Behind the scenes of a store variant

I’m working with Mike C and his retail biz on a new store exclusive variant cover for We Live issue #3. Mike’s done all the heavy lifting, and I’ve helped with visuals/marketing. It’s been really cool to understand the process behind this and to see things come to fruition. I thought I’d share some of that here.

Mike was able to interact with the cover artist Ryan Gary Browne on ideas, and Ryan sent over updates along the way. We posted those to a blog on Mike’s biz site ( and his new social sites, but since those are so fresh, there’s not a ton of traffic built up yet.

Here’s what we revealed every few days along the way:

It was really just so cool to see this go from an idea to pencils to inks to colors to trade added. And, Ryan was super cool and easy to work with.

If this is your thing, they go on sale tomorrow at 2pm eastern. If store variants aren’t your thing, that’s completely understandable. But, please let’s not beat that dead horse here. If you guys have any questions about the process, Mike (or maybe I) can answer. I know @Brendon just went through this process with TFAW, so he may have some insight as well.

Another thing to mention is the print run. It’s 300. That’s what exists on earth. After some comps to Ryan, giveaways, etc, the number will be less than 300. Mike really wants his biz to be super transparent about print runs. FYI.


I’m a big fan of We Live so I’ll check it out. It was on my list to maybe do something for later on!

I haven’t talked to Aftershock or Vault yet about exclusives, but I know for the more mainstream publishers and bigger indie guys, they don’t like a lot of details about the process or specifics being revealed. Otherwise there’s plenty that I’d have to share (good and bad…) haha

Yeah, Mike knows all of the details and what he can/can’t share. But, cover artist Ryan was really transparent throughout the process, and I appreciated that. He’s been sharing these promos on his social every step of the way.

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What im curious about @Brendon is who came up with the concept of your something is killling the children cover? Did you just say “ by artist” or did someone have an idea they wanted to see put to paper.

I know with Boom they are very strick with communications between retailer and artist. So u have to go through them, which kind muddys the water and things can be lost in translation. Aftershock didnt care. They were glad to not have a hand in it. BUT i enjoyed working with them absolutely 100%. (So much so that i will do another cover with rhem)

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That’s cool. I’m down for a copy.

I sure hope this online comic book store of Mike’s lasts longer, and is better run, than Mike’s last online comic book store PymcComics. Best of luck to all involved.

We all make mistakes. I will be the first to admit i am not perfect. And if there is anyone who feels that i have wronged them, feel free to email me @ and we can discuss how i can make it right with them. Unfortunately, i dont think there is anything i can do for you jclu. So i will leave it as is and wish you the sincere beat of luck.


I’ve bought from Mike before and I can say that it has been nothing but good experience. Well packaged books, excellent prices and fast shipment…


Why choose WE LIVE #3 for a variant ?

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A few reasons. The main one being the “Buy in” for doing a cover through Aftershock. The low cost afforded me the opportunity to take a chance and do something I have been interested in doing since my flipper days. But at first i did like issue 1, then saw the retailer preview for issue 2 and thought it was a really good story. I wasnt fully committed until I saw the Art by Ryan Gary Browne , when i saw it i was just enamored with it and knew i had to see it through to the end.

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Thank you @Gbess , I appreciate the kind words.

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I know the buy-in for indie publishers is small, but Im curious why issue #3 and not a new #1 book ? Heat typically dies off after #1 issues come out (except for SIKTC), so gambling on a store variant for later issues is a risk…IMO

I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by We Live. Feels like a rare, well-crafted original concept. The soundtrack concept is great, too.

It is definitely a risk. But i wanted to do something i liked vs something for profit. The challange of doing something that isnt a #1 is a true learning experience. If I wanted easy i would do a SIKTC cover.


For those interested in getting a copy, we just went live. $10 each. 300 total printed.

We Live #3 - on sale now


I forgot that this went on sale today. Good thing I checked and got one. Thanks again Mike. This is an awesome cover.

Mike is making another cool cover happen. Here’s the original sketch idea for We Live #4 from We Live creator Inaki Miranda, and then the final product. Love seeing how these go from a rough idea to a crisp final piece.

Promo for the concept art:

Promo for the final virgin cover:

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That doesn’t look too bad!

Pretty good

Good info. Just curious how one gets the process started for something like this. If I wanted to do an “exclusive” cover, who or what needs to get the process started? Is it as simple as emailing the editor, “Hey I have $$$, I want an exclusive cover!” ?