Rare Spawn Comics: Welcome

By Benjamin Nobel

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Rust #1 Limited Edition
Spawn #1 Black & White
Spawn/The Savage Dragon #1
Spawn #9 Newsstand Edition
Spawn Batman Newsstand Edition
Spawn #1 Newsstand Edition

May 2016 Update: Spawn Newsstand Values Pulling Away From Direct Edition


Here we are in 2015, a full 23 years after Spawn #1 was published. Todd McFarlane is hard at work on the new Spawn movie, reportedly set to be an R-rated film in the horror/thriller genre. Judging by the millions of views to the recent fan film (“Spawn: The Recall”), an R-rated major motion picture has the potential to be a mega-hit, potentially drawing legions of new fans to this already strongly popular character.

Spawn’s incredibly strong popularity from day one is reflected in the comic book sales numbers. According to Comichron (one of my favorite resources to research comic books):

“Spawn #1 is widely believed to have broken the million-copy mark, overall.”

Looking at Spawn #1 from the point of view of a comic book collector, one would certainly want to own a copy of the comic book featuring Spawn’s first appearance… It is a “key” book, but, the existence of a million copies out there hardly makes Spawn #1 a rarity. Without the scarcity factor, collectible value cannot follow, because supply will always overwhelm collector demand.

Spawn #1 Black and White Edition

A 1-in-50 retailer incentive variant offered to boost sales of Spawn #65, the Spawn #1 Black and White Edition is one of the most highly sought Spawn collectibles, with the print run math suggesting on the order of 3,100 copies printed.

Spawn fans, seemingly desperate for something rare with a “Spawn #1” on it, have instead gravitated to the “Black & White Edition” as their Spawn #1 collectible of choice, bidding up the value to astonishing numbers, including a recent sale at $249.99 for a VF/NM copy as screencaptured below from eBay’s completed listings page. At a budget of $250/copy, if one wanted to acquire all 3,100 copies (hypothetically speaking of course), it would require one to spend $775,000. That’s quite a lot of implied value ascribed by collectors to this issue.

Spawn #1 Black and White Edition

Recent eBay sales of Spawn #1 Black and White Edition include a VF/NM copy at $249.99

When you see a VF/NM copy sell for a penny shy of $250, it begs the question: why are collectors paying such prices? Here is my answer. As discussed on RecalledComics.com (another great collector resource), the “Black & White Edition” of Spawn #1 was a retailer incentive variant — as an incentive to comic shops to order 50 or more copies of Spawn #65, shops were offered a copy of this special variant for every 50 copies of Spawn #65 ordered.

Based on this 1-in-50 rarity, we can extrapolate the likely number of Black & White edition copies in existence, if we know the sales numbers for Spawn #65. And for that information I turn to the Comichron monthly sales data page, where we can see Spawn #65 tops the charts at over 165,000 copies ordered. If every block of 50 out of that 165,000 also came with one Black & White Edition copy, that would imply a total maximum count of 3,300 copies. Because some comic shops may have ordered less than 50 copies, it is reasonable to take that number down some. RecalledComics estimates 3,100 copies, which I think is perfectly reasonable. Another piece of rarity information: as of this writing, there are 449 copies of the Black & White Edition on the CGC census (i.e. that is how many copies collectors have submitted to CGC for grading and encapsulation).

A print run of 3,100 is quite a lot lower than a million, which I argue is part of the explanation for the prices collectors are paying for copies of the Black & White Edition. I suggest that another part of the explanation, is how comic shops marketed their copies to collectors — giving them a complete education on the 1-in-50 rarity. By educating their customers about the rarity, the comic shops could sell them for the most money, right? But what about all the rare Spawn comics out there that the shops didn’t educate their customers about?

That’s where my blog aims to come in.

I say hold onto your $249.99, because there are lots of other highly interesting and rare Spawn comics you can find in VF/NM range condition at much more reasonable prices — even if we take that 249.99 amount and move the decimal place one over to the left as our budget.

That’s right, with this blog my goal is to profile Spawn comics that are not only demonstrably rare, but can be purchased for under $25 in high grade. Rather than being an exhaustive list, it will just be examples of my own choosing, but each one will be rare and interesting in some way. Each blog entry will profile one particular comic.

I’m going to cover a 1-in-100 variant of the original Spawn #1 that you probably didn’t know exists, a rare variant of a classic Frank Miller / Todd McFarlane collaboration, plus, I’m going to cover “a #1” that — based on the sales numbers data — likely sold on the order of ~400 copies (that’s fewer copies than the number of CGC graded copies of the Black & White Edition — and yet I paid $12.65 for my copy of that other rare comic).

Thanks for stopping by, continue reading with my first entry! A preview of this first comic I will profile: did you know that the below Spawn artwork appeared on the inside back cover of a comic book published one month earlier than Spawn #1? That’s right: this comic book was published in April of 1992 (versus Spawn #1 published in May). What’s more: there was a “Limited Edition” variant with an estimated 10,000 copies. And yes, based on recent eBay sales, you can own a VF/NM copy with a budget of $25.

This full page of Todd McFarlane Spawn artwork, complete with the

This full page of Todd McFarlane Spawn artwork, complete with the “original” logo contemplated by McFarlane for the series, appeared in a comic book published one month before Spawn #1.

List of Profiled Comic Books

Across all of my blogs (TMNT, Spawn, Savage Dragon, and other Rare Comics), to date I have profiled the following rare comics to collect:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (first print 1984)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 (NYCC variant)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 (misprint)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (2009 Color Special Error Edition)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles v2 #13 (Error Edition)

How To Draw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (Manufacturing Error)

Creed / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 Blue/Bronze Subscriber Edition

Graphic Fantasy #1 (First appearance of the “original” Savage Dragon)

Graphic Fantasy #2

Savage Dragon #30 Newsstand Edition (As Seen on TV Variant)

Savage Dragon #10 Newsstand Variant

Savage Dragon #102 (Invincible First Appearance)

Savage Dragon #1/2 w/Platinum Stamp

Savage Dragon #137 (1st Obama Cover)

Savage Dragon #156 Herb Trimpe Variant

Savage Dragon Limited Series #1 Newsstand Edition

Spawn #1 Black & White Edition Variant

Spawn/The Savage Dragon #1 (1996)

Rust #1 Limited Edition (Pre-dates Spawn #1 and Malibu Sun #13)

Spawn #9 Newsstand Edition (1st Angela)

Spawn Batman Newsstand Edition

Spawn #1 Newsstand Edition

1st Appearance of Krang in comics

1st Appearance of Savage Dragon

Type 1A Price Variants

Marvel Graphic Novel #4 — $5.95 Cover Price Variant (1st New Mutants Appearance)

Amazing Spider-Man #252 — 75 Cent Cover Price Variant (Canadian Edition)

Darker Image #1 — Newsstand $1.95 Cover Price Variant (1st Maxx Appearance)

Variant vs. Variant: Amazing Spider-Man #678 (Mary Jane Venom) vs. #607 (Black Cat $3.99 Cover Price)

New Mutants #98 — $1.50 Cover Price Variant (1st Deadpool Appearance)

7 Variants Destined For Future Classic Cover Status

X-Men Annual #14 (1st Gambit Debate)

Applause to CBCS Now Recognizing Newsstand Comics!

Daredevil #21, $3.99 Newsstand Edition (Superior Spider-Man Cameo)

95¢ and $1.00 DC Price Variants: How Do We Know What They Are?

66 New Canadian Price Variants Confirmed at CGC Since Year-End, a 16% Increase

What If Venom Possessed Deadpool? What If There Was A Rare Cover Price Variant?

What If Venom Possessed Wolverine? (New Avengers #35, $3.99 Newsstand Edition)

• DC Rebirth, $3.99 Newsstand Editions

• AUS Price Variants (Australian Newsstand Editions)

• $2.99 Newsstand Edition CGC Census Variants, and, “Partial Cover Price Variations”

• 30 More Newsstand Census Variants Confirmed at CGC Since Year-End

• Amazing Spider-Man #400: Understanding The Real Newsstand Edition

• Applause To CPG Accepting $3.99 Cover Price Variants Into The Price Guide!

• The Orange Cat Phenomenon (and Canadian Price Variants)

Hungry for even more? Check out more Rare Comics to Look For and Lists of Key Comic Books by Year (including important comics of the 1970’sthe 1980’sthe 1990’s, and the 2000’s or key comic books by age: key bronze age comics; key copper age comics; key modern age comics). And don’t miss: Newsstand Variants, $3.99 Newsstand Editions, and The Doc Collection

Also see: the hobby’s very first online comic book price guide for Type 1A 1980’s newsstand cover price variants from Marvel & DC:

Inaugural 2018 Price Guide

• The 2018 Price Guide for 1980’s Marvel & DC Newsstand Canadian Cover Price Variants (Type 1A)

• Amazing Spider-Man #238: The Tattooz Situation

• “Canadian Edition” vs. “Canadian Cover Price Variant”

CGC 9.8 Census Comparison: 1970’s Keys vs. 1980’s Keys

Investing in Canadian Price Variants: 11 Tips

Three Variants That Surprised Me

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures: VideoMedia and Archie

Voltron #1-3, Type 1A $1.00 Cover Price Variants

Incremental Improvement to CGC’s “Canadian Edition” Labeling

The “Cover Swipe Test”: 2 More Price Variant Keys Passing It

How Many Amazing Spider-Man Stan Lee CGC SS Books Exist?

6 Epic CGC Labeling Blunders Of Price Variant Comics And What We Can Learn From Them

Applause To CBCS’s New “75¢ Canadian Price Variant” Labeling

Free Online CPV Price Guide (2019 Edition) Released


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