DC Comics has realized that they have a variant problem, and they are going to do something about it.
Source: Bleeding Cool
Last week, DC Comics made a really big deal out of their upcoming 52 state variants for Justice League of America #1, but this week, they're singing a different tune. Bleeding Cool reports that DC has entered the first of twelve steps toward recovery from variant cover addiction: admitting they have a problem, their variant publishing schedule has become unmanageable, and they are powerless to overcome it.
Here's what DC VP of Sales Bob Wayne (no relation to Bruce - we think) had to say:
Overall we’re running in the zone of Spinal Tap in that we’ve got it up to 11 on that. We’re going to pull back and drop variants from a handful of titles in the next solicitation cycle to pull back that number ourselves, where it didn’t seem the variant was making a substantial difference in the buy-in for the book or the perception of books. We’ll be looking at the remaining titles that have variants the following month.
It’s like having a balanced breakfast in the sense that if you only have variants and you don’t have other aspects of how you try to get the attention of retailers and through retailers to consumers, it would be like only eating pizza. We’re just trying to make sure we keep a balance between the different ways that we can draw attention to books.
So not only does Bob Wayne realize the seriousness of his variant problem, but he knows his way around a good food-based metaphor as well. The Outhouse looks forward to February's "Goodbye to Variants" month at DC, which will feature fifty-two variant covers for each title celebrating the face that they are going to print less variants.
Cutting down on the number of variant covers is a bold move, for sure. Variants help to boost the sales of books by convincing readers to purchase multiple copies of the same issue, which helps line the coffers of executives while providing the readers with... well, surely they get something out of it.
Cutting down on those variants could decrease sales, especially if certain theories prove to be true. For instance, there is a working theory that the entire readership of comics consists of three people in Peoria, Illinois who each purchase anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 copies of every comic in order to collect all of the variants. The removal of variants from this equation would, obviously, result in a very drastic drop in sales.
Regardless, The Outhouse has to commend DC comics for having the courage to admit that they have a problem and seek help. We are also eagerly anticipating when the company gets to step 8: making of a list of all the people they've harmed and making amends. Because they owe us a fucking apology for Final Crisis.