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Too many variants and designating them...

Philli
Saturday, January 11, 2020 5:50:20 PM
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Seems to be a trouble with designating variants that have a butt load of variants for one particular issue. Usually the first 5-8 are pretty set in stone from A-E or A-H straight from the publisher. But some of these books with 30+ variants seem to need a structure. I have some suggestions but not sure if there already is one that I'm unaware of. I'd be happy to share but I'd like to hear from some of the approvers first.
Xylob
Sunday, January 12, 2020 8:48:14 AM
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generally start with A as the most common version available - the fewer copies printed, the further down the alphabet you go

more than 26? print run info not available? these suck......
Previews item code order is often (NOT always) an indicator of print run

It can also depend on the particular comic though.
Check out Justice League of America (2013) #1 for one example.
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padreglcc
Sunday, January 12, 2020 8:56:40 AM
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We tend to handle these in one of two different ways.

1) We don't know in advance that there are a zillion variants. Covers get added as they're found. It's often messy.

2) We know that there will be more than 26 covers and someone takes the time to research them. We put in the regular covers as always, leave a few letters for later printings, and start adding store variants. Let's say we start adding store variants with M and we know we'll go past Z. We immediately go to double letters: M, MA, MB, MC, MD, etc.

We don't group store/artist covers together in different letters. We try to do a continuous chain. So we don't do F, FA, FB, G, H, HA, I, J, JA, JK, JL, etc.
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Thundercron
Sunday, January 12, 2020 11:49:02 PM
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I'm glad this thread got started, because I was going to ask about some similar things myself. I've been adding more variants and different things to the database lately, and I'm left wondering what the best way is that the books should be listed in the database. For example....

Thor #264:

I just added a Whitman cover variant to the database, so the entries are now as follows:

A--Regular .30-Cent Cover
B--.35 Price Cover
C--UK Price Cover
D--Whitman Cover

In a perfect world, shouldn't the foreign version be the last version listed?

Dark Reign: The List--The Amazing Spider-Man

I just found a newsstand price variant edition of this and submitted it into the database yesterday. Currently, the variants are:

A--Adam Kubert Cover
B--Frank Cho 1:100 "Hero" Cover
C--Frank Cho 1:200 "Villain" Cover

Would the newsstand variant now be the "B" variant?

I know some approvers accept the Change Request and then just let the new variant lay where it is, while other approvers like to switch things around so they make more sense. I'm just wondering what the proper listing would be for situations like this.
Philli
Monday, January 13, 2020 6:57:27 AM
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My whole thing is I'd like to see some kind of uniformity. There should definitely be a method to the madness.

I would agree that with pre-2000's books where 25+ store variants are not the norm that things like a newsstand/price variant it should be cover B. It's the next closest thing to a standard cover. Then foreign issues, followed by special signed editions like Dynamic Forces books.

With books of the past 20 years I'd say after the publisher designated variants should go according to how they were designated. Then with all the specialty store variants they would be how padreglcc was talking about two posts up.
SwiftMann
Monday, January 13, 2020 8:33:40 AM
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Store variants started with Godzilla in April 2011. Most Approvers have been following the general guidelines as padre laid out since. More recently the new comics have been handled by a CCL employee. Also, it's become evident that someone(s) let variants in willy nilly.

As to the specifics of variants, there can't really be a hard and fast rule as to which should be which letters. That is not all Canadian Price variants should be in as variant C for example. It's best to not skip around presenting the appearance of missing variants.

Generally speaking, each issue needs to be handled individually with consideration of the context of it's time. Meaning, something from the late 70s may have these:

A--Regular .30-Cent Cover
B--.35 Price Cover
C--UK Price Cover
D--Whitman Cover

While something from 2015 may have six ratio variants that need to be A-F.

Regarding the first example, yes, I believe the UK price should be last. Of course, I wish those had been treated as completely separate titles, but here we are.

Regarding the ratio covers, no I do not believe the newsstand version comes before any direct market version. To me, it's more akin to a shared retailer variant.

So, yes, there used to be a solid skeleton to work off of with Approvers dedicated to seeing it followed. And, yes, that has slipped a bit at (from my perspective) CCL's choosing. But, no, there cant be hard and fast rules across the board. And finally, the sheer number of store and online variants on so many issues by so many publishers has made it insanely difficult to stay (or even want to stay) on top of these.
padreglcc
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 10:56:24 AM
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I agree with Swifty that hard-and-fast rule for all variants is probably out of the question. And we absolutely don't want to leave gaps in variant lettering if we can help it (as it implies that there are missing covers). The only exception to this is that we will sometimes leave gaps between the direct editions and store variants for later printings so we don't have to re-letter 30+ books.

I don't have a problem with having a conversation about the general order of covers. The examples listed above of US/Canadian/UK/Whitman covers is worth talking about, IMO. Another question to consider might be where later printings go - before or after store covers (we currently try to put them before store exclusives).

I'm personally pretty torn on the newsstand/price variants. I can see the case for those being the B cover, but we usually find them after everything else is put in so we don't rearrange for them. I can also see the case, as Swifty argues, for letting them come after all the direct editions, including ratio covers. I guess I'm indifferent here.

One other factor to consider is that publishers often letter their own variants. We try to follow those when we can, but sometimes our lettering system doesn't jive with theirs. In those cases, we use ours. In the case of Marvel, they don't letter their variants, but they do often list them in their books' credits pages. But those lists should almost never be accepted as the correct order because they don't take into account the ratios. In other words, Marvel might list a cover that is 1:100 before a cover that is 1:25 or is without a ratio. We always keep the ratios in ascending order, even if that throws off the lettering order of a Publisher.

*EDIT - Come to think of it, adding newsstand issues as the B cover might also run the risk of throwing off Publisher lettering from time to time.
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