Isn’t platinum a little more whitish in color than that?

§ September 27th, 2021 § Filed under death of superman, variant covers § 3 Comments

The only platinum edition comic I personally own is, as should come as no surprise, this “Collector’s Edition” (no, really, it is, it says right at the top) of Swamp Thing #140 (March 1994):


In addition to having the silvery-ink sidebar, logo, and other cover highlights, this edition replaced the ad normally on the back cover with this Swampy image by Phil Hester:


You’ll have to forgive me, it’s been (urgh) about 27 years since I got my mitts on this particular variant, so I forget the exact details surrounding its release. I thought maybe it was a Vertigo anniversary thing, or commemorating some soft relaunch of the imprint, or something along those lines. But no, a little digging showed DC doing a number of platinum editions around this time, just signifying some new notable title launch or storyline or whatnot.

Generally distributed one per store, these platinum variants carried some secondary market value as I vaguely recall, though a look at eBay nowadays shows plenty of copies of most platinum editions available for sale, and mostly not very expensive at that. Someone’s got a Books of Magic #1 (May 1994) platinum edition up for a Buy It Now of five bucks, as I type this.

To be fair, there were a lot of platinum editions in the Vertigo line. I’d remembered that Books of Magic issue, and, oddly enough, the platinum edition for the slightly more obscure Extremist #1 (September 1993). But I forgot about this particularly nice-looking platinum Black Orchid #1 (September 1993).

Of course it wasn’t just the Vertigo titles that got this treatment, however. Check out this platinum cover for Milestone Media’s Hardware #1 (April 1993) that I don’t think ever knew existed:


And there was a platinum edition of Static #1 (June 1993) as well.

Most famously, though, and I don’t know why I didn’t put the Vertigo “platinum” trend at DC together with this in my head, were the Death of Superman-related “collector’s editions.” There was of course the actual Death of Superman issue, Superman #75 (January 1993), in a black bag that replaced the bloody “S” logo with a silvery one, and slapped the words “PLATINUM EDITION” along the bottom:

A search of copies on eBay showed plenty of graded ‘n’ slabbed copies out of the polybag*, and the front of the comic itself looks no different from the platinum one. However, the back covers feature a big white space and a serial number:


The Grand Comic Database entry states these were possibly numbered between 1,000 and 11,000, though there’s been no official confirmation from DC. This excerpt from a retailer letter I posted a couple of years back definitively states that it was a limited edition of 10,000. Also, you had to send in your business card and a copy of your resale certificate. Here, I’ll save you a click and just post the scan again:


Back in the old days, you had to work for your special platinum variants, they weren’t just handed out to stores willy-nilly!

DC later released a platinum edition of the white-bagged Adventures of Superman #500 (June 1993), which as you may remember kicked off the whole “Return of Superman” hoohar.

Black-bagged instead of white, silver non-bloody “S” logo on the front, “PLATINUM EDITION” along the bottom…don’t get it mixed up with the #75 above!

Unlike the actual cover of #75, which isn’t immediately apparent that it’s any different from the regular edition unitl you turn it over and see the serial number, ADV500 is instantly identifiable with its…whatever that color is cover instead of black:


I mean, is that “light mint?” What would you call that? Or is that just white in weird lighting? I honestly can’t tell, and it could just be my eyes. And it’s been so long since I’ve seen one in person I can’t tell you from memory.

Anyway, don’t think this one was serially numbered, at least as far as I can tell. And I think this was just sent out to folks who carried the comic, as perhaps DC didn’t want to further aggravate retailers already stuck with copies by making them jump through hoops to get…yet another copy.

I’m sure I missed mentioning a few…I wasn’t trying to be absolutely comprehensive here, but perhaps I can append a list later of all of DC’s platinum editions if necessary. But man, considering I didn’t even know about a couple of them is going to make it tricky to track down. And I didn’t even touch on platinum editions for other publishers. But it felt like such a weirdly DC thing I decided to just focus on them.

Plus, I got to show off my Swamp Thing comic.

* And yes, there’s perhaps some minor debate over the value of bagged comics and their opening or not opening thereof. I know the price guide allows for a bagged comic to be neatly opened and all contents retained to keep that high price and grade, but in the wild…man, sealed copies always sell for more than even the most neatly-opened copies. What can I tell you.

3 Responses to “Isn’t platinum a little more whitish in color than that?”

  • Snark Shark says:

    “platinum cover for Milestone Media’s Hardware #1”

    That just looks like a REALLY washed out copy of the regular edition!

    I think silver/platinum/gold is hard to do with comic-book printing.

    “the value of bagged comics”

    OH! This @!#& annoys me! I don’t read BAGS, I read COMICS. I don’t collect BAGS, I collect COMICS! (I use bags to protect the comics, yes, but they’re a higher grade of plastic).

  • Wes Wescovich says:

    I have a copy of the platinum Hardware number one. But mine has a large silver foil sticker with the Capital distributing logo on it though. I’ve actually never seen another copy with or without the sticker though. The picture you show as well as the one on GCD also does not have that sticker. Have you ever seen Capital put a label on anything like that like? Seems like a comics distributor, albeit a now defunct one, would know better than to deface things like that?

  • Snark Shark says:

    Wes Wescovich: “would know better than to deface things like that?”

    Maybe THAT’S why they went bankrupt!

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