In this article, I discuss seven more very intriguing variants. This is my second article on variant covers, you can find the first one here. These books all feel underappreciated in the current collecting environment. Some of these books can be found for cover price while others are selling for significantly more. I think about variants in two different ways. First, books that have return potential in the future due to increased appeal or scarcity. Second, books that simply have beautiful cover art.
This book features the first full appearance of Yelena Belova, the second Black Widow. It is perplexing to me why so many collectors to decide to chase Inhumans #5 when they are looking to invest in Yelena. In that book, her face is not fully shown and her name is not mentioned. For me, it seems like the clear home run here is the book with her on the cover that features her first full appearance. To be clear there is nothing wrong with Inhumans #5 but here is why I like Black Widow #1 more.
Black Widow #1 had a total print run of around 69,000. While I have been unable to verify it, I believe there are more copies of cover A than cover B. This is supported by the fact that there are 191 copies of cover A on the CGC census and 139 copies of cover B. CBCS shows four times as many copies of cover A than B on their census but their sample size is small at just 10 books. Seeing that Cover B sells for more than cover A I would expect there to be more of cover B on the census. There is also a Dynamic Forces variant with Yelena on the cover but I prefer cover B to that one. Don’t get me wrong, the DF variant is still very cool and has the smallest print run. Inhumans #5 had a print run of about 51,000
Punchline is hot and I suspect that she is going to remain that way for a long long time. This is her first full appearance (although honestly a strong case can be made for Batman #92) and her book with the smallest print run. I did some digging and found that retailers were ordering DC Cover Bs at about 20% of the total for issues where they were offered. The print run for Hell Arisen #3 is approximately 36,000 meaning that there are probably no more 7,500 copies of Cover B floating around out there. That makes this Punchline’s rarest book by a comfortable margin.
What I found super interesting is that there are 1,549 graded copies of Cover A on CGC and just 5 copies of Cover B. You read that correctly, 5 copies. This just shows that people are not paying attention to this book and that there is an opportunity here. I like the purple on this cover as it makes it feel more closely connected with Punchline. Because neither book has Punchline on the cover, the book with the smaller print run seems like the smart buy. It regularly sells for less than cover A.
I am not sure why these Battle Lines variants were not hotter because they are super cool. Spider-Gwen’s cover is among the coolest of the bunch. With Ghost Spider heating up I can see interest building in this book. The fact that the Jee Hyung Lee variant of this book is one of the crown jewels of modern variants does not hurt.
There probably isn’t much spec value in this cover, but I simply love it. It is a clever blend of Spider-Gwen and Deadpool…..wait does that make this Gwenpool??? I really do not know but I do know that I am happy to have this book in my collection. To be clear, this cover has nothing to do with the story inside. This book was near the tail end of the series and the print run was low at about 22,000. This variant likely represented less than half that.
Thor #705 is easily among Jee Hyung Lee’s most intriguing variants and that is really saying something. This book was the topic of the very first post I ever did for GoCollect, you can read that piece here if you are interested. It remains one of my favorite covers of all time. Jee Hyung Lee is a modern master and this early work of his remains underappreciated in my opinion. With Jane Foster’s Thor coming to the MCU I can see this book attracting future interest from collectors.
Moon Knight covers are just consistently amazing. This is one of my very favorites although I find that many people are not familiar with it. Ryan Stegman masterfully illustrates this 1:25 ratio variant. The color and perspective are simply spot on. This book is not exactly easy to find as Moon Knight had a print run of about 40,000 at this point. Moon Knight has a cult following and there is a strong chance his Disney+ show will be a major hit.
When people think of Miracleman ratio variants they think of Miracleman #12 1:25. This book does not fetch the same prices as the Adam Hughes Miracleman variant, but it is almost as hard to find. Both Cho and Hughes have legions of fans collecting their work. Miracleman ratio variants are extremely intriguing for a few reasons. First, Marvel got many extremely talented artists to work on them. Second, the print runs on Miracleman got small really quickly, making these ratio variants scarce (this book had a print run of about 22,000). There is only one copy of this book on the CGC census. Last, Marvel has big plans for Miracleman and none other than Donny Cates has said that writing Miracleman is on his bucket list. All this is a recipe for explosive price appreciation.
There is no shortage of variants to collect. This is merely a small list of seven very intriguing variants that have caught my eye. I will continue to post these pieces periodically as I come across lost gems. Thanks for reading