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The DC Villains Month 3D Cover Wrap Up!

A whole month of 3D covers from DC comics. Did this gimmick work or was it completely forgettable?

This times 3.46666666

Gimmick covers are not a new thing. Over the years, companies have tried many different tactics in order to grab the attention of the average person walking about in a local comic book store. For a short time, photo covers were a trend. Instead of a cover artist, there would be a real life picture of a person dressed like your favorite character. Many times, they came off as a bit out of place, and sometimes, they just felt creepy. From there, more trends popped up now and again like foil covers and the occasional hologram on the corner. Trends and covers go hand in hand; however, there are very few times where the gimmick on the cover makes sense with the content.

All of September featured the villains of the DC Universe taking over a few of DC's series and showing themselves off in three dimensions. This past month featured not one but two gimmicks in one cover: each cover featured a villain, front and center and each cover was in 3D. While the villains being on the cover directly correlates with the content of the issue, the covers are in 3D simply because it looks cool. Let's take a look at some of the good and the bad with this whole month of 3D-goodness!

The Good

The best part about this whole gimmick was that the villains being on the cover made sense. Unlike past gimmicks companies have used, the interiors are all about the villains. What really makes the whole month special is that the 3D covers are there, mainly because they look cool but also because it really gives an impact to the month as a whole. We've seen villains hanging out on a cover before, much like a few years back with Faces of Evil, but the 3D covers let you know something different is on the inside of the books: a whole story just about these villains with no heroes in sight.

The best thing about this whole gimmick month was that readers had the option to purchase regular 2D covers instead of the 3D ones. The 3D books went for $1 more than what most of the DC books are priced, during any other time of the year. It was fantastic to see that instead of having these covers forced upon some readers who didn't want them, they could instead buy a normal cover for the price they're used to. This also came in handy for when 3D covers sold out, which happened pretty often, so readers could at least get the stories.

Something I really liked seeing during this past month was different creator's takes on these characters. While certain books kept the same creative team, we also got to see a bit of a shake-up, and sometimes, it was a home run, like in the cases of Ray Fawkes on the Riddler issue and Tony Bedard on Ocean Master, and these are two pretty big villains that currently have larger roles in their books' story lines. Same goes for art as well. It was great seeing artist Patrick Zircher's talents on the Rogues issue.

The Bad

One of the annoying things about these covers was the fact the heroes were beaten up in the background of every single issue. It makes the reader think that this villain is nothing without the hero they fight, which in a sense is true, but do we need a reminder, on every issue, who these guys fight? It's really weird in situations where the villain hasn't appeared in the series yet, like Eclipso in JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK. There's no connection between Eclipso and JLD yet, so why do they need to be defeated in the background?

While the heroes were in the background of every cover, at least it was new character designs every time, right? Nope. There was a lot of reusing background elements across other issues. Take Green Lantern in the background of his Villain Month books.

It's the same picture, four different times. At least in the last one, the artist added a little yellow to the chains to break up the repetitiveness. At least with the Batman titles, the artist switched it up a bit. If you were just buying these books here and there, you wouldn't notice it, but this was something many comic fans noticed at week two.

Not every book was represented during Villains Month though. Series like CONSTANTINE, BATWOMAN, and even ANIMAL MAN did not have any villains from their rogues gallery featured. While it is understandable why they didn't do this, it's a bit of a bummer not to see villains like The Cold Flame, Weeping Woman (Not the best example, Medusa would be better, but Weeping Woman is really cool), or Brother Blood. Some of DC's "b-list" books are not represented even though a few are just as good as the top sellers, if not better, at the company.

One thing that really stunk about the whole month was that the creative teams were not on the cover, which led to people having to flip through the issue to find out. With a few of these series, I'd rather just know who's involved with the book because I was on the fence about picking up so many of them, but I didn't want to flip through and ruin any part of the issue.

The Verdict

It may seem like we're really picking on Villains Month and that it wasn't worth it, but overall, this was a really cool gimmick that worked. Sure, the actual stories were a bit hit and miss, but the covers themselves were cool and worked out pretty darn well. Sure, we delved a tiny bit into the issue contents, like switching up creative teams and wondering why some series didn't get their own book, but overall, this was a pretty cool month for comic books. Yes, it's a gimmick, but gimmick doesn't always mean "bad." Sometimes, it can just be fun and collectible. If I had to give this a rating, I'd give it 3/5.

Now, here's a few of the Comic Vine's staff's favorite covers of the month.

Here's BATMAN & ROBIN #23.1 by Chris Burnham. What was so cool about the actual 3D version of this issue was the perspective. This was probably the best use of the 3D cover technology, as Dent's two-sided coin flies at you. There was lots of great movement on this cover, but sadly, it was one of the harder issues to get a hold of.

Here we have the cover to BATMAN #23.2 by the always fantastic Guillem March. It's a huge stand-out issue, and while it relies on the whole "It's coming right at you! In 3D!" tactic, like a lot of the covers, but the set-up of Riddler on the page is pretty awesome.

Look at that! It's GREEN ARROW #23.1 by artist Andrea Sorrentino. This cover is dizzying, but that works because it's a part of Count Vertigo's powers. The background to this cover is fantastic, and this is one of the few times where the hero, who has been defeated, makes sense in context. Also, it's nice not to see the hero tied up, for once.

With the cover to BATMAN AND ROBIN #23.2, the 3D wasn't as eye catching as some of the other books; however, the art by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray is pretty fantastic. The background is super-cool and the repeating "wallpaper effect," throughout adds an element of class and a regal feeling to the cover as well.

Here we have the cover to FLASH #23.3 by Francis Manapul. What is cool about this cover, which doesn't come off in this 2D version is the layout and how the rogues in the background are more and more out of focus as they get farther into the background.

Finally, we have the cover to SWAMP THING #23.1 featuring Arcane on the cover. This last cover was drawn by Jesus Saiz. Visually, it's very striking and a bit creepy. It may not have that same 3D effect that the other covers had, but this really is one of the cooler looking covers.

Check out our video attempt to show you the 3D covers in action.

There you have it! A big old wrap up of a whole month of 3D cover goodness. What did you guys think of the overall gimmick and what did you like or dislike about it?

Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a writer, comedian, and doesn't consider the 4th dimension to be time because it's not. Follow him on Twitter and check out his podcast about Internet sub-culture.

58 Comments
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Edited by patrat18

I bought 26 titles that i thought were worth every penny.

Posted by turel_hash_ak_gik

the gimmick might have been popular but 75% of the time the stories were mediocre at best.

Posted by darkbeam

@patrat18: Wow I only got 6 titles. atleast they were all 3D.

Posted by TobenRacicot

i only bought Rogues, Reverse Flash and Riddler. They were all good. I was going to buy some Green Lantern ones but decided against it.

Posted by dreamfall31

My only fear is that the gimmick was so successful that you know DC is going to milk it for what it's worth and do it again and again now.

Posted by patrat18

@darkbeam: I agree. Ihe covers was a nice touch for me, grabbed my attention at first glance.

Posted by Superbat420

@patrat18: same feeling I bought exactly half lol got every one I wanted besides reverse flash

Posted by BIGALWILLIAMS

Oh thank goodness this mess is over! Back to regular comics!

Posted by _Marc_74

some covers ok but the stories were terrible and not even full stories

Posted by Outside_85

Ahh the joys of being limited to digital comics=no rise in single issue expenses+only 3 books to buy this month.

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Posted by GrandHarrier

I enjoyed probably 3/4th of the books that I read (which was most of them). It was an entertaining diversion.

Posted by Nerd Of A Hero

Only got the S/B: Doomsday cover in 3D because that was the only one that looked appealing to me.

Posted by AllStarSuperman

I got:

Desaad and Solomon Grundy were meh

H'El was okay

Lex Luther and Zod were very good

Darkseid and Brainiac were awesome

I have yet to read Doomsday.

also i live in Iowa so 3D covers selling out was not a problem at all. I got them all 3D for normal prices.

Posted by ThorBoy

Too expensive. Even if you buy the $2.99 version.

I enjoyed

Parasite

Lex luthor

Two-Face

The Rogues

Bane

Brainiac

Cyborg Superman

Man-Bat

Killer Croc

Reverse Flash

Posted by patrat18

@patrat18: same feeling I bought exactly half lol got every one I wanted besides reverse flash

R flash was one of the best ones.

Posted by Herokiller12344

@turel_hash_ak_gik: Yep. Great idea; Poor execution. It's TOR all over again.

Out of all of these I only enjoyed Mongul, Killer Croc and Lex Luthor. I didn't read Court of Owls, but it seems like another very good idea that can't really go anywhere because NEWSFLASH this series is about Batman.

Posted by NoahMcnasty

it was a success because most of them sold out and are now selling for double and triple cover price with the jokers daughter selling for up to 40 dollars. So for the print comic industry it was a success.

Posted by Dark_Guyver

I bought 14 villain books. 10 of them are on eBay right now. I really wasn't too impressed with a lot of the books.

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Edited by lifeboy

In 3d I got

Desaad

Jokers Daughter

Joker

Darkside

Harley Quinn

Killer Frost.

Eclipso

I may have gotten the Cheeta but I didn't like the art work on her. Im kind of conflicted on if a reeeaally like her or not. But very successful for DC and I got a great product out of villains month. I just wish people would stop saying that the creative team should be on the cover. I don't want peoples names to detract from the holographic artwork. Good article anyway.

Posted by inferiorego

@lifeboy said:
I just wish people would stop saying that the creative team should be on the cover. I don't want peoples names to detract from the holographic artwork. Good article anyway.

Personally, I just wanted to know who was on the book because I follow creators more than characters, for the most part. But it all depends on the type of comic book reader you are.

Thanks for reading!

Staff
Posted by Kraya

I got

The Joker - 3D

Court of the Owls - 2D :(

The Rogues - 3D

The Cheetah - 3D

Black Hand - 3D

Sinestro - 2D

Secret Society - 2D

The best ones were The Rogues and Secret Society; the worst ones were The Joker and Black Hand (which could have been a lot better if he hadn't kept repeating the fact that he couldn't remember anything). Everything else was good, but not amazing.

Unfortunately my store had a 3D cover shortage. I would have loved to have them all in 3D, but I took what I could get.

Posted by G_Money_Christmas

I may pick up Count Vertigo at a later date, obviously not the 3D because I'm sure it will be gone.I only bought 4 so far and I didn't think any were spectacular, well, story-wise. I still have Doomsday to read. I would have liked to get them in 3D covers but the owner of my LCS upped to price to $6 for a 3D cover so I decided to just get the 2D.

Posted by iaconpoint

Skipped them all and apparently didn't miss out on anything besides the nifty covers. But I lived through the 90's so I'm okay with that.

Edited by anthonygiu

I got all 52 of them and all 3D. Some are good but some are just downright terrible.

Posted by yo_yo_fun

I didn't mind this gimmick, I really liked that if u didn't want to get the 3D covers then u can buy the regular 2D covers.

I only got Batman #23.2: Riddler in 3D and I love it. It's really cool!

Posted by superior_prime_maybe

Good or bad...
this is the reason that my wallet had nothing in it

Posted by Jake Fury

Crap, forgot the Arcane issue. I only bought one 3-D cover and it was the Secret Society one.

Edited by longbowhunter

I did my homework via reading the solicits to find out who the creative teams were and whether or not they tied into Forever Evil. Since I'm not keeping up with that event I didn't want anything too heavily involved. Then asked my shop to pull certain issues for me. In doing so I got all the 3D covers I wanted and was over all pleased with the stories I read. Arcane and Count Vertigo stood out as some of my favorites because they were two of the only books to utilize the same creative team we get in the regular series. Not only that but they worked as a great stand alone story and helped flesh out the Swamp Thing and Green Arrow ongoings. Darkseid gave a closer look at Kayio who is running amuck in Batman/Superman. The Riddler, Deadshot and Parasite books all either told either good origins or day in the life of stories. And the Dial E book was an artist smorgasbord. As much as I liked these books I'm more than ready to get back to my regular series and hope to hell DC doesn't pull this every year. Even though I know they probably will. Oh and as far as the silly covers go the Arcane one was by far my favorite.

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Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Didn't like any of the Villains month covers... they just look too DCish if that makes any sense.

Posted by jwalser3
Posted by DonFelipe

@longbowhunter said:

I did my homework via reading the solicits to find out who the creative teams were and whether or not they tied into Forever Evil. Since I'm not keeping up with that event I didn't want anything too heavily involved. Then asked my shop to pull certain issues for me. In doing so I got all the 3D covers I wanted and was over all pleased with the stories I read. Arcane and Count Vertigo stood out as some of my favorites because they were two of the only books to utilize the same creative team we get in the regular series. Not only that but they worked as a great stand alone story and helped flesh out the Swamp Thing and Green Arrow ongoings. Darkseid gave a closer look at Kayio who is running amuck in Batman/Superman. The Riddler, Deadshot and Parasite books all either told either good origins or day in the life of stories. And the Dial E book was an artist smorgasbord. As much as I liked these books I'm more than ready to get back to my regular series and hope to hell DC doesn't pull this every year. Even though I know they probably will. Oh and as far as the silly covers go the Arcane one was by far my favorite.

I did the very same thing; picked up the same titles minus Darkseid and Parasite plus all 3 The Flash titles (though I didn't really care about Grodd but it would have been weird not getting all of them) and Court of the Owls. All these stories were good and I do not regret picking up these titles but now I do regret not getting Darkseid. Somehow I hadn't known Kayio (the new trickster, right?) was featured in it. Covers: 3D - Reverse Flash beats Arcane. 2D - Arcane.

Edited by AWeekInGeekdom

I was able to get everything in my subscription at my LCS;

Batman: Joker, Riddler and Bane (Skipped Penguin)

Aquaman: Ocean Master, Black Manta

Teen Titans: Deathstroke, Trigon

Earth 2: Desaad (my least favorite) and Grundy

Flash: Grodd, Reverse Flash (one of my top favs) and the Rogues

WW: Cheetah (top favorite) and First Born

Justice League: Darkseid, Secret Society, Lobo (Skipped Dial E)

The best use of 3D for me.... Reverse-Flash, Two Face and definitely Black Adam.

Posted by Lone_Wolf_and_Cub

This awful rehash of what was wrong with the nineties is finally over. Don't worry thes books will be in the quarter bin in no time.

Posted by longbowhunter

@donfelipe: Right on. The Parasite book was one of my favorites. Aaron Kuder spins a great tale about a bike courier who's tendency to leech off other people causes him to become a literal leech after an alien encounter. Neither this nor Darkseid were on my pull, I picked em up at the shop after seeing decent reviews. Glad I did too. And yeah Kaiyo the trickster god plays a prominent role in the Darkseid book. I think he even narrates the whole thing. Makes me wonder why it wasn't Batman/Superman 23.1 instead of Doomsday. I wish I woulda bought the Rogues issue. I was afraid it was to wrapped up in Forever Evil though.

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Posted by microwave25

Everything about this event was mediocre. DC need to give up the lame gimmicks and focus on getting their company back to a respectable level with high quality storytelling.

Edited by vPuik

It was a success. I bought 5 more DC titles than I do in an average month.

Posted by The_Vein

That Joker issue was terrible. The Riddler one was really good, as was the Court of Owls.

Posted by The Stegman

I bought over half of them, but none in 3D, I ain't payin' an extra dollar just to feel dizzy. I bought them for the stories, not the gimmicky covers.

Posted by longbowhunter

I've also read a few of these on Comixology as well. Lex Luthor, First Born and Ocean Master are worth noting. Good reads.

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Posted by HeckTate

I bought a bunch of villains, most in 3-D, but still couldn't get everything I wanted. It's a little aggravating that they did such a big gimmick and limited the amount they printed. But on the plus side, if you don't want the 3-D covers you picked up they're selling for outrageous amounts on ebay.

Posted by Vaeternus

Well, DC owned Marvel in September.

3D covers are an original idea done in a more modernized method

Same price as normal issues(so to me worth it)

Great collectors items.

I'm finally going to get my Lex Luthor tomorrow and just got my DS last week, they were that popular...the ones I didn't buy Eclipso, Ocean Master and several Batman villians(since I know them inside and out by now) I read, were good but didn't want go buy all of them. Most of them were great, although the doomsday one I was hyped for and kind of left me wanting more :(

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

This is only good from a collector's standpoint. Unfortunately the majority of the stories from Villain's Month were mediocre at best, hardly justifying this gimmick at all. Pretty much I think DC's formula at this point is to have a big gimmicky event every September to bring renewed interest in their otherwise mediocre material they put out just to stoke sales. September 2011 was the beginning of New 52 and sales were phenomenal. The One Year Later/Zero Issue Month helped renew interest in 2012. And of course Villain's Month did so for 2013. Makes you wonder what September 2014's gimmick is gonna be.

Posted by HeckTate

@vaeternus: Do you know where I can see some sales figures for Sept? Tried finding breakdown of individual titles but got all sorts of inconsistent numbers.

Posted by bladewolf

Overall, I liked Villains Month. A few issues were stinkers, sure, but overall the stories and artwork were great. The Metallo, Parasite, and Relic issues were probably the best IMHO, but Count Vertigo, Riddler, Two-Face, and Penguin were quite good as well.

Edited by nappystr8

I've been very ambivalent on these. My first thought about the 3D covers was anger that the books prices were being arbitrarily raised. Then I got excited to see just exactly what they would look like. Then I got nervous that will all the hype around scarcity, I might never even get a chance to see one. Then I did see one, and thought it looked pretty mundane. But I ended up getting a couple (literally just two of them), and ended up liking the covers quite a bit. Both books were awful, but I still have fun with the covers from time to time.

Also, it drives me crazy when Tony scratches those covers. I don't know why it should matter to me. And DC really missed out by not making an Animal Man 23.1 Brother Blood issue.

At first I thought Mat was talking about the holofoil covers. Those are always my favorite gimmick covers of the 90's. I had forgotten that they actually did ones with those tiny holograms. Those are really cool, I might have to track one down, I'm sure they go for cheap like everything else 90's.

Edited by Strabo

Under "Bad" (or even "Ugly") there should be:

- no credit for anyone making the books on the cover.

- the really bad way they managed the 3D-cover distribution

Oh, and the content of the books was generally pretty bad and forgettable with only a handful of exceptions. So much rape....

Posted by DonFelipe

@longbowhunter said:

@donfelipe: Right on. The Parasite book was one of my favorites. Aaron Kuder spins a great tale about a bike courier who's tendency to leech off other people causes him to become a literal leech after an alien encounter. Neither this nor Darkseid were on my pull, I picked em up at the shop after seeing decent reviews. Glad I did too. And yeah Kaiyo the trickster god plays a prominent role in the Darkseid book. I think he even narrates the whole thing. Makes me wonder why it wasn't Batman/Superman 23.1 instead of Doomsday. I wish I woulda bought the Rogues issue. I was afraid it was to wrapped up in Forever Evil though.

Kaiyo -- Thanks for mentioning it, again. I would have confused the 2 and ended up getting Batman/Superman #3.1/Doomsday (instead of JL #23.1/Darkseid) wondering what the heck you were talking about and where Kaiyo would be in it? Lol

Parasite -- It's your favorable feedback against @theacidskull's negative review. Now I did not read the entire review (because I know your reviews usually contain spoilers) but searched for delivery boy. Isn't it interesting that one guy likes the idea of Parasite being a delivery boy and the other one doesn't like it all too much? I'm quite intrigued now.

The Rogues (no spoiler) is a wonderful story about their code of honor and it only connects to FE on the last 4 pages. It's done nicely. Kudos to BB. That's what a tie-in and prequel to FE: Rogues Rebellion should be like while it also works as standalone imo. I'm definitely intrigued and will pick up FE: RR as well as FE #2.

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