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There is a inherit distaste for modern day variant covers among some comic investors or even collectors. They called this ‘manufactured’ scarcity and avoids them like a plague. I tend to agree but I also know not all variant are equal. Some manage to elevate to a more classic status and become a key issue that most collectors want to have in their collection.
The focus is this week’s comic investing tip is how to identify which modern covers are ripe for investment for the short and medium term. Specifically, I will be focusing on female charcters. Whether these will hold value 10 years from now is hard to say. However, for the next 2-3 years, I don’t see this trend changing. If you want to invest in this trend, there are a certain number of factors you need to be aware of. Just remember this is NOT the only way. It is just one particular method that help you sort through the variant madness.
Despite the seeming random nature of variant investing, there is actually some commonalities amidst the chaos.
- Central figure design: an important characteristic you often see in expensive variants is that a central character dominates the cover. I can’t recall any variants where there are more than 1 person on the cover.
- Popularity: the character must be someone who is in the spotlight. It is pointless picking a variant cover that features a character that nobody cares about.
- Above cover price: In addition, that cover that the character is in already has some interest from fans, judging by their current above cover price tag.
- Artist: Certain artist like Adam Hughes get more interest from collectors and investors. Once an artist reach a tipping point, covers done by them are likely to become ‘the one’.
- The One: Every character will have one variant cover that becomes the One. This means it will not be fruitful, returns wise, to focus on variants who figured characters that already have ‘the one’ cover. This is because it is difficult for any new variant to overtake the One’s collectability or desirability in the minds of collectors. Instead, focus on popular female characters who doesn’t have the One variant cover yet. Below are examples of characters who already have “the one” cover;
Future investment candidates
Based on the above, there are some variants out there that have the potential to be next breakout hit. Specifically, the following is a list of popular female characters who have yet to have “the one” variant cover that everyone desires.
- Batgirl: With a solo movie coming up, it is a sure bet one of her covers will take off. Which one? Wait for the next article coming up in a week’s time.
- Spider woman: With the Sony movie verse in full swing, it is a matter of time before Spider Woman has her own movie. Before that happens, it is time to stock up on her variant covers, especially those with the potential to be ‘the one’.
- Poison Ivy: This character is going to be in the spotlight in the coming years due to the movie exposure. Surprising, for such a sexy character, there isn’t one variant cover that seems to command the attention of collectors
- Zatanna: With the Justice League Dark movie being more and more likely to happen, Zatanna will be in the spotlight once casting is done. Currently, she has a number of covers that are fan favorites but no one is really leading the pack at the moment
- Magik: Already a fan favorite, Magik has a couple of variant covers that are going for good money. When the New Mutants movie is out, it is likely that one of them will become ‘the one’.
What about variants that are not ‘the one’
When a character becomes popular enough, more than one cover can command the interest of the market. X-23 is a good example. You can of course make money by going after these other variants as well. Personally, I like to buy into the best possible returns and that means spotting, the one cover that will rise about the rest. This is just one form of investment strategy and is by no means the only way.