In the last Covering Comics column (#14), I did a spotlight feature on the covers of Artist Neal Adams, and at the end I noted that Mr. Adams is still doing occasional work in comics, though most of the time now he’s concentrating on illustrating mini-series which he is also writing.
As it turns out, this month is seeing the release of a number of variant covers from DC which are highlighting Neal Adams’ work.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the “variant cover” concept, the basic idea is that certain comics are published with different covers than the standard ones that will be on newsstands and other places that sell comics, and that retailers can purchase these variants (which are generally printed in much smaller quantities) at a ratio based upon the number of “standard cover” copies of the issue that they buy. So for instance if a variant cover is made available at a 10:1 ratio, then for every ten standard cover issues a retailer buys from the distributor, they have the option to buy one of the variant cover issues, which they can then sell at a much inflated rate, since these variants are considered rarities.
Though this practice fell out of favor for awhile, it is something that DC especially has recently re-embraced with gusto. Each month lately, they have chosen a different theme for their variant covers and printed a vast majority of that month’s issues with covers using that theme. Sometimes, like last month, the theme will be kind of off the wall – the January theme was Looney Tunes variants which showed their characters interacting with characters from the cartoon universe inhabitants, and sometimes, like this month they will focus on specific creators.
Oh, and I should also mention that quite often these covers, while interesting, really have nothing to do with what’s actually happening inside the comics themselves.
All of which brings us to this month’s covers and their Neal Adams variants. The idea seems to have been to get Adams to recreate some of his most iconic covers, putting new spins on them, then having them inked by some of today’s top talent.
I’ll admit I don’t usually pay much attention to these variant covers since I don’t actively collect comics anymore, but it is something of a treat getting to see Adam’s artwork get this kind of a spotlight. So, what you’re going to see below is really just a gallery of some of these new covers, most of which (except for the first one, obviously) I really have no idea which comics they will actually be on. Nonetheless, I thought you might enjoy seeing these new takes from Mr. Adams as much as I did. So, without further ado…
By the way, if you want to see many of the original covers that these are based on, I refer you back to that Covering Comics column that I cited at the top.