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Action Figure Toy Comic Covers - Complete history and Chronology index guide

Updated 8/2016 by comic book historian Terry Hoknes at hoknes@hotmail.com

There are now 200 different action figure themed comic book covers as of August 2016

2015 marked the year that a new craze in variant covers has become the norm. Marvel has had a massive surprise hit on their hands doing a line of action figure variant covers running through their Star Wars titles this year. However they didn’t create the format ! Let’s take a look at a history of “action figure” covers.

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The indie comic Scud The Disposable Assassin had the first action figure cover back in 1995 on issue #9

In 1998 Batman Gotham Adventures #3 featured a cool action figure style gimmick cover.

In 2006 a small indie publisher released possibly the first cover made to look believably real with bubble.

ACTION FIGURE JOURNALS OF RICHARD MARZELAK #1 – BABOON BOOKS by Richard Marzelak (January 2006)
In the year 2053, a young couple, shopping at an estate sale, discover a box filled with personal journals detailing the life of an artist who flourished in the early part of the 21st century. They begin reading one of the volumes which covers his days at “Hasmark,” the world’s largest toy and greating card company.

It is believed there might be a Baltimore Comic Con variant cover of Hellshock from Jae Lee at Image that had action figure variant cover but I have not located it.

ANGEL #26 (2009)  TV show series released this rare comic book variant.

Early 2013 saw the release of the He-Man and the Masters Of The Universe #1 variant cover.  This is quite rare!

In October 2013 DC released 4 photo toy action figure variant covers for Injustice Gods Among Us
Issues #10 11 12 and Year 2 #2.

INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US #10 VAR ED – DC COMICS
(W) Tom Taylor (A) Jheremy Raapack & Various (CA) Photo
Hoping to stop Batman’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering, Superman has decided to take him out of the game. He’s going to go worldwide with the news that the Caped Crusader is really Bruce Wayne. But at the last minute, Batman plays his one remaining ace. He’s about to turn off the lights on the JLA’s satellite headquarters.

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The first action figure themed cover from Marvel Comics debuted in March 2013

FEARLESS DEFENDERS #2 NOW 2013 3/23

The comic that really started the new trend was Spread in August 2014

SPREAD #1 2ND PTG (MR) – IMAGE COMICS (W) Justin Jordan (A/CA) Kyle Strahm
Ten years ago, we dug too deep. We unleashed something ancient that couldn’t be controlled. Something that couldn’t be stopped, twisting everything it touched into more of itself. The Spread. Humanity was nearly destroyed before we found a way to slow the Spread to a crawl. Now, deep inside the quarantined zone, one man has found the key to stopping it forever: a baby girl. And if he can save her, he might save the world.

Later in 2015 issue #7 also had a rare 1:10 ratio Preacher action figure variant.   This is now one of the most valuable action figure variant covers.

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In October 2014 Marvel released possibly their first real action figure cover in their month of Hasbro toy variant covers.
AVENGERS #36 HASBRO VAR TRO – MARVEL COMICS (W) Jonathan Hickman (A) Stefano Caselli (CA) TBD
IN 7 MONTHS TIME RUNS OUT! Rated T+
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STAR WARS Comics - ACTION FIGURE variant covers - complete history

January 2015 saw Marvel release their first Star Wars comics in 29 years. Each new issue comes out with many variant covers including a regular running Action Figure figure paying tribute to the original Kenner action figures of the 1970s.

STAR WARS #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR – MARVEL COMICS
(W) Jason Aaron (A) John Cassaday (CA) John Tyler Christopher
THE GREATEST SPACE ADVENTURE OF ALL TIME RETURNS TO MARVEL! 

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Star Wars #1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Star Wars #1 Comic Con Luke Skywalker black and white exclusive

Star Wars #4 Boba Fett John Christopher website exclusive variant

Star Wars #4 Boba Fett John Christopher black and white website exclusive variant

Star Wars Han Solo #1 Bespin Outfit John Christopher website exclusive variant

Star Wars Poe Dameron #1 Poe Dameron John Christopher black and white website exclusive variant

Vader Down #1 John Christopher variant features a back of an action figure card showing many figures - this was printed for various retailers so there is different store logo versions available

Vader Down #1 John Christopher variant features a fake envelope mailed to Wonderworld Comics - exclusive store variant cover

Darth Vader #1 20 21 22 23 24 25

Princess Leia #1 Lando #1

Obi Wan and Anakin #1

C3PO Special #1

Star Wars Poe Dameron #1

Star Wars Han Solo #1

plus there is exclusive John Tyler Christopher website variants for Star Wars #4 featuring a rare Boba Fett version (print run 5,000 copies) and then he releases a black and white Boba Fett version (print run 3,000 copies)

Neither were available in stores.  Only available for one day direct from the artists website.

The rarest of all Star Wars action figure covers is the Luke Skywalker black and white C2E2 convention cover with a print run of only 200 copies.

 

Marvel realized quickly in early 2015 they had a new fad on their hands and decided to cash in.  In total they release SIXTY (60) different action figure variant covers during 2015

Max Ride First Flight #1 was the first non-Star Wars marvel action figure variant and is indeed one of the rarest ones for sure.

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FIGMENT 2 #1 (OF 5) ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 9/2

FIGMENT 2 #2 (OF 5) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 10/14

FIGMENT 2 #3 (OF 5) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 11/11

FIGMENT 2 #4 (OF 5) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 12/23

FIGMENT 2 #5 (OF 5) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 1/13

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SECRET WARS #6 (OF 9) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR SWA

SECRET WARS #7 (OF 9) ACTION FIGURE VAR SWA 2015 11/11

SECRET WARS #8 (OF 9) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR SWA 2015 12/9

SECRET WARS #9 (OF 9) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 1/13

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X-MEN 92 #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 3/30

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INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 10/7

CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 10/7

DOCTOR STRANGE #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 10/7

GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 10/14

SPIDER-GWEN #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 10/14

HERCULES #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 11/4

ALL NEW WOLVERINE #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 11/11

SPIDER-WOMAN #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 11/18

MS MARVEL #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 11/18

BLACK KNIGHT #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 11/18

VENOM SPACE KNIGHT #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 11/25

TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1 ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 12/2

DAREDEVIL #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 12/2

RED WOLF #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 12/2

SQUADRON SUPREME #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 12/16

UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #3 ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 12/16

PATSY WALKER AKA HELLCAT #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 12/23

ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 1/6

SPIDER-MAN DEADPOOL #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 1/6

NOVA #3 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 1/6

OLD MAN LOGAN #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 1/27

DEADPOOL MERCS FOR MONEY #1 (OF 5) ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 2/3

DEADPOOL #7 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 2/10

POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #1 IF ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 2/17

POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #1 PM ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 2/17

BLACK WIDOW #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 3/2

MOCKINGBIRD #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 3/9

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 3/16

DEADPOOL MERCS FOR MONEY #2 (OF 5) ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 3/16

HYPERION #1 CHISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 3/23

GWENPOOL #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 4/13

MOON KNIGHT #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 4/13

DEADPOOL MERCS FOR MONEY #3 (OF 5) ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 4/20

PUNISHER #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 5/4

THUNDERBOLTS #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 5/4

DEADPOOL MERCS FOR MONEY #4 (OF 5) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE 2016 5/18

CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS #1 ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 5/25

NIGHTHAWK #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 5/25

DEADPOOL #13 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 6/1

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #8 ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 6/22

SQUADRON SUPREME #9 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 7/20

DEADPOOL AND MERCS FOR MONEY #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VA 2016 7/20

UNCANNY X-MEN #600 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE C VAR MARVEL COMICS $5.99
UNCANNY X-MEN #600 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE B VAR MARVEL COMICS $5.99
UNCANNY X-MEN #600 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE A VAR MARVEL COMICS $5.99
DEADPOOLS SECRET SECRET WARS #1 (OF 4) ACTION FIGURE VAR SWA MARVEL $4.99
SECRET WARS JOURNAL #1 (OF 5) ACTION FIGURE VAR SWA MARVEL COMICS $3.99
SECRET WARS BATTLEWORLD #1 (OF 4) ACTION FIGURE SWA MARVEL COMICS $3.99
ULTIMATE END #1 (OF 5) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR SWA MARVEL COMICS $3.99
SECRET WARS #2 (OF 8) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR MARVEL COMICS $4.99
SECRET WARS #1 (OF 8) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR MARVEL COMICS $4.99

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ALL NEW INHUMANS #1 ACTION FIGURE TWO PACK VAR

MS MARVEL #2 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE TWO PACK VAR 2015 12/16

UNCANNY INHUMANS #3 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2015 12/16

KARNAK #3 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE TWO PACK VAR 2016 4/20

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MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #1 UNLOCK ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 3/2

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #2 UNLOCK ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 4/6

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #3 UNLOCK ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 5/11

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #4 UNLOCK ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 6/22

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #5 UNLOCK ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 7/20

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #6 UNLOCK ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 8/31

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HAUNTED MANSION #1 (OF 5) ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 3/9

HAUNTED MANSION #2 (OF 5) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 4/20

HAUNTED MANSION #3 (OF 5) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 5/18

HAUNTED MANSION #4 (OF 5) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 6/29

HAUNTED MANSION #5 (OF 5) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 7/27

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ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #21 CVR C ACTION FIGURE (MR) 2016 3/30

ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #21 CVR D ACTION FIGURE RISQUE (MR) 2016 3/30

ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #22 CVR C ACTION FIGURE (MR) 2016 4/20

ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #22 CVR D ACTION FIGURE RISQUE (MR) 2016 4/20

VAMPBLADE #4 CVR C ACTION FIGURE (MR) 2016 5/4

VAMPBLADE #4 CVR D RISQUE ACTION FIGURE (MR) 2016 5/4

ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #23 CVR C ACTION FIGURE (MR) 2016 5/25

ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #24 CVR C ACTION FIGURE (MR) 2016 6/22

ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #24 CVR D ACTION FIGURE RISQUE (MR) 2016 6/22

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SPIDER-WOMEN ALPHA #1 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 4/6

SILK #7 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 4/20

SPIDER-WOMAN #6 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 4/27

SPIDER-GWEN #8 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 5/4

SILK #8 CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 5/11

SPIDER-WOMAN #7 CHRISTOPHEIR ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 5/18

SPIDER-WOMEN OMEGA #1 ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 6/1

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In the summer of 2015 Hall Of Comix started commissioning a series of GI Joe exclusive variant cover action figure covers for issues #215 216 217.

They solicited variant covers featuring action figure covers through Diamond for issues #219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 as well as a Street Fighter VS Gi Joe #1 action figure variant in April 2016.

 

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MICRONAUTS #1 SUBSCRIPTION VAR C 2016 4/27

MICRONAUTS #1 HOKNES COMICS EXCLUSIVE VARIANT ACTION FIGURE COVER 2016 4/27

MICRONAUTS #2 SUBSCRIPTION VAR B 2016 5/18

MICRONAUTS #2 SUBSCRIPTION VAR C 2016 5/18

MICRONAUTS #3 SUBSCRIPTION VAR B 2016 6/29

MICRONAUTS #3 SUBSCRIPTION VAR C 2016 6/29

MICRONAUTS #4 CLASSIC PHOTO VAR 2016 7/20

MICRONAUTS #4 FAKE ACTION FIG VAR 2016 7/20

MICRONAUTS #5 ACTION FIG VAR 2016 8/31

MICRONAUTS #5 CLASSIC TOY VAR 2016 8/31

MICRONAUTS #6 SUBSCRIPTION VAR A 2016 9/21

MICRONAUTS #6 SUBSCRIPTION VAR B 2016 9/21

 

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TMNT BEBOP & ROCKSTEADY DESTROY EVERYTHING #1 2016 6/1 - 2 different Blindbox exclusive variant covers released - print run only 250 copies each

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DOCTOR WHO 4TH #2 (OF 5) ACTION FIGURE VARIANT FORBIDDEN PLANET EXCLUSIVE VARIANT COVER 2016 4/20

SHERLOCK #1 ACTION FIGURE VARIANT FORBIDDEN PLANET EXCLUSIVE VARIANT COVER 2016 6/8

ACTION MAN #1 ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 6/22

SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN FALL #1 (OF 5) ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 7/13

ROM #2 SUBSCRIPTION VAR C ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 8/17

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4001 AD #1 (OF 4)  ACTION FIGURE - COMIC COLLECTOR LIVE EXCLUSIVE STORE VARIANT - PRINT RUN ONLY 500 COPIES 2016 5/4

4001 AD #2 (OF 4)  ACTION FIGURE - COMIC COLLECTOR LIVE EXCLUSIVE STORE VARIANT - PRINT RUN ONLY 500 COPIES 2016 6/1

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CIVIL WAR II GODS OF WAR #1 (OF 4) CHRISTOPHER ACTION FIGURE 2016 6/8

CIVIL WAR II AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 (OF 4) ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 6/8

CIVIL WAR II X-MEN #1 (OF 4) ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 6/15

CIVIL WAR II CHOOSING SIDES #1 (OF 6) ACTION FIGURE VAR 2016 6/22

SUMMARY

Since these have been popular almost since day 1 they will always be sought out by collectors. They are fun!

But we are likely going to get bombarded with these in the future. It will be interesting to see if retailers keep selling out or if they learn to order more as Diamond never has any leftover after retailers make their initial orders.

Its only time before collectors start to collect sets of these and realize they are variants therefore print runs are much smaller than regular covers.

Article by comic book historian Terry Hoknes of www.HoknesComics.com – hoknes@hotmail.com
www.HoknesComics.com – carries all these new comics and all new products in stock and does special orders!!
Weekly article by Terry Hoknes, comic book historian, writer of the Investing In Comic Book series (gold,silver,bronze) and also Canada’s leading comic book retailer focusing on hot sold out comic books and small publishers at www.HoknesComics.com
Contact Terry at hoknes@hotmail.com