UPDATE: Please be aware that these prices reflect the current market price of these covers at the time this article was published. Since then they may have changed as supply and demand changes. 9/10/18
With over a dozen different covers for issue #1 alone, it has become rather confusing for those trying to build a collection. In the post, I will do my best to build a comprehensive guide to all the known variants for issue # 1 and their prices!
A Cover – Tyson Hesse
Hesse is illustrating the first four A covers for April. If placed side by side, the images will connect to make a large picture of Sonic racing across the Emerald Hill Zone from Sonic 2. Currently, this cover is the most common of the set, and is still going for the cover price of $3.99. Expect this to go up, however, as time goes on. As the inaugural flagship cover, it will be sure to appreciate even among a dozen other variants.
B Cover – Tracy Yardley
So far, the trend seems to be that the B cover will be illustrated by whomever is also doing the interior art. In this instance, that would be Sonic comic veteran, Tracy Yardley. Like the A cover, the B cover is among the most common variant currently in circulation and is also going at the cover price of $3.99.
RI-A – Nathalie Fourdraine
Nathalie’s art has fallen into the spotlight with IDW Sonic, the editors loved her stuff so much that they commissioned her to create a variant cover for every issue announced so far! It would seem that she is more than happy to oblige as her covers have been among the first to be revealed. RI-A is the first “Retailer Incentive” cover. these covers are increasingly rare because their supply is based on the amount of copies of a given issue that each brick and mortar retail store orders. Thankfully, most stores were able to order the 10 issues necessary to get a copy of Nathalie’s cover. Nevertheless, it is significantly rarer than either the A or B covers and is going for around $15.00.
RI-B – Rafa Knight
Unfortunately, this is where things start to get pricey. Rafa Knight is another veteran from the Archie era, known for her 3D model covers for both the Sonic and Megaman series. This RI cover’s ratio is 1:25, meaning that for every 25 issues of #1 ordered, the store would receive 1 copy of Rafa’s cover. While many stores in populated areas or that make one order for multiple shops were able to receive a few of these covers, many smaller shops were unable or unwilling to buy in that much bulk. Due to this, Rafa’s cover is going for around $25.00 – $30.00 currently.
RI-C – Kieran Gates
Kieran is know for producing much of the promotion art for Sonic Mania and is considered a master of recreating “official” Sonic artwork styles. As mentioned before, while some mid-sized shops could afford to get a few copies of the RI-B, very few could afford to order the 100 copies that only net you just 1 of this cover. As a result, RI-C is by far the rarest, most sought after, and expensive cover for issue #1. It also has perhaps the widest range in price, with copies selling for anywhere from $60.00 – $150.00 and averaging for around $100.00. For collector’s this is definitely the crown jewel of IDW Sonic at the moment.
WonderCon – Tracy Yardley (B&W B Cover)
The WonderCon 18 convention exclusive was technically the first release of IDW Sonic, debuting almost two weeks before the retail release. It features a black and white version of Tracy Yardley’s B cover. Having come out before the official release and the barrage of variants that came with it, this variant actually had a reasonable price of around $25.00. Unfortunately, most of them have already been snapped up by collectors, and when they do resurface, expect prices to have increased significantly to at least being on par with what similar con exclusives are going for, which is now around $60.00.
Diamond Retailers Summit – Tyson Hesse (B&W A Cover)
Diamond is the largest distributor of comics and collectibles in the US, and each year they hold a convention for retailers where they debut new products, hold workshops to help local comic shops grow, and generally connect with their clients. Those shops who attend are given a “Thank You” pack filled with all sorts of exclusives. This year IDW included a special black and white variant of Hesse’ A cover. Perhaps, the rarest cover in all actuality, due to the fact that the summit was an exclusive event for retailers only, it is currently selling for around $60.00.
C2E2 – Tracy Yardley (B&W B Cover)
This convention exclusive from this past weekend’s C2E2 in Chicago is just hitting the market. There has been some confusion regarding it, since some eBay sellers were marking the Diamond Retailer Summit variant as this one. The C2E2 variant looks almost identical to the WonderCon variant with a couple small differences. In the top left corner under the issue number, the WonderCon variant says “Convention Exclusive” while the C2E2 variant says “Convention Exclusive Cover” and the background is colored instead of just Sonic. Make sure you check that detail when shopping to avoid any confusion that could occur on your end or the seller’s! Like the other exclusives, it is going for around $60.00.
More Fun Games – Devin Kraft
This variant is the first shop exclusive cover released. It is only available from More Fun Comics and Games in Denton, Texas. It is illustrated by local artist Devin Kraft. If you cannot make it out to Texas to pick up a copy, fear not! You can order your own, here, from their website for only $7.99. This variant seems to be flying under the radar at the moment, but the exclusivity of only being available from one shop is sure to make it a highly coveted collectible once their supply runs out, so act fast!
Superstar – Edwin Huang
The Superstar variant will be available at the Tidewater Comic Con in Virginia according to associate editor David Mariotte. It features the artwork of Edwin Huang which appears to be an updated version of the artwork he did for Archie Sonic issue #272.
Crash Course – Kieran Gates
This variant will be packaged with the upcoming Sonic Crash Course board game by IDW Games for those who pre-order it from Gamestop. The game will retail for $29.99. The variant is a black and white version of Gates’ RI-C cover.
In June, IDW will be releasing a box set containing the first 4 issues and an exclusive sketch variant of issue #1. It is unclear which cover it will be, but presumably it will be Hesse’s A cover or Yardley’s B cover. The set will retail for $24.99. Be sure to check with your local shop to check if they will be ordering this set, if not be sure to request it before the end of the month!
The final variant is releasing in May from Dynamic Forces, who are known for their high-end collectibles. It will be available from Diamond Distributors, which means your local shop can also order this from the Previews Catalog, but I doubt many stores will be picking this up beyond special request by customers. Alternatively, you can order a copy directly for $89.99. The site indicates that the cover is not final but displays the promotion art by Tyson Hesse. Additionally, all copies of this variant will be graded at 9.6 or higher to contribute to the value of that high price tag. This is definitely an item for hard-core collectors, despite still retailing for less than Gates’ RI-C cover!
UPDATE: It was recently confirmed that the Dynamic forces high grade Sonic the Hedgehog #1 is just a graded A cover, and not a unique variant. 9/10/18
I hope you found this guide helpful! Good luck on hunting each of them down for your collection! If you see anything incorrect or missing, please let me know!