Eight Billion Genies Exclusive Variant Scandal - Ryan Browne in Big Trouble

Apologies if this has been posted but I haven’t seen it anywhere. More drama at C2E2, the video will describe in great detail. It’s 3 hours long but you can watch the first 10-20 minutes to get the gist of what happened, skip the music intro.

Cliffs notes:

So apparently the creator Ryan Browne was selling the Retailer Exclusives variants on his Instagram and at shows like C2E2. This was after the retailers paid the artist thousands of dollars for the art and print run. The retailers found out that Ryan Browne was selling their exclusives on his Instagram and at shows where he’s at. Then it gets weirder. The retailers then found out from Image Comics that since the creators own the property, they get 20 comp copies BUT they were able to go back to the printers and print out as many copies of the exclusives as they wanted. So for example if a retailer paid for 800 copies for an exclusive and paid the artist, Charles Soule and Ryan Browne could theoretically print out unlimited numbers of said exclusive and own them. Ryan Browne then sold them on his own.

Needless to say the retailers are pissed because now the actual print run of their exclusives come into question and will damage their reputation. Retailer on the show is currently speaking to lawyers as we speak. Ryan Browne has deleted his instagram post.

The video goes in depth in much greater detail. I’ve seen many people posting Eight Billion Genies exclusives from Ryan Browne and Charles Soule’s social media. Buyer beware. The actual print run on these exclusives are now coming into question.

My thoughts on this is that I’ve always thought these retailer exclusives are one giant house of cards. How would we actually know what the actual print run is? We don’t, and when there’s money to be made people will take advantage.

They then went on to talk about incentive ratios and how that’s getting murky too. One of them saw the creators selling the Strange Academy 1 Breakfast Club variant (which goes for big money) from under their table at a con. It’s a giant mess.


Sounds like one party, not sure which, should have read their contract.

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I think there’s multiple parties. I saw the Ryan Browne’s Instagram post and saw The Last of Us variant along with many others like the Super Mario Bros homage from Bird City Comics that was really hot. There’s a lot of them. Imagine if you’re one of the people who paid big money for the Super Mario variant. Bird City may only have printed 500 but Ryan Browne could have a 100K print run still in his closet selling them at shows all over the country at $500 a pop etc.

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Another reason I’m glad I quit chasing retailer exclusive variants—messes like these!


I have not bought a single exclusive variant to date. Came pretty close a few times like for Sozomaika’s and Eight Billion Genies foil etc.

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If this wasn’t told to retailers who buy exclusives, prior to agreeing, that’s a problem. Surely a detail like that would be in the contract???


Or not in a contract and with certain words or phrase avoided (“may” instead of “shall”) on purpose.

This is where it gets tricky. Apparently none of the retailers knew and found out from Image after the fact that Ryan Browne was selling THEIR exclusives. Maybe any retailers here who has done exclusives with Image can chime in. If it was in the contract that would be stupid anyways. A retailer would have to pay thousands of dollars to get the artist and print run, then Ryan Browne could sell that exclusive using the art that’s already paid for by the retailers. That’s ridiculous

I’m watching the video now, and these guys say there’s no mention of this practice in the contract. Yikes.

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It’s days like this I LOVE :grinning:

Store exclusives print run scams are finally getting their just desserts.

I hope this teaches every buyer a lesson…DONT TRUST STORES.


Apparently now we can’t trust the creators too. Yikes! This is also a very bad look for the publisher Image. They can’t be happy with this.


IF I buy a store or retailer exclusive…I buy it because I like it and the price is fair.

I have learned not to buy these expecting a flip. I’ve actually sold a lot of my “virgin” variants and kept the trade dress for ones I purchased as a set…which I haven’t done in a long time. A long time.


I’m always an advocate of buying something that you love and not to flip. I got not problems with that, and even though I don’t buy retailer exclusives myself I’m happy that others buy them and enjoy them. I’m also happy that comic shops are finding new ways to make money. We need more comic shops in the world and if they’re thriving, I’m all for that.

That said, this fair price you’re talking about is for the “limited print run” factored in the price. If a retailer charges $30 for an exclusive, they’re factoring in their own cost to get the print turn, what they pay the artist and a little left over for their profit. Now if the print run is many times that which is stated and can be easily attainable, then the actual fair value of the book may not be $30. You may feel it’s fair value for something you like but other buyers are paying a premium for something that they think is limited. They’re being duped and it’s unfair to them that they are not able to trust the actual creators of the book or a store that they trust.


So they are saying that the creators of other books like the SA #1 1:50 (which wasn’t a store variant but just a 1:50 incentive) are also being observed doing that?

I guess I just assumed most of these artists would have a decent number of the their incentive variants since they created it. I may not like it (as someone who has it) but it makes sense to me. Sort of like the whole ratio variants being found in Walmart packs. Doesn’t really surprise me all that much.

It’s a whole different ball park when someone is selling things that are supposes to only have a set number of books and that isn’t clearly the case.

Maybe I didn’t understand the situation entirely.


Luckily this time no wife was involved.


Yeah…sold a bunch of my Crain variants after that scandal.

I wonder how everyone is doing this con season…

Wouldn’t it be something if Crain (or whichever store he’s partnering with these days) got placed adjacent to a table to Black Flag…?

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This sounds to me like it’s the retailers/stores fault. If they didn’t get a contract that explicitly says by paying for an exclusive cover printed it will only be limited to xxx amount, then big whoop. Image owns the distribution and the creators own the rights to it. So if it ain’t in the original exclusive contract the store had with image, then get better lawyers next time lol.

Edit: I do agree it’s kinda scummy for image/Browne to do this, but if it wasn’t stated anywhere or in a contract then it’s well within their rights to do it. We’ve speculated for years here that print runs are all bull :poop: anyway on store exclusives so :person_shrugging:. I won’t be crying over more of these store sthat only sell exclusives having to close or getting their reputation ruined.

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Almost 20 minues into that video and still just wrap music over a stream loading visual and then some intro graphics.

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This assumes bargaining power.

I’m not sure what you mean. When stores make the deal or purchase with image for an exclusive cover I’m sure there is some kind of terms of service or contract they had to agree to or sign. If they didn’t read it, or care about what was in it or not in it, then it’s the store/retailers fault and image is within their rights anyway. Also no one is forcing stores to make exclusive covers so why would image give them any bargaining power anyway.