2015 saw a lot of comic book variant covers. While variants are nothing new to the world of comic books, the amount of variants seems to be skyrocketing. DC Comics could crash the market with Dark Knight III, releasing over 50 versions of the first issue alone. If the demand for variant covers continues to drive the market, comics will see a flood of variant covers that will rival the foil and lenticular cover craze of the 1990’s. DC Comics made it nearly impossible for any collector to own a complete set of variants for the much anticipated DKIII covers. It’s likely the only way a person will be able to get their hands on all of the covers will be when DKIII is collected in trade form.
Marvel took a different approach to variants: Remix their characters with some classic and contemporary hip hop album covers. Marvel paid homage to the likes of Nas, Eminem, the Wu-Tang Clan, Run DMC, and many others. They’ve released 50 variant covers spanning their entire lineup of characters this year. Some of the covers are now being collected in a 32-page book that will include 14 covers that were previously released. It’s likely that the remainder of the book will be either unreleased variants or notes about how the covers came to be.
Comics and hip hop share a very unique relationship. The landscape of rap is filled with bravado and braggadocio that can easily be placed in a universe where superheroes and supervillains prevail. It isn’t often that we see the two worlds collide in a way that can only be described as magical. Having a collected volume of variant covers inspired by some of the most heralded albums in hip hop is a smart way to boost sales without breaking banks.