Monday, May 10, 2004

Variation on a theme: discusses the return of variant covers with Marvel's Gui Karyo, DC's Bob Wayne, Image's Erik Larsen and Dark Horse's Jeff Macey.

Wayne: "Depending on how you do a variant cover, it's a matter of degrees. I think there is some possibility on any variant cover that it increases the possibility of someone buying more than one copy, and buying it for speculation. I think the fifty/fifty split, because it puts a substantial number of copies of both covers into the channel, tends to make it where it's not a highly collectible item in that respect. I don't think it causes a substantial amount of speculation. Smaller quantities certainly lead to folks who are interested in speculation. The general rule of thumb is we try not to publish original story material in a format that's unreasonably inaccessible because of a limited run. Variant covers don't seem as compelling a distinction as the actual story content. I don't have in my collection every variant cover that DC's produced in the sixteen and a half years that I've been here. I haven't felt compelled to keep one of each, and I probably had the easiest access of most people reading this interview."

Karyo: "... Dan, Joe and I are all constantly watching the market place - and in particular, we have been watching the variant cover effect since Dreamwave's Transformers covers. It is not that we watch or react to DC specifically, but it is foolish not to watch the market. What influences us is that there is apparently a large demand for these covers from our customers."

Larsen: "It's a manipulative way of doing business. It's not something I would encourage people to do. This isn't the early nineties. It's trying to foster the whole collectors' mentality thing. I don't know that there are that many real investors out there, or that that sort of thing should be encouraged. People ought to concentrate more on making sure that the books themselves are of decent quality."

Macey: "I think variant covers are sought out by speculators; they don't necessarily turn people into speculators. I think people can buy two copies of the same comic with different covers because they like both covers, rather than because they think the comics will be worth untold riches down the road."