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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rare Variant Comics Watch

I'm not a big fan of variant covers, rare variants or not. Reminds me too much of the 90s speculation mentality, but there are some that are fans of it, or, at least, speculators who are fans of them.

So this is gonna feature some hot or not so hot rare variants of old and new, and we'll see how they're doing in the market currently. I'm not suggesting them or endorsing them as speculation comics or actual comic investments. I'm just taking a looksie and sharing my findings on some of them.


So let's dive into the 1:200 New 52 variant sketch covers. Well, Rebirth isn't really a reboot according to Geoff Johns, and it looks like DC's Cinematic Universe is obviously pulling elements from the New 52. I really don't see the significance of the New 52 in the DC Universe or even comic history.

Sure it blended the Wildstorm and Vertigo continuities into DC's mainstream, but is that all? Maybe that's enough for some folks. I don't think it really impacted the characters all that much, and to me, it's just a rehashing with a different spin.

Nothing really exciting or overly revolutionary in the world of comics, but once again, just my opinion. I do admit, some of the artwork and stories are pretty darn good reads.

Action Comics #1 obviously was of one of the 1st comic series to be released in the new reboot. It does have a 1:200 sketch cover. Estimated print run is 800 according to some sources, so it's pretty rare.

As of this writing, there's only 109 CGC 9.8s in the census and 9.6s have only 73 currently. Below is an image of the 1:200 sketch variant for Action Comics #1.

As for how well this rare variant has done since 2011. I don't think it's performed all that great at least for slabbed copies.

CGC 9.8s seemed to sustain pretty well from 2013 and even up to mid 2015. Then demand just seemed to fizzle and sellers started lowering prices.

One good aspect is that it at least bounced up a bit to the $150 range via bidding auction. There hasn't been a sale of this graded CGC copy in 2016, but raw copies have sold around the $70 range back in May, and the most recent in June sold for $89.99.

Perhaps this variant will get more interest in the near future, but 9.6s seem to have a weird drop during the later parts of April of this year. Not sure what that's about. 

Seemed to sustain for the most part, but then two pretty low sales. Perhaps, these are just flukes and will bounce back.

Dunno, not into variants no matter how rare they are so not sure about the significance of this comic or if there is any. It does have some 1st appearances, but I don't consider Vyndktvx or Glen "Mr. Metropolis" Glenmorgan major characters.

Some sources say that this is the 1st chronological appearance of Superman or Clark Kent in the New 52 as well. Let you decide if that's a revolutionary or important key notation of significance.


Well, if Action Comics isn't doing all that well, at least Batman's 1st issue in the New 52 was doing much better when it came to the rare 1:200 sketch cover. Note that the word was is used in the sentence above.

Back in October of 2015, the TV show Gotham hinted at the Court of Owls. Last month it was confirmed that the Court of Owls will be in season three of the show. 

This comic is not their 1st appearance, so I'm really not sure why it's gone near and over the $1000 range recently or what significance this comic has other than being a 1st issue to a rebooted continuity and a low print variant Batman comic.

I'm not really seeing any data of value pushing this one continually up. The average so far since May of last year seems to be the $900 range so it's at least sustaining for CGC 9.8s.

However, there have been peaks within the $1000 range earlier this year and last year for this slabbed grade. CGC 9.6s and 9.4s have been sustaining as well with minor drops. Then again, there's only been 3 sales for CGC 9.6s since 2013 which started at $400 for that slabbed grade.

Only 2 sales considering 9.4s and it dropped around $93 bucks.

Here's an image of the CGC census for this 1:200 sketch variant below.
Not exactly plentiful. Estimated copies out there in the world is also around 800 and it will be interesting to see how this one continues to perform.


If Action Comics #1 isn't performing all that well, Justice League #1 1:200 sketch cover that kicked off the New 52 isn't doing that great either. This comic has an estimated 750 copies.

There's a ton of variants and printings for this issue, and since CGC doesn't clearly state which retailer incentive sketch cover is which, I'm not exactly sure which to picture. Both "Sketch Cover" and "Retailer Incentive Edition" have CGC 9.8s in the early 100s in the CGC Census.

The Sketch Cover listing is at 101 and the Retailer Incentive Edition is at 114 for CGC 9.8s currently at the time of this writing. Once again, not sure whether the "Sketch Cover" is the listing for the 1:200 sketch variant or the Incentive Retailer Edition is for the Roadshow Retailer Incentive sketch cover.

Wish CGC was a bit more clear with their listings in the census but the labels are marked "Sketch Cover", so that might be it. Then again, I'm not anywhere near an expert when it comes to variant covers. Heck, I'll just picture the Sketch Cover census. Should be the right one.
Anyway, this comic hasn't really done all that well either. GoCollect has reported CGC 9.8s sales on eBay weren't that great. The comic has dropped from $300 to $163.49 from July to December of 2015. 

However, I did check to see if there's any new sales this year that GoCollect did not record on eBay's own site, and I'm not sure why GoCollect has yet to report the August and June sales this year.

The June 2016 sale at CGC 9.8 sold for $239.95 and the most recent August sale dropped at $209.95. Both were Buy It Nows, so demand for this 1:200 sketch cover variant might be lacking at the moment.

If CGC 9.8s weren't all that impressive, 9.6s definitely saw a drop in demand and value this year. From a high of $220 in 2014 to $175 last year to $75 bucks this year? Wow!

This by no means doesn't exclude the possibility of regained interest in this comic. Anything can happen, but speculation seems to have fizzled currently. Perhaps, those actually investing in low print variants who don't know about this one yet might see a time to snag or not?

We shall see!

  • 1st full Court of Owls

I have no idea why Wikipedia is saying that the 1st full appearance of the Court of Owls is in issue #5. I just read that issue and there's no Court of Owls, but there is Talon following him.

In issue #6, the Court of Owls actually appears. You can read Gerry's post on this comic issue by clicking this link here.

Anyway, there is a 1:200 sketch variant that's pretty low in print numbers. The regular cover had a 128,459 print run, so this sketch should be around 642 give or take.

Hype over the Court of Owls appearing in season three of Gotham hasn't really pushed this comic anywhere despite being a low print comic and having some TV show backing. Maybe it's just not that well-known currently or maybe collectors, speculators, or even comic investors just don't care all that much currently.

I wouldn't say this 1:200 variant is doing spectacular, but it hasn't dropped significantly in value either. What I mean by that is it hasn't dropped from the next price range, and it's mostly keep in the $100 range so far since 2013.

Prices for CGC 9.8s are pretty much all over the place. I don't see real strong demand.

The comic has almost hit the $200 twice, one time late last year and another time in January of 2015.

9.6s are a different story. It has seen growth but slightly. However, the last sale was in December of last year on eBay and a jump from $79 to $90 isn't anything to do cartwheels over. 

Still, at least, it did see some growth. There hasn't been any current slabbed sales for 9.6s this year yet, and I did check eBay's sold page for this grade. Perhaps when they appear on the Gotham show, this comic might get a bit of interest regained.

Who knows? CGC census for this comic is slightly lower than the other 1:200 DC New 52 sketch covers at least at the time of this writing.

Maybe over-looked currently, maybe just that most don't care about this comic as of yet. Will have to see how this one does in the near future.

1st on-going X-23 comic series

Ambaryerno brought up this variant in a comment on the X-23 key issues list recently, and I have no idea why some recent sales went bonkers. The regular cover has a print run of 48,481, so 1:25 would place this around 1,939 give or take.

Recalled Comics has it estimated at 2400. The Djurdjevic variant is actually more rare at 1:75 with an estimated 800 copies, so don't know why the Dell'Otto one is going bonkers. Maybe it's just a more awesome cover than Djurdjevics.

The CGC Census has 38 CGC 9.8s so far. Total is 53. They haven't listed Djurdjevics yet.
Some ridiculous prices are going for this one, and raw copies as well. Most recent auction for a raw copy sold via bidding auction for $832 in July. A CGC 9.8 copy sold for $1200 in May. 

A few other slabbed copies at 9.8 sold as well but they are Best Offers and GoCollect doesn't have this variant even listed in their database yet. No clue why.

Anyway, here's some eBay sales from the sold page that showcases the madness.

Pretty darn interesting. If you grabbed this one before speculator hype. Might be near the time to think of dumping and making a nice profit.

Or, if you're a fan of X-23 and Dell'Otto or the cover, keep it. Up to you, but this comic is currently hot!

Will have to see if the Djurdjevic 1:75 cover catches fire in the near future as well. Until then, somebody ignited the fire under this comic's ass, and it sure wasn't me.

Alright, that's it for now, but this series will be an on-going one for sure just for those who like rare variant comics. For those who don't like rare variants, do not worry.

I won't be dedicating all my efforts into this series, meaning it'll be picked at here and there. Do expect to see the Dell'Otto variant again in the Hot Key Comics of 2016 series when I get back to it. Actually, the next part to that series might be dropping pretty soon.

Have a good weekend all. See ya soon and thanks for reading. Part 2 is ready so click the link below to continue.


  1. Would not be surprised to see a J Scott Campbell or an Adam Hughes variant make this list. Also those 1:50 Venom variants are quite hot as well.

    1. Will look up the 1:50 variants and yep those two artists are no-brainers.

  2. Hey Mayhem,

    not a fan of variants as well. However, from time to time I make an exception for cool covers or important storylines. I recently read that the Gwenom Variant cover is still a hot commodity, so this might be one to ad to your list. Don't know what kind of ratio this one has though. Would be nice to know.

    Speculation Jones

    1. The Gwenom cover was hot at first, but after a while, it has currently fizzled. We will have to see how the character does when introduced as an actual character in a story or stories.

      Might break out and be popular or might just be a trend character. If she does break out, I think renewed interest in the variant Gwenom character will happen. Don't know the scope or how big though.

  3. I'd look at the Harley Q #1 Adam Hughes variant also.

    1. I recently wrote about that one in the Hot Comics of 2016 series, and I will cover it again in this Variant Watch series for sure, but want to give it more time to see how it continues to do.

  4. stay away from these variant books, they have real long term potential

  5. Hey,

    I always get great market reports from the overstreet priceguide (The new edition is out!) That' s were I got the information that Detective Comics 608 (first Anarky) is a nice snag, because print runs of Detective Comics and Batman from that period were rather low. Now, if you put into the mix that it has the first appearance of a cool Villain for 3 bucks right now, this is a top investment.


    1. I've always liked the character of Anarky. Grew up reading his first in Detective #608 and bought his 1st again at a comic shop this year just out of pure fandom. Did not know that Detective Comics and Batman print runs from that period were low though.

  6. Looks like pre-planned (artificial) scarcity works. 😄 Amazing how much that X-23 variant is selling for. If I was going to pony up that kind of money for a 9.8, I'd just buy her 1st appearance.

  7. I can only assume that one of the reasons that Batman #6 hasn't really caught fire yet is because of the confusion over the actual first appearance on the Court of Owls. Different sources are giving conflicting information, but after reading the comics myself, I'm feel that Batman #6 is the true full first appearance.
    ~ Gerry D

    1. I agree with ya, Gerry. After reading your post, I went to read those comics and didn't see no Court of Owls in issue #2 or even in issue #5. Issue #6, right there and when Bats first meets the whackos as well.

  8. Dunno what I can say about "Once our land 1". Strangest comic I read for a while. Interesting but confusing.

    Max Rebo