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The Right and Wrong Way To Do Interlocking Covers

I’ve made it more than clear (and will continue to do so) that I hate variant covers as a general thing and on principle.

The worst "type" of variant cover to me is the "interlocking" variant. This forces one to–IF they actually want the "whole" image–to purchase MULTIPLE copies of the same exact issue.

The first one that ever really caught my attention, and totally ticked me off and turned me off to the series as a result, was Justice League of America with #1:


Then there was Geoff Johns wrapping up his run with JSA/Justice Society of America. To "celebrate" his time and commemorate the "end of an era" a large group shot of the many characters that had been a part of and defined during his run was used…split across three covers for the issue:


This also turned me off to buying Boom! Studios/Boom! KidsThe Incredibles. This team of four, a family, as a GROUP starring in the title–was split across two covers for #0…


…and for #1. If they wanted to be cute or "fun" or such, these could’ve been the first four covers, or done as a wrap-around cover. I refused to support this and so never ended up buying any of the single issues.


Of course, this wasn’t an entirely new concept. It was done for 1991’s X-Men #1…with FOUR different covers. (Icing on the cake? A "deluxe" edition was also available that was a double-gatefold-wraparound combining all four into a single piece on a single copy of the issue).


More recently, IDW did this with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1…four covers and a "deluxe" version combining the four…or so I hear (I haven’t seen a physical copy myself as yet).


Bringing all this back to my attention MOST recently was that Valiant pulled this stunt with X-O Manowar #31…


…AND with #32! And these aren’t even anything special (not to me, anyway!).


Both could easily have been gatefold covers, which would have been nifty and amusing enough for a change of pace. Or they could have simply been covers for separate issues of the story arc.

Aside from the principle of the thing is that there are some GREAT examples of the interlocking images being used very well! Instead of having to buy multiple copies of the SAME ISSUE, they can reward one buying an entire story, or at least getting the first couple issues of a series.

My first experience with this was the United We Stand crossover story in the early 1990s between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures and Mighty Mutanimals books from Archie:


Next to that, probably my next favorite was the start of the New Krypton arc awhile back in the Superman books:


We also had that with the first two issues of All-New X-Men (I cannot figure out where the third panel was used–these were part of a single image on a promotional postcard at the time).


Last summer I found a bunch of Kid Eternity issues and when I’d laid the issues out to photograph for this blog, I was surprised to REALIZE the mini-series provided a single image across the three issues.


I’m sure there are many other examples of both types of interlocking covers; and this does not even get into other problems I have with variants, nor the notion of the pin-ups (vs. variant covers) , wraparound covers, and other gimmicks.

Ultimately, to me there should never be interlocking VARIANTS. Interlocking COVERS are ok but lose all sense of "cuteness" or "funness" when done as variants.

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