Currently, there is a lot of negativity surrounding store exclusive variants in the comic collecting hobby. This article argues why this might present a big buying opportunity. When it comes to investing in anything, the best opportunities are often where people aren’t looking.
What the Knull?
The Skan Venom #5 variant by Freddie’s Comics recently caused a bit of a stir in the collecting community. The debate centered around Knull’s first cover appearance. As a result, some suggest that cover appearances from store exclusives do not really “count.” This is because they are not widely available to the collecting public.
Brian and Jack from Simpleman’s Comics recently featured ‘Store Exclusive Variants’ on the down portion of their 3 Up 3 Down show on YouTube. (Regular viewers of that show will know that the down/cold list is really a buy list) However, I think the negativity around store exclusives may likely change over time.
Comic Convention Exclusives
There are more than 50 comic book conventions in North America each year. Additionally, there are at least another 50 throughout the rest of the world. There are several exclusive variant comics that are only available at these conventions. The Spawn #300 Gold Foil Variant at the New York Comic Convention was a very hot book in 2019. Similarly, another recent hot convention book was Wolverine #1 from C2E2 by John Tyler Christopher. The comic book community generally embraces convention variants. However, I would argue that they are no different than store variants. This is because they are not widely available to most collectors. Furthermore, I would contend that store variants are far more accessible than convention variants because collectors can order them online.
Eye Catching Store Exclusive Variants
I am a big fan of limited edition variants of any kind. It doesn’t matter if they are ratio variants, store exclusives, or convention exclusives. They are all potentially interesting investment opportunities. As we all know, not all variants end up holding their value, most do not. This goes for variants of all kinds. Currently, I think store variants are generally undervalued. I suggest you hunt for bargains in this area as many other collectors are turning their backs to these books. Here are a few that I really like.
Please do not take the books that I listed above as buy recommendations. These are books from the past and present that have caught my eye. Variants make the hobby fun. I expect that there will be additional gems to pop out of store variants like we saw with Venom #5. For me, Venom #5 is a fantastically awesome cover that pays homage to Knull’s first appearance in Venom #3. Furthermore, I’m not that concerned if it is his first true cover appearance or not.