Are Iron Man Variant Covers a New Low in Creativity or a Clever Way to Block Shelf Space?

Tony Stark is going to be back as Iron Man in the comics — which makes sense, since that’s who the mass, movie-going audience thinks should be in the armor. To promote the release of Tony Stark Iron Man #1, written by Dan Slott, illustrated by Valerio Schiti, and out this June, Marvel has announced 20 variant covers. You’ll notice, from the gallery below, that there’s an odd similarity to them. Looks like someone has been having fun with Photoshop.

They’re labeled “the new and exciting armor that has been created for the new series!” Personally, I’ve never understood why anyone cares what the armor looks like to this degree, but there’s a certain type of fan that really gets into the minutiae, as symbolized by the fact that there is a “Classic Red and Gold Armor” cover and a “Classic Red and Gold Variant (Nose) Armor” cover. (Isn’t that a great title?) I know it helps sell more action figures, and I do like that there’s a space armor and an underwater armor and such. All of the covers are credited to Alexander Lozano and Valerio Schiti.


  • To answer your headline’s question: Yes. Yes, to both. It’s a classic Marvel Win/Win scenario. They win both ways.

    The sad thing is, people will actually buy multiple covers instead of trying something new. Sigh.

  • Honestly? I really don’t see the point of these variants! Surely the point of variant covers is to do something *radically* different? Y’know? XD

  • A few years ago, Marvel did an Ant-Man variant gimmick where each individual cover had the Ant-Man foreground figure at a slightly different size (see for some details…). This reminds me of a similar thing with a background image staying the same while the foreground figure changes, so I imagine there’s some cost savings involved here (if only for not having to pay for twenty different covers by different artists).

  • Oh, right, thanks for that reminder! I’d forgotten about that similar gimmick.

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