The history of BLANK VARIANT COVERS index

BlankCoverMasters2002

Blank covers have become all the rage but not overnight. Now it seems that every single new comic book from all publishers also contains a blank cover version. These are fun to collect and of course the purpose is for talented artists to use them as their canvass for their own 1 of a kind unique covers. Many have become very valuable online. But what about the blank covers themselves?

A few interesting trends have emerged over time. These books are always usually printed at the exact quantity requested by retailers during their initial orders. Rarely do these books stay in stock. So now they are instantly sell outs and have potential as collectibles. But seems very few talk about them. Whats interesting about these is the potential for sellouts is even greater as artists may want to buy massive quantities of copies rather than just the typical 1 copy to read.

All publishers have jumped on the bandwagon and are using this as an extra tool for revenue.
But looking back the publishers weren’t so quick to jump on the bandwagon and notice in the early days how sporadic it really was between releases.

BlankVariantHistoryChart

This chart I have compiled is every known Blank cover variant I could locate from all Diamond listings since 2002. Note how all the earliest blank covers actually were “framed” and not completely white blank as they are today.

In 2002 that lone blank variant came out featuring the Image comics version of Masters Of The Universe dynamic forces variant cover.

Jump to 2007 and for some reason Marvel decides to put out a blank cover variant for the Death of Captain America. But it would be another 11 months before Marvel attempted another one. Dynamite Comics was the next publisher to regularly start publishing blank covers. The format was not a success yet as 2008 saw only 2 blank covers published. Dynamite and Dynamic Forces both put out a few high priced blanks in that time period.

Image only once did a blank cover during these early years back in 2009.

It was only in May 2009 that the regularly produced blank variant from Marvel began starting with Avengers #1. This became a way to help promote big launches for new Marvel titles which continues to this day. Marvel would from this point on usually publish 1 blank variant every single month on wards.

DC Comics held off and never had a blank variant until late in September 2012 with their “We Can Be Heroes” theme which ran over a bunch of titles including Batman #0. It was at this point that every publisher saw the potential for sales and demand.

So 2013 is really the break through year where the onslaught of blank variants became an almost weekly event.

It’s already been over a decade since the first one shot and now 8 years since the first Marvel blank.

Its only time before collectors start to realize how hard these are to find. Now Diamond does not usually keep these blank variants in stock which means they are instantly sold out so watch for potential rising prices on all future blanks as well.

Article by comic book historian Terry Hoknes of www.HoknesComics.com – hoknes@hotmail.com
www.HoknesComics.com – carries all these new comics and all new products in stock and does special orders!!
Weekly article by Terry Hoknes, comic book historian, writer of the Investing In Comic Book series (gold,silver,bronze) and also Canada’s leading comic book retailer focusing on hot sold out comic books and small publishers at www.HoknesComics.com
Contact Terry at hoknes@hotmail.com

7 thoughts on “The history of BLANK VARIANT COVERS index

  1. The first blank variant I can find is Shi: The Art of War Tourbook from Crusade Comics, March 1998. Crusade did several blanks over the next several years, often with frames specific to the con at which it was available. Billy Tucci seemed to be at every con in those days, and these show up fairly often with his sketches.

  2. Zero Hour #0 is from 1994
    Gen 13 #1 is from 1995 Do-it-yourself cover
    I believe this is where the blank cover originated from. J. Scott Campbell creation

    • If we’re going to count plain white covers, we need to include Wasteland #6 (1988). I think this, like Zero Hour was just “white” for story reasons, as opposed to “blank” covers for sketches. ymmv.

      Billy Tucci once told me he started his blank covers because so many fans wanted a con sketch on the front covers and there was rarely sufficient room for a sketch that didn’t get lost in the cover art, and it allowed him to charge for the comic, without charging for a sketch. This isn’t to say he didn’t get the idea from a prior “white” or “blank” cover.

What do you think? InvestComics would like to know.