Marvel Will Release Over 50 Variants for U.S. Avengers #1. Why?
Graphic Policy is reporting that in January the new title U.S. Avengers #1 will have over fifty variants to kick it off. They have the summary over on their site if you’re interested (they’re buds of mine, so go give them some click traffic. Graphic Policy does great work).
The variants feature a particular superhero sailing over a state. Connecting all the variants together will make an American flag. I do think the concept is cool in theory.
Here’s my problem with this. I work in a comic book store as my day job. I help people make pull lists which is the base of how we order our books. These numbers are what puts the comics on the top 300 list every month. It’s not actually the amount of books sold; it’s the amount that are ordered (once again, Graphic Policy does a great job explaining this every month in their “By the Numbers” articles which I highly suggest reading). I don’t have a single customer in my store who has this on their pulls. When I’ve shown them previews of it, my customers aren’t excited about it. A few of them have called it a “bad” idea, and I agree. Look, I love Squirrel Girl. I think she’s one of Marvel’s best dark horses at the moment. But unless Ryan North and Erica Henderson are writing and drawing her, other authors make her into a joke. She’s atrocious in the current New Avengers and was taken out by Vision in Tom King’s The Vision (she’s supposed to be unbeatable. Is that her first loss? This needs to be discussed more). My fear is Al Ewing will continue this trend since the rest of the cast in U.S. Avengers are all B-rated heroes. Some of them don’t make sense. Squirrel Girl’s morals, fun, and thoughtful approaches to a fight is like oil and water to Thunderbolt Ross! Why are they on the same team? Anyway, if my customers aren’t excited for this book, then it’s worrying me how many will sit on our store’s shelves come January.
What I want to know is how these fifty states variants are going to roll out. Let me give you a quick rundown of how variants work. If a book has a 1:10 variant, then a store gets one copy for every ten regular issues they order. If it’s a 1:100 variant, then you have to order one hundred books to get that one variant. That’s why some variants are worth more than others. They’re more rare and harder to get. If they make these variants to where you can only get the Georgia variant in stores in Georgia, then this will up their value. It’s going to be difficult to get that Alaska or Hawaii copy, and sellers out there will probably up their prices. This would be the smartest way for Marvel to keep their variants having value.
Let me tell you how this will more than likely work out. When we order on Diamond (the conglomerate company that comic book stores order from who are famous for sending us 20+ damaged books a week. Seriously, they’re the only company stores can get comics from, and there is no one to keep them in check), we as stores can choose our variants as long we order the right amount. What they’ll probably do is vary the rarity of the variants. So ten states will probably be 1:10 variants, ten more will be 1:25, then 1:50, then 1:100, and so on. Huge stores like Midtown Comics in New York City have the ability to order enough to get all the variants. Most stores like our’s, though, are small local businesses. We’ll lose money if we ordered a ton, and more than likely they’ll end up in the dollar bin faster than Starbrand and Nightmask. What you’ll end up seeing is 1:10 variants saturating the market. That lowers their value making them pretty much cover price or less (less being when we have variant sells. We still have Secret Wars and Convergence variants from last year). We as a store will make no money on this. When customers see a ton of an issue on a wall, they know it’s not selling either and probably deduces that it’s a “bad” title.
Marvel needs to make the state variants come out in the states they’re representing (so the Georgia variant can only be bought in Georgia). Sure, there are online sellers to help out collectors. You can buy anything on Ebay and Amazon these days. Many comic collectors, though, enjoy the hunt for that one issue. They will go from shop to shop to get it. At least this will give a mediocre looking title some value, because I don’t foresee this series lasting more than six issues, maybe twelve tops.
Marvel might surprise me. DC Comics did a similar gambit a few years back with Justice League of America #1 using all fifty state flags. Some of them are cover price on Ebay while others are running up to $24.99 at the time this is written. Though, these prices aren’t sold listings. That’s where you need to check how much a comic is worth on Ebay. You can list an issue for $50, but if people in the sold listings are getting it for $5, then that’s it’s worth.
Last gripe, and this is no offense to Luke Cage who I adore. Why isn’t Captain America or the Winter Soldier on the New York state variant? Steve and Bucky are from Brooklyn! New York has been their home since the 40’s. They even have a statue of Captain America in Brooklyn. At least put Steve on the Maryland or Virginia cover since it’s right by Washington D.C. If Kamala Khan isn’t Miss New Jersey, there’s a huge problem.
Over the next few days, Marvel will release the sneak peeks of the state variants. Check out the ones we have so far below.