Marvel welcomed back Peter Parker this week in a relaunch of The Amazing Spider-Man that brought with it an avalanche of variant covers that undoubtedly triggered ’90s flashbacks with some readers (that may explain why you suddenly began worrying about Ross and Rachel and the whereabouts of your Rollerblades). But just how many covers are there?
The publisher hasn’t released an official figure, but best counts put the number close to 50, most of which are retailer custom covers purchased exclusively by stores and conventions. To get their hands on one of those exclusives, a retailer (or a convention, or a trade group like the Comic Book Retailers Alliance) had to order a minimum of 3,000 copies of The Amazing Spider-Man #1 for a standard edition; for a sketch version, the number dropped to 1,500 (both are the standard numbers for Marvel’s custom variants).
Other variants, like those by Alex Ross, Marcos Martin, Skottie Young and J. Scott Campbell, are more widely available (even if some of them are incentive covers, requiring a retailer to purchase a specific number of copies to receive just one variant).
If you’re curious about what those scores of variants look like, you could either scour eBay or (much easier) visit SpiderManFan, a fan site that’s assembled most — if not all — of them, with assistance from its own commenters and from posters at the ComicBookRealm forum.
Obviously there’s a demand for this kind of thing, otherwise Marvel and other publishers wouldn’t continue to offer these variants. A quick eBay search reveals a current top bid of $153.50 for the GameStop-exclusive cover, and $325.35 for the Ross sketch variant.