Covert Variant Teams.

§ August 30th, 2021 § Filed under variant covers § 8 Comments

So I picked up a collection the other day, where the fella selling prefaced his offering with “they’re all from the early ’90s.” I replied “well, don’t get your hopes up, I probably won’t need much,” and then I proceeded to purchase everything he had as I indeed did “need much.” Nothing super-spectacular, just lots of X-Men and Spider-Man stuff, other Marvels of the period I could use…lots of books that aren’t jumping out of those “key collecting” apps everyone’s got their noses stuck to, but remain consistent sellers.

Many of the comics in this collection were “newsstand” editions, with the standard UPC codes. As noted before, there seems to be increased collector interest in newsstand editions, as they’re seen as “rare variants” and the like, in a market newly desperate for readily available “collectibles.”

And thus, yes, I’m bumping up prices on some of the newsstand books I acquired…hey, baby needs formula, don’t look at me like that. But of particular note in this collection was a comic I’d never actually seen before in its newsstand form, 1994’s Spawn-Batman:

Aside from the UPC code on the back, the primary difference is that instead of the stiff covers of the direct market version, it has floppy paper covers, as seen in this Instagram video I made. (And if you think I’m being too rough on it in that clip…it ain’t high grade, it can take a little manhandling.)

Pricing the book was a bit of a bear…I don’t believe it’s in the current price guide (at least, it’s not in the two-year-old guide I have at home), and online prices are all over the map. Some eBay sellers had it in the $5 to $10 range, which seemed too cheap, and on mail order house had a midrange copy for hundreds of dollars, which seemed miles too high. I ultimately skewed lower-end, assuming a mint copy to be ~$20 and working it out from there. Sometimes…you just gotta make stuff up.

Also in the collection was a newsstand edition of an Image book I did know about…in fact, I’d seen it racked in a downtown newsstand back when it was new: WildC.A.T.s #2:


The all-white background on regular paper made it stand out, given that the direct sales edition I was used to was the stiff-covered, foil-enhanced version:


There were two copies of this one in the collection, in beautiful NM shape, both of which ended up selling to the same fella for $15 a pop. Again, a price I researched and ultimately had to work out on my own.

There were also lots of just plain ol’ Spawn in the UPC-burdened newsstand flavor:


…not the #1 pictured here, alas, but scattered issues running from about 2 to 27. I seem to recall seeing a few Spawns on newsstand racks at the time, too.

Now I don’t know how long this newsstand push of Image’s lasted. On the Grand Comic Database, the latest newsstand Spawn they had was #134 from 2004. That’s far later than I expected, though after about #52 GCD only shows a handful of newsstand Spawns here and there. I presume those editions do exist, as it seems like a lot of trouble to only sporadically distribute your issues through certain venues.

Another Image title, Savage Dragon, had newsstand editions listed up through 26 in 1996. No idea if there are more after that…didn’t spot any in an eBay search, though I did spot lots of other Image books I didn’t suspect would have had newsstand distribution: Savage Dragon Vs. Savage Megaton Man anybody? Plus, I imagine recent issues of Savage Dragon would be quite the trick to rack in a convenience store, given the uptick in “special hugging” the book’s seen of late.

These are…interesting novelties, I think, and, especially in Spawn‘s case, published for much longer than I realized. I figured for sure the newsstand distribution was an early artifact of Image’s launch, but nope, there’s that 2004 newsstand issue of Spawn. And yes, I bumped up the prices on these Spawns I picked up in the collection, too..a little extra percentage over the guide. Yeah, I know, what can I tell you…I’m part of the problem.

8 Responses to “Covert Variant Teams.”

  • Matthew Murray says:

    “The Definitive Guide to Spawn Newsstand Editions” on the SpawnWorld website says that Spawn had newsstand editions up until #137.

  • jmurphy says:

    The 50th Anniversary Edition of Overstreet puts Spawn-Batman 9.0 at $19, 9.2 at $24

  • Snark Shark says:

    “newsstand Spawn they had was #134 from 2004. That’s far later than I expected”

    Me too! I’d have guessed 1999 or something.

    “Savage Dragon”

    I remember seeing some issues of the mini-series on the comic racks at Fred Meyer, back in the early 90’s.

  • Scott C. says:

    Do you use MyComicShop.com for reference for pricing? I can’t imagine anyone looking at MileHigh and using their pricing. They had a 60% off sale recently and even with that, it was higher than MCS seeing as how Mile High prices most books around $30 for NM even if they just came out within the past year and have no reason to have jumped in price.

    I usually use MCS and then do a 10-20% discount and sometimes even up to 50% if we have deeper stock than wanted.

  • Snark Shark says:

    Are they called Mile High Comics because of their ENORMOUS PRICES?

    But seriously, how do they sell, having the highest prices of everyone, all the time?

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    In 2019, I was in Denver and stopped by Mile High’s flagship store because I wanted to see what over one million comics in stock looked like. I was very please to find that prices in store are marked much more reasonably.

  • Thom H. says:

    Good to know that the Mile High store has cheaper prices than their website. I’m traveling to Denver in the near future, and the store is at the top of my list of places to visit.

  • JohnJ says:

    Mile High was also the first store to adopt this dumb notion that newstand copies were worth so much more than comic shop ones, but if you’re dumb enough to base your collection on what’s in the UPC box, you’re probably dumb enough to pay way more for them.
    I still get e-mails from Mile High, but just ordered from Lone Star last week as I have for a long time when I’m looking for specific back issues.

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