by Colin McMahon, owner of Pittsburgh Comics
Retailer Brian Hibbs did a Tilting at Windmills Column yesterday about variants
Bleeding Cool reported on a interview Diamond did with Marvel’s SVP Sales, David Gabriel
A few weeks ago I think I mentioned during a podcast that I was giving up on reaching for Marvel variants because they pushed me too far and it was no longer worth the effort. Both of these articles made me want to further explain my position.
A caveat up front: Variant sales are not guaranteed. Just because there is a 1:100 variant, it does not mean that that is a guaranteed $100 or $50 or $25 sale. I see a lot of comments on the articles that “a retailer can recover the extra expense by selling the expensive variant.” Not necessarily.
Over the years, Marvel has developed a pattern where, in order to be able to order a variant cover or get a special sale price, you have to exceed you order number of some prior book. My favorite is when you need to order more copies of #4 than you did of #1. Rarely do books sales go up between 1 and 4. 99% of the time they go down.
Last month’s Previews kind of did me in. It was the end of AvX and the beginning of Marvel NOW! These 2 things made my head hurt and caused me to give up.
- #1 1:20 variant
- #2 1:25 variant
- #3 1:30 variant
- #4 1:40 variant
- #5 1:50 variant
So, if someone wants all of the variant covers to this series, I need to order 50 copies of #5. Looking at history, the point 1, 2 and 3 of Fear Itself sold about a third of what Fear Itself sold for me. I was selling 100 copies of AvX through the first 5 and it has dropped since then. #10 only sold 73.
50 copies of Consequences #5 is very unrealistic. And since I can’t get the last variant, there is really no reason for me to bother worrying about any of the others.
So, I ignored the variants when ordering this one.
Uncanny Avengers #1.
The first Marvel NOW! book.
It has 11 variant covers!
Blank (order more than AvX #5 – 101 copies for me)
Avengers Var (101 copies)
Uncanny Var (101)
Deadpool Call Me Maybe Var (101)
Pichelli Var (101)
Young Baby (101)
Coipel Var (1:100)
Coipel Sketch Var (1:200)
Cassedy Sketch (1:300)
Unless someone tells me that they want all of the variants, how do I order these? If AvX won’t be selling 100 copies for me at the end, do I bother ordering high to get the ones that I have to order 101 for that will just sell for cover price? And how many of each of those do I order?
Because for most of those, the sale of the variant will take away from the sale of the regular cover. So if I sell 25 variants, my potential sales of the 75 regular cover I am expecting suddenly becomes 50 and I’m left with an extra 50 copies of a $4 book. And as Hibbs says, I have already spent far more time thinking about how to order this that I should have to. I should just order the 75 I think I can sell and move on to other things.
In the new Previews here’s what I am looking at:
- Avengers #1 – 4 variants
- Indestructible Hulk #1 – 6 variants
- Uncanny Avengers #2 – 2 variants
- All New X-Men #1 – 5 variants
- All New X-Men #2 – 1 variant
- Iron Man #1 – 6 variants
- Iron Man #2 – 2 variants
- Thor God of Thunder #1 – 6 variants
- Thor God of Thunder #2 – 1 variant
- A + X #2 – 3 variants
- Captain America #1 – 6 variants
- X-Men Legacy #1 – 3 variants
- X-Men Legacy #2 – 1 variant
- Fantastic Four #1 – 6 variants
- FF #1 – 4 variants
- Deadpool #1 – 3 variants
- Deadpool #2 – 1 variant
- Avengers Assemble #9 – 3 variants
So, for 18 books, there are 63 variant covers, 81 covers in all. I’m sorry, but that’s insane.
What are your variant buying habits? How much are you willing to pay for a variant you REALLY want?
Let me know below in the comments section.