The retailer exclusive cover, pioneered by IDW with Godzilla #1 (with a few proto-stabs at it by retailers creating their own covers to put on top of existing comics) is a way for comic stores to create their own promotional opportunities, and a collectible item in its own right, and for publishers to bump up their numbers as they insist shops order hundreds or thousands of copies. Image Comics has abandoned the practice for standard comic books, criticising them for only creating unsustainable blips, while some publishers like Marvel are using them to prop up sales, with seven or more a month. DC Comics runs two or three, tops. I
DC Comics runs two or three, tops. Including for the launch of Justice League Vs Suicide Squad. Lots of retailers signed up, including Islander Comics of Merritt Island, Florida. With this cover by Paolo Pantalena.
Unfortunately, all was not what it seemed. The cover was sold by online store Transitive Comics instead, in three variants. 3,000 in colour, 1,500 in a recoloured negative version and 1000 in a colour version without the logos, a "Virgin" edition.
It seemed that Islander Comics didn't know anything about it. Comic Book Invest contacted the store owner Wilson Little who told them about his relationship with Glenn A of Transitive Comics.
I've known Glynn A for over 15 years and he has been a friend of the store over that time. A few years ago we did an Islander Comics exclusive cover for Fathom #1. It was fun to do but I, as the owner, didn't want to continue doing similar projects like this one. He asked if he could do other variants on his own and I told him yes but only with my permission and knowledge beforehand. He acted independently without consulting or discussing with me the details on this project. I was completely in the dark on this one. I know that DC is trying to contact him on what to do about the books since he ordered them without paying for them first.
Wilson has got all 6500 copies of the comic and told the site,
I have been contacted by customers wanting copies of this variant but as of now DC wants me to send all of them back. I am trying to contact DC if I can keep some of the copies or if I have to send them all back.
It appears Wilson only knew of this order when he got the bill. And no one checked whether or not Glenn A was approved to make such decisions on behalf of a Diamond account…
Could this be the rarest retailer exclusive variant of all? And what will DC Comics do with 6,500 unused exclusive bvariant covers of a three-week old comic with Islander Comics named on the back cover?
DC Comics did not return press enquiries.