Every month, Marvel offers retailers the chance to commission exclusive covers for certain titles — as long as they order thousands of copies. It's an effective, if expensive, way for both parties to a) get some promotion and create collectables for the market, and b) up their orders. Begun by Dreamwave back in the day, it was popularised by IDW and now Marvel Comics does it more than anyone else with anywhere between five and fifteen titles a month. At the end of last year, Marvel Comics upped the amount of retailer variant covers they offer. Twelve for October, eight for November, twelve for December, twelve for January, but since then just six for February and only eight for March and for April apiece.
However, very few of them seem to get taken up. In comparison, DC Comics offers one every few months, such as for Detective Comics #1000 and everyone dives in. Recently retailers have spoken out about the short-termism such retailer exclusive covers engender in the marketplace. I'm not sure if Marvel Comics is listening… but for May they have listed just five exclusive retailer covers.
- SAVAGE AVENGERS #1 (Order by 3/22)
- WAR OF THE REALMS #3 (Order by 3/22)
- WAR OF THE REALMS: NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS #1 (Order by 3/29)
- WAR OF THE REALMS #4 (Order by 3/29)
- STAR WARS #108 (Order by 3/22)
Could War Of The Realms be the last hurrah for such promotional activity from Marvel?
Looking at February's offerings, I can only find Wolverine & The Infinity Watch #1 variant cover by Gabrielle Del'Otto below taken up by 7ate9/Sad Lemon. Nothing for Daredevil or Savage Sword Of Conan – only ComicsPRO listings which Marvel created themselves as a promotional item.