Fans just can’t get enough of Kieron Gillen‘s and Dan Mora‘s Once & Future, an all-new original series from BOOM! Studios. The debut issue, which hit shelves August 14, is now heading into a historic fifth printing with a variant cover by acclaimed artist Khary Randolph (Excellence) for release in September.
Prior to its debut, Once & Future #1 had already sold out three printings at the distributor level and headed into a fourth the day before it hit shelves. The series follows ex-monster hunter Bridgette McGuire, who pulls her unsuspecting grandson Duncan into a world of magic and mysticism. The Arthurian tale tackles Nationalism in a politically-relevant story for 2019.
“We’re thrilled to see that Once & Future #1 has not only created a fervor among our retail partners, but is now flying off store shelves. We want as many new readers to discover this amazing new world that Kieron, Dan and [colorist] Tamra [Bonvillain] have created and as quickly as possible,” said BOOM! President of Sales and Marketing Filip Sablik in a statement. “In order to fast track this new printing to comic shops and despite increasing our print runs with each successive printing, allocations may occur in order if these unprecedented levels of demand continue to outpace our supply.”
Check out the covers for the first four printings below, as well as release details. Randolph’s Once & Future #1 fifth printing variant hits shelves September 18.
Once & Future #1 Second Printing, featuring a new variant cover by Dan Mora, will be available for sale on August 28, 2019.
Once & Future #1 Third Printing, with a new variant cover by Dan Mora, will be available on September 4, 2019.
Once & Future #1 Fourth Printing, with a new variant cover by Jakub Rebelka (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), will be available on September 11, 2019.
What happened to Boom saying no to variant covers for this series? All of a sudden there is now 5 different covers for it.
Yeah, I’ve got a pretty dark take on this one. I really admired what Sablik and Boom said they would be doing with this series back at that retailer meeting: a new, creator-driven series by top talent that would be sold on the basis of quality alone, with a single cover and ordering incentives that would make sure retailers had plentiful stacks of issues on shelves for readers to discover in stores.
I’m not even a big Gillen fan, but he’s obviously a smart and talented writer, and Mora and Bonvillain do great work, so I was planning to pick up a copy of this series on the day of release, because, as initially described, it represented precisely what I want to see more of in direct-market serialized comic books.
Instead, it’s become something of a poster child for the current wave of speculation/flipping. Overheated pre-release talk of sell-outs prompts speculators to vacuum up every copy they can get their hands on. Subsequent printings with new covers (notice how Sablik even warns copies could be allocated) function exactly like limited-edition variant covers. I believe there was also a one-per-store variant with the initial release, contrary to all earlier messaging.
So I suppose Boom deserves some praise for the high sales they’ve achieved on this series, but they absolutely have not done so in the exemplary way initially promised. This series is no different than the numerous other Boom series that have sold well on the basis of a half-dozen or more variant covers, engineered scarcity, and short-term speculation.
Sorry to my local comic shop, but this is no longer a series I feel motivated to support. Maybe I’ll check it out on Hoopla in a few months.
(If I’m wrong about any of this, I’m happy to hear how.)
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