Heya squirrels,

So you’ve all been diggin’ to your hearts’ content and hopefully findin’ those golden nuggets to pack away for the PC or handsomely re-sell to some other runt.

Let me dive into something then that’s cropped up recently in the market an’ is deservin' o' some serious consideration, especially for the budget collector. That is, the need for some perspective on variants.

My thoughts are based on a recent conversation that I had with a LCS owner friend I know, whom I consider to be a good guy and who’s always shot straight with me.

supes-deadThe guy he used ta’ work for made a killin’ in the 90’s selling boatloads o' books right before the market crashed, he tells me. That made the owner greedy; he thought that streak would continue. So he ordered dozens of every book — chromium covers, signed an' numbered copies, embossed covers, polybagged, etc. — convinced they would sell. ‘Cept they didn't. And before long, that owner was selling his business for next ta' nothin'. That era’s excess of gimmick covers and variants, my friend adds, nearly killed the industry and he’s worried the trend has come back.

Certainly, when you see variant covers by some artists sellin’ for $300+ right outta the gate, and then precipitously fallin’ thereafter; when you got another Secret Wars series rollin' out with what seems to be a GAZILLION variants and Valiant books all’o the sudden worth somethin’ again, you can’t help but wonder.

sg1I tell him things are different now, they limit the number o’books bein’ printed, and the variants nowadays are truly rare. Right, he says. He’s seen it before: Guys who buy expensive variants by the armful, only to come in months later, looking to offload them, and not even able to get half of what they paid for.

Well, has that happened to you lately? Food for thought.

Luckily, there’s plenty o’ cheap, nice variants and odd printed books to be had — of course, why the heck would you be readin’ this otherwise?

Here then is a list o' nice variants/low-print books I've found for peanuts. These books have lost some o' their initial shine or just fell off collector's radars and most LCS's wouldn't know much about 'em. As a result, they can be found in back bins with a bit o' luck n' hustle. If I could rustle 'em up, I know you can too!

It's also a good exercise in understanding the highs and lows o' variants. Some always retain their value, but most fade off in price. Always wait a bit an' then try your luck findin' em at an LCS before you go cruise eBay all itchin' and hit the BIN panic button at the first sign o' a bit o' leg! (BTW, there are so many good variants out there to be had cheap it's not possible to cover 'em all. But if you folks like this, I'll make this a regular thing.)

Find it now!

Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #613 (1:10 variant)

Wonder_Woman_Vol_1_613_VariantHot damn! I likey my Wondy Wimmin! Especially if there are twins! And this one's got ‘double d trouble'! (Heh). I know you definitely are diggin' the art on this cover right? Almost like Alex Ross. Wait. This is by another Alex, Alex Garner. You mean, the same Alex Garner whose art graces the Justice League #40 1:25 variant that has got even seasoned collectors on the hunt right now? Yup. Well there aren't that many of these WWs online, and I have yet to find this book in the wild. The print run for this book was an eyelash over 29,000, so that's about 2,900 copies out there. Are you gonna be the one who scores it for nothing? On that note, I believe an appreciation for Garner's Wonder Woman variant covers is long overdue. They've been overshadowed I think by the Adam Hughes Wonder Woman #600 variant cover that we've already spilled plenty o' digital ink over. Anyways, probably the most recognizable Garner Wonder Woman cover is #603, his Vitruvian Man swipe. But there are other gems too, including #609. Watcha' got yur hands in yur pockits for boy? Go git' em!

Honorable Mentions

 Katana #1 New 52 (1:25 variant)

katanaWelp, you all have seen the promo pic of that sorry excuse of a Suicide Squad. (#dccinematicuniversefail, what you get for leavin' it all to #hacksnyder) And amid all of that amateur hour, one character stuck out, and that was the obviously-named Japanese sword mistress. Her look was interestin' enough folks who might venture out to get the first of the issues in her name would do good to find this sketch edition variant, which is even in less supply than the Wonder Woman variants I just mentioned. It's not the first appearance of this costume, but it is her first #1. Dig it up cheap at your LCS, and it shouldn't run ya more than $10 online if you strike out. It features very serviceable David Finch cover art, which sometimes looks better in B&W if you ask me. To recap then: Cheap variant + low print run + first issue + silver screen time = a good buy I reckon. But remember, izznot like I'm tryin' ta pressure ya here, but as soon as folks read this, ya know this book's gonna be gone to the winds. SO ACT NOW!

Danger Girl/GI Joe #2 and #3 B&W variants

baronessOh yeah, J. Scott Campbell covers! For some reason fanboys loooove those brown-nosed girls that this man draws. Mind you not all of his cheesecake covers are hot buys. But I have to admit, these two renditions are super and it's a wonder why you don't see people chasin' these more. I recently picked up the Baroness for $3 from a bin, and well I haveta' admit pullin' it out o' the shortbox an' admirin' it more than once. That leggy, endowed, long-haired morena with glasses in the black skin-tight suit, boots an' heels — Jezuz wept! An' if you're lucky enough you might come across the Scarlet B&W cover, which is nearly all monochrome too ‘cept for the lady's fiery shock o'hair, which gives it some real oomph. Either book would make for a fine addition to your collection, and seein' that it is a bit of a forgotten mini-series now, you juss' might score one like I did for cheap. With all the heat in G.I. Joe bein' generated by the death of Snake Eyes it just might be worth the effort. (Online is a different story though. S.O.B.s on eBay have these books up for some pile o' bucks, lookin' to offload them at stupid margins since they bought 'em it seems).

Black Widow Secret Origin #2 (White costume variant)

Black_Widow_Deadly_Origin_Vol_1_2_White_Costume_VariantAnother superheroine temptress (do ya' reckon a theme here folks?) who sports a nifty cheap variant is the Black Widow. This book's got four things goin' for it: Adi Granov artwork, which I think is a sound investment any day o' the week; from what I could find, it's the first published appearance of Black Widow's white costume, which later  appeared as a chase skin (sounds about right!) for a video game and inspired a Sideshow Collectibles limited edition sculpt; the series itself was a relatively low print run to begin with, as the regular edition was just over 20,000; and the genius adaption of Black Widow's classic costume (switch one monochromatic color for another) could very easily pop up down the road on the big screen when we finally do get a Black Widow solo flick. And you know it's coming after all'o dat controversy surroundin' her role in these flicks and her co-stars' inability to be gentlemen about it. Ya can nab this simple beauty for $10 or less. I ask ya then, why the hell not?

Vampirella Pinup Special

vampi-hughesHere I am with Adam Hughes' classic rendition of everyone's bikini thong-wearing vampiress. With everyone payin' big bucks for some of those Swords of Sorrows variants right now, it's worth notin' this was once featured in Wizard if I recall… Now, honestly, the only reason this character's even popular as I can see it is ‘cuz the way her outfit makes Black Widow look like a Preacher's wife. I know I love Vampirella just for that reason. Anyhooo, ya can certainly pick up this pinup book for a song, and it really is just worth pickin' up for the cover (the book inside has the same image as a pinup for your man cave). I mean, she's glistenin in what I can tell is the inside of a church, and dressed like that she damn well better be sweatin' like the sayin goes. Well grab it cheap an' maybe when you see Hughes at the next con he'll have a good laugh an' sign it for ya, ya dirty devil! Bonus: also a cheap find is Vampirella Strikes #1 with a cover by Manara, which has her perched over what looks' like the sloppiest attempt ever ta' eat a pizza in history. Oh lordy, somebody'd better not go run off an' tell the Wymmns ‘gainst exploitation o' dames in funnybooks blog about this list…

Punshisher (Vol. 2) #102

Punisher_Vol_2_102O.K., O.K., I'll back away from the cheesecake covers here. I mean to call to your attention this nice book which has a couple of things goin' for it. Arrestin' cover (phallic imagery if you don't get it), lower print run for a non-variant book (in the 30K range from 1995) and Bullseye Vs. Punisher, a clash I bet we're gonna see in the Netflix Marvel world at some point. Did I mention it's not the easiest book to find in collectible condition? So if you come across it in the bins that way, grab it! Most dealers don’t know about this book and probably would be relieved that someone was buying some of their Punisher overstock. (If you are an LCS regular you know what I mean). Guaranteed you'll score it cheap. That's certainly not the case online, where sellers are hip to its scarcity an' awesomeness and are pricin' it as such. Crap, now that I've written it up, that'll no longer be the case at your LCS. So run now! Fast as you can! Find it n' buy it before it gets stuck on the wall and faces you down at a $40+ premium when you coulda' had it for a buck or two.

Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight #1 (One shot)

Batman_in_Barcelona_-_Dragon's_KnightThis here book's a curiosity for a few reasons. First of all, when I stumbled upon this in a bin, I wondered what Batman was doin' in Barcelona? Mebbe he went to Europe to look for some Panini variant covers with Inigo. But hey, lookit that, it's a Jim Lee Batman cover! What's the print run on that? Just 21K? Ain't that somethin. Hey, why does that bBatman_Vol_1_608_2nd_Printook look so familiar? Hrmmm waittaminit — that's almost exactly the same pose Lee had Batman take on the cover o' that Batman #608 second printing that's worth more than the first printin' ‘cuz it's so iconic. So I guess this is Lee's unloved Batman swipe of his own work? Maybe folks are thrown by Gaudi spires rising in the background instead o' skyscrapers. But it's still Gothic architecture folks!!! An' when you put them beside each other, this book looks so much better. The nice thing 'bout it is, you're payin' only a couple' o bucks for this book, compared to his high-priced brother.

Uncle Sadjunk's Crazy Bin Story of Comic Brotherhood

I had an awesome haul story to share (and don't forget to send me your stories and pix to sadjunk1@gmail.com ya lazy ingrates) but to hell with that. I wanna wrap up with a tale of some true awesomeness.

I got to chit chattin' about books with a fellow comic lover and he had a list of stusideadpool12variantff in his collection he wants to clear out that he sends my way. Take a look at lemme know what you're into, and we'll work something out, he says.

I pick some nice books for sure. A mix of moderns, but all HTF and valuable. And then you know what the crazy fool does? He sends me all of 'em, at his own considerable expense, for nothin'. For the sake of lovin' books and wantin' to pass 'em on to someone who'll value them.

This here's no damn charity, I plead. I can certainly pay for this loot. But he's not havin' any of it. He takes pleasure simply in payin' it forward.

He knows who he is, and I know he'll read this column.  So sir, I say to you, I'm damn humbled by your gesture. Let it be known here an' now that is always gonna be the best haul o' my life.

And that, dear readers, can't be bought for any amount o' money!


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