The Escapist takes a look at 20 variant covers Marvel has planned for the launch of its new Star Wars series.
So in case you haven’t heard, Marvel is launching a new Star Wars comic next month and it’s going to be a big deal. How big you ask? Marvel has already confirmed that the book’s first issue will sell more than a million copies, making it the most successful single issue comic release in decades.
Why is the comic selling so well? In two words: variant covers. Marvel has produced a metric ton of alternate covers for the comic, covers that Star Wars fans and comic collectors alike have apparently been purchasing en mass. With 2014 coming to an end and the comic’s January 2015 release drawing closer, we thought it’d be fun to run through a selection of the available variant covers, giving you our impressions as we go.
Source: Bleeding Cool
#1 John Cassaday Standard Cover
John Cassaday’s standard edition cover is pretty danged standard. It’s not bad by any means, but there’s also not much on it to grab the eye outside of the fact that it’s Star Wars. How about Leia’s heeled boots though? Lord knows that’s what I’d want to wear charging into battle against Imperial Stormtroopers.
#2 John Cassaday Teaser Cover
I like this one, but there are things that I think it could’ve done better. While I like how the black give the cover a nice movie-like feel, I think it would have been more effective it Cassasdy had pulled the image back a bit so we could see Luke standing against the backdrop of Tatooine’s desert. Then again, if he’d done he probably would’ve been forced to add a flock of dewbacks to it. The things have been impossible to get away from ever since the Special Editions.
#3 Movie Cover
I don’t have too much to say about this one. It’s a still frame from A New Hope. Honestly, with the way Marvel’s pumping out these variant covers we’re lucky we didn’t wind up with a whole series of these. Though, personally, it would make me smile to buy a “Luke drinking blue milk” cover in this style.
#4 Adi Granov Forbidden Planet Cover
While Adi Granov’s art in this cover is quite lovely, you really have to wonder what’s made poor Boba Fett angry enough to start punching the ground. Maybe he read the script for Return of the Jedi and realized how lame his demise would be? Cause I’m just saying, that would make me cranky.
#5 Alan Davis Emerald City Comics Variant
Am I the only one completely distracted by Chewie’s armpit on this cover? It’s not that I don’t get what he’s doing. He’s reaching for a blaster that’s above his head. There’s a logical reason for him to be wafting his Wookie-pit around. Still, I can’t help but feel like the cover might have been a bit stronger if his arm had been lowered.
#6 Alex Maleev DCBS Variant
This cover is awesome. There’s just something about it that really reminds me of Ralph McQuarrie’s original Star Wars concept art. Maybe it’s the way it uses color or how the characters and ships are all slightly angular. Or maybe I’m just seeing similarities that aren’t there. Regardless, I’d say that this Alex Maleev variant cover’s a winner.
#7 Alex Ross Variant
Tie Fighter and X-Wings and explosions! Oh my! This cover wins by focusing on the best parts of Star Wars: the epic space battles! I know that when it comes to Star Wars most people focus on thing slike lightsabers and the Jedi, but I’ve always been a huge fan of the series’ completely improbable space fights.
#8 Amanda Conner Vault Collectibles Variant
How can you not love a pouty Princess Leia? Granted, my opinion might be colored by the 318 times (rough count) that my daughter’s asked me to read Vader’s Little Princess, but even setting that aside I still think this is a really cute cover.
#9 Blank Variant
There’s something about this that’s so white. It’s like how much more white could this be? And the answer is none. None more white.
#10 Bob McLeod Variant
No disrespect at all intended to Bob McLeod, but what the heck is going on with the faces in this cover? Am I the only one who thinks they look weird? Especially Chewbacca’s. His eyes, man. It’s like they were plucked out and replaced with King Kong’s (the 1933 version, not the Peter Jackson one).
#11 Dave Dorman M&M Comics Variant
It can be easy to forget just how terrifying the Empire really is. After all, when you get down to it, “an entire legion” of its “best troops” were taken down by a tribe of teddy bears. Setting that unfortunate fact aside however, it is important to remember that the Imperial military has held a sizable chunk of the galaxy in the grips of a brutal tyranny for decades. I love Dave Dorman’s comic precisely because of how well I think it portrays this notion. The Imperials on this cover don’t look like a bunch of inaccurate cannon fodder, they look lethal and elite.
#12 Hasbro NY Toy Fair Variant
Could we possibly just do the entire comic like this? I mean sure, the artists might be less than pleased to have their illustrations replaced by a bunch of posed toys, but somehow this cover makes me feel like it might be worth it. Sincerely, the only thing I could see conceivably making this better would be if it were made out of LEGO.
#13 John Tyler Christopher Action Figure Variant
Sticking with toys, John Tyler Christopher’s action figure is another that I really enjoy. Immediately nostalgic, it does a great job of recreating the vintage packaging from the franchise’s younger days. I will say that Mark Hammil’s face looks a bit too youthful, even when compared to how he looked in A New Hope. That’s a minor quibble though and does little to drag down what, in the end, is a really fun cover.
#14 John Tyler Christopher Jaxxon Variant
While it will be interesting to see where Marvel goes with Star Wars now that it’s back under its roof, it’s worth remembering just how freaking weird the original Star Wars comic could get sometimes. Case in point, Jaxxon the green bunny alien. I like this variant, in turn, because of the way that it pays homage to Marvel’s past stewardship of the franchise while also making it clear that those days are in the past.
#15 Heroes Haven X-Men Variant
Being a big fan of the X-Men, Mike Perkins’ tribute to the classic cover of Giant-Size X-Men was an immediate home run for me. The only thing he doesn’t get right is that in the classic Dave Cockrum cover it was the four original X-Men looking down on the heroes bursting through cover, not the series’ villains. That said, doing that for Star Wars would necessitate bringing the prequel trilogy’s cast into the mix and I think most of us would rather avoid that.
#16 David Petersen Newbury Comics Variant
I like to imagine this cover happening right before Greedo’s fatal encounter with Han. Maybe he had been staking the cantina out, waiting for an opportunity to catch everyone’s favorite nerf herder alone. Maybe he was having a conversation with the bat alien when Han walked in and sat there, confidently sipping at his drink, waiting for the right moment to strike… As you can tell I’ve put entirely too much thought into this.
#17 John Tyler Christopher ComicXposure Variant
Ba dah ba dah ba dah dah! Ba dah dah dah ba dah dah!
This cover just makes me want to dig out a Sean Connery Bond-film and go to town with it. I especially love how it puts Leia out front and turns Luke and Han into the Bond girls. Granted, it doesn’t make the whole incest thing any less creepy, but the Bond movies usually always had one disposable love interest any ways.
#18 Dale Keown Third Eye Comics Variant
Bow to the buff Vader! This cover just amuses me because of how over the top it is. You have your fiery red background, you have Darth Vader standing all ominously and, of course, you have his ridiculously ripped physique. You know, its funny, you’d think a muscle bound Sith lord would be more imposing, but somehow Darth Vader decked out with rippling pectorals is less intimidating to me than when he’s in a normal body.
#19 Simone Binachi Books-A-Million Variant
Now this is Darth Vader done right. No silly muscles, just a normal body, a lightsaber and a stack of corpses in his wake.
#20Greg Horn GameStop Rewards Variant
Are you a farm boy trapped on a desert planet with sufficient piloting skills and nothing to shoot but womp rats? Get off that scum infested dust ball and join the Rebel Alliance! The pay’s awful and the life expectancy of your average X-Wing pilot is a few months at best, but it’ll still beat wasting your days on that Hutt-infested backwater and its two suns. Join the Rebel Alliance today so we can hopelessly attack the Empire’s newest super weapon tomorrow!