Whitman DC Variants

The last 2 weeks I focused on Canadian Variant/Edition comics that are must-haves. This week I decided to focus my attention on Whitman DC Variants (yes, these are variants); there is no way to dispute this term. DC Whitmans in the past few years have really become highly sought after by veteran collectors like myself. These books were the opposite 20+ years ago, where they were regarded as 2nd prints and treated as such. Only in the last 10 years or so were collectors realizing that they were released at the same time as the original editions, and some of these books are extremely rare. In fact, some are so rare that less than 10 copies exist for some of these books and are stored away in private collections. I was lucky last year to locate one of these books at my LCS, and was even luckier to pay less than a quarter for it. The reason I found it was I knew what to look for, and education is a big part of collecting. So hopefully this article will give you some pointers on what to keep an eye out for, as you may get lucky like me and find one in a discount bin or yard sale. Let’s face it, there is nothing better than scoring a big book – it’s like finding buried treasure with a metal detector. The metal detector for comics is knowledge, and you can never have enough of that.

Whitman Comics was known as Western Comics, who were more known for Gold Key comics at the time. They would eventually change their format from newsstand to department store availability due to exclusive deals made for distribution. These books would now become available for purchase in major stores across the US and Canada in a new format of 3 books per bag at discounted prices in comparison to buying them individually at the newsstand. Marvel and DC licensed their books through Whitman so that they could have their books sold in department stores in this same format, where Whitman had an exclusive deal. These big chain department stores at the time were in a sense the prototype for Local Comic Shops, as many consumers bought these polybagged books for their children there. Marvel and DC knew that newsstands at convenient stores would only sell so much, and getting these books in department stores was where the profit was. Whitman would place their logo and add a black slash through the UPC on these DC editions in order to identify these copies as 3 pack books. The Marvel copies unfortunately did not have these Whitman logos on the books, and were more identifiable by the Diamond shape box in the top left corner with a blank UPC, or a black line slash through the UPC code. Please see pictures of both DC and Marvel polybagged pictures to get a better understanding of what is meant by this. I will talk more about Marvel Whitmans on another article as these books have more confusion due to not having the Whitman logo on them as proof.

The DC Whitman Variants are numerous and if you’re planning on collecting the lot, you may have a big task ahead of you; however, any copies you find will be valuable, especially in high-grade condition. Thanks to Doug Sulipa who is the leading expert on DC Whitmans, we now know that the books from June 1980 are the rarest DC Whitmans ever made. Doug has done numerous articles on this throughout the years, and I highly recommend you look for them and read about his research as it is very informative. So here are the top 8 books to keep an eye out for, as the value on these books will only increase with each passing year; in fact, they will one day explode. These 8 books are 10 times rarer than the elusive Star Wars #1 (35 Cent Variant), so keep that in mind!

Action Comics #508

Well here is one of the hardest to find Superman books you will ever look for. In fact, it is rarely offered for sale online, but I happened to find a copy that did sell back in November on Ebay for an unbelievable steal. The book sold for $55 US, and the picture listed for this article is that same copy. Lois on the cover is spilling her coffee in shock, in fact she might have spilled it due to the selling price of this monster. I’m now kicking myself for not having seen this listing because this book in that shape at that price is insane. The buyer must have been doing the happy dance to get this at such a bargain. Here is a clear example of being at the right place at the right time. This book is estimated to have less than a 100 copies worldwide, so definitely one to be on the lookout for.

Batman #324

Okay, here is the perfect storm: you have one of the rarest variants of DC’s best-selling character in his own highly collected series. Batman #324 is a ghost, in fact there are likely less than 50 copies out there in existence. The cover is also a high-grade nightmare due to its all white background that will show every noticeable imperfection. It took me nearly ten minutes to locate a picture for this article, and I could not even find a sale anywhere for this book that happened in the past year. If anyone could help with that, please post in the feedback section as I would love to know myself. Either way, if you’re a Batman or variant collector, this book needs to be on your radar as this book will be worth its weight in gold.

DC Comics Presents #22

Here is the rarest DC Whitman Variant period. In fact, for years collectors believed it to be just a rumour until one showed up for sale on Ebay in 2012. The book is recognized by Recalledcomics.com as having less than 10 copies in existence. This book has not been up for sale in over 3 years online, due to the few copies available being locked away in private collections. This comic last sold for over $1,500 US for a CGC graded 8.5 copy, and this same issue would likely fetch over $3,000 in today’s market. DC Comics Presents #22 is the holy grail of these variants, and anyone trying to complete a set will have a hard time doing so with so few copies. I honestly feel this is the book that will be most comparable to the Star Wars #1 35 cent copy and may surpass it in overall value and desire in coming years. The picture provided for this article happens to be the copy I alluded to in the opening paragraph.

Flash #286

No Flash completist will have completed their collection without this book. This book is one of the easier books to acquire of the big 8, but still has less than a 100 copies known to exist. The book has sold a few times in 2016 on Ebay, and one just sold on January 5th of 2017. The book sold for another steal at $63.78 US, for what appears to be a 4.0 to 5.0 raw copy. The previous sale was back in October 30th, 2016 for $85 US for another raw (6.0) that could benefit from a nice press. These 2 deals are incredibly low prices, and another kick-myself-in-the-butt moment for missing out on these steals of a lifetime.

Justice League of America #179

Here is the third hardest to find DC Whitman Variant out there. This book is crazy rare and it is estimated that only around 20-50 copies exist out there. The book was not sold online in 2016, same as Batman #324 & DC Comics Presents #22, and if anyone knows of any please feel free to update me. Another all white background cover that makes high grade copies few and far between to find. This book has Firestorm on the cover, and he first joins the League in this issue. All I can say is if you see one, buy it now!

Legion of Super Heroes #264

I personally don’t collect LSH, never was a fan myself. However, I always keep an eye out for any Whitman Variants for this team, especially this book. This comic has less than a 100 copies out there, and is really difficult to find in high grade. I have only seen pictures of this book, and most of the copies I have seen are pretty beat up. A nice raw (7.0 roughly) sold for $81 US back in October 30th on Ebay, and this was the only copy I could locate. The book looks like a great pressing candidate, so whoever picked up this book scored big time.

New Adventures of Superboy #6

Okay, here is a comic that I had a difficult time finding a picture of for this article. Please excuse the one I posted, as this is the best I could do. What does that mean?  Well, it means that this book is number 2 on the list of rarest DC Whitman Variants. The estimated number of copies for Superboy is between 20-30 copies worldwide. There is just no sales data I could give you, similar to DC Comics Presents #22; the book has not sold for a while due to rarity. This book would sell over a $100 raw in good condition easily if listed, and in high grade could be closer to a grand. Definitely one of the better books on this list to keep an eye out for at yard sales and flea markets.

Superman #348

The last book of the big 8 is the big man himself in his own solo title. Superman collectors…good luck because there are very few of these to go around. There are less than a 100 copies of this book, and when they are listed they sell immediately for big coin. There were a few sales in 2016, and the biggest bargain was a good condition raw for $67 US on November 7th (picture provided). Another good candidate for a press, this book could easily climb to a 6.0 once done. I recall trying to pick up a few high grade copies listed last year as buy it nows with best offers, but the sellers were not budging from their asking price. Most copies were listed for $350+, and they all are gone now.

Another year has gone and left us, and 2017 could be the year where collectors are pursuing new options or spending their money on grails such as Whitman Variants. Only time will tell, but if you’re in the habit of seeking out bargain books, having prior knowledge is the key to success. Good luck and God Bless in your treasure hunting.

Until Next Time!

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  • sdalton32

    Enjoyed the article – looking forward to the Marvel Whitman one. Any plans on a direct edition vs. newsstand primer article?

  • This was an extremely great article…I was not aware the DC Whitmans were that rare! I have a couple of them (none of your big 8), but these will definetly be on ny radar now. I’ve always known about the rare Disney Whimans but not the DCs.

  • I read about these books in an Overstreet Market Report several years back and have been trying to locate any copies I can ever since. I did score an Action Comics 508 7.0/7.5 range for $40 online about 6 months ago. I do have other DC Whitmans like DC Comics Presents 21 and New Adventures of Superboy 8. Which both books are hard to find but not as difficult as the ones above. There are a few other DC Whitmans that you didn’t mention that go for some pretty good dough online like Sgt. Rock 329 and Warlord 22. As usual a great article…..

  • Ben C

    Very cool man. Love articles like this that really do inform folks with straight info.

  • Very informative write up. I knew about the DC, but did not know the triangle on Marvel meant Whitman. Definatlely something to look for. Thank you and Doug for your research! Do you know what determined such low print runs on some of the titles you mentioned?

  • Whoa, after reading this I looked back at some comics I got recently and thought the W symbol was different. I found a Batman 307, first Lucius Fox, with it!

  • So glad to see this article! As a Batman completest I can backup the notion that the Batman #324 Whitman Variant is virtually impossible to find. There is also a Whitman Variant for Batman #323 that, while not as rare as #324, is still VERY hard to find, let alone in high grade.

    Similar to the story told in my comment in the Canadian Variants, Part 1 Thread, I was lucky enough to have obtained NM copies of both #323 & #324 for less than $10 from Doug Sulipa years ago when I randomly checked his website on a whim and he had just gotten them in stock. This was before many were in the know about these Whitmans and their rarity and this purchase and the funky Whitman logo in place of the DC Bullet was the spark that set my completest tendencies in motion and lead me to seek out the Canadian Newsstand Editions, Giveaway Reprints and Multipack Editions.

    The old and now defunct STL Forums were a great resource for these Whitmans (and other Variant and Reprint Editions) and they had a whole scarcity chart on the DC Whitmans. As referenced above by natethegreat80, Sgt. Rock #329 and Warlord #22 were always considered the rarest DC Whitmans until, of course, DC Comics Presents #22 was proven to exist. I was able to snag a mid-grade copy of that book some years back on Ebay for $2.51 ($0.01 for the comic and $2.50 Shipping) via an estate sale listing from someone who was not a comic person. The book was not differentiated as a Whitman, nor was it listed by its correct Title but instead by part of its indicia (incorrectly transcribed) as Superman Presents Vol 3 #2. It was dumb luck that I came across the book via the photo and I was even more shocked to see it had gone unsold for weeks as it had been listed and relisted. I was anxious that whole week waiting for the auction to end and even once I won I still didn’t rest until I received the comic and held it in my hands.

    Obviously, anyone in the know and who sells comics on eBay would list things correctly, but it’s through the random sellers who find a few comics in the attic or at an estate sale where bargains can be found. This happens all of the time, even today, so it’s always a good idea to browse the photos of the items rather than just rely on the listings’ titles, especially when looking for Variant/Reprint Editions like these Whitmans that were not often purchased by comic collectors but instead by parents, grandparents and kids at supermarkets and drug stores. Sure it takes A LOT of time, but the payoff can be worth it from simply filling a hole in your collection to finding a treasure for a fraction of its worth. Many of my purchases on eBay of comics of this type were from sellers who had only a handful of comics listed amongst tons of dishes, ashtrays, porcelain figurines and other estate finds or tons of items cleared out from grandma’s attic. It also helps to scan comic lots, especially those that contain one or two titles as there usually can be found a Whitman or two within the group.

    A fun aside, there are also Whitman Variants for two of the oversized DC Treasury Comics from 1978. The more common Famous First Edition #C61 (Superman #1), and the much rarer and pricier All-New Collectors’ Edition #C56 (Superman vs. Muhammad Ali). Unfortunately finding either in High Grade is not only hard but costly.

    As of today (January 13, 2017) there is a brand new listing for a LOSH #264 Whitman in Fine Condition for $91.31 with a Best Offer option that, no doubt, was inspired by this very article. I’m guessing someone is going to snag it soon so if you want that comic I would suggest making a offer ASAP.

    • Thanks for the reference bud. All these books seem to be extremely rare about fine condition. I was able to also snag a Green Lantern #116 Whitman CGC 8.5 as well. Currently it’s one of two highest known copies graded by CGC. The Batman 324 Whitman is at the top of my list to get. Now somebody needs to do an article on the Archie Canadian Editions as well.

    • Zack Gauthier

      Thanks Batman007 for the feedback, and I will have to go check out that auction right now 🙂

  • Coswrd

    Thanks guys…found a home for that Legion of Super-Heroes #234 Whitman variant

  • Triple bikini cover goes for $90.00! Roll out that bottom right corner and it will look even better! On the higher side of FN. Nice snag.

  • Ben Steiniger

    Great article Zack! Do you have a list of the top 100 lol? Only reason I ask, clearly these aren’t going to be easy to find, but I do see some of these, but never really know if they are HTF or not

  • manbat

    I bought a few Batman #357 that I guess are from a multipack and are considered 2nd printings. Are they harder to find than first printings?

    • If you’re referring to the Batman #357 without a Cover Date then yes it is rare, especially in High Grade. That book comes from a Walgreens 3-Pack along with 2 other Dateless issues. I believe there were 4 or 5 different Walgreens Sets so there are several Dateless DC Variants which, while they do not say “2nd Printing”, were all printed after each issue was intially released..

      If you search this forum with the term”357″ you’ll see a post on Batman #357.

  • Great article! I do believe whitmans will be much more highly sought after in the future.

  • I’ve sold copies of all these books in the past two years. A CGC 9.8 of JLA 179 sold in April 2016 for 405.00 and a VG (one of my copies ) for 100.00. Superboy in f/vf sold for 150.00 in March 2016. I sold a lot with Flash 286, Superman 348, Action Comics 508, Legion 264, DC Comics Presents 10 and JLA 179 for 500.00. A VG copy of Supes 348 sold for 67.00 in November, a VF- sold for 350.00 in September 2016. Legion 264 in F/VF sold for 103.00 in March 2016, a VG sold for 90.00 in July, a FN copy sold for 81.00 in October, and one sold in Jan 2017 for 100.00 CAD. 4 copies of Action 508 sold for 37.00, 55.00, 135.00 and 200.00 respectively, in 2016. Flash 286 I sold two copies privately for 60.00 and one copy showed up on Ebay in October for 85.00 and one in 2017 for 64.00. I also sold one copy of DCCP 22 in 2013 as well as other copies of Action 508, Batman 324, Flash 286, Legion 264, Superman 348, Superboy 6. I still have extra copies of Action 508, Flash 286, Superman 348 as well as my own copies of all the books mentioned above. They are tough, but can still be found in dealer boxes. Just takes a lot of digging. Pretty sure Batman 324 is as rare as DCCP 22. ( I’ve only come across 2 of each of those)

  • and I’m the guy who bought Flash 286, Superman 348, Action Comics 508, Legion 264, DC Comics Presents 10 and JLA 179 for 500.00 from bellrules on ebay. I did it solely to get a higher grade copy of Superman 348.

    I believe the only Whitmans that are truly hard to find are the ones with the indicia date of June 1980 (just like all the rare ones shown in the photos above). I sold the Flash 286, Action 508, and LOSH 264 for the reasonable prices discuss above. I traded the DCCP 10 and JLA 179 for comics books that were worth well over $200 to me. I believe the Flash 286, Action 508 and LOSH 264 sold for reasonable prices because there simply aren’t a lot of collectors out there who don’t have them but are willing to pay lofty prices.

    I agree that both the Batman 324 and DCCP 22 are extremely hard to find. I have a pretty extensive network of friends who collect variants and I would say that less than 10 copies of each of those comics are known to exist. There may be more out there stashed in closets or estates, but any high grade copy of those two comic books would probably go north of $500. I have a vg copy of the Batman 324 but would gladly pay $500 to get one in VF.

  • Great posting, by the way. This should be helpful to anyone who is looking for those Whitman variants. I would say that most other Whitman variants of DC Comics (i.e., not the ones shown above) can be found easily and cheaply

  • The picture you used for the Adventures of Superboy #6 was from my Ebay listing. I ended up selling it to a fellow Whitman/DC Collector for (If I remember right) $150.00.

    Also, don’t sleep on the earlier HTF Whitman Variants. Warlord 22 (sold a FVF copy for $400 in 2014), Sgt Rock 329 (sold a Fine copy for $225 in 2015), and DC Comics Presents #10 (I just sold a VF copy last month for $200).

    I just purchased a LOSH #264 for dirt cheap, which leaves DC Comics Presents #22, and JLA 179 as the only confirmed issues I don’t have.

    • Sgt Rock has been my elusive one. Have manges to find multiple copies of all the others

      • There is almost definitely a regional thing to it (I’m in Northern California). The Sgt Rock issues (329 and DCP 10) are some of the most common ones I’ve run across. While I’ve only ever seen 2 copies of Warlord 22, the one in my collection, and the one I sold.

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