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.
Black Widow #1
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
Hell Arisen #3 – Cover B Federici Variant
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.
Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #1 – Battle Lines Variant
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.
Spider-Gwen #32 – Bengal Variant Cover
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 – Jee Hyung Lee 1:50
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 #3 – 1:25 Ryan Stegman Variant
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.
Miracleman #2 – Cho 1:25 Variant
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
Interesting and great post, always enjoying reading what you write. But I should add that the Hell Arisen #3 – Cover B Federici Variant, although the consensus is showing just 5 graded, Go Collect sale history shows 45 sold, so unless there is the same 5 changing hands so frequently the data/information should reflect this.
I will say it again, Marauders #1 2nd print 1:25 incentive Dauterman Red Queen Virgin variant. It is an incredibly scarce error variant.
I agree with you on that Thor 705 Lee variant. I think when the movie drops this book has the potential to go up. Not as much as UF4 but I think it’ll definitely go up. As for the Hell Arisen I own that but I just checked and as of today 7 copies are graded. So maybe they were stuck in the pipeline? Anyways great spec list!!
*27 copies graded
I wrote this piece a while ago, they may have updated since. Regardless even at 27 copies it is a small fraction of Cover A.
It is a wonderful cover that feels tragically overlooked.
Wow, I actually have 3 of these variants. I just wanted to add that there is a virgin variant of the Spider-Gwen #32 Bengal cover.that was an Unknown Comic Books exclusive.
I’m behind the Black Window Dynamic Forces variant over the rest. Only 7,500 copies were printed and Yelena is on the cover. The Inhumans 5 Cameo in no way should be the one to get. That’s just from people following bad advice from bad Youtube shows.
Yeah the DF cover is a good play for sure. I prefer the cover B but you can’t go wrong with either IMO. Inhumans #5 makes me scratch my head a little but to each their own.
Have you seen the super scarce Marauders #1 2nd print 1:25 incentive Dauterman Red Queen Virgin Variant on Ebay? I think this print might also be an error variant because it lists the wrong cover artist on the back cover of the book. The back cover also displays the Golden Apple Exclusive logo, however the Virgin Variant was available to any retailer who ordered 25 copies of Marauders #1 2nd print, so it was not exclusive to Golden Apple. CGC doesn’t even have the book listed under variants or additional printings for Marauders #1 which seems odd since they are supposed to be a leader in 3rd party grading of comic books.
Does this comment section work?
Some nice picks, and I agree with your logic: Sometimes a variant cover is cool because we think it’s cool as a collector, regardless of whether it’s hot or not. So it’s nice to see some plugs based largely on what floats your boat as a collector.
I particularly agree with your thoughts on the B cover of Black Widow #1 and the Spider-Gwen Battle Lines variant. Bengal’s Spider-Gwen cover was completely new to me, so I liked seeing that one.
I’ve run across 2 or 3 copies of Cho’s Miracleman #2 variant in the wild, but have yet to pull the trigger. The copies I’ve seen are at the same shop and both have at least one hard spine break––like a lot of ratio variants I run across.
I can’t for the life of me figure out why such books aren’t packed more securely. Especially considering the fact that they’re priced higher right out of the Diamond box; seeing the grade on the one book listed in the census only fuels my existing suspicion about this book.
Apart from its suggested rarity, though, I think the likelihood of seeing any 9.8 grades on this one is slim. But Cho is one of the artists I whose work I really like to have represented in my collection, so I’ll probably just bite the bullet on this one.
Maybe I can get the shop manager to knock off a few bucks when I point out he damage.
Thanks for the feedback. I agree that variant cover appeal are largely subjective. There are so many of them now that we can’t see them all. In this article I am just trying to share some that have caught my eye. Thanks again for the feedback.