Comic Book Questions Answered - where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.
Today we look into a Batman "variant cover" being sold on eBay.
Today, reader Jeff wrote in to ask:
I came across several Batman #0 comic books for sell on ebay with variant covers by "J. Gates former Disney artist." I can find no mention of these variants anywhere. Do you know anything about them? Who exactly is J. Gates? How rare are these variant?
Here is one of the covers in question:
Here is a link to the eBay auction.
Well, Jeff, what Jay Gates is doing here is taking the blank cover variants that DC did for Batman #0 (that you could get at most retail stores for cover price) and then drawing on the cover and selling it as a "sketch variant."
It likely is "rare," in the sense that there are only as many as Gates personally drew.
But it is just an artist drawing on a blank cover. Here is the blank cover variant...
So Gates just drew on the blank cover and he (or a third party eBay seller) is now selling it for $30.
If you like Gates' artwork enough to pay $30 for an original drawing, fair enough. But this is not any sort of official variant cover.
As to Jay Gates' background, I don't know. I looked him up but found no information. I would be interested in learning what work he has done for Disney.