Friday, November 03, 2006

Variant Cover Survey: Results Part One

I was going to try and post this as one entry until I saw how long it was, so bear with me. Herein is part one of two.

Before I posted the results tonight, I really hesitated. It occurred to me to give the poll one more week to get more respondents, but then I worried that more time may not make much of a difference, so I decided to post them. I got a total of 18 respondents, which does tickle me. Thank you for taking the time to help me understand the mindset and feelings on variant covers. After having a love-hate relationship with them for over a decade, it felt good to get some validation; it also made me really think. I appreciate your thoughts more then you will ever know.

Now down to business. The first question I asked was as follows:

1. What is your first reaction upon seeing variant covers?
a. Cool! Now I have a choice. 4 chose this
b. I wonder which will be the most valuable. No responses
c. Crap! Now I have to buy them all. 3 chose this
d. It doesn’t matter; I just want to read the book. 7 chose this
e. Other- explain please! 4 chose this

The predominant response to question one was that they just want to read the book. Another group liked having a choice, and another group felt the need to buy them all. Other responses were as follows:

“I buy my comics mail order; I get what they send me.”
“Great, two (or more) artists got work!”

“Ignore it and buy the cheapest version.”
“I will buy the one I like. Maybe more if I like the artist or comic and want to show support.”

I had a comment by a person who selected “A”, who said “I would never buy more than one, and usually will buy the cheaper one (but not always”. If no one’s forcing me to buy two copies, I don’t know why I should care that there are more choices there.”

A “C” respondent added this comment, which I found very illuminating: “As a store owner, I feel like I have to buy them in order to keep customers happy. I wouldn’t buy any if my customers weren’t asking for them.”

Question two had five responses, but an overwhelming answer. It is as follows:

2. How do you see variant covers?
a. An opportunity to showcase different artist’s work. 2 chose this
b. A marketing ploy. 15 chose this
c. A chance to bring in new readers. 1 chose this
d. A signal that this is a “special” issue. No responses
e. Other- explain please! No responses

The respondents overwhelmingly saw variants as a marketing ploy. One comment given was “the first variant cover shocked DC (and therefore everybody) when folks actually bought one of each.” The other comment, from a store owner was as follows: “It helps prop up book sales. Where I might only order 7 of an issue I’ll buy 10 to get the variant someone wants. I might only order 30 of an issue but I’ll get 50 to get that rare Michael Turner cover someone saw online and is begging me to get for them, no matter the cost.”

Part two follows soon..

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