1) Have a strong character fanbase. Spawn may not sell bucketloads anymore, but it has a dedicated fanbase, many of whom want every issue including the variants and are willing to pay for them.
2) Have a strong creator following. Ultimate Spider-Man combines the appeal of both Spidey and of Bendis, with two variant cover chart entries at either ends of the book’s ten year run.
3) Once they want it, restrict the distribution as much as you can get away with. The Obama Savage Dragon cover was 10% of a relatively low print run compared to Amazing Spider-Man 538. And Comics Pro and RRP giveaways ensure retailer attendance at their shows, with their one per store variants which can pay for a retailer’s entire trip once they hit eBay.
And if you get a hit, publisher, make sure you have a box of 100 additional copies for your own nefarious use. During the nineties boom I’m aware of one publisher who traded premium variant covers with his friendly neighbourhood drugs dealer for large amounts of his produce. And the dealer found it easier and more profitable to shift the premium variant comics than his usual fare.
1) Sandman 8 Variant $311 (Editorial by Karen Berger.) Printed as promotional items for what was considered at the time the breakout issue of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, as the series became a legend, so this issue became a necessity!
3) Blackest Night #0 Sketch $227 – Memphis ComicsPro Giveaway. One picked up per attending retailer.
4) Blackest Night 1 Sketch Cover $202. This hasn’t even shipped yet and the cover hasn’t been revealed. Nevertheless, this is what a preorder has just sold for…
5) Amazing Spider-Man 300 Chromium $191. It was Amazing Spider-Man #300. Dynamic put a “chromium” cover edition out in 1998. It was the nineties. What are you going to do?
6) Savage Dragon 137 $180 Obama Cover. Released to the public in a 1:10 cover, which doens’t normally get the monetary attention of other variants. But then they don’t have Obama on the cover. Currently the most valuable Obama-related comic.
7) Batman And Robin #1 1:250 Sketch $175. he high print run bmeans there are more of these around than some others. But this is Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely on Batman. Which reminds me, I must try and get a price of my Batman Scottish Connection original art…
8) Ultimate Spider-Man 1 Blue $150. Back at the beginning of the longest Ultimate run
9) Ultimate Spider-Man 133 White $150. And then again at it’s conclusion.
10) Uncanny X-Men 500 Sketch $150. It’s an X-book. It’s a sketch cover. It’s now.
Rules: 1) Bleeding Hot Comics looks at variant comics sales, measuring actual purchases not list values 2) This column is wrong already, there’s stuff I don’t see and haven’t seen. Tell me how wrong I am in the comments and see your selection in the updated version. 3) I am not condoning anyone who tries to make an actual living buying and selling variant comics. Although I did do quite nicely with a few Platinum Knightfall variants I once stumbled across.
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