Undervalued Spotlight #265

deadpool secret wars 2Deadpool Secret Secret Wars #2, Marvel Comics, June 2015

I was talking with the boys at the shop recently; we were arguing the merits of variants. Needless to say we got nowhere. Variants are a tricky business and I’m smart enough to know just how dumb I am when it comes to these things.

Still the discussion left me wondering, could I come up with a solid Spotlight pick that was a current Variant?

Game on!

We convened the next day and started the discussion anew. I focused on some of the fundamentals that hold true for comic valued in the much more familiar territory (for me anyway) of Silver and Bronze Age comics. Character introduction, true scarcity, current and projected popularity of the character etc.

After some back and forth we flushed out this week’s Undervalued Spotlight pick, Deadpool Secret Secret Wars #2, Gwenpool Variant.

Gwenpool is a very hot commodity right now. Last week the character made her first formal appearance in Howard the Duck #1. The raw,howard duck 1 gwenpool ungraded Gwenpool Variant for Howard the Duck #1 is consistently fetching $80 to $125 on the market. Crazy money.

Though Howard the Duck #1 introduced us to the Gwenpool character for the first time through a back-up story, we can’t technically call this her first appearance.

Gwenpool’s first appearance is actually on the Gwenpool variant cover to Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2.

Gwenpool owes her existence to Spider-Gwen. Spider-Gwen’s surprising popularity led Marvel to launch a Gwen-themed variant month in June. Gwenpool seems to be the one that has struck a chord.

She’s everywhere, cosplayers came out in force as Gwenpool this summer, Marvel has written her into back-ups in Howard the Duck and I read that there will be a Gwenpool Special in December.

So how will this all play out? Will a silly little pun Marvel tried out actually develop into a new force in the Marvel U? Or will Gwenpool soon be forgotten as a neat little gimmick that had its day?

I for one am throwing my hat into Gwenpool’s first appearance one day meaning something and I’m arguing that Secret Secret Wars #2 will settle in as her true first appearance. Sort of like Motion Picture Funnies Weekly stealing Marvel Comics #1’s thunder re Sub-Mariner back in 1939.

So I’m betting that this book will meet the criteria of having an important introduction and that the character will have staying power.

To probe into the relative scarcity of this book I jumped on the Comichron and played with the data a bit. According to the site Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2 sold 70,256 copies a portion of these were the Gwenpool variant.

You should know that Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2 Gwenpool variant was only orderable if shops exceeded their orders of Deadpool #44 by 100%, in other words, double your Deadpool #44 order and you can have all the Gwenpool variants you want.

Deadpool #44 shows 44,888 sold to stores. So it’s obvious that some shops took the bait but a 56% increase in print run tells me that the bulk of the extras went to satisfy the doubling of the orders leaving little room for large raw numbers of the variant. By all indications this was not a heavily printed book.

Raw copies of Deadpool Secret Secret Wars #2 have been selling for $20 to $25, a friend of mine picked his up at a recent con for only $10.

Have some fun and play the ultra-volatile spec game that are variants. This one will only set you back a 20 and it brings some decent specs to the table.

This book is too new to be listed in the 45th Overstreet price guide.

Strengths that make this comic a good investment are:

  • First appearance of Gwenpool
  • Variant cover offers relative scarcity

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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8 years ago

Not an investor, just confused by comics these days. This article goes a long way to explaining current comic-world trends to an old vintage collector not interested in anything deadpool or variant. Thank-you Walter.
(ps- not even that old ^_^)

8 years ago


“Exceed 100% of orders for Deadpool #44 (JAN150874) with orders for Deadpools Secret Secret Wars #2 reg cvr, and this variant is order all you want.)”

Walt, in Marvel’s parlance, this means you have to match Deadpool #44 +1 copy, not double it. This was actually a very attainable variant.

8 years ago

No. There usually is no way to measure a variant unless its on an issue to issue ratio with no added promotions. Though there may be more.copies than you expected I do no believe many retailers had all that much interest in Gwenpool. Who did at very 1st??? So as a 1:25 cover variant along with that “theory” I bekieve the numbers ate low enough to create a very high demant when she heats up..and she will!!! Very good pic sir! Your mistake was an honest one snd i respect your.knowledge. Thanks 🙂

8 years ago

There is no way to know the print runs, and there is plenty of debate online about this. If you want to read people arguing about things that no one knows for certain, here’s a good starting point:


Things to consider:

People generally assume a 1:100 book is about 1% of the print run. But there are multiple instances of Marvel offering 1:100 variants (and other variants) in sales or other promotions months after their release. They haven’t done this recently, but I can certainly remember several instances 5 or 6 years ago.

There are many stores that don’t order variants at all, even when they qualify. Can you blame them? In the September 2015 Previews, which just happened to be the closest one I have in front of me, Marvel offers 64 unique comics and an additional 132 unique variants for those 64 comics. 66% of Marvel’s output shipping in November is variant covers. It’s insane.

I remember the Gwen variants. Like with many of the “exceed X and order all you want”, I ordered none because they are often difficult to sell for more than cover price. At that point they just become another SKU taking up rack space and cannibalizing sales. Obviously this one was an exception, but the catalogue is littered with similar variants every month that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. As a result, I would not be surprised if this Gwenpool variant has a tiny print run. I also would not be surprised if one very smart retailer ordered 5000 copies. It’s the wild wild west right now and no one really knows for sure what’s going on.

Charlie Kim
8 years ago

If Gwenpool only appears on the cover of Deadpool Secret Secret Wars #2, wouldn’t this simply be a cameo? Making her full appearance in Howard the Duck the more important book? Of note, Gwenpool’s head appears on the regular cover of Howard the Duck #1… Maybe this should be a conciliatory book for those who missed out on the variant.