In commemoration of the this weekend’s premiere of Marvel’s The Avengers (and as part of our month long Standard Deviations series dedicated to the team), we’re taking a look at some past sets of variants shipped to coincide with the premieres of the solo movies featuring the Avengers’ “Big Three:” Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. The trend of shipping variants throughout the week’s leading up to Marvel’s big screen releases began with 2009′s Wolverine: Origins. As a result, no such cover events coincided the original Iron Man movie in 2008. In this edition, we begin with the May 2010 “Iron Man by Design” variants that shipped to coincide with Iron Man 2.
Unlike our recent look at the Avengers “Art Appreciation” variants, the Iron Man by Design set has no central theme other than simply “Iron Man.” It’s clear from the results that this allowed the artists involved to truly flex their creative muscles. The images readily go beyond the conventions of the Marvel Universe and make for an excellent set of covers by some great and unexpected names like legendary comic book artist Joe Kubert and animator Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, and Star Wars: Clone Wars).
I wouldn’t really consider myself an Iron Man fan, but Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark has gone a long way to change that as have Marvel’s efforts to put the character in the spotlight in recent years. I’d have a really tough time picking a favorite from this group, but Frederic Genet’s old west image for X-Factor #204, Dave Taylor’s 1950s-inspired variant for Punisher #16, and the Mars Attacks! cover to X-Men: Legacy #235 are on the short list.
These books shipped as 1:15 or 1:25 variants back in May of 2010 and are still holding values from $5 to $15 in 2012. All of the images are are great, but as I’ve mentioned with other similar sets of variants, the logos for other titles and characters make the final covers a bit awkward. Thankfully, all the images for Iron Man’s own titles are just as dynamic as the rest. Looking back at the books shipping from Marvel two years ago, it was bit surprising how many have gone away. In some cases, these covers even appeared on the last issues (or among the last) of their respective runs.
Even though Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor have a long history of being considered the core of the Avengers, it’s a bit disappointing seeing variant cover sets celebrating the releases of Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger (as well as Wolverine: Origins and X-Men: First Class) without a set for the Hulk (Hulk is always the exception). Unfortunately, being released the same year as the original Iron Man, the Edward Norton fronted The Incredible Hulk was too early for the variant treatment.
Marvel’s Iron Man by Design variants published in May 2010:
- Amazing Spider-Man #628 by Mike del Mundo
- Avengers #2 by Alan Aldridge
- Captain America #605 by Joe Kubert
- Daredevil #506 by Mike del Mundo
- Dark Wolverine #85 by Skottie Young
- Deadpool #22 by Marko Djurdjevic
- Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #10 by Christian Nauck
- Deadpool Team Up #894 by Greg Tocchini
- Fantastic Four #578 by Gerald Parel
- Guardians of the Galaxy #25 by Skottie Young
- Invincible Iron Man #25 by Tetsuya Aoki
- Invincible Iron Man Annual #1 by Genndy Tartakovsky
- Iron Man Legacy #3 by Travel Foreman
- New Mutants #12 by Gabriele Dell’Otto
- Nova #36 by John Tyler Christopher
- Punisher #16 by Dave Taylor
- Secret Warriors #15 by Nic Klein
- Thor #609 by Esad Ribic
- Uncanny X-Men #523 by Mike Perkins
- Vengeance of the Moon Knight #7 by Adi Granov
- Wolverine: Origins #47 by Humberto Ramos
- X-Factor #204 by Frederic Genet
- X-Force #26 by Greg Horn
- X-Men: Legacy #235 by Dave Johnson
Read more entries from the Standard Deviations series on MyLatestDistraction.