Wednesday, June 17, 2015

5 More 90's Gimmick Comic Covers!

It's June, it's hot, and it feels like a good time to be stuck inside reading comic books. Let's take a look at another 5 comics with gimmicky covers!

Shadowman #0 April 1994
Valiant comics

Valiant was quite the innovator of their time. They were the first to use chromium covers, and they were the originators of the "0" issue. What's a "0" issue you ask? Well, normally it went into a little bit more depth about a character's origin. It used to be that you could pick up the first issue of a comic, and learn who the character was and how they got their powers. Not in the 90's baby! In those days, a series started mid-fight. This particular issue goes a little deeper into the origin of the titular Shadowman, a jazz saxophonist that was given powers by a voodoo priestess to combat the evil Master Darque. I bet you think I'm kidding...

I'm a huge fan of chromium covers, and I think this one looks even better than the Bloodshot comic I talked about last time. The details are crisper, and it's a full wraparound image. If I thought I could find a frame that would fit, I'd flatten it out and display it on my wall.  That's my new goal in life, walls covered in chromium comic art.

Sabretooth #1 August 1993
Marvel Comics

I still remember the day I bought this issue. We were on our way to the carnival, and my mom made a stop at Rite-Aid. While she was shopping, I quickly made my way over to the comic rack to see what was new. When I say comic rack, I literally mean that. It was a standalone rack near the magazine section, and it held close to two dozen different titles. I was immediately drawn to that Sabretooth comic, with it's stark red and black die-cut cover. When I saw the cover price, I hesitated for a moment. $3.00 was quite a bit for a single book, and was a good chunk of the money I had with me. I normally wouldn't have cared that much about spending the money, but since we were going to the carnival, I needed that cash to buy tickets for the rides, and play all the rigged carny games. I was a huge X-men fan at the time, so of course I paid my money, and the comic came with me.

I have to admit, the die-cut section doesn't really make sense on this one. The image doesn't line up all that well, and I feel like they could have done more with it. I think a series of die-cut "slashes" would have worked great for this one, and it would have made more sense knowing the character. Still, that is a great illustration of Sabretooth, even if it makes me wonder how he scratches his nose without accidentally giving himself a lobotomy.

Darkhawk #25 March 1993
Marvel Comics

Darkhawk isn't a character you hear about much these days. I'm not sure if he was ever more than a B-grade superhero. I can't remember him making much of an impact outside of his own comics at least. He actually shares quite a few similarities to Spider-Man, being that they're both teenagers, they both suffer a tragic loss, came into their powers by accident, and have to keep those powers secret from their family members. Oh, and Darkhawk can also swing from buildings and grab things using his claw cable. So, he's basically an inter-dimensional android Spider-Man.

Since this was issue #25, they had to do something to commemorate the occasion. So, they emblazoned most of the cover with bright red foil,  making it seem like Darkhawk's amulet is blasting out toward the reader. It actually gives a rather simple cover some depth, which is particularly impressive when you realize it's just the main character on a yellow background. Still, I'm having trouble figuring out his pose. Is he saying "Grr...I'm so angry!", or is it "I'm sorry, I don't know what is happening"?

I just now noticed that  the eyes on Darkhawk's face in the price box are foil embossed as well. Nice touch, Marvel.

Deathlok #1 July 1991
Marvel Comics

Out of all the comics shown so far, Deathlok is probably the oddest character. That's right, even stranger than a voodoo powered jazz saxophonist that fights evil wizards at night. Deathlok is your basic computer assisted combat cyborg zombie. Originally he was a computer programmer named Michael Collins, who had his brain removed and placed inside the Deathlok cyborg when he discovered just how shady his company was. Now he's a regular cyborg on the run, trying to find his body so he can put his brain back where it belongs. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Honestly, one of the best parts about Deathlok is the constant dialog between him and his body's A.I. I never knew a character talking to himself could be so entertaining.

I'm not quite sure what's happening on the cover, but it almost looks like Deathlok is living a cable installer's worst nightmare. I know I'm always worried I'll get lost in the forest of wires whenever I have to go behind our television set. It's hard to see in the photo, but all that wiring on the cover is printed in metallic ink. It's not as "in your face" as the force blast on the Darkhawk cover, and it almost looks like a regular cover from most angles. I'm just surprised they didn't go all out and foil emboss the heck out of Deathlok. After all, this is a "1st Issue Collector's Item!".

X-men #25 October 1993
Marvel Comics

I love holograms. I've always been fascinated by them. Even now, you could show me a hologram, and I would probably spend at least 37 minutes messing around with it. So, there's no way I was able to resist picking up a comic book with a hologram on the cover. If you're not familiar with Fatal Attractions, it's the crossover that saw Wolverine get his Adamantium pulled out by Magneto, who had his mind blasted out by Professor X. Each of the books in the Fatal Attraction crossover had a trading card sized hologram on the front showcasing a character from that title. In this case, it was the ragin' Cajun himself, Gambit!

As cool as the hologram was though, it just seems like an afterthought. All these other covers find a way to work the gimmick into the artwork. This is pretty much just a trading card glued to a comic book cover. It kinda feels like they came up with that $3.50 cover price first, then needed a reason to justify it. Not that I'm complaining, because, you know, it's a hologram.

That's it for this installment of  gimmicky comic covers. Stick around for a few more years, and I might have another one to share.


  1. I loved those #1 issues as a kid.There was no better feeling than being able to have that first issue.The beginning of what would eventually turn into an obsessive hunt down of issues 2,3,4 etc.My most memorable #1 issues were Silver Surfer (1987),Captain Atom(1988),X-Men (1991) and X-Force(1991).I'm sure there were more,though.

  2. I remember that Silver Surfer issue. I think it was part of a collection I inherited from my cousin when she needed to make some room at her house.

    I bought so many #1 issues of bad comics, because I was convinced they were going to be collector's items. Now most of them can be found in the quarter bins in most comic shops.

  3. Had a couple of these back in the day.

    1. Yeah, I just had the X-men and Sabretooth issue. It was slim pickings around here without a comic shop.

  4. Wow, I had that Shadowman comic too, Valiant had a bunch of foil covers for their #1s. I agree on the bling factor though. I remember I bought a Wolverine comic which had a massive Wolverine hologram on the front. Thought it was the bees knees at the time. Holograms are always cool!

    1. I loved that holographic Wolverine cover. Who knows, that may end up in the next installment.

      I think Valiant actually had a bunch of chromium covers for some of their relaunched titles recently. I think they're the only modern company that's used gimmick covers lately.

  5. I have this gambit card if you put it against the sun, WOW


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...