These are so dope.
As if you weren't already excited about the All-New All-Different Marvel lineup, and the covers that leaked last week! Marvel has produced variant covers inspired by classic hip-hop albums. Above is Captain America #1, starring Sam Wilson and inspired by A$AP Rocky (Long Live A$AP). The second photo on this block will let you compare the art to the original cover.
Sam Wilson is going to be taking on the mantle of Captain America, which has left some people curious as to what's going on with the original Cap, Steve Rogers. The cover art by Mahmud Asrar is so intense, it captures a lot of the drama fans are expecting to come out of the new series. I love it!
Of course they didn't stop there. Take a look at some of the other variant covers (which will be available in October).
Ms. Marvel #1
Artwork by Jenny Frison, inspired by Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Marvel's new lineup represents the company's serious commitment to providing more positive diversity in comics.
There are more nonwhite heroes in titular roles than there were before, and more women with solo titles as well (Kamala Khan is only one example). And while they've released variant covers before, this theme suggests that Marvel is trying to appeal to consumers that they have not prioritized in the past. Making homages to influential hip-hop albums feels like an acknowledgement of the way the world has changed, and an attempt to keep up (and keep ahead of their competitors).
Artwork by Dave Johnson, inspired by Eric B. & Rakim's Paid in Full.
This one is totally goofy, but it reflects the screwball sense of humor that fans have come to associate with these two characters.
Extraordinary X-Men #1
Artwork by Sanford Green, inspired by De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising.
This is the first one that really caught my eye, because it's so different from what I'd normally expect from comics. And I think that's a good thing. Marvel is courting new fans. I honestly think they have no intention of betraying their loyal followers, but it's been increasingly difficult for comics to remain relevant. It's nothing against the stories or the medium- there's just a lot of competition for people's attention. They're also releasing comics in the Kindle store in an effort to make comics more accessible to modern readers.
All of this means that Marvel is determined to continue making comics, instead of forgetting about them and focusing solely on the films.
Invincible Iron Man #1
Artwork by Brian Stelfreeze, inspired by 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
I love the parallel the artist made between 'Invincible' and 'Get Rich or Die Tryin'.
Connecting those two ideas demonstrates a connection between hip-hop and heroism that we don't always see. Hip-hop culture has really expanded in the past fifteen years. There's a celebrity culture there now (which I think is totally exemplified by Iron Man- Tony Stark is a character infamous for his very public persona). Other artists are subtler and more subversive, which makes me think of the 'secret identity' aesthetic of masked heroes. There's definitely plenty of material to connect to for both genres.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1
Artwork by Phil Noto, inspired by Tyler, the Creator's Wolf
I'm ridiculously excited for Squirrel Girl. I'm really glad to see Phil Noto's art for one, because I think he's amazingly talented. I'm also just amused by the title itself. Heck yeah, there's a squirrel girl! The juxtaposition of such an innocent-sounding character with Tyler, the Creator is also completely brilliant. The lyrics of the titular song Wolf aren't even a little safe for work, so I won't share them on this card, but I definitely recommend listening to the entire album.