I’ve commented before about the number of variants being produced these days. Virtually every other comic on the shelf has a variant, and if Marvel or DC really wants you to buy it, they’ll put out multiple variants. Action Comics #1000 is on the horizon, and DC has gone completely insane with the variants.
Granted, for a single comic series to reach 1000 issues is remarkable. For it to have been around for 79 years is truly something to celebrate. Let’s not forget the history here since there would not be superhero comics without Superman, who was the first costumed superhero. And way back in 1939, when the first cover featuring Superman was published, the entire game changed. So, yes, Action Comics #1000 deserves its place as a milestone issue. The problem is that, as historic as this might be, DC has overdone it.
Next month, when Action Comics #1000 hits the shelves, there will be a flood of variant covers. By my count, there are 14 variants, and I’m guessing there will be more by the time it is published. DC has said that the plethora of variants is meant to showcase the history of the character by having each cover reflect a different period in Superman’s lengthy run. While that may be, I believe it boils down to one thing: money. As comic collectors, we dive into the variants and scramble for those rare variants. My prediction is this particular issue will go down into the annals like 1991’s X-Men #1; the market will be flooded with variants to the point that they aren’t worth much at all.
Collecting has changed since 1991, and there will be a key difference between those old Jim Lee X-Men covers and Action Comics #1000: availability. DC knows its market, and modern collectors live by the “the smaller the print run, the better” motto. That being said, there will be some of the Action Comics #1000s that will hold some of their value at least to the point of retaining the investment put into it. Primarily, I’m referring to the Gabriele Dell’Otto variant.
The Dell’Otto is the exclusive Bulletproof Comics variant. Keeping with the trend of the covers showcasing the history of Superman, Dell’Otto has gone with a Christopher Reeve-inspired Man of Steel, and it is beautiful. The full-color trade dress is limited to 3,000 copies. While I expect that one to retain the value of its $25 price tag, the real money will be with the virgin variant. The virgin is limited to 1,500 copies and the retail price is $45 each. However, these are already pre-selling well on eBay with prices ranging from $65-$100.
As you go searching for the Dell’Otto Bulletproof variant, be careful when buying on eBay. As with most of the artist’s work, prices for his exclusive covers become inflated quickly. That is the case at the moment with these pre-orders, but I discovered that if you visit the Bulletproof Comics site, you can still get both the trade and virgin prints for retail price.