- No super high ratio issues (1:100 +)
- Has to have been out a year or more
- No store exclusives
The book that started my research was one I had put on my radar ever since I read an article on CBSI about it. Morbius the Living Vampire 3 1:50 variant. I happened to be at dollar sale a local store does once a year. The first look at the dollar books always turns up some pretty good deals, because it is all the lots they have bought over the year combined with their back stock. I did extremely well at the sale, I found a hundred plus books (35 cent variant of Human Fly 2, two immortal hulk 2, and Thor God of Thunder run), but the best book I found was the first book in a box that probably 30 people had already been through. Sometimes when we flip through a box we accidentally skip the first book because of how the books are sitting, and if you don’t know the book why would you stop to look at it. I showed it to a few fellow fishermen and they did not recognize it at first glance. With the movie news and the scarcity, this book is a ghost online, a raw copy sold $350, but there have only been a few graded pop up listed for thousands of dollars. I am going to send mine off to be graded soon.
So now back to my research, this won’t be an all inclusive list, but I will do my best.
Batman 679 is a hard to find variant by Tony Daniel and with the similarities to Batman Who Laughs this book climbed.
Moon Girl 2 + Moon Girl 3 I mentioned these in a previous article about Moon Girl. The Pope Variant is on my list. These have climbed due to the show and because how many shops ordered 50 copies of issues 2 and 3.
Uncanny X-men 510 1:15 Campbell Variant (there is a sketch that is even more) Nothing of real significance happens in this book, but J. Scott Campbell covers always have value.
Amazing Spiderman 688 1:50 This is another one on my list to complete my ASM run. Once again J. Scott Campbell appears, but no sexy women. He has a few books without women which have value too.
Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes 23 1:10 variant by Adam Hughes. This is the variant that every Good Girl Cover or Adam Hughes fan wishes they had bought when it came out. Regular issues can be found in bargain bins, but this book will cost $600 easy to upwards of $1000. There are even a few foreign reprints covers out there that command some money.
Deadpool 45 1:50 cover by greg horn. It is a cover swipe of Ultimate Spider-man 1. Its a great cover and technically it does have a first appearance of Evil Deadpool. The regular cover can go for $10 -$20 but the variant will get you $150 to $200. Starting here some of the Deadpool Issues of this run can be worth some money, because of the lower print runs.
Danger Girl 2 smoking gun variant. Once again Campbell, but this is his series. This cover has two more versions with limited print runs.
Spidergwen 16 1:50 this is part of the crossover with Spider-man called Sitting in a Tree. I wanted the variants to this story. I grabbed the 1:25 Spider-man #12 by Isanove which has an all black cover making it hard to get a high grade. It is not as pricey as the Spider-Gwen, but both will bring you double ratio.
Nova 13 1:50, Nova 14 1:50, and Nova 15 1:50 are a set of themed variants featuring Beta Ray Bill and Nova. There is interesting fluctuations in selling price versus list price. Some of these variants list for a couple of hundred, while another might end up selling for $20. I think these saw a huge bump when Beta Ray Bill showed up in Donny Cates Guardians run along with MCU movie spec for both characters. They are still fun variants and there are not a lot of BRB covers out there.
Superior Spiderman 20 1:50 another J. Scott Campbell variant this time doing the Black Cat which is everyone’s favorite Campbell Cover Girl. Be careful with this one because there is a foreign variant and a homage cover. These can be found for under a hundred, but to get the original it goes for at least 3x ratio.
Ms. Marvel 2 1:50 Molina This variant is from the first Ms. Marvel run. I appreciate this variant because it doesn’t over sexualize the character, but there is something about the bubble blowing and the perspective of the cover. Ms. Marvel wasn’t very popular when it first came out, so the 2nd issue would not have had many stores order 50 issues. She is an example of a character like Moon Girl where the Trade Paperbacks and library editions brought them to a niche market of fans who would not have been interested in comics.
Teen Titans 75 1:25 and 88 1:10 variants are both Adam Hughes variants. This is another case of issues that probably didn’t have a lot ordered. But they are also by Hughes which is now a guaranteed bump in value. These combined with LOSH 23 all came out around the same time as his Catwoman and Wonder Woman runs. Which are considered to be some of the classic covers of the modern age. I knew about 75, but had never seen 88 before doing the research.
Snake Eyes Storm Shadow 19 Retailer Incentive and Batgirl 40 movie homage to Purple Rain. I have always heard about the Batgirl homage and knew it was about the only DC movie homage worth collecting, but the Snake Eyes one is Bad ass and expensive.
Black Widow 6 (2010) 1:15 Campbell variant. Are you noticing a theme yet? This book came out at the height of the MCU craze. The first issue of this run had a movie photo variant that is pricey too.
Adventure Comics 12 or 515 1:25 This comic is an interesting one, the first 12 issues of Adventure Comics each had a variant with a legacy number starting with 504. The rest of the run were 1:10 ratio and can be found for ratio but this 1:25 Berjemo variant will cost you $300 +.
Punisher 2 (2010) 1:50 Opena cover this is just a great cover. I’ve heard good things about this run, but i am not a Punisher fan. This cover will run you $250+.
Red She Hulk 1:50 variants for 58-62 are all hard to find and worth quite a bit. If they come up they are list for $150+ and can sell for much more. 58 is just a sexy Greg Horn cover at his best.
Thunderbolts 20 1:50 This Noto variant is great. I have always like Noto covers and wish he got more respect. A red and black cover featuring characters that are either red or black (Venom, Ghost Rider, Deadpool, Elektra, Red Hulk and the Punisher). His Black Widow run was gorgeous.
I am going to stop here. I found a few more, but I don’t want you to know all my pearls I look for when fishing. Some trends I noticed:
- Variant covers by J. Scott Campbell and Adam Hughes are money, especially early variants by them. Campbell is starting to have his detractors, and the market is becoming saturated with his exclusives. Adam Hughes DC run of variant covers are great and because they appeared on random books and series that were not the most popular they are even rarer than the usual variant.
- Sex sells of the 28 covers mentioned half use a sexy cover.
- Marvel Now helped start the reboot craze, but the variant craze hadn’t taken off yet so stores did not buy enough copies to get a variant if they couldn’t sell the other 50. Finding those less popular titles with 1:50 ratio variants can be money.
- Popular characters (Batman/Spiderman/X-men) variants are more plentiful meaning the copies are not as hard to find, thus less expensive. Good for me to complete my ASM run.
- Indy comics have to create the rarity of their comic with 1:10, 1:15, 1:25 dynamite runs combined with regular reboots. And rarely does a comic build a fanbase big enough to make a book highly sought after.
- Some of my parameters purposefully caused me to leave off a few variants that are highly sought after. Which also hurt my story telling, because I only have the Morbius.
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