Saturday, November 04, 2006

Variant Cover Survey: Results Part Two

My third and final question concerned the future of variant covers.

3. What is the future of variant covers?
a. There will continue to be more- they are here to stay. 8 chose this
b. People will only buy one of the covers offered. 2 chose this
c. Speculators will cherry pick the market and offer said covers on eBay. 7 chose this
d. I hope they go away… forever this time. 4 chose this
e. Other- explain please! No responses

I had a comment that “the ones that are “rarer” than the others will have some short-term speculator interest.” Another person remarked that “you have to be obsessive-compulsive to buy the same thing twice.”

I had a respondent pick A, C, and D. The comment made there is “I’ll have to say all three. I think that there will always be variant covers, but they will probably decline in numbers from what we’ve seen this year- at least that’s what I HOPE. Personally, I don’t like the speculation they breed, the way they continue to prop up comics, and I’d rather not deal with them. But, as long as people continue to want them, I will continue to buy and sell them.”

CONCLUDING REMARKS by the respondents were well articulated.

“Personally, I just take the cover with the more appealing artwork if given a choice, with no knowledge of scarcity. (And not caring all that much because most covers these days are mediocre-to-poor and not much fun anyhow, but that’s another story.)”

“I think most of the people that are attracted to your blog are of the same mindset. If you were to poll the typical Wizard-fanboy, this poll would have a more diverse outcome.”

“I don’t like variant covers, but I will buy them for my favorite book (and only my favorite book). I never expected my favorite book to ever have a variant cover… but that happened recently. I did buy them, and my reaction was ‘Crap! Now I have to buy them all.’ But usually I ignore them.”

“The comic shop guys as well as the speculators cherry pick the “variant” cover, the ones we can’t buy unless by accident. After the issues come in, they get the variant or the “reward” or “premium” issues we never see until they are on the wall behind the counter for anywhere from $9.99 to as much as $80 dollars. When the new “Astonishing X-Men” came in, a premium was on the wall later that week for $80 bucks. I am really offended by such gouging douchbaggy. So, I buy the cover I want and while that interesting variant on the wall might look good, have gold trim or have an actual real sketch made by the artist, for anything over $10 bucks, they can bite me…”


Variant covers are most definitely a marketing ploy, and one that works well. As fans, we are choosing to purchase multiple covers, whether because we like more then one artist’s interpretation or because we think there may be resale value. While the majority doesn’t like them, it is also an opportunity for artists to get more work, so therein lies the rub.

Is it possible to only buy one cover? Using Red Sonja as an example, my husband and I know that there will be three or four covers to choose from. We usually talk about which one we would like, and if it is there at the store, great. If not, we pick what is there. We don’t buy all the covers because it is not financially feasible to do so. My exception was Wonder Woman, my favorite book. I bought both covers to number one because I loved them both and wanted to support the book. It sounds like most of you feel this way as well.

I agree with the comment made that if I were to poll the “fanboy” population or the speculator crowd that I may get a different response entirely. I am fortunate that so many intelligent, caring people comment here, and I value their opinions. At my local shop, a public forum of sorts, asking the same questions, I pretty much got the response that variants are crap and that they don’t buy them, while watching the stacks of books get rung up with variants to spare!

Variant covers are here to stay. They boost sales and annoy the readers who are more interested in the content of the book then the cover. Speculators rejoice, while eBay makes its fees back. Shop owners are forced to buy more, sometimes at a detriment to their business. Buyers will continue to cherry pick, and will buy multiple covers to support the books they love. It’s as simple as that after all.


Lisa said...

Very interesting. Thanks for doing this!

Heidi Meeley said...

Thank you for your support on this! I really appreciate it a great deal!

It was fun to compile the data and come to conclusions about variants. Hopefully I can do another poll down the road.

Thank you again!

Carl said...

Oh I did find that I had done some variant/several copies buying lately and forgot about it. First off, I am a huge fan of The Lone Ranger. So, I bought 3 issues right off the bat, to make sure to say, hey, I support the return of this character. And to support the return of the one and only Battlestar Galactica (I loathe the new fake one beyond words) comic by buying both covers. And I did a favor for my shop and got rewarded the alternate Darkman vs. Army of Darkness #1 as well as that week's comics. So, I have participated more then I thought...

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, that is totally cool. I bought two copies of Wonder Woman when issue one came out to help support the book- one variant and one regular cover.

The Dynamite Entertainment books are great quality, so I can't find any fault in you liking more then one cover.

Take care!