I’ve recently been thinking about the film debut of the first Guardians of the Galaxy that took place a while back. I remember that Marvel Entertainment did something to promote the movie that caught my attention.
All the variant covers of Marvel comics that came out that month were focused on that group and its members.
I’ve previously stated that this motion picture was the one I was most worried about when it came to the Marvel Studios/Disney productions based on the comics. After all, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Avengers are pretty well known even in the non-comics population, but the Guardians at that time were unfamiliar to many comics fans.
BUY MAGNETO, GET A GUARDIANS VARIANT COVER
Normally, variant covers are done to get just that little extra money out of fans. You buy All-New X-Men, the “other” cover can be one you really like or turn out to be of value if the issue takes off in popularity. It could also be that the variant hits home with fans of the book for whatever reason. There’s one other possibility, of course, and it’s that these variants have fans of their own, so some folks buy each and every one of them produced.
That’s great if you can afford to do it. Otherwise, people are very selective about how many copies of an issue they can buy.
The thing that was interesting was to see just how people felt about buying a Magneto comic with a variant cover that has no sign of the character in the book on it at all.
I mean, what I’ve seen of the art at this point is cool and all, but no Magneto on the cover of his own book? No All-New X-Men on their variant? No Amazing X-Men on theirs? No Deadpool?
MAKING COLLECTORS TAKE NOTICE?
Of course, since this is something that’s not done very often, the whole scenario might turn into a collector’s bonanza.
In many cases, it takes ordering a certain number of comics for store owners to receive variants, so the “rareness” factor could be a big influence.
And let’s face it – if word hits the Internet that Guardians covers are “hot,” that will help promote the film among fans and collectors.
(As a friend of mine once said, there’s no such thing as “bad” publicity. If something helps people pay attention to the product, it’s not a “bad” thing. He even said that if a film is pronounced “poor,” some folks go just to see how bad it really is.)
WHAT I THINK OF ALL THIS
Personally, I have a problem buying a book with a cover that doesn’t at least pretend to have something to do with the content inside.
If the Guardians were to make even a cameo appearance in that comic, I’d be more interested in it.
But if it’s just something being done to promote the film, well, that’s not how I roll.
I know that Rocket Raccoon had become more popular since the announcement that this film was going into production, but I gave up “speculating” a long time ago. At one point, I bought every copy I could find of The Mighty Thor #337 with Beta Ray Bill being featured on the cover. The book went from focusing on a Norse Thunder God to a Horse Thunder God. (By the way, I must have missed it, but whatever happened to Beta Ray Bill?)
Then, too, I burned out on variant covers quite a long time ago. I used to follow the “two-for” rule – one to read, another to keep. But, as it often does, reality got in the way of comics, and I had to abandon that policy.
I remember X-Men #1, which had four individual covers, each coming out in its own week, followed by a wrap-around released on the fifth week. The joke around the comics shops I used to frequent was that X-fans bought each and every cover, but were unable to read all the way through the book due to the serious number of word balloons Chris Claremont delivered.
DC isn’t blameless in this endeavor, either. Their recent September’s 3-D variants during “Villains Month” comes to mind right away. They did sell tremendously well, so I’m not surprised that this practice is likely to continue. Since the Guardians variants were winners as well, we’ll see a lot more of that policy in the future.
Still, when DC promoted The CW’s Arrow, they used a banner across the top of the cover, not the entire cover!
HEY, I’M TALKING ABOUT IT!
A lot of times, just the press discussing an event like this makes it worthwhile. And here I am, talking about it!
Marvel’s had a LOT of success when it comes to getting the word out about what’s they’re up to. I remember there being a mountain of coverage when Cap apparently died, for example. You couldn’t escape it!
So, the variant covers for Guardians of the Galaxy were a success if for no other than many of us in the comics press were letting you know it was coming! Of course, from Marvel’s perspective, if you buy more comics, that’s even better!