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The Comic Speculator Back Issue Report – Values of Current Ghost Variants

by Matt Baum (05/03/13).

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The Comic Speculator is a blog written by WorthPoint Comic Book “Worthologist” Matt Baum that takes a look at each week’s hot new comics and back issues and the comic market place in general. Prices discussed here are taken from the Overstreet Guide to Comics (OVST), Comicspriceguide.com (CPG) and current online auction sales. Sales numbers and rankings are courtesy of ICV2.com. Lists of new comics are courtesy of Previews World and Comics List. Make sure and click on the links to learn more about the titles and creators discussed here. The codes under the prices of new titles discussed are Diamond Comics order codes that can be used to help your local comic retailer in ordering the issues discussed. If you want to hear what this nerd sounds like you can catch him on his podcast, the Two-Headed Nerd Comicast, where he and his friend Joe discuss the latest comic news, review some new comics, and answer your questions.

The Back Issue Report

Today, we’ll be addressing a spectral mystery currently haunting the back issue market. In recent months a series of variants labeled “Ghost Variants” and Phantom Variants” have been showing up in some comic shops and, as it turns out, no one is quite sure where they’re coming from.

Here’s what we know: Both Ghost and Phantom have an Internet presencese. Both chose a collection of seemingly random shops and invited them to order their variants (there is a theory involving membership in the ComicsPro trade organization tied to Phantom). Both have access to very popular creators to supply the variant covers. Both are closely tied to the publishers. And finally, collectors are going nuts trying to figure out where these are coming from.

Until more info comes out on both collectives, I don’t have much to say on their identities (although I do have my own theory) but I love the mystery here. It’s exciting and it gives retailers a great way to feel appreciated and have access to some amazing variants without having to order stacks of issues. Instead of trying to uncover the mystery, today I’ll take a look at the Ghost variants—both how well they’ve are selling and which ones are the big winners. Next time we’ll be discussing the Phantoms!

Ghost Variants:

There’s definitely fewer Ghost Variants than Phantoms so far, but the ones they have released are for very popular titles and are selling very well.

Walking Dead #101 (Image Comics), written by Robert Kirkman, art by Charlie Adlard. Ghost Variant cover by Jim Rugg. Shipped August 2012.

Walking Dead #101
Image Comics
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard
Ghost Variant cover by Jim Rugg
Shipped August 2012

Why it’s hot: The Walking Dead is one of the hottest Image titles on the stand and has been since before the AMC television series premiered to the highest ratings of any cable series premiere in history. So, when a strange variant pops up featuring a Blaxploitation version of Michonne that retailers couldn’t order through Diamond, collectors turned into crazed, comic-eating zombies trying to get at this one.

How much? This one is all over the board in pricing but looks to be going up fast. Recently on eBay, a CGC Signature Series copy signed by Danai Gurira (the actress that plays Michonne on the TV show) and artist Charlie Adlard, in 9.8 condition, sold for $170 with five bids. An un-slabbed copy sigend by Kirkman sold for a “Buy it Now” of $70. An unsigned copy in CGC 9.8 condition sold for $90 and un-slabbed copies are going for $50-$55.


Saga #7 (Image Comics), written by Brian K Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples. Ghost Variant cover by Paul Pope. Shipped November 2012.

Saga #7
Image Comics
Written by Brian K Vaughan
Art by Fiona Staples
Ghost Variant cover by Paul Pope
Shipped November 2012

Why it’s hot: If Walking Dead is the hottest title at Image, then Saga has to be right behind. Paul Pope supplies the art here, featuring The Stalk (a female human/spider bounty hunter alien) and it’s just as creepy as it is sexy. It’s worth noting that this variant shipped after the successs of the Walking Dead Ghost Variant and may have had a larger printing. It’s rumored that these variants have print-runs of anywhere from 2,000-5,000.

How much? In early April a copy CGC Signature Series copy in 9.8 condition signed by artist Staples sold on eBay for a “Buy it Now” price of $150, but that price has come down to around $90 in recent weeks. Unsigned copies in CGC 9.8 condition are selling for $80-$90 as well. Un-slabbed copies don’t seem to be as hard to find and are selling for $12-$15.


East of West #1 (Image Comics), written by Jonathan Hickman, art by Nick Dragotta. Ghost Variant Cover by Nick Dragotta. Shipped March 2013

East of West #1
Image Comics
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Dragotta
Ghost Variant Cover by Nick Dragotta
Shipped March 2013

Why it’s hot: Hickman’s latest mind-bending sci-fi series at Image depicts a wild-west future loosely based on American history had a comet stopped us from wiping out the Native American population and split the country with them, freed black slaves and Asians. In the story, three horseman of the Apocalypse (they’re searching for the fourth) are trying to kill the president. Wrap your head around that one, if you can. Everything Hickman touches is a hit and this one looks like no exception.

How Much? This issue just shipped recently so CGC hasn’t had a chance to return copies sent in for grading as of yet. Un-slabbed copies signed by Nick Dragotta are selling for $25-40. Unsigned copies are selling for $15-$20. I’ll be curious to see what CGC graded copies are going for when they finally hit.

Join me next week for another Back Issue Report, where I’ll be taking a look at the Phantom Variants.


Matt Baum is WorthPoint’s comic book Worthologist. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact Matt or post your question below in the Comic Book Forum in the WorthPoint Forums, located in the Community tab. You can also reply to this article in the “leave a reply” box below. If you need more comic-nerd in your life, you can follow Matt on Twitter, where he’s always screaming about something nerd-related. Thanks to all Matt’s new followers and keep the comments coming!

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One Response to “The Comic Speculator Back Issue Report – Values of Current Ghost Variants”

  1. Spider34 says:

    This will help you with Phantom variants. Larry at Larry’s comics puts out the Phantom variants. http://www.larryscomics.net/shop.html

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