Saturday, January 31, 2009


I've never been a big fan of variant covers, or anything that promotes the idea of comics as collectibles, as opposed to stories. These damn things are supposed to be READ, damn it, not sealed in plastic carbonite in the hopes that someday they'll be enough to pay for the kids' college fund (note to everyone who bought a copy of the Obama Spider-Man: I hope you think you bought a souvenir rather than made an investment. If you didn't, you're going to be disappointed, and if I catch wind of your disappointment I will laugh and laugh.)

So I was delighted to read Tucker Stone's post The Little Things, and How to Punch Them, which described his feelings on variant covers in terms that really spoke to me. An example: "I hate them, and my hate is pure, and it's thick, and it's so incredibly delectable that I can barely wrap my fist around my quill to scrawl out this column, so tempted am I to take this hate and put it in a bowl so that I can eat it with a knife like a Viking." I looked forward to linking to it and quoting it and generally ranting on about how variant covers are Evils That Must Be Destroyed.

(Did I ever discuss my one attempt to get variant covers for one of my books? I was hoping to get 17 different variants for Done to Death #4, which would be billed as an average issue after which the entire Done to Death universe would remain entirely unchanged. I planned on doing one of the covers myself: I forget what the image was, but the words "I hate Variant Covers" were going to feature prominently. This plan was shot down as being financially untenable--by the time we reached #4, 17 covers would've amounted to roughly one for each reader {I kid, I kid}. But someday...someday I will get my utterly unnecessary, stupidly high number of variant covers for something...)

Where was I? Oh, right. So, there I was, getting ready for an F-5 level diatribe on variant covers and how much they suck...

...When I read the latest Marvel Previews catalogue from Diamond. The first thing that caught my attention was that The Future of Comics (I) Fiona Staples illustrated a Spider-Woman story for ASTONISHING TALES #3 (order code: FEB092524), As much as I looked forward to mentioning Stone's diatribe on variant covers, I looked forward to noting a former collaborator and friend's star continuing its well-deserved rise. I wrote her to congratulate her, and was surprised when she informed me that she actually had TWO credits in the current Marvel Previews--one for Astonishing Tales, and another, for-- can see where this is going, can't you?--

--a 1-in-10 "Wolverine Appreciation" variant cover for WAR MACHINE #5.

Emotions in a cuisinart time. On the one hand, variant covers are a pox on comics. On the other, if War Machine #5 sells a stupid number of copies and it's determined (as it would be, in a just world) that that's because of Fiona's cover, then the odds of Fiona getting to do more covers and getting rich and famous increase. And that is something I would very much like to see.

So now I don't know what to say. As far as I can tell, the order code for Fiona's War Machine cover is FEB092514. I leave it to you to follow your own conscience and do what you think is right.


1 comment:

FS said...

First of all, it was going to be a photo of you photoshopped/scrawled on to look like a vampire.

Second, I am opposed in principle to variant covers and covers for comics done by anyone other than the interior artist, but on the other hand, I like doing cool cover illustrations without the commitment of an entire book. It is more or less like a one-night-stand that makes you feel kind of sleazy but also you don't really care.

And finally, it's a "Wolverine Art Appreciation" cover which means I'm painting Wolverine in the style of John Singer Sargent. Pretty wild!

Thanks for all the plugs!