The variant cover “craze” that has seemingly swept the comic book industry the past few years is not typically my cup of tea, but yesterday’s announcement that Marvel was going to use the front of Amazing Spider-Man #666 to promote comic book shops across the country seems like a lot of fun. Per Digital Spy:
A photograph of participating stores will be depicted on the front page of a copy of the Daily Bugle as part of Ryan Stegman’s cover design. Outlets that place larger orders will be included on Humberto Ramos’s variant design, being defended by the titular superhero.
I have a couple of big-time comic book shops near my office in Manhattan, so this might be a case where if any of them are participants, I’ll break down a buy an additional copy of ASM 666. All of these variant covers create a tricky conundrum for me as a collector: on one hand, as someone who’s trying to “complete” the entire run of Amazing Spider-Man there’s always a bit of a pull to get EVERYTHING that’s out there connected to the title. However, in many cases, these variants are so rare and are so well-sheltered by dealers, I would end up dropping as much money as I would pay for some of the older issues I’m still missing in my quest to nab the entire run. Plus, as a subscriber, you’d think Marvel would throw me a bone every once in a while and through luck of the draw, I’d get one of these variant issues mailed to me “at random.”
So instead, I’ve treated these covers as just an added industry gimmick designed to generate buzz from obsessive buyers and have decided to only consider picking some of them up well after I complete my initial goal of completing the ASM run in its most traditional sense: issues #1-6XX and beyond – no variants.
However, in the case of ASM 666, I can’t hide the fact that I’m sincerely nostalgic for the old comic book shops that were the foundation for my collection – many of which no longer exist thanks to the comic book bust of the 1990s. A cover that seemingly honors that pastime, tugs at me emotionally, so if the price is reasonable enough, count me in on this issue.