Comic Fodder

Comic Book Fan Rant about Covers

I feel cheated. I feel like DC deliberately kept enjoyment of a comic from me. I feel like they are mercenaries who are trying to milk me for all I’m worth, and do not care one iota about the experience of comic readership, or what they should offer to us as a service.

The bottom line first: DC is doing us a disservice by splitting these group photo shots into two different covers. I am actually irritated by this new practice.

Variant covers for comic books are all the rage these days. In the old days, if there was a really good cover that did not get used, the publishers would be cool enough to give it to us as a page at the back of the book. As time went on and people decided to experiment with covers, we were treated to interested things like double gatefold covers, triple-fold-out covers, embossed covers, and even 3D hologram covers!

Marvel pulled an interesting trick in 1991 and put out five covers for its X-Men #1, four covers that showed one-quarter of Cover E, which was a fold-out of all four of the others. DC went a little overboard with its Robin II miniseries, with a vast assortment of different covers for each issue, and Robin III, with a regular cover available, and a special reversible cover. If you did not like a gimmick cover, or did not want to pay the extra cost, DC was decent enough to let you buy a normal comic.

Later on, Marvel decided it was policy to print #2 of every comic in two covers, probably because a ton of readers tend to check out the first issue of a new title and then a mass of readers leaves unimpressed. If there was a special reason for the people staying to buy that second issue, well, it was worth a try. I fell for it once, on Avengers #2 (series that began in 1997), because both covers were so freaking cool. (Avengers #2 and Variant cover).

Then we entered the modern age, where every issue and its dog have a variant cover or three. Which is all well and good. My store owner sets aside one copy of each, and lets me choose which version I would like. Sometimes it’s a tough choice, other times it is very, very easy. For people who are collector fanboys who simply must have every aspect of every issue, more power to them.

Then DC did something evil.

They issued Justice League of America #1 with a Cover A and a Cover B, which form an entire picture of a team shot ONLY WHEN COMBINED?!?!?!

They then had the gall to do the exact same thing with issues #12 and #13. For the record, I make more money now in my life than I ever have before, but I am still not going to spend another three bucks plus tax on what amounts to one page that is different from the other issue I just bought. A lot of us still buy our comics once a month, and we will not be purchasing the trade version, where the entire picture might be presented.

DC used to be creative about this type of thing, without turning into a prostitute for marketing. Anyone remember the cool covers of New Teen Titans #37 and Batman and the Outsiders #5 in 1983? (Teen Titans and BATO ). The teams had a crossover, but each cover looked good as a cover on its own. However, if you bought both covers, they fit together into an awesome bigger picture. Or how about a previous incarnation of the Justice League in 1985? Issues #233-236 fit together to form one large picture. (JLA 233, JLA 234, JLA 235, and JLA 236). But for the price of four books, you got a cool large cover and four complete stories. Instead, today DC gives us half a cover, in a lame attempt to milk us out of more money.

How hard is this? Make it a fold-out cover, or a wrap-around cover, or condense it onto one page. Figure out a different cover and include it as a special presentation somewhere else in the book. Virtually any other way of doing this would have been preferable. Now, I have one-half of a picture. Thanks for nothing, DC. I remember when your publishers made statements about delivering the highest quality for us, respecting that we chose to spend our hard-earned cash with you, and promising to always strive to deliver the most for our money. Now all we have to look forward to is gimmicks and rip-offs.

Why not just buy trades from now on, when most of this will be compiled together in one place? Well, there is at least one reason why some of us can’t do that. The answer for that will be in the next op-ed column. Thanks to Mile High Comics for the scanned covers. It's cool site to check out if you've never been to it before.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.