Red Mother #1 Gets a Secret Variant & A Large Overprint – Did Boom Finally Get It Right?

s the Marvel/DC-style war for supremacy in creator-owned comics has escalated between Boom Studios and Image Comics this year (at least in Boom Studios’ minds), we’ve been taking both companies to task as they try to one-up each other.

We let you know that while Image had a massive launch with Undiscovered Country #1 crossing 85,000 copies this month, it didn’t actually sell out despite a second printing being announced in a way that might make you think otherwise.

And Boom hasn’t been let off the hook either, despite their string of successes in Faithless, Once & Future and Something is Killing The Children a few months back, their President Filip Sablik had to publicly apologize for the allocation of additional printings.

While retailers have noted that Boom has improved in fulfilling a greater amount of fast-tracked (that’s publisher speak for print runs that are set before orders are placed in order to get copies to shelves sooner) additional printings, there’s still been eyebrows raised with the quick sell out of Folklords #1 and how the company is setting their print runs, prompting us to ask “What’s wrong with Boom?” even as more of their series join their exclusive 50K Club. All this as their second prints continue to be rocket in value, as we noticed Folklords #1 second printing is selling for close to $30.

And even more recently we’ve had to ask “What’s wrong with Boom and Image?” as both companies allocated new printings of their November hits in Folkords #1 and Undiscovered Country #1.

Well, there may be some hope for Boom today as we learned on Instagram courtesy of company founder and CEO Ross Richie.

Loyal Bleeding Cool readers will remember that The Red Mother #1 is the latest big launch from Boom to cross their all-important 20k mark at launch, as we told you first, and we’ve joked on occasion that we would expect a second printing to be announced fairly quickly.

But then Richie posted this on Instagram:

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Red Mother #1 “Red” variant: We've had 6 BOOM! Studios original hits in 6 months: Once & Future, Something Is Killing the Children, Strange Skies Over East Berlin, Folklords, Heartbeat, and now Red Mother — and we could not have done it without the belief and support of comic book retailers. For half of these releases, we generated "one per store" variants as thank-yous to our retail partners. But this time, we're doing it a little different. We've added a new variant that will be intermixed 1-in-10 with cover A and we're giving retailers a heads-up so they're not caught unaware (you see it here on the right side). To allow retailers to take advantage of this opportunity, we've overprinted Cover A at double our normal overprint percentage — if you want to capitalize on this opportunity, retailers, there is stock available for advance reorders before the book ships. THANK YOU for all your belief and support, you've made 2019 a banner year for BOOM! and I couldn't personally thank you more.

A post shared by Ross Richie (@ross_richie) on

By doubling their normal overprint to the main cover, Boom is course correcting where they’ve faced criticism and ensuring there are enough copies in the market to meet the additional demand they’ve experienced on their creator-owned launches this year. This additional overprint is, as I understand, is the strongest position BOOM! has taken on a new launch this year – and preemptively anticipates what should be the standard orders on a second printing by folding those numbers into the first printing quantities on the main cover so that interested readers – not just speculators – can get their hands on the series that may be the next Boom property to get optioned.

And by introducing a 1-in-10 secret intermix variant cover, Boom is recognizing that while their one per store variants have drawn some shockingly high prices from cornerstone retailers like Midtown Comics – who listed the Folklords #1 variant for $200 and Heartbeat #1 variant for $85 – there’s a benefit to introducing some surprise variants that are more accessible to a larger fanbase who might not be the hardcore speculators checking out Key Collectors App each week.

But, the question remains – is this enough of an overprint to satisfy the demand from retailers and fans? Or will we be here next week with a story about The Red Mother #1 second printing, even after Boom increased their overprint in advance of demand?

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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