Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Let Me Get This Straight--There Are Going To Be How Many "Star Wars" Variant Covers This Wednesday?

What I Understand
This is the actual, "standard" cover.
Once upon a time Marvel published "Star Wars"comics. Then they quit caring about the brand enough that Dark Horse swooped in and printed a ton of comics related to that galaxy set far, far away. However, Disney bought Marvel, and then some time later Disney bought the entirety of the rights to Star Wars. It doesn't really make sense for you to continue publishing comics with a company you don't own if there is a perfectly good one you do have complete ownership of, and that led to a big change.

Therefore, "Star Wars" has returned to Marvel and a big hullabaloo is being made of it, with Marvel conveniently forgetting how they essentially ditched "Star Wars" long ago and this isn't a homecoming so much as being forced by the House of Mouse to print comics that will undoubtedly bring in a decent amount of money as we approach the new "Star Wars" flicks coming out. This all makes perfect sense, and isn't what I need to get straight. No, what is bothering me is how many variant covers "Star Wars" #1 may in fact get.

What I Don't Understand/Let Me Get This Straight...
This is a variant you get via your Gamestop points.
Yes, really.
Let me get this straight: Over 100 variant covers will exist for this first issue of "Star Wars" coming out Wednesday, January 14th, 2015? Wow, and it may very well be a record-breaker. You have the variants stores get for ordering a bunch of copies of the first issue, you have store-exclusive variants, you have variants you can only buy through using Gamestop points and I imagine if you have a friend who once doodled a picture of Darth Vader that has its own variant too, considering how crazy this is all getting.

Therefore, we now reach what I really don't understand: Why does Disney/Marvel think we need this many "Star Wars" variant covers? Is it because the brand is so popular and about to come back in a big way this year (i.e. the movie)? Could it be various retailing entities wanted a piece of this "Star Wars" pie and the easiest way to to do so was to give them a variant cover? Maybe this is really just all about how the publisher knows some people will spend countless dollars on variants so why not put them out--especially if you can make retailers order a ton of copies of the normal cover in order to make them even eligible for the sought-after variants? It is probably a mixture of all these reasons, really.
Here is the blank variant edition.
Interestingly, having an artist you like sketch on it would probably harm its value.
Putting aside reasons for the variants, let's be honest for a moment here; in a good year or so all those standard-cover versions of "Star Wars" #1 will be in the dollar-bin, especially considering this comic is going to sell over a million copies with all those covers combined. The reason for the "binning" will be so many copies were printed and ordered of this comic that the regular cover is all-but-worthless with only variants having maybe any value (although it wouldn't surprise me to see some more common variants thrown in the dollar-bin too). With so many copies being printed and all these variants anyone who thinks this comic is going to be worth much is crazy.

It isn't like this is a comic that will be hard to find, it will be an incredibly common comic with some rare covers. That usually isn't as big a value as an actually hard-to-find comic. After all, "The Walking Dead" #1 didn't have many issues printed and is worth a ton, while the 100th issue had a bunch of variants with some worth more than others, but that issue of the comic itself ain't pulling in much scratch compared to the series' debut.
I"ll admit this variant by Alex Maleev is neat.
It's limited to 3,000 copies though so don't expect to find it easily.
Comics in general are not a good investment unless it is an already old and valuable issue of something. That said, you are more likely to make some cash off of a comic that is hard to find than you are with a variant that is rare, in most cases. A comic with a bunch of variants can still be found and read with its normal cover, a rare comic is something that you can basically only enjoy via trades, reprints, or a digital purchase.

This is why I'm having trouble getting this all straightened out. I just don't understand why so many variants seems necessary (or why variants in general are necessary), and if my past posts are anything to go by I usually won't see the point of a variant. The only time I've bought a variant is if it is relatively cheap, the comic is one I enjoyed, and it is a really cool cover. Unless those three attributes can be met I generally am not going to seek out a variant.
This variant exclusive to a store in Sydney, Australia is at least humorous.
It all just seems silly in the end, with all these people seeking out the comic for the variety of covers, and not the admittedly quite solid creative team working on the comic (Jason Aaron is writing, John Cassaday is supplying art). I suppose in the end it is something I will never be able to get straight, or understand. Whatever the case, I hope everyone enjoys the comic and its variants with the official release tomorrow.


  1. Can't you just enjoy the fact that this marketing strategy is creating interest in comics in general. I'd prefer to stave off the digital overlord as long as possible. For Christs sake, just go enjoy the rag and quit being so critical because "you don't understand" It ain't all about you. -Excelsior

  2. Does it really increase interest, or create a bubble that could pop just like the last collapse that occurred due to too many variants? My worry is this could doom comics to digital faster as opposed to staving it off. Thank you for the comment, however!

  3. Is there a list of all of them and where they all come from?

  4. comicbookrealm.com is the best site I've found that lists all the variants.

  5. Thanks for comments, everyone! That comicbookrealm.com is a pretty cool site too.