Marvel Will Release Free Reprints of Its Hip-Hop Variant Covers

Posted by at 12:14 am on November 30, 2015

Hip Hop Iron ManJay Z and the Black Panther. LL Cool J and the Punisher. Missy Elliott and the Black Widow. Vanilla Ice and Deadpool. These are some of the pairings that fans of Marvel Entertainment have been treated to since October as part of a series of comic book covers inspired by hip-hop album covers. On Jan. 6, at participating stores, Marvel will give away a 32-page comic that reprints 14 of the homage covers.

“The hip-hop variants were a really special initiative that caught fire in the outside world,” said Axel Alonso, the editor in chief of Marvel. “We thought this was a great opportunity to highlight that and make it available to fans for free.”

The sampler may also make it more enticing for people who are interested in the covers but would not normally visit comic stores to seek them out individually.

The covers were an attempt to draw attention to new No. 1 issues for more than 50 Marvel series that began appearing in October. They are known as variants because the comics each have a regular cover, which typically depicts a moment from the story contained in that issue. The variants are themed and, because of their more limited print run, they are often catnip to retailers — who can sell them at higher prices — and collectors, who are interested in their rarity.

Though the hip-hop covers have proved to be popular, they were not universally embraced when the theme was first announced in July. The reaction ranged from charges of cultural appropriation to measured optimism that this would signal a greater commitment to having diverse creators working on Marvel’s comics.

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