Thursday, January 30, 2020

A Field Guide to Legion Cover Variants, 1958-2005

The Field Guide to Legion Cover Variants, part 1: 1958-2005
1958-2005, 2006-20072008-20092010-20112012-2014, 2015-2018, 20192020, 2021

Up til now, I had figured that the first Legion cover variant was in 2006 with "Supergirl & The Legion" #16, but then I found that the "Legionnaires" and "Valor" issues at the end of "End of an Era" (parts 4 and 5) right before the Zero Hour reboot had been reprinted, all the way back in 1994. The corresponding Legion issue, #125 (part 6 of "EoE"), was not reprinted, suggesting that shops ordered enough of that one but not enough of the other two.

So this entry technically covers everything up to and including 2005, though 1994 has the only stuff I'm aware of at this time. I'll mention here, but won't showcase, the so-called Whitman variants of 1978-80, because some people are interested in them, but I don't count them.

Whitman variants (1978-80)

What we know today as "Whitman variants" aren't reprints, they are first printings with a Whitman logo in place of the DC Bullet on the cover.
In the late 1970s/early 1980s, Whitman had a deal with DC Comics to reprint their comics and package them for sale in retail outlets like Woolworth’s, Sears, K-Mart, etc. They were packaged in plastic as a 2 pack or 3 pack, usually of the same title. These comics could be differentiated by the DC Bullet being altered to include the Whitman logo in pace of the letters in the bullet and the Whitman logo being placed in the stead of the issue number and cover date., among other variations. This did make for some unattractive designs at times, and odd replacements, such as the comic sometimes being titled on the cover as “Whitman Comics Presents.” (via)
For completeness, the following Legion issues have Whitman variants (click here to see them):
  • Superboy & The LSH 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258
  • LSH v2 261, 263, 264, 266
However, I'm not including all the pictures here in the field guide since they're not what we think of today as a cover variant. Here's an example:

Regular cover, S/LSH #244
Art by Jim Sherman &
Joe Rubinstein
Whitman variant, S/LSH #244
Art by Jim Sherman &
Joe Rubinstein

1994

Legionnaires #18 - September 1994
Legionnaires #18 was part 4 of "End of an Era". The second printing came out about 4 weeks after the original printing, and can be distinguished primarily by the different color Zero Hour logos (red with white letters on the first, yellow with red letters on the second). Additionally, there's a small "II" in the price box in the upper left corner, and the color palette is slightly different between the two - the blacks are darker on the reprint and the reds are more muted.

First printing
Art by Stuart Immonen &
Wade von Grawbadger
Second printing
Art by Stuart Immonen &
Wade von Grawbadger


Valor #23 - September 1994
Valor #23 was part 5 of "End of an Era". The second printing came out about 4 weeks after the original printing, and can be distinguished primarily by the different color Zero Hour logos (red with white letters on the first, yellow with red letters on the second). Additionally, there's a small "II" in the price box in the upper left corner, and the color palette is slightly different between the two - the blacks are darker on the reprint and the reds are more muted, just like above.

First printing
Art by Stuart Immonen & Jose Marzan Jr.
Second printing
Art by Stuart Immonen & Jose Marzan Jr.


Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Field Guide to Legion Cover Variants 2012-2014

The Field Guide to Legion Cover Variants, part 5: 2012-2014
1958-20052006-20072008-20092010-2011, 2012-2014, 2015-2018, 20192020, 2021

The gallery, presented in chronological publication order along with cover date:

2012

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #4 - January 2012
Part 4 of the series continues the art lineup, with the A cover by regular artist Phil Jimenez, the B cover by a former Legion art team of Sprouse/Story, and the RI (Retailers Incentive) bridge cover by Mario Alberti.

"A" cover
Art by Phil Jimenez
"B" cover
Art by Chris Sprouse & Karl Story

"RI" cover
Art by Mario Alberti




Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #5 - February 2012
Part 5 of the series continues the art lineup, with the A cover by regular artist Phil Jimenez, the B cover by guest art team of the Allreds, and the RI (Retailers Incentive) bridge cover by Mario Alberti.

"A" cover
Art by Phil Jimenez
"B" cover
Art by Mike Allred & Laura Allred

"RI" cover
Art by Mario Alberti




Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #6 - March 2012
The final issue of the series continues the art lineup, with the A cover by regular artist Phil Jimenez, the B cover by series artist and former Legion artist Jeff and Phil Moy, and breaking with tradition, the RI (Retailers Incentive) non-bridge cover by JK Woodward.

"A" cover
Art by Phil Jimenez
"B" cover
Art by Jeff Moy & Phil Moy

"RI" cover
Art by Mario Alberti




Action Comics v2 #6 - April 2012
A New 52 version of the Adult Legion guest-stars in the book and on the variant cover. The black and white variant was 1/200. The combo pack version was recolored, a higher price, and polybagged, but included a code for a digital download of the issue, with some additional trade dress.

Regular cover
Art by Andy Kubert
Variant cover
Art by Rags Morales

Kubert Black and White variant
Art by Andy Kubert

Combo Pack cover
Art by Andy Kubert

2014

Justice League United Futures End #1 - November 2014
Part of the "Futures End" story arc, we have one 3-D lenticular cover at $3.99 and one static cover at $2.99. Dawnstar is a member of the Justice League for some reason.

3-D cover
Art by Mike McCone
Static cover
Art by Mike McCone





Justice League Futures End #1 - November 2014
Part of the "Futures End" story arc, we have one 3-D lenticular cover at $3.99 and one static cover at $2.99. Wildfire is a member of the Justice League for some reason.

3-D cover
Art by Mike McCone
Static cover
Art by Mike McCone





Booster Gold Futures End #1 - November 2014
Part of the "Futures End" story arc, we have one 3-D lenticular cover at $3.99 and one static cover at $2.99. Bouncing through time, Booster meets the v3-era Legion as they fight Tharok and Validus.

3-D cover
Art by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
Static cover
Art by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund





Monday, January 20, 2020

Legion sales data: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics for December 2019 (LSH v8 #2)

On the one hand, issue #1 was a new book with a high-profile launch and it came with four covers and a flight ring; on the other hand, issue #2 had two covers and no flight ring, so it's completely expected that sales would drop.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (volume 8) #2 - December 18, 2019

Issue 2 had two variants: one $3.99 regular cover and one $4.99 cardstock cover. Publication was delayed by two weeks (originally supposed to come out on December 4) so it could come out concurrently with Doomsday Clock #12. Sales data below via Comichron.

LSH volume 8 #2
Standard cover
Art by Ryan Sook
LSH volume 8 #2
Cheung cardstock variant
Art by Jim Cheung
TL;DR version: LSH #2 sold 35,653 copies and was the #50 book for the month and the #17 DC book. 

Context:
  • Combining both covers, LSH #2 was the #50 book for the month, with total sales of 35,653. It was the #17 book for DC. The #1 book of the month was Doomsday Clock #12 at 117,926.
  • The $3.99 regular cover was the #69 book for December 2019, with sales of  27,177. It was the #22 DC book.
  • The $4.99 cardstock cover variant was the #73 DC book and the #215 overall book for December, with sales of 8,476. 
  • Too early to guesstimate the point where sales will level off, where the book has found its base.
  • For what it's worth: as of 1/21/20, LSH #3 is the top-selling comic on Comixology. Digital sales of issues are generally not known to the public, but anecdotally the digital market as a whole is about 10% of the traditional market. This does not necessarily apply to any particular comic from any particular company. Diamond does not report digital sales, and it's the Diamond data going to Comichron.


Color key for tables below:
  • Brown = 5 Years Later
  • Orange = Reboot
  • Green = Threeboot
  • Yellow = Retroboot/New 52
  • White = Rebirth
  • Blue = none of the above

LSH v8 sales and rank 
Issue
Total sales
(all covers)
overall #
DC #
#1 book
1
75,611
10
3
138,434
2
35,653
50
17
117,926


Sales drop historical comparison
Date
Title
#1 to #2
#2 to #3
Dec 1989
LSH v4 (5 Years Later)
-33.5%
-10.2%
May 1993
Legionnaires
n/a
n/a
Dec 2001
The Legion
-14.0%
-0.0%
March 2005
LSH Vol 5 (Threeboot)
-19.0%
-7.7%
Nov 2009
Adventure Comics v3
-16.6%
-6.1%
Aug 2010
LSH v6 (Retroboot)
-22.0%
-7.0%
Dec 2011
LSH v7 (New 52)
-20.2%
-25.9%
Dec 2011
Legion Lost v2
-23.2%
-26.8%
Jan 2012
Legion Secret Origin
-41.3%
-10.7%
Jan 2012
Star Trek/LSH
-53.5%
-10.3%
Oct 2019
LSH: Millennium
-18.4%
n/a
Dec 2019
LSH v8
-52.8%

Note: sales data from April 1993 to October 1994 is not publicly available, which coincidentally covers the entirety of the "Legionnaires" title in the Reboot era. Not counting miniseries, which were known to have a finite end.


What is the bottom of the sales curve?
Year
Series
Sales at
series end
Notes
2000
LSH v4 (Reboot)
17,500
Series cancelled for new Abnett/Lanning Legion Lost v1
2000
Legionnaires (Reboot)
17,200
Series cancelled for new Abnett/Lanning Legion Lost v1
2004
The Legion (Reboot)
23,300
Series cancelled for Threeboot
2009
LSH v5 (Threeboot)
22,300
Series cancelled for Retroboot
2011
LSH v6 (Retroboot)
21,400
Series cancelled for New 52
2011
Adventure Comics (Retroboot)
19,200
Series cancelled for New 52
2013
LSH v7 (New 52)
15,500
Series cancelled due to sales
2013
Legion Lost v2 (New 52)
13,500
Series cancelled due to sales
Not counting miniseries, which were known to have a finite end.


Top 20 selling Legion books, 2004-present (since the start of the Threeboot)
Rank
Cover date
Sales
Series
Issue
1
Jan 2010
85,145
Adventure Comics v3
4
2
Nov 2019
75,611
LSH v8
1
3
Oct 2008
73,914
Legion of Three Worlds
1
4
Dec 2008
64,412
Legion of Three Worlds
2
5
Apr 2009
61,358
Legion of Three Worlds
3
6
Oct 2004
61,047
Teen Titans/The Legion Special
1
7
Feb 2005
59,944
LSH v5
1
8
Feb 2010
59,876
Adventure Comics v3
5
9
Jun 2009
56,888
Legion of Three Worlds
4
10
Oct 2009
56,706
Adventure Comics v3
1
11
Sep 2009
55,970
Legion of Three Worlds
5
12
May 2006
54,826
Supergirl & the LSH
16
13
Mar 2010
53,721
Adventure Comics v3
7
14
Nov 2011
53,285
LSH v7
1
15
Jul 2010
50,106
LSH v6
1
16
Nov 2011
49,952
Legion Lost v2
1
17
Mar 2005
48,584
LSH v5
2
18
Sep 2019
48,389
LSH: Millennium
1
19
Sep 2019
47,857
Superman
15
20
Aug 2019
47,777
Superman
14
21
Jun 2006
47,697
Supergirl & the LSH
17
22
Nov 2009
47,296
Adventure Comics v3
2
23
Feb 2008
45,803
Supergirl & the LSH
37
24
Jul 2006
45,520
Supergirl & the LSH
18
25
Apr 2005
44,824
LSH v5
3
26
Dec 2009
44,431
Adventure Comics v3
3
27
Aug 2006
43,918
Supergirl & the LSH
19
28
May 2005
43,408
LSH v5
4
29
Mar 2010
42,514
Adventure Comics v3
6
30
Dec 2011
42,504
LSH v7
2
31
Sep 2006
41,679
Supergirl & the LSH
20
32
Jun 2005
41,664
LSH v5
5
33
Dec 2006
41,554
Supergirl & the LSH
23
34
Jul 2005
40,970
LSH v5
6
35
Oct 2006
39,852
Supergirl & the LSH
21
36
Oct 2019
39,489
LSH: Millennium
2
37
Apr 2010
39,351
Adventure Comics v3
8
38
Aug 2005
39,155
LSH v5
7
39
Aug 2010
39,102
LSH v6
2
40
Dec 2011
38,385
Legion Lost v2
2
41
Dec 2011
38,248
Legion Secret Origin
1
42
Dec 2011
38,248
Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes
1
43
Jun 2010
37,573
Adventure Comics v3
10
44
May 2010
37,515
Adventure Comics v3
9
45
Sep 2005
37,272
LSH v5
8
46
Nov 2006
36,735
Supergirl & the LSH
22
47
Sep 2010
36,360
LSH v6
3
48
Oct 2005
35,834
LSH v5
9
49
Nov 2005
35,800
LSH v5
10
50
Dec 2019
35,653
LSH v8
2