Too Much Variants Man.

§ June 2nd, 2021 § Filed under indies, variant covers § 12 Comments

So BrianF said in the comments to my last post

“Love what yer doing but I’m surprised there’s been no mention of the ‘comics shot by a bullet’ variant”

I’m glad you’re enjoying this series, BrianF…I’ve been having a lot of fun writing it! But as to the “shot with a bullet” “variant,” I am presuming you mean Jab #3, published by Adhesive Comics in 1993 (featuring a Too Much Coffee Man story by Shannon Wheeler, hence the title of this post).

I’ve actually posted about this comic here on the site a long time ago, back in 2005, and you can see that entry right here. However, I went ahead and pulled my copy of the comic out of the What’s Left of the Vast Mikester Comics Archive to rescan for today’s post:

Here’s a close up of the bullet hole (I laid the cover out on the counter of my shop and pushed the paper aside a little so that you could see, yes indeedy, there is a hole there):

And as I noted last time, the bullet hole itself was incorporated into several of the story pages in this anthology:

(An aside: the example I used last time for an interior shot was by a cartoonist named Tom King…presumably not the same Tom King writing today about how superheroes are sad and/or possibly up to something.)

To BrianF’s point, I was going to respond “this isn’t really a ‘variant’ cover as such, but a ‘gimmick’ cover, in that the only available version you could get was the one with the gimmick, much like the only version of Shadowhawk II #3 you could buy was the one with the perforated fold-out cover. Not to say there can’t be overlap between a gimmick and a variant, such as having a standard cover and a deluxe fancy cover, like WildC.A.T.s #2. But in this case Jab #3 were all distributed with bullet holes, and didn’t have variants as such.”

That’s what I was going to say. But hold onto your shorts, BrianF, as I was wrong!

Let me repeat that, in larger, redder letters, given my being wrong is such an infrequent occurrence:


Okay, before you wags say anything, yes, every bullet hole is going to be different and thus every copy is technically a variant. But c’mon, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I decided to check if perhaps this book was offered in an “un-bulleted” edition, given as I haven’t looked inside it probably since I last posted about it in 2005.

And lo, feast your eyes upon this order page from the inside back cover (click the image to increase the caliber):

Holy crow. Okay, before I get to the obvious stuff, let’s look at the part where the publisher sez:

“…The normal edition of JAB was shot in stacks of 10 copies so that only the tenth copy became a Special Collectors Edition with powder burns on the cover.”

There was a 1-in-10 variant of the regular in-store edition that had powder burns. BrianF, I acknowledge your initial assertion…the “shot with a bullet” comic was indeed released with variants.

But as you all can see for yourselves in the ad, that wasn’t all! Four other editions, with holes caused by increasingly larger and more destructive ammunition, were offerred via mail order only:

I’ll go ahead and post the relevant text from the ad here:

In addition to that 1/10 powder burn variant, there were supposedly 20 copies apiece of each of these other variants. And in case you couldn’t tell from the image:

Powder burns and the shell for the used ammo included! All signed and numbered! And I salute the fact that the more money you get charged, the apparently less comic book you receive.

I looked…I didn’t see any copies of the larger-caliber versions up for sale or even display anywhere, but it’s a large internet and I’m sure I missed it. But apparently they do exist, as per these comments from Jab contributor Shannon Wheeler his own self (via Brian Cronin’s article on this very topic from 10 years ago!).

Therefore, BrianF, if I may reiterate: the Bullet-Shot Comic is a variant comic, with multiple versions once available. Um, good luck finding those now, I guess, but look out for counterfeiters making “fake” Jab #3 variants by reshooting the regular edition with their own shotguns. Surely the most rampant of funnybook crimes.

NOTE: found at least one online retailer that had a placeholder listing for this issue, with theoretical prices in grades running from “Fair” all the way to “Near Mint.” Um, yeah, hey, let me know wnen you get a near mint copy of this, I’d like to see it.

EDIT: Follow-up posts here and here!

12 Responses to “Too Much Variants Man.”

  • […] EDIT 6-2-21: There is a much-newer post with a lot more details about this comic that you can read here. […]

  • […] EDIT 6-2-21: There is a much-newer post with a lot more details about this comic that you can read here. […]

  • will richards says:

    “I salute the fact that the more money you get charged, the apparently less comic book you receive”.

    See also the CGC…

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Looks like to make the interior panels work, the bullet had to be fired fairly precisely. I wonder how many copies they lost due to a badly armed firearm? Or did they just go ahead and release them, so some copies have better aimed bullet holes than others?

  • Jon H says:


    The powder burns on the frontmost copy suggest that the gun was fired from pretty close to the comics, so precision might not have been a problem.

  • Mikester says:

    Thelonious_Nick/Jon H – that was my assumption. Stacked ’em thick, got up close with the firearm.

  • BrianF says:

    Great post!
    Would read again

  • Tenzil Kem, Esq. says:

    Every time this comic gets discussed, I’m reminded of a Mad magazine knockoff called Jab that started in Birmingham, AL before briefly (very briefly) going national in the mid 90’s. I wonder if I still have those issues somewhere.

  • Patrick Joseph says:

    Tom King was a cartoonist in Austin. He and his wife Jeanette Moreno moved out to LA around 1998 to work on some new show called Futurama. They are both still in animation, and she is head of the animation union. Tom did some short pieces in the Dark Horse Tex Avery books and a weekly strip in the Austin American Statesman before going into animation full time. Dan Clowes called him the most talented cartoonist without his own book at some point.

  • @misterjayem says:

    You can have my Jab #3 when you pry it from my cold, etc.

    — MrJM

  • LouReedRichards says:

    @Tenzil Kem, Esq.

    Funny that you mention that “Jab” magazine. I live in B’ham and that’s the one I first thought of too. I had a friend who’s dad had something or other to do with that short lived series (Don’t remember if he was involved in the printing or the advertising side of it). Don’t remember much about the magazine other than it did seem like pretty blatant ersatz MAD.

    The wiki you linked to took me back, Coyote J Calhoun!
    Our one source for early 90’s indie/alternative music on the radio – for two hours late on Sunday nights!

  • Former Employee Nathan says:

    Sorry to resurrect a month-old post, but I read your site in chunks.


    I have a… powerful desire to own a Jab #3 Shotgun Variant now. Though as you note, they seem utterly impossible to find.

    Additionally, if I *did* find one, I’d be tempted to send it to CGC just to see what happens.