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 (2016) No. 1
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-six variants and a whopping 130,000 issues printed. Cowabunga, indeed!
9. Harley Quinn (2016) No. 1
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 eighty-two gorgeous variant covers. Think her inevitable next relaunch can go higher?
8. Star Wars (2015) No. 1
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-three 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
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-six kick-ass variant covers lit up the release of Detective Comics (1937) No. 1000.
6. Vampirella (2019) No. 1
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 87 different covers.
5. Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters (2011) No. 1
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 …
4. Dark Knight III: The Master Race (2016) No. 1
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 104 variant covers came with it, including a 1:5000 original art cover by Jim Lee. After just nine issues, the entire series generated 190 (!) total covers.
3. Batman (2016) No. 50
No stranger to the variant game, this is the odd non-first-issue that did it up big. 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. The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) No. 666
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
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!