The Guide to DC Comics RRP, Diamond Retailer and ComicsPRO Variants

RRP, Diamond Retailer and ComicsPro Variants naturally fall into their own comic collecting niche. Unlike other variants that arrive with normal weekly shipments of new comics, retailers must travel to an event to receive these variants. At these events, the variants are almost always restricted to one copy per attendee, which creates scarcity. Frequently these variants are created for a milestone event, like a Superman or Batman wedding, a new series launch (multiple Justice League #1s) or the beginning of a superstar creative team (Lee/Loeb on Batman #608). Reader excitement combined with the scarcity often creates a hot variant, if only in the short-term.

RRP VARIANTS

RRP is an acronym for DC Comics’ Retailer Representative Program. RRP variants are exclusive to DC Comics, though the RRP terminology has colloquially fallen into use to describe variants from multiple publishers that are distributed through a variety of means. For the purpose of this article, we use RRP in its strictest sense.

Initially an annual event that began in the 1990s, the Retailer Representative Program meetings are invitation-only meetings of retailers selected by DC Comics to discuss industry issues. RRP Variants are named for those promotional comics given out at these meetings. Variants are not produced for every RRP meeting. In fact, the first RRP variant was not produced until DC’s Fifth Annual RRP meeting in 1996.

Sometimes RRP Variants are confused with other variants for various reasons. At some Diamond Retailer Summits, a charity auction would be held. DC would sometimes offer their RRP variants as auction items at these charity events. We view these charity auctions as another marketplace and therefore RRP variants sold at auction do not lose their RRP designation. On the other hand, some variants initially distributed at a RRP meeting were later also distributed to all attendees of a Diamond event. Those variants are not RRP variants because they were not exclusive to a DC event.

Beginning in 2011, DC Comics turned to traveling Retailer Roadshow events in multiple cities in lieu of a single RRP meeting. The variants that were giveaways to attending retailers are often referred to as RRPs.

DIAMOND RETAILER VARIANTS

Until May 2020, Diamond Comic Distributors was the sole United States and European distributor for most American comic publishers. Diamond held annual Retailer Summits for its retail customers, sometimes in multiple cities in a single year. In addition to the Retailer Summits, Diamond would often sponsor breakfasts or lunch events at various comic conventions. In contrast to DC’s invitation-only RRP meetings, all comic retailers were invited to attend these events. Similar to the DC RRP events, the variants would be distributed one copy per attendee. If a retailer attended multiple events and the same variant was distributed at those events, that would be an opportunity to get more than one copy.

COMICSPRO VARIANTS

ComicsPRO is the non-profit trade organization for direct market comic retailers, providing advocacy and benefits to these small businesses. Only members of the group are allowed to attend their Annual Meeting. As early as 2012, sponsor publishers began distributing giveaway variants to those retailers who traveled to attend.

CGC GRADED VARIANTS

Because these variants are provided to retailers, they are usually savvy enough to realize the scarcity and as such, have them graded, most often by CGC. Sometimes the events are scheduled before or during a con where CGC offers drop-off or on-site grading, making the process more efficient. Since these variants are often graded, we thought it useful to track how CGC labels these variants, sometimes making further notes on the census. One irony we observed in our research was a wide variety of grades. These variants often must make their way from the printer to the publisher and finally to the event, where meals often take place. This lifecycle must certainly take its toll on the condition of the comic. In addition, these comics go directly from the event to CGC often without any pressing to reduce defects. Consequently, the top grade on some variants is a 9.4 or a 9.6.

Unless otherwise noted, CGC labels all variants covered below as Retailer Incentive Editions, regardless of whether they are RRP, Diamond Retailer Variants or ComicsPRO Variants. If the variant is simply labeled as a Retailer Incentive Edition, we have skipped making note of the CGC label.


The Table of Contents below offers a quick, comprehensive list of variants, as well as a way to navigate this guide by year. Each variant has its own detailed entry.

Table Of Contents

1996

  • The Superman Wedding Album

1997

  • U.S. Limited Commemorative Ashcan Edition

1999

  • All-Star Comics #1 RRP Variant Variant

2002

  • Batman #608 RRP Variant
  • Fables #6 Variant
  • Global Frequency #1 Variant

2003

  • Superman / Batman #1

2004

  • Identity Crisis #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant
  • Superman #204 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

2005

  • All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder #1 Sketch Variant
  • Infinite Crisis #1 Sketch Variant

2006

  • Justice League of America #1 Variant

2007

  • All Star Batman #6 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant
  • Booster Gold #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant
  • Flash #231 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

2008

  • All-Star Batman & Robin #8 Variant
  • Air #1 Variant
  • Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 Variant
  • World of Warcraft #9 Variant

2009

  • Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1 Variant
  • Blackest Night Ashcan Edition #0
  • Blackest Night #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

2010

  • DC Universe Legacies Ashcan Edition #1
  • American Vampire #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant
  • Blackest Night #8 Variant
  • First Wave #1 Variant
  • DV8 Gods and Monsters #1 Diamond Retailer Variant
  • Batman: The Dark Knight / Batman Incorporated Ashcan

2011

  • Batman: The Dark Knight #1 Variant
  • Fables #101 Variant
  • Justice League #1 Variant

2012

  • Action Comics #1 Variant
  • Detective Comics #1 Variant
  • Fairest #1 Variant
  • Batman #11 Variant

2013

  • Superman Unchained #1 3D Variant
  • Justice League of America #1 Variant

2014

  • Batman #28 ComicsPRO Variant
  • Harley Quinn #4 Variant
  • The New 52: Futures End #1 Variant
  • Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International #1 Variant
  • Batgirl #35 Variant

2015

  • Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special #1 Variant
  • Harley Quinn #20 Variant
  • Justice League of America #2 Variant
  • Superman Unchained #1 Variant

2016

  • Suicide Squad #1 Variant

2017

  • Forged From Metal: The New Age of DC Heroes Ashcan 2017
  • Batman #21 Variant
  • All-Star Batman #7 Variant
  • Batwoman Rebirth #1 Variant
  • Justice League of America Rebirth #1 Variant
  • Super Sons #1 Variant
  • The Wild Storm #1 Variant
  • Preacher #1 Retailer Incentive Cover

2018

  • Dark Knights Rising Wild Hunt #1 ComicsPRO Sketch Variant
  • Sideways #1 ComicsPRO Sketch Variant
  • Dark Nights Metal #6 Variant
  • Batman #50 Variant

2019

  • Batman #64 Variant
  • Flash #64 Variant
  • Flash Forward #1 Variant
  • DCeased #1 Variant
  • Lois Lane #1 Variant
  • Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 Variant

2020

  • DCeased Unkillables #1 ComicsPRO Variant
  • Plunge #1 ComicsPRO Variant

1996

The Superman Wedding Album Personally Inspected Limited Commemorative Edition

The Superman Wedding Album Personally Inspected Limited Commemorative Edition

Secret Origin: This is the first RRP variant comic ever produced, created for DC’s Fifth Annual RRP meeting in Montreal. The front cover is nearly identical to the all-white embossed cover of the Superman Wedding Album, except it uses gold ink. Each copy was signed and numbered (limited to 250 copies) on the back cover. Interestingly, no one seems to be able to recognize the signature of the DC employee who personally inspected and signed the back covers. We have high confidence that this is the signature of Bob Rozakis, DC’s Executive Editor of Production at the time.
CGC Label: This variant is labeled as a RRP Edition. In addition, CGC notes it as Gold collector’s edition embossed cover. Due to the pre-signed back cover, CGC encapsulates this RRP variant with a green label, indicating a CGC Qualified Grade. However, at least one Yellow Label Signature Series exists.

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1997

U.S. Limited Commemorative Ashcan Edition

U.S. Limited Commemorative Ashcan Edition

Secret Origin: This ashcan was distributed at DC’s Sixth Annual RRP Meeting. It sports an Alex Ross cover with 16 pages of interior art from the first issue of the two-part Vertigo series, but lacks dialogue.
CGC Label: It does not appear in the CGC census so the labeling is unknown.

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1999

All-Star Comics #1 RRP Variant

All-Star Comics #1 RRP Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed to attendees of the RRP held in Baltimore, MD.
CGC Label: Unlike most variants included on this page, CGC designates this as a Variant Cover as well as a RRP Special Edition.

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2002

Batman #608 RRP Variant

Batman #608 RRP Variant

Secret Origin: This variant was released at a RRP meeting in Burbank, CA on November 10th. The Batman #608 RRP Variant was the variant that launched RRP variants into the comic collector zeitgeist. This issue began Jim Lee’s first multi-issue run on a DC monthly title and launched the “Hush” storyline by superstar writer Jeph Loeb. The Loeb/Lee creative team was highly anticipated and created strong demand for this RRP variant, which has never diminished. It also marks the first of many Jim Lee variants produced for RRP, Diamond Retailer and ComicsPRO meetings.
CGC Label: Noted as a promotional issue

Fables #6 Variant

Fables #6 Variant

Secret Origin: At the same Burbank RRP meeting, DC distributed this variant from their Vertigo imprint. Whereas most variants that appear here reuse art from other covers in some fashion, the James Jean wraparound cover is unique to this variant. According to the DC Comics Direct Channel from October 7, 2003, this Fables #6 variant was also slated to be distributed at the 2003 Diamond Retailer Summit in Las Vegas. If that actually occurred, this Fables #6 variant cannot be considered a true RRP Variant.
CGC Label: CGC notes this comic as a Special Edition rather than using their typical Retailer Incentive Edition designation. It is also noted as a Promotional issue and is the only variant on this list noted by CGC with “No cover price.”

Global Frequency #1 Variant

Global Frequency #1 Variant

Secret Origin: This was the third variant distributed to retailers at the Burbank RRP meeting. It was also distributed at a Diamond Retailer Summit.
CGC Label: Like the Fables #6 Variant, CGC also notes this comic as a Special Edition rather than using their typical Retailer Incentive Edition designation. It is also noted as a Promotional issue

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2003

Superman / Batman #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Superman / Batman #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed to attendees at both the Ft. Wayne and Las Vegas Diamond Retailer Summits. Original variant cover art by Ed McGuinness.
CGC Label: Noted as a Diamond/Alliance Retailer Summit Promotion issue

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2004

Identity Crisis #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Identity Crisis #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Secret Origin: Provided to retailers that attended the sole Diamond Retailer Summit of 2004, held in Baltimore, MD from September 12th-14th. A Michael Turner sketch variant of the standard cover.
CGC Label: Noted as a Diamond Retailer Summit promotional.

Superman #204 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Superman #204 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Secret Origin: Provided to retailers that attended the Diamond Retailer Summit held in Baltimore. A Jim Lee sketch variant of the standard cover.
CGC Label: Noted as a Diamond Retailer Summit promotional.

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2005

All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder #1 Sketch Variant

All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder #1 Sketch Variant

Secret Origin: This Jim Lee sketch variant was distributed at both the Baltimore, MD and Ft. Wayne Diamond Retailer Summits. The normal direct sales UPC is unusual in contrast to the “Not for Sale”-type wording typically used on RRP and Diamond Retailer Summit variants.

Infinite Crisis #1 Sketch Variant

Infinite Crisis #1 Sketch Variant

Secret Origin: This was a retailer giveaway at a UK convention, a Montreal RRP meeting (DC’s first one since 2002) and a New York Comic Con (NYCC) breakfast. It is a Jim Lee sketch variant of the main cover.

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2006

Justice League of America #1 Variant

Justice League of America #1 Variant

Secret Origin: This variant features Ed Benes’ artwork from the retail A and B covers combined into a single horizontal cover. It was distributed at both the Baltimore and Ft. Wayne Diamond Retailer Summits.

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2007

All Star Batman #6 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

All Star Batman #6 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Secret Origin: One of three variants distributed to attendees at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore, MD, September 9th - 11th. Black and white Jim Lee cover.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue.

Booster Gold #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Booster Gold #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Secret Origin: This Dan Jurgens sketch variant of the standard Booster Gold #1 (2007) cover was distributed to attendees at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore.
CGC Label: Noted as Diamond Retailer Summit 2007 promotional sketch cover

Flash #231 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Flash #231 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Secret Origin: This Doug Braithwaite sketch variant of the Flash #231 variant cover was distributed to attendees at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore, MD, September 9th - 11th.
CGC Label: Noted as Diamond Retailer Summit 2007 promotional sketch cover. The label does not identify Doug Braithwaite as the cover artist.

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2008

All-Star Batman & Robin #8 Variant

All-Star Batman & Robin #8 Variant

Secret Origin: In February 2008, DC held its first RRP meeting in three years in Austin, TX. Only 60 retailers reportedly attended. Those who attended received this variant, with blue shading added to the Neal Adams variant. Retailers in attendance at the NYCC Retailer Appreciation Breakfast also received this variant.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue

Air #1 Variant

Air #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Attendees at the Diamond/Alliance Retailers Summit in Ft. Wayne and Las Vegas received this variant. Air was a Vertigo series written by G. Willow Wilson. Aside from the “Not For Sale, For Promotional Use Only” label replacing the UPC, little else is different from the regular Air #1 cover besides a grayscale change to the sky.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 Variant

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Attendees at the Diamond/Alliance Retailers Summit in Ft. Wayne and Las Vegas received this variant. The standard version of this issue had two covers. This variant is a sketch cover of the standard “Lightning Lad” George Perez cover.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue

World of Warcraft #9 Variant

World of Warcraft #9 Variant

Secret Origin: Attendees at the Diamond Retailers Summit in Las Vegas received this variant. It was a last minute addition to the Summit giveaways.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue

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2009

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1 Variant

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1 Variant

Secret Origin: This variant was distributed at both the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Memphis and the Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue

Blackest Night Ashcan Edition #0

Blackest Night Ashcan Edition #0

Secret Origin: This comic-sized ashcan was provided to retailers who attended the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Memphis. The Blackest Night Ashcan can be identified by its inked black and white cover. The interior has only sketched pages without inks or colors. The Ashcan Edition is sometimes confused with the color cover of the Blackest Night #0 SDCC Edition, which was a giveaway to all SDCC attendees. Clearly, the ashcan had a much lower print run. Both covers also indicate “Not For Sale, For Promotional Use Only”, leading to further confusion.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue

Blackest Night #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Blackest Night #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Secret Origin: While most recolored variants seem meh, this red recolored variant of the standard Blackest Night #1 cover stands out from the crowd. It was distributed only at the Diamond Retailer Summit dinner in Baltimore.

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2010

DC Universe Legacies Ashcan Edition #1

DC Universe Legacies Ashcan Edition #1

Secret Origin: The origins of this ashcan thus far remain secret. We have traced the earliest sale to April 2010. It is very likely that it was distributed at the Diamond Summit in Chicago.
CGC Label: There is only a single 9.8 copy in the census.

American Vampire #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

American Vampire #1 Diamond Retailer Summit Variant

Secret Origin: It had been five years since there was a Jim Lee RRP or Diamond Retailer variant, but at the Diamond Retailer Summit held at C2E2 (Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo) in Chicago, Jim Lee variants made their return. At first glance, this variant appears nearly identical to the American Vampire #1 retail variant. However, closer examination reveals the red recolouring of both the foreground character and the background, where red had already been used as the primary color.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue

Blackest Night #8 Variant

Blackest Night #8 Variant

Secret Origin: Retailers attending the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago received a coupon book. They had to redeem a coupon at DC’s C2E2 booth to receive this variant of the Doug Mahnke retail variant cover, with a stark white background and the outstretched arms recolored.

First Wave #1 Variant

First Wave #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Retailers attending the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago received a coupon book. They had to redeem a coupon at Diamond’s C2E2 booth to receive this Neals Adams sketch variant.

DV8 Gods and Monsters #1 Diamond Retailer Variant

DV8 Gods and Monsters #1 Diamond Retailer Variant

Secret Origin: The initial issue of the DV8: Gods and Monsters series under DC’s Wildstorm imprint was distributed through the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago. This is yet another Jim Lee cover, this time a sketch variant of his own variant cover to issue #1.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue

Batman: The Dark Knight / Batman Incorporated Ashcan

Batman: The Dark Knight / Batman Incorporated Ashcan

Secret Origin: This flipbook in an ashcan format was a special giveaway at the NYCC Retailer Appreciation Breakfast on October 8th. It contains black and white preview pages (virgin art without lettering), from Batman: The Dark Knight #1 on one side and Batman Incorporated #1 on the other side.
CGC Label: We have seen both covers encapsulated as the front cover. It may be the case that if David Finch signs it, his Dark Knight cover is used as the front cover in the CGC case. Otherwise, the Batman Incorporated cover is used. CGC notes this as a Special ashcan preview and titles it, “Batman: The Dark Knight/Batman Incorporated Preview #nn”

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2011

Batman: The Dark Knight #1 Variant

Batman: The Dark Knight #1 Variant

Secret Origin: The partial sketch variant of the standard David Finch cover was distributed at the Diamond Retailer Summit Breakfast in Chicago.

Fables #101 Variant

Fables #101 Variant

Secret Origin: This black and white variant of the standard Joao Ruas cover was distributed at the Diamond Retailer Summit Breakfast in Chicago.

Justice League #1 Variant

Justice League #1 Variant

Secret Origin: DC hit the road during the summer of 2011 to kick-off their September launch of the “New 52.” These Retailer Roadshows took place in New York, Dallas, Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles. DC mailed out copies to retailers who attended these Roadshows. In addition, those who attended the NYCC Retailer Appreciation Breakfast also received a copy. This is a Jim Lee sketch variant of the standard Justice League #1 cover.

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2012

Action Comics #1 Variant

Action Comics #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Retailers at the Diamond Retailer Summit dinner in Chicago and ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Dallas received this black bordered variant of Rags Morales’ Action Comics #1 cover. The indica for both the Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #1 variants indicate they were produced in 2012. It is important to note that RRP, Diamond Retailer and ComicsPRO variants vary as to whether they were printed before, at the same time or after the retail comic.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue. Also states “Indica reads Fourth Printing”

Detective Comics #1 Variant

Detective Comics #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Retailers at the Diamond Retailer Summit dinner in Chicago and ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Dallas received this black bordered variant of Tony Daniels’ standard cover.
CGC Label: Noted as a Promotional issue. Also states “Indica reads Fifth Printing”, which makes sense since this was printed and distributed many months after the September 2011 launch of the New 52.

Fairest #1 Variant

Fairest #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Retailers attending the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago received a coupon book. They had to redeem a coupon at Diamond’s C2E2 booth to receive this slightly recolored blue/gray variant of Adam Hughes’ standard wraparound cover.

Batman #11 Variant

Batman #11 Variant

Secret Origin: Attendees at the Diamond Retailer Lunch at San Diego Comic-Con received this recolored variant of Greg Capullo’s regular Batman #11 cover.

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2013

Superman Unchained #1 3D Variant

Superman Unchained #1 3D Variant

Secret Origin: DC gave this variant to retailers who attended regional DC Retailer Roadshows in New York, Orlando, Burbank and Portland during June. The Superman Unchained #1 3D Variant (also referred to as a Lenticular variant) was made as a demo to show retailers how the 3D effect would look on the Villain month covers due to be released in September.
CGC Label: Labeled as a 3-D Variant Cover rather than the typical Retailer Incentive Edition designation.

Justice League of America #1 Variant

Justice League of America #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Attendees at the ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting in Atlanta and the C2E2 Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago received this partial sketch variant by David Finch.

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2014

Batman #28 ComicsPRO Variant

Batman #28 ComicsPRO Variant

Secret Origin: Attendees at the ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting in Atlanta received this variant, a grayscale version of Dustin Nguyen’s main cover. This issue is notable with Harper Row’s first appearance as Bluebird.

Harley Quinn #4 Variant

Harley Quinn #4 Variant

Secret Origin: During 2014, DC conducted a number of Retailer Roadshows where this recolored red variant of the Amanda Cover main cover was a giveaway to attendees.

The New 52: Futures End #1 Variant

The New 52: Futures End #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Attendees of the 2014 Diamond Retailer Summit in Las Vegas received this variant, which is a sketch variant of Ryan Sook’s main cover.

Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International #1 Variant

Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Due to the title, it is easy to assume that this was a SDCC exclusive variant. However, it was distributed at both the Diamond Retailer Breakfast in Baltimore and at the SDCC Retailer Lunch. This is a blue recolored variant of the standard wraparound cover by Amanda Conner.

Batgirl #35 Variant

Batgirl #35 Variant

Secret Origin: This blue recolored variant of the main Batgirl #35 cover by Cameron Stewart was distributed at the Diamond Retailer NYCC Breakfast and SDCC Retailer Lunch. It can be confused with the Batgirl #35 NYCC Exclusive Variant that was sold at the con. That other variant sports a recoloured white background with the New York Comic Con logo added to the cover.
CGC Label: Designated as a Convention Edition with NYCC 2014 and Retailer incentive notes.

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2015

Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special #1 Variant

Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special #1 Variant

Secret Origin: DC only gave this variant to retailers who attended Retailer Road Shows in 2015. The “Exclusive Variant” box on the cover makes it a bit unique.

Harley Quinn #20 Variant

Harley Quinn #20 Variant

Secret Origin: This recolored variant of the main Harley Quinn #20 cover was given to attendees at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore, MD. Unique as it lacks any “Not For Sale” or “Promotional Use Only” verbiage on the cover.

Justice League of America #2 Variant

Justice League of America #2 Variant

Secret Origin: This wraparound virgin cover by Bryan Hitch was distributed only at the SDCC Retailer Luncheon.
CGC Label: Instead of Retailer Incentive Edition, CGC designates this as a Retailer Luncheon Edition.

Superman Unchained #1 Variant

Superman Unchained #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Though a Jim Lee 3-D Roadshow variant was produced back in 2013, one Jim Lee variant for Superman Unchained #1 clearly wasn’t enough. Two years later at the DC Retailer Roadshow in NYC and the SDCC Diamond Retailer Appreciation Luncheon, attendees took home this Superman Unchained #1 Jim Lee sketch variant. Spoiler: This is not a Diamond Retailer Summit variant. Like other variants that we left off this list, this was actually a retailer ratio incentive variant. For every 300 copies of Superman Unchained #1 that a retailer ordered, they could order 1 copy of this variant. It seems that DC had some copies left over and decided to make them a “thank you” to retailers at SDCC. We left this on the list purely as an example of variants that can be tricky to put in the RRP/DRS/ComicsPRO category. A similar example is the Harley Quinn & Suicide Squad April Fool's Special #1 black and white variant, which was a 1 in 50 ratio variant, but also a giveaway at 2016 Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore.

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2016

Suicide Squad #1 Variant

Suicide Squad #1 Variant

Secret Origin: This black and white inked variant of the standard cover by Jim Lee was distributed only at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore, MD.
CGC Label: The Suicide Squad #1 Variant lacks the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification or any other notes. It is noted as a Sketch Cover instead.

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2017

Forged From Metal: The New Age of DC Heroes Ashcan

Forged From Metal: The New Age of DC Heroes Ashcan

Secret Origin: This ashcan was distributed only at the C2E2 Diamond Retailer Summit on April 21st in Chicago. Within its eight pages it provides concept ideas, sketches and the first full color drawings of Sideways and Tempus Fuginaut.
CGC Label: Noted as an Ashcan Edition instead of the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification.

Batman #21 Variant

Batman #21 Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed only at the C2E2 Diamond Retailer Summit on April 21st in Chicago..
CGC Label: This Batman #21 variant lacks the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification or any other notes. Instead, it is noted as a Partial sketch cover.

Batman: I Am Gotham TPB Variant

Batman: I Am Gotham TPB Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed to attendees of the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago and the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Memphis. This is a trade paperback with a Jim Lee sketch cover unique to this edition.
CGC Label: Noted as a Retailer Incentive Edition, with “Collects Batman: Rebirth #1 and Batman (2016) #1-6” as the only clue that it is a trade paperback.

All-Star Batman #7 Variant

All-Star Batman #7 Variant

Secret Origin: Recolored Francesco Francavilla variant of the standard cover given to attendees of the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago and the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Memphis.
CGC Label: Only 2 copies appear in the CGC census. They are labeled with the standard Retailer Incentive Edition notation.

Batwoman Rebirth #1 Variant

Batwoman Rebirth #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Given to attendees of the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago and the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Memphis. Only the trade dress is different from the standard cover.

Justice League of America Rebirth #1 Variant

Justice League of America Rebirth #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Given to attendees of the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago and the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Memphis.

Super Sons #1 Variant

Super Sons #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Given to attendees of the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago and the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Memphis CGC Label: Noted as a Variant Cover. Lacks the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification or any other notes.

The Wild Storm #1 Variant

The Wild Storm #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Given to attendees of the 2017 Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago and ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Memphis. A homage to a 1991 Kate Moss for Calvin Klein Jeans ad. Unique as it lacks any “Not For Sale” or “Promotional Use Only” verbiage on the cover.

Preacher #1 Retailer Incentive Cover

Preacher #1 Retailer Incentive Cover

Secret Origin: This reprint of Preacher #1 with a new Steve Dillon cover is one of the more enigmatic Diamond Retailer variants. For instance, Preacher #1 Retailer Incentive Cover is the actual indica title. The indica also indicates a May 2016 release, as does the cover date and Steve Dillon’s 2016 date below his signature. The $3.99 cover price suggests that it had been planned for sale. A single copy of Preacher #1 Retailer Incentive Cover was sold in August 2016 on eBay but all other copies were sold during and after SDCC in 2017. It might be the case that the Retailer Incentive Cover was intended to be sold, but it would have been difficult to sell against the free Preacher #1 AMC Special Edition that arrived in stores on May 11, 2016. The August 2016 copy apparently leaked, but the rest were held in inventory until they were distributed at the 2017 SDCC Retailer Appreciation Lunch.

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2018

Dark Knights Rising Wild Hunt #1 ComicsPRO Sketch Variant

Dark Knights Rising Wild Hunt #1 ComicsPRO Sketch Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed to attendees of the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Portland. Partial sketch cover. Includes the ComicsPRO logo on the cover, as do all ComicsPRO variants from this point forward.
CGC Label: Noted accurately as a ComicsPRO Edition instead of the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification.

Sideways #1 ComicsPRO Sketch Variant

Sideways #1 ComicsPRO Sketch Variant

Secret Origin: This partial sketch cover of Sideways #1 was distributed to attendees of the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Portland.
CGC Label: Noted accurately as a ComicsPRO Edition instead of the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification.

Dark Nights Metal #6 Variant

Dark Nights Metal #6 Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed to attendees of the Diamond Retailer Summit before C2E2 in Chicago. Recoloured variant of the main Greg Capullo cover.
CGC Label: Noted as the Capullo Convention Edition instead of the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification.

Batman #50 Variant

Batman #50 Variant

Secret Origin: This Batman #50 variant was distributed at the NYCC Diamond Retailer Appreciation Breakfast on October 4th and the SDCC Diamond Retailer Summit. This issue had a lot of variants in the expectation that the wedding of Batman and Catwoman would occur and demand would be high.
CGC Label: Noted as the Lee Sketch Cover, which can be confusing. This is actually an inked cover. However, a sketch ratio variant does exist - DC called it the Jim Lee Pencils Variant. Retailers could order 1 copy of the Batman #50 Jim Lee Sketch/Pencils Variant for every 100 copies of open-to-order Batman #50 variants ordered. Only the darker inks and lack of a UPC distinguish the Diamond Retailer Variant from the ratio Sketch/Pencils variant.

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2019

Batman #64 Variant

Batman #64 Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed to attendees of the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Charlotte. Chris Burnham sketch variant of the main Batman #64 cover. Part 1 of the “The Price” crossover between the Batman and Flash titles.
CGC Label: Noted accurately as a ComicsPRO Edition instead of the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification.

Flash #64 Variant

Flash #64 Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed to attendees of the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Charlotte. Chris Burnham sketch variant of the main Flash #64 cover. Part 2 of the “The Price” crossover between the Batman and Flash titles.
CGC Label: Noted accurately as a ComicsPRO Edition instead of the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification.

Flash Forward #1 Variant

Flash Forward #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed at the NYCC Diamond Retailer Appreciation Breakfast.
CGC Label: Only 3 graded copies are in the CGC census.

DCeased #1 Variant

DCeased #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Las Vegas. Black and white variant of the standard Greg Capullo cover to DCeased #1. This variant has the usual “Not For Sale” and “For Promotional Use Only” indications but also has a barcode UPC.
CGC Label: Noted as a Sketch Cover. Lacks the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification or any other notes.

Lois Lane #1 Variant

Lois Lane #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed at the SDCC Diamond Retailer Lunch on July 19th. This a blue recolored variant of the main Mike Perkins cover to Lois Lane #1.
CGC Label: Only 3 graded copies are in the CGC census. The top grade is a 9.4!

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 Variant

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed at the SDCC Diamond Retailer Lunch. This is a blue line variant of the main Steve Lieber cover to Jimmy Olsen #1.
CGC Label: No CGC graded copies exist to date.

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2020

DCeased Unkillables #1 ComicsPRO Variant

DCeased Unkillables #1 ComicsPRO Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed to attendees of the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Portland.
CGC Label: Noted accurately as a ComicsPRO Edition instead of the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification. Only 1 graded copy, a CGC 9.6, exists in the census.

Plunge #1 ComicsPRO Variant

Plunge #1 ComicsPRO Variant

Secret Origin: Distributed to attendees of the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting in Portland.
CGC Label: Noted accurately as a ComicsPRO Edition rather than the typical Retailer Incentive Edition identification. Only 1 graded copy, a CGC 9.8, exists in the census.