Comic Vine News

61 Comments

The 5: Returning Comic Cover Trends

InferiorEgo tells everyone about comic book cover trends that simply won't go away.

 

Welcome to my new twice a month article, “The 5.” I’ll be going through five current and historical trends in the industry in a humorous article that hopefully doesn’t make you as angry as Disney buying out Marvel. I’m glad I decided to write this piece the same day that giant bombshell of a news article dropped.

I love flipping through back issues looking at Silver Age covers. It’s a lot of fun, it’s a little campy, and brings back some fond memories. Over the years, there have been some comic book cover trends that really stick in my mind. Some of these trends I can’t stand and some of them I sincerely enjoy. In no particular order, here are 5 cover trends that stick out the most.

1. Foil covers!

Then (With a hologram too? AWESOME!)

 The “BUY ME NOW!” decade of the 90s brought us, and started, many different and equally annoying cover trends: Holograms, Variant covers, and foil

Now..Shiny

covers. First, the correct way to pronounce foil covers is “FOIL COVERS!” the same way you pronounce “ VARIANTS!” Yes, you have to yell, it’s only fair. Foil covers were a big hit over a decade ago. Heck, even Lobo had a couple. The hope for the companies was that the child would see the shiny, get giddy, and hope the parents would buy the shiny. Plus, the company would charge you an extra buck or two and make some decent revenue. Well guys, if you haven’t noticed yet, FOIL COVERS! are back! Ultimate Comics Avengers and Ultimate Comics Spiderman now have not only a foil cover, but it's a variant foil cover! So, of course you’re paying an extra buck or two for the book because of the foil, but because it’s a variant, tack on ten more dollars! SWEET!

Note: Please do not use your foil cover comics to reflect the sun and create some sort of death ray light laser. The comics are for reading only!


 

 
 
 
 
 


2. Someone is going to die!

I don't regret owning this

I thought (no pun intended) this trend was dead and buried. Off the top of my head, I can name a couple of these. X-Men 2099 #3 (yes, I own the whole

Spoiler Alert: It's my childhood

run, deal with it) and GLA #?(After looking on the Vine, I can’t find the issue that says, “All of these characters will die!” I swear it exists, I own it) Anyways, I always laughed, as a teenager, at these covers. What an awful marketing ploy, but ingenious at the same time. “Let’s ruin the surprise ending on the cover, that’ll grab them in.” And you know what? It did. Case in point: I saw a little book on the shelf recently entitled “Teen Titans #74,” and laughed. The cover said, “Another Titan Dies!” I then immediately picked it up to see who died, and being a person who NEVER reads Teen Titans, I had no clue what was going on and had no idea, or really cared who died. The ploy still worked though, and I’m sure we’ll see some more of this in the future.


 
 
 
 
 
 


3. Holding a dead body

Crybaby

There are so many of these covers. X-Men alone had like a billion of them. (Yes, a billion, many times more than actual X-Books produced, I did the

You copycat!

math. I’m not a liar.) DC was just as guilty, the most well known being the cover to Crisis on Infinite Earths. Well, now DC is back with people holding dead people yet again. I get it. Someone died and a loved one is holding them. To me, this repeating trend is exactly the same as “Someone is going to die!” without the mystery. So I tend to stay away, unless I’m already reading that book. In some of these covers, I call B.S. Why? Because sometimes said character on the cover is in no way shape or form strong enough to hold up the dead character. I demand 100% realistic covers and nothing more. (Unless they're shiny)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 


4. Marvel’s Weird Border Thingy

Please don't stare at me

They did it during the 80s, I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now. This year, Marvel has been releasing these border thingy covers again, but this time

STOP STARING AT ME!

selling them as variants ranging from $6.99 to as much as $29.99. CHA-CHING! During the 80s, a bunch of these covers came out with the star of the book’s face in the center, and as a border, there would be other Marvel characters. Confused? Look at the picture and be more confused then. Now the trend is back I guess, and yes, it is Marvel’s big anniversary, but there seems to be no correlation between that and the weird border thingy variants. It confuses me, like trying to watch that third Matrix film. (Matrix Renovations?) Now, what’s the scariest part of the cover? All the characters in the border are staring at you like you’re doing something wrong. It’s my nightmare.


 
 
  
 

 


5. Photo Covers?

What are you standing on?

Speaking of nightmares… A couple weeks ago, a cover from a certain Booster Gold comic grasped my attention. On the cover of the book is G4’s Blair

Give her a sword...

Butler wearing a Booster Gold Fan Club t-shirt.  Now, I’m not upset because it’s Blair Butler. I’m upset because I don’t want another wave of photo covers coming onto the scene. Marvel had a few in the late 70s (all of them intensely creepy), and every indy company had good looking women on their covers from the late 80s to mid 90s. Dark Horse and Dynamite occasionally still put out photo covers for the Buffy series and Battlestar Galactica. It just seems lazy to me. “Wanna hire an artist?” “Nah, just get that model in a skimpy bikini and put a sword in her hand.” “But this is an issue Scooby Doo.” That’s how I imagine all the companies operate.


 
 
 
 
 
 

I know I missed some major ones in there. These are just the five that come to mind when I think about cover trends. (Besides Assistant Editor’s Month, man I love those) Are there any that you think I missed that should be a part of this? What are your favorite cover trends?

61 Comments
  • 61 results
  • 1
  • 2
Edited by Omega Ray Jay

Ah such is the world, history no mater what form is destined to repeat itself for all eternity.

Posted by Lord's Angel

Loved Holograms!!!! I remember being like "Man this is gonna be worth a ton ......cause it's a hologram!"

Posted by danhimself

I'm pretty sure that I could fill a long box with all the varient/foil/hologram covers I have from the 90's.  I fell for them hook, line, and sinker.  The best that I can remember was Gen13 #1 which had 15 varient covers of which I own every single one. 

   

Posted by inferiorego
@danhimself said:
" I'm pretty sure that I could fill a long box with all the varient/foil/hologram covers I have from the 90's.  I fell for them hook, line, and sinker.  The best that I can remember was Gen13 #1 which had 15 varient covers of which I own every single one. 

    "
oh man... that's a win... 15?
I tried to buy every hologram cover I could, I have yet to figure out why other than "ooooh shiny!"
Staff
Posted by danhimself
@inferiorego said:
" @danhimself said:
" I'm pretty sure that I could fill a long box with all the varient/foil/hologram covers I have from the 90's.  I fell for them hook, line, and sinker.  The best that I can remember was Gen13 #1 which had 15 varient covers of which I own every single one. 

    "
oh man... that's a win... 15? I tried to buy every hologram cover I could, I have yet to figure out why other than "ooooh shiny!" "

the dumb part was that I was buying them months after the first issue came out so I was paying like 30-50 bucks for the covers that are now worth squat
Posted by MistaYang

 What about the ones with me and tina on the cover  

Posted by inferiorego
@danhimself said:
" @inferiorego said:
" @danhimself said:
" I'm pretty sure that I could fill a long box with all the varient/foil/hologram covers I have from the 90's.  I fell for them hook, line, and sinker.  The best that I can remember was Gen13 #1 which had 15 varient covers of which I own every single one. 

    "
oh man... that's a win... 15? I tried to buy every hologram cover I could, I have yet to figure out why other than "ooooh shiny!" "
the dumb part was that I was buying them months after the first issue came out so I was paying like 30-50 bucks for the covers that are now worth squat "
lol... nice
Staff
Posted by aztek_the_lost

I love the covers that come with disclaimers on the bottom that nobody actually reads until it's too late: 
 

 
Moderator
Posted by inferiorego
@aztek the lost: Better yet, when they make the disclaimer HUGE
Staff
Posted by The_Martian

The Photo ones are by far the worst!

Posted by kittenpride

hahaha
The one (and only) X-Men 2099 comic I have is #3.

Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@inferiorego: 

    
 
Blair Butler is in the Booster Gold Fan Club
Posted by TheSavageAssasin
@kittenpride said:
" hahaha The one (and only) X-Men 2099 comic I have is #3. "
ME TOO!
Posted by inferiorego
@Emperor Gonzo Noir: She stole that shirt from Dan Jurgens.
Staff
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@inferiorego:
Sir I refuse to believe that
Posted by inferiorego
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" @inferiorego: Sir I refuse to believe that "
I refuse to believe it wasn't Dan Jurgens to begin with
Staff
Posted by AngelFrost
@danhimself said:
" I'm pretty sure that I could fill a long box with all the varient/foil/hologram covers I have from the 90's.  I fell for them hook, line, and sinker.  The best that I can remember was Gen13 #1 which had 15 varient covers of which I own every single one. 

    "
Love these, do you have a fullsize image of the Freefall cover at the bottom? if so, could you post it on the vine? I'd love tosee it.
Posted by inferiorego
@AngelFrost said:
" @danhimself said:
" I'm pretty sure that I could fill a long box with all the varient/foil/hologram covers I have from the 90's.  I fell for them hook, line, and sinker.  The best that I can remember was Gen13 #1 which had 15 varient covers of which I own every single one. 

    "
Love these, do you have a fullsize image of the Freefall cover at the bottom? if so, could you post it on the vine? I'd love tosee it. "
NOW the pics show up... I remember those! My ex-roommate had most of them... I felt like I was doing something wrong as a teenager when I looked at those.
Staff
Posted by Bruce Vain

I have many foil covers myself including that 30th anniversary Amazing Spider-Man  that you posted WHICH is also signed by Spidey himself in the poster section of the book.  lol
Posted by reaper2923

Oh I'm not suppose to make a death ray out of my foil covers...oops

Posted by danhimself
@inferiorego said:
" @AngelFrost said:
" @danhimself said:
" I'm pretty sure that I could fill a long box with all the varient/foil/hologram covers I have from the 90's.  I fell for them hook, line, and sinker.  The best that I can remember was Gen13 #1 which had 15 varient covers of which I own every single one. 

    "
Love these, do you have a fullsize image of the Freefall cover at the bottom? if so, could you post it on the vine? I'd love tosee it. "
NOW the pics show up... I remember those! My ex-roommate had most of them... I felt like I was doing something wrong as a teenager when I looked at those. "

yeah the Rolling Stones/Janet Jackson cover was my favorite....actually it still is
Posted by AngelFrost
@inferiorego said:
" @AngelFrost said:
" @danhimself said:
" I'm pretty sure that I could fill a long box with all the varient/foil/hologram covers I have from the 90's.  I fell for them hook, line, and sinker.  The best that I can remember was Gen13 #1 which had 15 varient covers of which I own every single one. 

    "
Love these, do you have a fullsize image of the Freefall cover at the bottom? if so, could you post it on the vine? I'd love tosee it. "
NOW the pics show up... I remember those! My ex-roommate had most of them... I felt like I was doing something wrong as a teenager when I looked at those. "
Lol, Yeah, Gen13 are known for their 'kinky' covers  ;)
Posted by Roxanne Starr
@inferiorego: 
 
Those "foil" covers on the new Ultimate Comics are so HOT...not!
 
They are 1:25s that were going for 25 bucks the day they came out. Now we're lucky to get 10. In about a month, we'll have to pay customers to just take the the h*ll out of the store.
Posted by inferiorego
@Roxanne Starr: 
lol. Ours will sit on our back wall until a customer orders one from the online store.
Staff
Posted by Roxanne Starr
@inferiorego said:
" @Roxanne Starr:  lol. Ours will sit on our back wall until a customer orders one from the online store. "
Well, your store probably didn't get as many as we did. The non-variants are actually selling pretty well.
 
The boss had me put some of those foils on eBay a few days after they came out, but I had to list them in lots of 3s. We don't mess with an eBay listing unless we can make at least $50 on the sale. Needless to say, we had no bidders. AAMOF we only had one watcher.  :(
Posted by Rothschild

I dont fall for the dumb@** gimmicks because unlike alot of comic fanboys i just buy the book for the 32 pages between the cover, I dont care if the covers were brown paper bags every month, I get em for the read
Posted by Meteorite

Nice list inferiorego!

Posted by CATMANEXE

i wouldnt mind seeing more acid cut covers and i always like foldout ones.

Posted by SuperXAsh

What about simple varient cover overload??? Sure a few issues have like... one or two different covers, but some have WAY too many, like that "Frank Miller's Robocop" series which had more covers than actual issues. That or Gen13's varients. The problem I personally had with some of these varients is that you'd have a hard time, occasionally (specially with the release dates of some of these indie companies being as slow as techtonic shifts) you'd run the risk of buying the same issue over again. 
 
At least they NOW LABEL the varient covers.
Posted by inferiorego
@SuperXAsh:
I hate variants with the burning passion of 1,000 suns.
Staff
Posted by Donovan Montgomery

I have the entire first run of 2099 and love every issue (except Dooms trip back in time, the art sucked so bad it took me over a year to finnaly read the story)....ok got that out  
 
I am happy to say, being a very bad "ooohhh, shiney" guy, that I only fell for a couple of those covers, lol  
Punisher being one of them. 
Right now those varients are annoying me.  I like getting the same style covers if they come in varients. DD Noir, for example.  Got three of one and one of the other, really ruins the flow for me :( 
Posted by Fenderman

Well, at least one of these five categories is actually kind of cool!  The "carrying the dead" cover is a cool visual and makes for some great covers.  Of course, the Perez cover you have posted is a classic and the very similar scene that John Byrne did for Uncanny X-Men 136 is one of the most classic icon covers in comics: 
 
   
Posted by Fenderman

Also, you mentioned Assistant Editor's month! One of my favorite covers from Byrne (as you can tell, I am big fan of Byrne and I very much disagree with the person below who said the cover could be a brown paper bag!) is an FF from Assistant Editor's month: 
 
   
Posted by Lady Tlieso

I hate variant covers with a burning passion that eclipses the sun. Their only purpose is to make comic owners money & taunt the rest of us who won't pay $20 for a comic just because it;s shiny or different. grrr

Posted by Darkchild
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" @inferiorego: 

     Blair Butler is in the Booster Gold Fan Club "

Please dotn tell me im not the only person whofinds Blair HOT in that Nerd hot way the kind of way that says "Shes a nerd therefore shes up for grabs" lol
Posted by inferiorego
@inferiorego said:
" @SuperXAsh: I hate variants with the burning passion of 1,000 suns. "
@Lady Tlieso said:
" I hate variant covers with a burning passion that eclipses the sun. Their only purpose is to make comic owners money & taunt the rest of us who won't pay $20 for a comic just because it;s shiny or different. grrr "
Great minds thin alike.
 
@Darkchild said:
" @Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
Please dotn tell me im not the only person whofinds Blair HOT in that Nerd hot way the kind of way that says "Shes a nerd therefore shes up for grabs" lol "

I'm not a fan, but that's mostly because I had strong disagreements with many of her reviews. I still respect her though.
Staff
Posted by Darkchild
@inferiorego said:
" @inferiorego said:
" @SuperXAsh: I hate variants with the burning passion of 1,000 suns. "
@Lady Tlieso said:
" I hate variant covers with a burning passion that eclipses the sun. Their only purpose is to make comic owners money & taunt the rest of us who won't pay $20 for a comic just because it;s shiny or different. grrr "
Great minds thin alike.
 
@Darkchild said:
" @Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
Please dotn tell me im not the only person whofinds Blair HOT in that Nerd hot way the kind of way that says "Shes a nerd therefore shes up for grabs" lol "
I'm not a fan, but that's mostly because I had strong disagreements with many of her reviews. I still respect her though. "

LOL true she is VERY picky with what she likes an doesnt like, Final Crisis was a big one i disagreed with her on. But overal i find shes hot
Posted by LastSon1027

What about Sketch Covers and Connecting Covers? They seem to be big now and I know Connecting covers were big in the 90s too.

Posted by xerox_kitty

1 - I remember the hologram, foil, die-cut, embossed covers.  They still do wrap-around gatefold covers, and the needles monochrome variants (I bought a batch of the new X-Factor series inclusing a 'monochrome' variant issue 1.  Calling it monochrome doesn't change the fact that it is another way to entice us to part with our hard earned cash).  And of course, there's the billion and 1 Dynamic Forces variants. 
  
2 - I'd never really about the 'one will fall' tactic on covers, but you're right.  They're even doing it on the recent run of Runaways.   
 
3 - Was Cyclops & Phoenix the first time they did the 'holding a dead body'?  I know it's what inspired the Crisis cover, but I wondered if others had done something similar first?   
 
4 - The border thingy I can understand, because they're celebrating an anniversary.  But they should have made those the actual covers, just like they did back in the 80's.  Instead the variants are snatched away and sold for ludicrous prices.  They're not even that pretty, and they're certainly not as well executed as they were 20-odd years ago. 
 
5 - Gross.  New Warriors did a photo cover, a close up of a model painted blue to look like Kymera/Namorita.  It didn't look nice then.  I'm glad to say I don't know who Blair Butler is, because that cover is just plain nasty.  I'd rather use it as toilet paper than have her stare at me from the cover of a comic. 
 
Over all, variants annoy me.  I don't understand why the newest New Mutants series still has variant covers for each issue.  It's on issue 4 and there are still variants!  The original New Mutants run didn't have any variants, full stop.  So why pimp it like crazy with the 1:25 incentives?   
 
I've even blogged about how I usually dislike Variants.  The only ones I haven't hated were the seemingly-random decade variants.  They were usually quirky, fun and imaginative.  The Dark X-Men Emma Frost 1960's cover being my favourite.  But I was going to get that issue anyway, so it wasn't as if the cover enticed me to buy something I didn't want.  Like the Wizard of Oz X-Men variant; it was cute and I love Niko's work, but no way in hell was I going to buy X-Men: Forever just for the cover.  I guess I'm not the 'collector' I used to be :p

Moderator
Posted by Lady Tlieso
@inferiorego said:
" @inferiorego said:
" @SuperXAsh: I hate variants with the burning passion of 1,000 suns. "
@Lady Tlieso said:
" I hate variant covers with a burning passion that eclipses the sun. Their only purpose is to make comic owners money & taunt the rest of us who won't pay $20 for a comic just because it;s shiny or different. grrr "
Great minds thin alike.
 
lmao it seems they do.
Posted by LastSon1027

How about the Frank Quitely Variant to Batman & Robin #1 that was selling for $200? Anyone pick that up?

Posted by inferiorego
@xerox-kitty: If you check my profile, one of my weaknesses is variants, it's been up there since my first day at the vine. I despise them sooo much.
 
@LastSon1027 said:
" How about the Frank Quitely Variant to Batman & Robin #1 that was selling for $200? Anyone pick that up? "

We have one at the store still, sitting on the shelf
Staff
Posted by inferiorego

STOP STARING AT ME!

Staff
Posted by Comiclove5

They do say history repeats it self.
Posted by Marshal Victory

dang cant rember the name an i own it. was a comic that was broke down into collector cards. want to say plasma or some such.think bary windsor smith did the art not sure. 
 
some alt covers fit an some dont wolvirine 50 wasnt bad , the gow in the dark ghost rider was nice imho.but silver ink ones tho on black were realy hit or miss depending on the art work.an some of the holograms were intresitng . 
 
still like the terminator one that had a pop out.it all depends the character an book. if it fits np.if its just to try a inflate sales threw alt covers its like art its all in the eye of the beholder. 
 
covers dont make great comic books but can keep them from being read.
Posted by inferiorego
@Marshal Victory said:
"covers dont make great comic books but can keep them from being read. "
Agreed. I'm pretty sure I've already written 3 articles on covers. I have an obsession with them, especially the bad ones.
Staff
Posted by xerox_kitty
@inferiorego said:
" @xerox-kitty: If you check my profile, one of my weaknesses is variants, it's been up there since my first day at the vine. I despise them sooo much. "
I wasn't sure if they were a weakness that you had to get them all, or you hated them... now I know :) 
 
It's not as if Marvel can claim they have variants on a series like New Mutants to offer variety.  Maybe they could claim that if they were an equal split, but they're promotional incentives to buy more.  Seriously, who wants the same issue twice or even three times?? :p
Moderator
Posted by inferiorego
@xerox-kitty: I don't even want one issue of New Mutants
Staff
Posted by xerox_kitty
@inferiorego: LOL!  Well, I like it.  But I don't think a small mutant comic should have a variant every issue.  Maybe on it's launch issue, but not every single issue.  Even Uncanny, Legacy & X-Force don't have a variant for each issue and they're more popular.  I just don't get it...
Moderator
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@xerox-kitty said:
"


3 - Was Cyclops & Phoenix the first time they did the 'holding a dead body'?  I know it's what inspired the Crisis cover, but I wondered if others had done something similar first?   
  "

Homage Covers 
 
fesak made a great page about that, and says there are comics dating back to the 50's, but I don't know of any personally, maybe he would know
Moderator
  • 61 results
  • 1
  • 2