In a major talent coup, Marvel announced today that upcoming issues of their meat and potatoes relaunch X-titles, X-Men Gold and X-Men Blue, will get special variant covers by none other than Jim freaking Lee. Lee, who currently works as Co-Publisher for DC Comics, didn't even show up for the Image Founders 25th anniversary reunion panel at Emerald City Comic Con this year, so how could Marvel convince him to contribute variant covers to their big relaunch event, which would be in direct competition with the comics published by his own company?
The answer is, they didn't. Like the Todd McFarlane Venom variant from last year and the John Romita Sr. Renew Your Vows cover, these variants will use recycled artwork from Lee's original 1990s X-Men run.
"Few artists are as synonymous with the X-Men, and specifically the Blue & Gold era of the X-Men quite like Jim Lee," said Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel of the rival comic book publisher executive in a press release. "We wanted to do something extra special to commemorate these two new titles, and we're excited to bring Jim's unique vision of Marvel's merry mutants back to the fans for these two remastered variant covers!"
"Extra special" is a one way to describe it.
"Retailers have an extra week to check their orders (FOC has been extended to 3/20) and are strongly encouraged to do so as demand for these two variants can only increase over time," the press release continued, because, for some reason, the recycled art is going to fare so much better on the secondary market than the original comics they appeared in more than 25 years ago. We personally use several copies of Jim Lee's 1991 X-Men #1 to prop up an uneven coffee table in our living room, which they are admittedly great for. "No fan can afford to miss out on these can't miss Jim Lee variants – coming to X-MEN GOLD #1 and X-MEN BLUE #1 this April!"
True! Where else are comic book collectors going to be able to get their hands on this gorgeous Jim Lee artwork? Well, besides buying the original issues out of the twenty-five cents bin at the back of the shop, tearing out the original pages, and glueing them to a regular copy of X-Men Blue or X-Men Gold #1, which, if we're being perfectly honest, would probably be the more economical choice, and might save some trees in the process.
Ah well. Pick these up in April, and retailers, order them by Monday.
X-MEN GOLD #1 (FEB170777)
X-MEN GOLD #1 JIM LEE REMASTERED VARIANT (FEB170782)
NEW FOC! – 03/20/17, On-Sale – 04/05/17
X-MEN BLUE #1 (FEB170767)
X-MEN BLUE #1 JIM LEE REMASTERED VARIANT (FEB170770)
FOC – 03/20/17, On-Sale – 04/12/17