The Variant Cover and the debate over it’s necessity has been raging for years. For the record, I don’t hate variant covers. When a variant incentive is used properly, it can be a really fun way to expand the collector market and there have been some variants with absolutely stunning art in the last few years.
But, with DC announcing that Justice League of America will have FIFTY-TWO variant covers in an attempt to highlight each of the US states and territories, I think that if we all look down we will clearly see the shark that is being jumped over.
Fifteen variants for Walking Dead #100, twenty for Uncanny Avengers #1. It was only a matter of time before DC joined the Variant Arms Race, but fifty-two is a little much, even for the hardest-hearted completist. This is getting dangerously close to the dark times that we who survived it call “The Nineties.”
The biggest problem I have with this promotion though? The variant cover is not particularly inspiring. They are switching out the flags, but the background isn’t particularly exciting and the figures in the background appear to be photoshopped from the standard cover! I think this idea could have been interesting if they had made it a more local promotion, with the California variant only being available to shops in California, the New York one in that state and so on. Then hardcore collectors could have had the fun of tracking them all down through various ways and means, people in each state could have had a collectible that’s a little more personal and DC could have reaped the benefits. Sadly though, it’s all in with every cover being available to order everywhere.
Even DC seems to think they’ve gone a bit overboard. From DC Comics’ Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne:
“We’re going to pull back and drop variants from a handful of titles in the next solicitation cycle to pull back that number ourselves, where it didn’t seem the variant was making a substantial difference in the buy-in for the book or the perception of books,” Wayne said. “We’ll be looking at the remaining titles that have variants the following month.”
So consider this, the official bursting of the bubble.
Hopefully things can get under control before someone dusts off the ol’ hologram-making machine, but at this point I’m not overly optimistic.
Today’s page (and all subsequent variants) comes to us from Michael Montenant:
MICHAEL MONTENAT is a freelance illustrator from North Jersey. His latest work Spirit of the Law is a web comic published by Monkeybrain. Past work includes Hellraiser Annual #1 for BOOM! Studios, Pilot Season: Anonymous for Top Cow, Tales from the Cobra Wars for IDW Publishing and scattered shorts in anthologies such as the CBLDF Liberty Annual, and Omega Comics Presents for Pop! Goes the Icon.
Have a great week, my friends! See you back here Monday for some more Sketchbook fun!