The Weekend in Variants and Baltimore Comic Con
What's up people, back from Baltimore Comic Con and it's been a pretty interesting weekend, especially for the variant scene.
There were quite a few exclusive variants for Baltimore Comic Con, but truth be told I was only there Friday. So I'm not sure at time of writing this how many were sell outs. I know there were more than a few foil version of pre-existing covers. The Dark Nights: Metal #2 virgin Dell'Otto cover sold out at the show. I believe the virgin b/w color fade is still available online for those that missed out.
Speaking of virgin covers and Dark Nights: Metal. I'm sure many of you have heard about the Dark Nights: Metal #3 variant, if not I've included an image here. It's going to give the Dell'otto Wonder Woman a run for cover of the year.
In fact, a bunch of new store exclusive variants went on sale this past weekend. From what I can tell, most, if not all seem to be selling well. Obviously, some have sold out faster than others… Some have even broken sales speed records. I'll talk more about that at the end.
It's been talked about before, but I think it bears repeating. Just because something is a limited variant doesn't mean it's a good investment, or that it will sell out. Especially when it's a store or convention exclusive. Publishers and retailers need to be sober with what they are releasing, not just at conventions but in general. The variant buying market understands for the most part, cover art matters. It's not enough for a book to just be limited, have a foil logo or whatever gimmick. It really needs to have the “gotta have it” factor. Many of the variants that went on sale this weekend seem to have that.
Unfortunately much of what I saw at Baltimore wasn't for me. There were very few things I picked up. The few that I did had a “that's cool for the price” factor more than anything else. There really was very little I couldn't live without… That's just my opinion. For others, it seems like some books caught people's eye and did very well.
Something that was pretty cool about Baltimore was signatures. Most were pretty easy to get. Many of the artists I saw at the con were doing free sigs and you just needed to drop some money in the jar. The jar was to raise money for the Comic Legal Defense Fund. If you were getting books witnessed for CGC, that was going to cost you… Obviously there were guests that were charging out right, like Frank Miller springs to mind. Personally, I don't usually do signatures, it's just not my thing. I did get a couple books signed, since it was free and gave me an excuse to talk to the artists.
In an environment like BCC, which is mostly comics. If you want to sell exclusives, they really got to WOW people… or be inexpensive enough that people will pick them up on a whim. Otherwise there's really too much competition for people's buying dollar.
Many convention goers resell items they pick up at the show to pay for their trip too, just like exhibitors. So leaving some meat on the bone works better for everyone. Seems like it'd be better to discount stuff a little and blow it out. After all, would you rather sell books or pack up everything you didn't sell on Sunday night? Not to mention the UPS shipping fees to send the books you didn't sell back. Seems like it would be better to start books a little lower and gradually raise the pricing as you sell through them.
This is also a good selling philosophy for exclusive books online as well. I was surprised to see so many variants starting at around 15 dollars. The Dark Nights: Metal #3 Mattina limited to 3K started at about $6. Granted, the super limited versions were more. Do to how fast some books sold out, folks obviously were happy to pay the premium. I think the JSC Spider-Gwen #24 4 pack and 3 pack sets sold out in under 12 minutes. The Mattina Dark Nights: Metal #3 virgin cover, which was shared across 5 online sellers, sold out in minutes. There's a Spider-Gwen #25 3 pack that I believe is very close to selling out at the time of writing this.
All and all, I think this weekend was strong for exclusive variants. Between online sales and Baltimore, they seem to have done well. Overall, retailers are getting more savvy about what variants they're releasing. They seem to be putting out books people actually want, rather than just for the sake of releasing variants. I hope this trend continues… After all, it's nice to write a positive piece on variants for a change rather than complaining about them.
Till Next Week.