BY MATT TUCK
Stray Dogs may have wrapped its five-issue run last month, but the horror variants are still hauling in massive numbers, especially for the Stray Dogs #1 movie homages. Once you see the latest prices, you’ll want all yours graded.
No question, Stray Dogs has been the biggest surprise hit of 2021. The combination of the cute and cuddly, cartoon artwork with a suspense story gels perfectly. Considering Tony Fleecs and Trish Fortsner’s work on My Little Pony, the Disney-esque tone makes sense. The plot stems from a serial killer who steals his victims’ dogs before eventually killing and mounting their heads as trophies.
This has been the runaway hit on an independent scene that has been ripe with great series. With the streaming services optioning those creator-owned properties one after another, it is a matter of time before a studio discovers Stray Dogs. That will propel the comics into another stratosphere.
MOVIE POSTERS GALORE
Since Stray Dogs first grabbed hold of the comic community’s imagination, the most collectible of each comic has been the movie variants. Every issue featured multiple covers inspired by classic horror movie posters. Generally, movie poster tributes are popular anyway, but pairing them with a hit series only ups the ante. Already, the standard cover of Stray Dogs #1 is regularly selling for $300 or more, and it has brought as much as $610 just this month.
In the past couple of months, the values for these horror variants have taken on a life of their own, with some going for anywhere from $500 to over $1k. Let’s break down the numbers.
STAN YAK BLAIR WITCH VARIANT
At the top of the list has been the Stan Yak Blair Witch Project variant cover for the first issue. There were only 500 of these printed, so that helps boost the values based on availability alone. Graded at a 9.8, this comic jumped into four-digit territory virtually overnight. From May 30 to June 16, it consistently sold in the $400-$450 range. Suddenly on June 27, it skyrocketed to $1,025. In fact, the last four sales have all been for over $1k. Although there has not been a sale for a graded copy since July 4, the last copy to trade hands was for $1,034.
You can still grab raw copies for closer to $400-$500, which is still a respectable price. However, the last raw copy to sell on eBay was much lower at $104.99 on July 21.
TRISH FORTSNER SILENCE OF THE LAMBS VARIANT
The Silence of the Lambs homage cover helped get Stray Dogs attention when the series debuted. Next to the Blair Witch variant, this has been the most coveted of the various editions to have.
Similar to the Blair Witch cover, the Silence of the Lambs variant suddenly boomed last month. From April to the first of June, the 9.8 generally sold for around $70. Then on June 6, one broke rank and brought $168, and there was no turning back. By June 21, it had exceeded $400, and two days later, it was hitting $600.
So far in July, the graded copies have cooled some, but that 9.8 is still earning between $300-$400. On the other hand, those raw copies are much easier to come by, and they typically earn less than $100. Just yesterday, one sold for only $56.
COLLECTED COMICS POLTERGEIST MOVIE VARIANT
Anytime you tell collectors there are a limited number of copies being printed, it triggers the FOMO (fear of missing out, for the uninitiated) effect. I say that without judgement; I admit that I am a sucker for the words “sold out” and whenever print runs are less than 1,000. In this case, the Poltergeist variant had a 500-copy printing, and it has become one of the most popular of the Stray Dogs #1s. Last month, a graded 9.8 sold for over $300. Meanwhile, the raw copies have been blistering the market with prices rivaling that graded sale. On July 13, a raw Poltergeist variant brought $310.52, and three days later, another sold for $265.
RAINBOW COLLECTIBLES SEVEN MOVIE VARIANT
Suffice to say, the subsequent printings of Stray Dogs #1 have been immensely popular, and the fair market values are blowing the roof off things. The Rainbow Collectibles edition featured an homage to a 1990s psychological thriller, Seven. Graded or not, this one is getting harder to get by the day. Even for raw copies, the higher grades are approaching the $200 mark. Just a month ago, they were selling for less than $100.
THIRD PRINT SCREAM MOVIE VARIANT
Compared to the other printings on today’s list, the Scream variant is one of the cheapest. Despite it being available for weeks longer, the third print is actually selling for less than the fourth print. The raw copies have consistently earned about $15, and that could simply be due to the print run. On the bright side, it’s nice to have something more affordable on today’s list in case you missed out when these comics were initially released.
FOURTH PRINT THE THING MOVIE VARIANT
Out of all the Stray Dogs #1 variants, this one is among my favorites. It’s a classic horror movie that deserves the homage, and it sold out in comic shops across the country as soon as it was released. In fact, it was selling for $15 both online and in many stores the same day it was put on store shelves. Although it has only been available for less than a month, it is already earning $20, which is not a bad investment considering how expensive several of the other #1s have become. Imagine where it could be by the end of the year.
FIFTH PRINT BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA VARIANT
The presales on eBay are on the move already. At the moment, you can still get these for about $5 before they are released on August 4. However, a slab that is guaranteed to come back from CGC a 9.8 has already picked up $50.
MORE TO COME
Since Image Comics figured out that horror movie variants equal sellouts, they commissioned plenty more for the rest of the series. Like Stray Dogs #1, those other movie homages for the other four issues in the series are bringing surprising values of their own. Even if they don’t make you rich beyond your wildest dreams, these are just too amazing to pass up adding to your collections. Look for a market breakdown in the coming weeks.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.