Variant covers remain hot right now, and that includes Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy variants to a DC month from Darwyn Cooke and others featuring The Flash and Harley Quinn. It’s making collectors get to their local comics shops earlier and earlier each Wednesday so they can get the issues in the best condition possible.
Well, a new variant has just been announced, and I’m having mixed feeling about it.
It’s called the “first-ever shrinking variant” cover for Ant-Man #1, arriving in stores this January.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
Here’s a portion of the news release that was posted on this site yesterday about these variants: “From blockbuster artist Ed McGuinness – each Ant-Man #1 Shrinking Variant is completely unique. Individually numbered, each cover features Ant-Man at a different size – small, large and everything in between. Fans lucky enough to get their hands on this highly collectable variant cover will own a unique piece of history, as no two variants are alike!”
“This is completely unlike any cover we’ve ever attempted,” said Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “We’ve even had to utilize new technologies to make it happen. Each variant is completely unique. Each and every cover will feature a different sized Ant-Man. No two are identical!”
I’m happy that a writer whose work I enjoy is scripting the book – Nick Spencer – so that’s a big plus. I also enjoy Ed McGuinness’ art, so that’s good. And I’ve been a fan of Ant-Man since the early days of Hank Pym.
But I’m not certain about several aspects of these variants, so let me share those thoughts with you.
THE ‘ULTIMATE’ COLLECTIBLE VARIANT COVER?
My first concern has to do with each cover being totally unique, unlike any other one. That means the differences from cover to cover are likely to be microscopic at best! I’m sure that’s why they’re being numbered.
If that’s the case, how do you choose which one to buy? I mean, besides making sure the issue is in the best condition possible?
Will it be like statues, with the lowest numbers being the most valuable? If that’s the case, one store could end up with books number one through 100. Look for those issues to end up on eBay asap!
If this is how the value is being determined, I hope they’ll be scattered to many different stores. Otherwise, a lot of the fun will taken out of the whole event.
Will it be that some of the images will be obviously larger or smaller than others? Will that be how value is decided?
For instance, let’s say that #100 is significantly different from 99 and 101 for some reason. Or every number with “25” in it will be noticeably different from the issues around it.
Those people who figure this kind of difference out first – or have friends/fellow collectors they learn about this from quickly – will be sifting through as many covers as possible to find the “best” ones.
If this ends up being true and the folks working at stores are smart, they’ll stay on the Internet a lot when the book hits the streets, learn what ones should be more collectible, then bad and board them, putting them for sale at a higher price.
IS THIS GOING TO BE WORTH ALL THE EFFORT?
I’m going to be truly interested in reading the reactions of collectors who buy this issue by the boatload in an effort to be sure they have at least some of the most valuable copies.
In years past, I remember being at a store in which one customer bought an entire box full of Dazzler #1. He was sure he’d put himself through college with these books.
Most of us are going to find out “too late” just what the “right” thing to do will be. It’s likely that all the most valuable issues will be gone before the vast majority of us will have any idea just which ones are worth the effort.
SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
I’m very glad that Mr. Spencer and Mr. Pym are getting the attention they are. I hope these variant covers help raise interest in the upcoming Ant-Man movie as well as the comic series. I don’t know if the Guardians covers accomplished that, but they sure did raise awareness of the film among fans in local shops!
My advice is to buy whatever you feel comfortable getting. Can you afford 100 of them? Then by all means, go for it! If you can only afford one or two, get the ones you want most when you are shopping for them. If you don’t care about the book or character at all, feel free to speculate, but be prepared for the chance that, in a few months, these books might be papering the bottom of your pet bird’s cage instead of being worth cash at your local pawn shop.
I’ve speculated in my day, but it never fails – I always wait too long to sell stuff. I kept a number of Thor #337’s as well as Thundercats #1, and when I needed the money, the time had passed for me to get anything more than a quarter or two from them. Learn from my mistakes because I surely did!
I still say that the best thing to do is support the character/creators as much as you can without feeling the pain in your wallet. And please, don’t stop into your local shop every week asking, “Are they worth anything yet?” It’s like asking your parents from the back seat of your car, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” You’ll drive them just as NUTS, I guarantee you!
And if the value of your issues shrink more than the hero does, hey, take comfort in the fact that you collected smart this time!