Adam Hughes covers are one of those rare modern comics where the covers alone commanded premium prices in the marketplace. The most famous is of course the Supergirl and Legion of Superheroes #23 variant. Raw prices are in the $250+ range, with potential higher grade ones demanding over $300. However, it is not the most rare covers, just probably the most desired.
So, in my quest to see which Adam Hughes covers are actually the rarest, I have complied a top 10 list. The list is not comprehensive as I might missed on some covers so please free feel to correct me if I didn’t include any particular cover you know about that has a less print run than what is covered here.
Note: for covers that are part of a series, I will just choose the most represenatative cover rather than listing every cover from that series to have more breadth in this article.
#1: Star Wars Rebel Heist #2 – 1:40 (500)
With a total print run of only 20k copies, the 1:40 sketch variants mean there is only 500 copies available. This is the only lady cover among all the Adam Hughes drawings for this 4 issue mini series. Personally though, I think it is ugly no matter how rare it is.
Here are some Ebay listing if you want to buy one.
#2: Wonder Woman #600 – 1:75 (700)
This sketch version of Wonder Woman #600 is a one in 75 variant. The total print run is around 53k, so estimated number for this cover is 700.
There is one on Ebay now. I would grab it if I didn’t have it already.
#3: #1: Wonder Woman #600 – 1:25 (2,120)
Same cover as above but in color. This is the 1:50 variant so total print run should be around 1k or so. Prices wise, it only commanded $80 in a recent auction for a raw Neat Mint copy.
#4: Teen Titans Vol 3 #88 – 1:10 (2,700)
This issue surprised me. I didn’t know the print run was only 27k. If the variant is 1:10, this means only 2,700 copies of this exist. The only information about the variant distribution was on Amazon. Assuming the info is correct, then this is a relatively unknown rare cover.
#5: Supergirl and Legion of Superheroes #23 – 1:10 (4,000)
Total print run for this issue is around 41k so a one in ten variant means there are around 4k copies of this variant. Compared to Wonder Woman #600, it has about 8 times as many copies but prices are definitely higher on this issue. Why? Demand. This is the reason why you can’t just say that an issue has only XX copies and therefore it must be worth more. Demand must always be analyzed though that is the most difficult part since there is on concrete data points. The only way is through observation and using proxy data such as title sales of that character, value of his or her first appearance etc.
#6: Harley Quinn Vol 2 #1 – 1:10 (9,000)
Harley Quinn’s second volume first issue has a total of 92k print run. 10% means there is about 9k copies of this variant. This makes it the sixth rarest Adam Hughes cover and yet it commands nearly $100 in the marketplace. What gives? One word: Harley, which again shows the demand side of the pricing equation.
#7: Justice League of America Vol 2 #6 – 1:10 (13k)
A 1:10 variant that has 13k print run! This shows how large the regular version is: a staggering 130k copies. Even so, the 13k is still a comfortable number in terms of rarity but this probably don’t do much in terms of price appreciation given the character and the print run.
#8: Tomb Raider #44 (15k)
This was produced during the 2004 period where print runs weren’t that high. This explains the low number despite the cover not being a variant of any sorts. The downside is that Tomb Raider as a character is losing its appeal so I am not sure what is the sustainable value down the road.
#9: JSA Classified #1 2nd print (15k)
Another pretty iconic cover. JSA Classified #1 has about 58k print run so assuming 50% split, this means the main variant has around 26k copies. The second print, on the other hand, has about 15k copies so relatively speaking, it is still more scare than the colored version.
#10: Zatanna #15 (17,000)
The third volume of Zatanna saw quite a drop in its print run towards the last few issue. This particular one, for example, has only 17k print run. It features, IMHO, the most gorgeous Zatanna cover I have seen. To me, it is second only to the Supergirl #23 cover.
You might be surprised at the above list, especially since it is missing popular covers such as Catwoman #51 or Wonder Wonder #184. Unfortunately, this is not a popularity but a rarity list. Having said that, it does not mean rare = valuable. The demand is important Will fans love it? Will collectors spend more than cover price to acquire it? Etc etc etc. These are the questions you must ask if you intend to speculate on an Adam Hughes covers.