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. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin (2020) No. 1 — 71 Variants
Originally planned as a follow-up story from a TMNT arc in the late 80’s, The Last Ronin eventually hit shelves in 2020 with seventy-one variants and a whopping 130,000 issues printed. Cowabunga, indeed!
9. 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?
8. 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.
7. Detective Comics (1937) No. 1000 — 86 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. Vampirella (2019) No. 1 — 89 Variants
Pretty much every issue of Vampirella from any of her dozens and dozens of series has a mountain of variant covers, but the IDW Publishing relaunch in 2019 topped them all with a whooping 89 different variants.
5. 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-two variant covers came with it, including a 1:5000 original art cover by Jim Lee. After just five issues, the entire series generated 146 (!) total covers.
4. (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.
3. (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 …
2. The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) No. 666 — 145 Variants
What? A single issue with the lots of variant covers that isn’t a No. 1 issue? And oddly enough, it’s 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. Of course, the number one spot had help from comic shops too …
1. The Walking Dead (2003) No. 1 — 253 Variants
The first issue of Image Comic’s wildly popular The Walking Dead has a bit of an odd path to its two-hundred forty-six (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. What really pushed it over the top? 157 store variants. One. Hundred. Fifty. SEVEN!