- Posted by Johanna on August 20, 2013 at 10:41 am
- Category: Comic News
I’m tired of seeing so many variant covers when I peruse the weekly comic list. So I decided to see if I was overreacting in thinking that too many comic publishers are depending on alternate covers to drive sales.
This week (tomorrow), there are 167 comic books coming out. I took the list and removed digests, trades, books, magazines, and toys, leaving only comic issues, to get that number. By the way, there are 267 items total, so pity your comic store staff having to sort through all that.
Then I removed all variant and second printing covers, leaving a total of 95 line items. That means that 43% of the new comics for sale tomorrow are duplicates of something already released. Nearly half the market is variant covers.
The only publishers of comics that didn’t use variants were Alternative, Bongo, Kenzer & Company, Oni Press, and Titan. Bravo for them!
This week, all of the comics from these publishers have variants:
- Avatar* (with the charming addition of Torture, Gore, and Terror Incentive covers)
- Big Dog Ink*
- Boom!* (well, one title has a Cover A but no others listed — maybe they’re late?)
The ones with asterisks offered at least one variant with the note “AR”, which means “we’re not even setting a cover price so the retailer can charge as much as he thinks he can get”. In other words, a generated speculator object. All variants from DC and Marvel (which don’t create variants for every title) are unpriced in this way. Dynamite also offers a limited number of AR variants.
Additionally, IDW has “retailer incentive” covers, which is perhaps the most honest labeling, since they’re creating them just to give the retailers an incentive to boost sales.
I was surprised to see how comparatively few variant covers Marvel offered. Their strategy instead is to release issues more often, so that some titles have more than 12 issues a year. I prefer that tactic, since I’d rather get new stories over another pretty picture.