Batman #666 vs Damian: Son of Batman #2
Welcome back everyone! This week I got you something reeeaaaally interesting that might give you a second chance to speculate on a first appearance…if you’re fast enough! You’ll want to read this one ‘till the end.
So I was surfing the web to research my next article when I found this book. It is a variant – one that I have never seen before, even though I have the original cover in my PC.
Damian: Son of Batman #2
Release Date: November 27 2013
Cover Artist: Chris Burnham
Est. Print Run: 2,073
Raw Value: $5-$10
This cover really caught my attention. It is so simple, yet I really love the art and the feeling it brings with it. For those of you who don’t know, the cover depicts Damian Wayne (as Batman) looking at a younger Damian Wayne (as Robin). I honestly think it has everything to become the next big Damian variant (compared to Teen Titans #89 1:10 variant by Frank Quitely – 2,644 copies), but there’s more!
It turns out that there is also a 1:100 variant of this book. Being naturally curious, I wanted to know what it looks like. The copy I found was an old listing on Ebay, graded by CBCS:
Damian, Son of Batman #2
Cover Artist: Andy Kubert
Est. Print Run: 518
This variant is the sketch version of the original cover done by the very talented Andy Kubert. It presents us the image of the young Robin (Damian) holding the cape and cowl to become the next Batman. It is a really well drawn and an insane cover in my opinion … and look at that print run!
But the print run is not the only thing you should look at! Take a closer look at the slab and read the fine print on the label. Let me zoom that for you.
Damian Wayne becomes Batman … I had the same reaction you are having right now (or not). Isn’t Batman #666 the first appearance of Damian Wayne as Batman? According to the market it is, but did someone really ever dig through it? Well, I did!
Here’s a CGC graded Batman #666 :
Release Date: July 25 2007
Cover Artist: Andy Kubert
Print Run: 83,751
Raw Value: $15-$20
You might recognize the art and this depiction of Batman. That’s another result of Andy Kubert’s magic hands, only this issue was released 6 years earlier. This one is supposed to be the first time Damian is seen as Batman, but nowhere on the label is that information provided.
So I dug deeper and contacted CBCS and CGC to clear things out. Here’s how it went down:
CBCS (email quote):
Batman #666 came out before Damian, Son of Batman. As a result, we notate Batman #666 as “Damian Wayne as the Batman of Tomorrow”. Son of Batman is considered to be the first time he becomes Batman. There is a difference between Batman and Batman of Tomorrow.
So, according to CBCS, Batman #666 is NOT the real first appearance of Damian as the actual Batman, but instead it is as the ‘’Batman of Tomorrow’’. That can be easily explained because Batman #666 is completely detached from the entire Batman run and is taking place in a wholly different continuity/storyline (with Batman having powers from a deal with the Devil). Also, there’s no clear context or introduction as to why Damian is wearing the cape and cowl (unlike Damian: Son of Batman – which follows a logical progression of the Batman continuity), so that’s why he’s called ‘’Batman of Tomorrow’’. To be fair, that’s a pretty solid explanation by CBCS and it makes total sense to me. Take a look at DC’s description of this issue if you’re not convinced: Meet Damian Wayne, the Batman of Tomorrow in this special issue set 15 years from now in a nightmarish future Gotham!
We don’t have anything labelled at this time for both issues, but let me check with one of our graders. [After a 5 minute wait] So we took a look at it and we would label Batman #666 as the first ‘’Damian Wayne as Batman’. There still wouldn’t be any notes on Damian: Son of Batman.
It seems I was the first one to report the potential first appearance in Batman #666 to CGC….not only that, but in only 5 minutes, they were able to tell me without a doubt that this issue was the first time Damian is Batman….not too convincing…
The next day, I sent them an email asking the same question. Here’s their response:
We currently have Batman #666 with the key comment: ‘1st Damian Wayne as Batman’. Damian: Son of Batman #2 has no key comments currently on the CGC label.
Well, that was fast…¯\_(ツ)_/¯ , but then I asked them why CGC and CBCS would label the same thing on two different books. Here’s what they finally told me:
I misspoke previously. Our system currently indicates the following:
Batman #666 is the 1st Damian Wayne as Batman, since it's the first time you physically see him as a “Batman”. In Damian: Son of Batman #2, he becomes Batman in the story line, so we simply state “Damian becomes Batman.”
It looks like CGC are adapting their answers the more questions I ask. In any case, I think both books are worth a grab right now.
Anyway … keep in mind that Batman #666 has an enormous print run and is selling for $15-$20 raw, so if the market decides to lend some distinction between Batman vs Batman of Tomorrow (which I think it should), imagine what a 1:25 and a 1:100 variant with respectively a 2,073 and 518 estimated print run could go for!
I think that the safe bet for now is the Burnham variant, as the cover itself should be enough for it to see a nice bump, once the market is aware of its existence. But if you like betting big, try to find a Kubert 1:100 Variant and keep in mind that CBCS will slab it as a first appearance! But for now, there are currently 2 books labelled as the first appearance of Damian Wayne as Batman, that is, depending on which company is grading your book. To be continued….