In anticipation of next month’s release of the X-Men: First Class film, Marvel is producing a set of “X-Men: Evolutions” variants on its May titles. This follows a month of “Thor Goes Hollywood” covers on books in April coinciding with the God of Thunder’s big screen debut and is part of a long line of variants timed with the release of movies featuring Marvel characters. The X-Men’s evolution themed covers feature individual characters highlighting design and costume changes they’ve undergone during their publication history.
Throughout December I was inundated with all manner of media related to Disney’s TRON: Legacy, the sequel to the 1982 classic TRON. This is ok, I’m a fan, but there was so much TRON in my life all month it would be wrong not to mention it here. Seeing the movie was just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also music, comic books and video games of all kinds, which is appropriate since the original TRON Arcade game may have actually been more popular than the first movie.
It’s like 1991 all over again. In July, Marvel launched a new X-Men #1 by Victor Gischler and Paco Medina featuring a mutants versus vampires story that’s still raging on. Tomorrow, Marvel follows up that launch with Uncanny X-Force #1 by Rick Remender and Jerome Opena. It’s hard to say that this merits its own “day” in celebration of its release, but its launch certainly makes more sense than X-Men #1‘s.
Back in 1991, Marvel released Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 in the same summer as Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld’s X-Force #1. Both were huge sellers with X-Men #1 at 8 million copies and X-Force #1 somewhere around 5 million in the heyday of speculative investment (X-Force also did it with only one cover compared to X-Men‘s five). While X-Force didn’t endure the way X-Men (now X-Men: Legacy) did, it was still a successful concept that was reborn coming out of 2007’s Messiah Complex storyline.
Marvel Comics is celebrating the women of their publishing line this year with a series of Women of Marvel promotions. In a similar manner to their 70th anniversary celebration in 2009, Marvel is releasing a year long series of variant covers on selected titles. Last year’s cover variants were created by one of their top artists, Marko Djurdjevic (check them out here). The 2010 Women of Marvel covers are being provided by Marko’s wife Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic. While these images are equally stunning, they do not appear to be shipping on the same schedule as last years books. Many are covers for limited series rather than regular titles and this may be interfering with them being released monthly. Regardless, the real shame is that these books aren’t really showing up on the shelves for people to enjoy.
Last August, Marvel celebrated its 70th Anniversary by combining their publication history as Timely, Atlas and Marvel Comics which dates back to 1939. As part of the celebration, the publisher returned to a fondly remembered variant cover gimmick they used during their 25th Anniversary (almost 25 years ago): every book with a matching cover featuring a character from the title framed by a collection of their fellow Marvel creations. While I have my own feelings on how these new variations on the theme match up, I have to admit I really like the idea. With 2010 being a celebration of the Women of Marvel, the frame covers have returned this month.