Love them or hate them, variant covers are a big part of the comic book industry. Here are the single issues with the highest number of variant covers to date.
10. The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) No. 800 — 63 Variants
A landmark issue gets the landmark treatment. After multiple relaunches and volumes, Marvel returned the web-slinger to his original numbering just in time to crank out number 800 and over 60 variant covers.
9. U.S.Avengers (2017) No. 1 — 64 Variants
It’s a fun, if in some cases head-scratching, concept: an Avenger to represent every U.S. state (and then some). That’s fifty unique covers right off the bat, plus Canada, Puerto Rico, and the usual handful of blank covers and the like. This one’s almost cheating. And how again is Tigra in Arkansas?
8. Harley Quinn (2016) No. 1 — 79 Variants
The insanely popular Harley Quinn was fresh off her smash film debut in The Suicide Squad when DC Comics relaunched her solo title for the third time, releasing seventy-five gorgeous variant covers. Think her inevitable next relaunch can go higher?
7. Detective Comics (1937) No. 1000 — 83 Variants
This may almost settle who’s the King of DC Comics once and for all … Although Superman was the first to hit 1,000 issues in Action Comics (1938) a few months prior, his milestone was only celebrated with 54 variant covers. Batman? Eighty-three kick-ass variant covers lit up the release of Detective Comics (1937) No. 1000.
6. Star Wars (2015) No. 1 — 85 Variants
Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 returned to Marvel after decades at Dark Horse Comics. And they returned in a big way with eighty-four variant covers ranging from comic shop exclusives to a seventh printing, Star Wars (2015) No. 1 was the top-selling single-issue of a comic book in the past twenty years.
5. The Walking Dead (2003) No. 1 — 89 Variants
The first issue of Image Comic’s wildly popular The Walking Dead has a bit of an odd path to its eighty-nine (and counting) variant covers. Not all variant covers of the first issue of Robert Kirkman’s zombie saga were released at the same time. As its popularity grew, and exploded with AMC’s hit television show in 2010, the first issue was reprinted, re-issued, and given lots and lots of new covers.
4. Dark Knight III: The Master Race (2016) No. 1 — 91 Variants
Third time’s the charm? After a disappointing sequel to his original masterpiece, Frank Miller returned to tell one more chapter of The Dark Knight, and ninety-one variant covers came with it, including a 1:5,000 original art cover by Jim Lee. After just five issues, the entire series generated 146 (!) total covers.
2. (tie) Batman (2016) No. 50 — 104 Variants
The (almost) wedding of the century! The Dark Knight and Catwoman tie the knot (or do they?) in Tom King’s landmark issue of the Caped Crusader, and fans had an avalanche of variants to RSVP for.
2. (tie) Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters (2011) No. 1 — 104 Variants
King of The Monsters and King of the Comic Book Variants, IDW Publishing’s Godzillia relaunch went nuts with 93 retailer variants alone. Your move King Kong …
1. The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) No. 666 — 145 Variants
What? The single issue with the most variant covers isn’t a No. 1 issue? Nope, it’s oddly enough the devil’s number — No. 666 of the original volume of The Amazing Spider-Man. The issue kicked of the prologue of the Spider-Island event, but was in no other way special. Still, one-hundred and forty-five different covers is a pretty tall order. How’d they do it? 141 various comic shop variants help.