• Extremely Rare FIENDShip is Magic #1 Variant Cover up for auction on eBay

    Yes, I know a ton of My Little Pony comic collectors have been looking for this variant cover. 

    While EQD doesn't usually post eBay sales of products which were released over 3 years ago (for the most part the covers for the first issue of MLP can all be found for under $10) this one is special.

    My Little Pony Cover Artist Sara Richard recently discovered a very limited stash of Twilight Sparkle Sugar Skull covers she had packed away in a box and forgot about.

    She has put one of them up for auction on eBay. I fully expect the bidding for this one to be intense.

    The Twilight Sparkle Sugar Skull cover from the 2015 FIENDShip is Magic comic series is a notorious variant cover for the My Little Pony Comic line. It is notorious for collectors because it is an extremely difficult cover to come across.

    The last time one of these was available for purchase was back at BronyCon 2016 where one copy was put in the charity auction and it sold for over $600.00.

    Now for the first time in nearly 3 years, the comic has come up for auction once again.

    After the break I go into the details as to why this comic is so freaking hard to come by and why a listing for a cover is newsworthy. After you check out the eBay listing, consider checking that analysis after the break. I think you'll find it enlightening.

    According to Comichron’s April 2015 estimated sales to comic shops, the series sold as follows (this will be important later):

    Issue 1: 20,562 copies
    Issue 2: 18,078 copies
    Issue 3: 17,842 copies
    Issue 4: 17,799 copies
    Issue 5: 17,767 copies

    Now, how retail incentive covers work is that a comic shop places an order for a set number of comics, and they automatically receive a bonus copy if they hit a certain number.

    Example: Shop orders/pays for 10 copies, Shop receives an 11th copy free. (1:10 RIC).

    Those totals from Comichron cover all of the copies (including all retailer incentive covers) shipped to comic shops. So it should be just an easy case of division to get the number of Twilight covers in existence, right?

    Not quite, but this is on the right track.

    Now using the previous example, how many comics will a comic shop receive if they order 25 copies of a book with Retailer Incentive Covers 1:25?

    The answer is 26 and breaks down as follows:

    Covers A/B: 25
    Covers 1:25 RIC: 1

    FIENDShip is Magic only had that 1 incentive cover.

    Let’s look at how much that actually costs before we get any further.

    IIRC (correct me if I am wrong), Diamond sells product to comic shops at 40% of MSRP in exchange for the product being non-refundable.

    An issue of FIENDShip is Magic MSRP was $3.99 when it came out.

    So 40% of $3.99 is about $1.60 per issue.

    What’s the total the comic shop spent (before shipping) to get their 26 copies of the book?

    The answer is $40.00… paid in full 3 months in advance.

    That last bit will become very important later.

    Now with all that worked out, let’s go divide 20,562 by 26 to find out how many copies exist for @SaraRichar’s Twilight Sparkle Cover!

    That would be a massive mistake.

    For you see, even though that cover is a variant for FIENDShip is Magic #1, it is not an retailer incentive cover for that issue.

    It is a retailer incentive cover for the entire series.

    This means comic shops would have to order 25 copies of each issue to get 1 Twilight Sparkle Sugar Skull Variant Cover by Sara Richard.

    That means instead of spending $40 to get the cover, they are spending $200 (before shipping) to get it.

    In a perfect world, this means that you would divide 17,767 copies by 26 and you’d get the estimated exact number of copies of the Twilight Sparkle Sugar Skull Cover.

    That number comes out to 683 copies.

    That’s not a lot of books… that number is also way too high.

    Let me explain why.

    In 2015, there was approximately 2,206 comic shops in the US.

    Know what the average number of copies for one kids comic are ordered per store?

    IIRC, the answer is 5.

    This means 11,030 copies for FIENDShip is Magic #5 don’t count for retailer incentives.

    So you take the 17,767 copies for FIENDShip is Magic #5 and subtract the 11,030 to get the remaining copies which are still a part of the retailer incentive program.

    The result is 6,737 copies.

    Now you subtract the 5 copies that every store already ordered from the 26 copies they would receive if they ordered 25 copies (since those have already been accounted for) and you get the number for the next division.

    Which is 21.

    Once again, in a perfect world, the 6,737 would be divided by 21 and you’d get the number of copies which exist for this cover.

    That number by the way is 320.

    Less than half of the 683 copies we started out with.

    That number is STILL too high.

    For you see a good portion of the comic shops did not catch that the Twilight Sparkle Cover for FIENDShip is Magic #1 by Sara Richard was a 1:25 for the entire series. They thought it was just a 1:25 for the first issue.

    And since MLP was a hot very property (and was selling extremely well in comic shops) the shops going after incentive covers would order the 25 copies for the first issue to get the chase variant and drop off their orders for the rest of the series to slightly above average.

    I do not have a hard figure for this number, but let’s go with the average for this big selling book to be 6 copies.

    Nice even split of the main covers. 3 Copies of Cover A and 3 Copies of Cover B.

    6 copies times 2,206 stores comes out to 13,236 copies not used for chase variants.
    That means there’s only 4,531 left for the 1:25 RIC.

    That remaining amount is divided by 20 (not 21) for the remaining copies allocated to the store.

    And the estimated number of copies for the Twilight Sparkle 1:25 Retail Incentive Cover by Sara Richard for the FIENDShip is Magic Series is:



    226 copies exist in the entire world for that one cover.

    226 copies exist to complete a 6 cover set.

    There are 8,770 nearly complete (5/6 covers) sets in the world.

    To top it off, that number is STILL probably too high.

    Now why didn’t every comic shop just order 25 copies of each issue in the series and be done with it?

    The answer is simple. At $200 paid 3 months in advance for an entire 5 issue series, most couldn’t afford to.

    The shops have a lot of other comics to provide.

    Most from Marvel and DC comics. With the Batman, Superman, Spider-man, and X-Men comic titles eating up a huge chunk of the budget.

    So that’s why the FIENDShip is Magic Twilight Sparkle Cover by Sara Richard is worth $400.

    There just isn’t all that many of them and it’s the final part of a 6 piece set... which nearly 9,000 other people probably have.