What a disappointment. When Marvel first started promoting their 70th Anniversary (despite more dubious math) I was very excited. I knew some cool things (like The Marvels Project) were planned, but what immediately came to mind was the prospect of another set of Anniversary covers in the same style as the 25th Anniversary books I have such fond memories of. A few months back, these “frame” style covers were confirmed and the artwork was revealed. The frame is honestly a great image by Jim Cheung and works as a fitting homage to the original.
A few weeks later, we started to see some of the specific cover artwork that was to be used. While they were pretty hit or miss for me, there are definitely some that I would like to own. At the same time we started seeing these, Marvel also revealed a set of regular covers for the same books, meaning these would be variants of some nature. Disappointing, but I assumed the best and these would be what are called 50/50 variants, meaning an equal number of each cover would ship to stores.
As August is the pinnacle of the 70th Anniversary celebration, this is the month we’ll finally be seeing these books on the shelves. Next Wednesday is the first comic book day of the month and the first of these issues will ship Amazing Spider-Man 601 (which should be a lot of fun, 600 was great), Black Panther 7, Exiles 5, Hulk 13, and Invincible Iron Man 16. Well, I just learned that the “frame” cover is an incentive variant, so it well ship in some < 50/50 ratio. This means the books will carry a higher price tag at most stores (Midtown Comics has them listed at $7 before their typical 15% discount) and will be more difficult to find.
So I think I’m out for these. I’m assuming stores are going to have issues getting them, keeping them in stock and pricing them. Couple that with the fact that I’m not even that crazy about the artwork (I think I just really preferred the portrait style of the originals) and it’s just not worth it at all. Part of what was so great and memorable about the 25th Anniversary books was that they were on every title in the publishing line, every single one. It was a complete set that looked great on the shelves at the time. I realize 1986 was a time before cover variants and incentives and collector speculation ravaged the hobby I love, but I can’t help but be a little disappointed. The custom MLD variants help though!