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A Speculator’s Guide to Marvel’s Alien (2021) #1

Marvel recently released an Alien #1, after Dark Horse had the license for 30-some years. In fact, outside of a single graphic novel/album adaptation of the first film, I’m pretty sure that every Alien/Aliens/Aliens vs. Predator/AvP, etc comic published until March 24, 2021 had been published by Dark Horse.

To go along with this Bold New Enterprise and such, I’ve put together a Speculator’s Guide to highlight some of the "key" firsts and why you should absolutely stock up on and hoard this issue and alllllll its variants.

After all…that’s what comics are all about*, right?

speculators_guide_marvels_alien_001aa

Consider the following my bonus "Speculator Guide" to Marvel’s Alien #1:

  • First Alien comic published by Marvel
  • First appearance of Gabriel Cruz
  • First appearance of Danny Cruz
  • First appearance of the Movement
  • First appearance of Epsilon Station.
  • First ("cameo") appearance of some sort of Xenomorph variant in dream sequences
    • First Marvel appearance of any Xenomorph variant
  • First cover appearance of some sort of Xenomorph variant (variant covers)
  • First Marvel Alien #1
  • First Alien cover by InHyuk Lee
  • First Alien cover by Steve McNiven & Laura Martin
  • First Alien cover by Peach Momoko
  • First Alien cover by Ron Lim & Israel Silva
  • First Alien cover by Todd Nauck & Rachelle Rosenberg
  • First Alien cover by Patrick Gleason
  • First Alien cover by Skottie Young
  • First Alien cover by David Finch & Frank D’Armata
  • First Alien cover by Salvador Larroca & Guru-eFX
  • First Alien comic written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
  • First Alien comic edited by Jake Thomas and Shannon Andrews Ballesteros
  • First $4.99 Alien comic not part of an event series
  • First ongoing Alien #1 at $4.99 price
  • First appearance of Facehuggers in Marvel
  • First facehugging in Marvel
  • First Alien comic with Captain Marvel (ad)
  • First Alien comic with Spider-Man (ad)
  • First Alien comic with Spider-Woman (ad)
  • First Alien comic with Venom (ad)
  • First Alien comic with Nightcrawler (ad)
  • First Alien comic with The Mighty Valkyries (ad)
  • First Alien comic with the Champions (ad)

I may have missed a few things, but there you have it! Feel free to chime in on what I’ve missed. I imagine we’ll see plenty of other "key" things about #2 in a few weeks, but that’ll be a Whole New Cycle of Key-ness after this issue’s been milked for all it’s worth…right?

(*This post is tongue-in-cheek but with a point to be had.)

speculators_guide_marvels_alien_001ab

As random art or "prints" go…I like a number of these covers. But even for comic cover-sized prints $5 is a bit much. And since they’re basically all generic images…this really could be a year and a half’s worth of covers!

Put ’em in an art book…do an Alien Gallery by Marvel issue or something. (With so many covers just for #1, they’ve already got a full Gallery issue’s contents!)

Here’s hoping that the series develops something worthwhile and works out to more than JUST a TON of VARIANTS and being "not-Dark Horse." Let’s get some substance and such! Beyond hype, beyond mere "speculation."

speculators_guide_marvels_alien_001_blogtrailer

Another Example of the ’90s Doing Gimmicky Covers Better: Avengers #s 379-382

While I don’t have sources to cite/link offhand, nor do I feel like digging for any…I can still say that I frequently "hear" (read) the notion that "the ’90s" were SOOOOO horrible with VARIANT COVERS. Or the comparison made of modern "variants" and ’90s’ covers and such.

I make a huuuuuge distinction, though. For as much as the ’90s are known for all sorts of gimmicks and shiny foil holographic die-cut bullet-shot covers…even the most egregious and "aggressive" such programs did not even touch every single issue of any single series. And for as frequent as they appeared, they were NOT so incredibly prevalent as to be able to suggest that every single issue of every single title from every single publisher every single month had some gimmick!

In the ’90s, typically even IF there was some gimmick cover…it was either simply a "gimmick cover" or it was a SINGLE variant…more a different EDITION with one version being a "newsstand" edition and the gimmicked one being the "Collector’s" edition or such.

(I lay out a bunch of such covers in a post from early 2020 displaying the "era of excess" with Super-Blog Team-Up)


ANYway….

I recently came across a 4-issue block of the original Avengers title…issues 379-382. All were billed as a "double feature" with a Giant Man feature as a "flip book."

That is…you had the main/regular issue…but if you flipped it over, the back was another cover image, and you’d read from that side like the other and it’d be like reading two comics, but they’re a single unit!

avengers_double_feature_giant_man_379to382a

So, what really caught my eye with the issues is that the flip-cover is a 4-part image….when you put all four together you get a larger singular image. Fitting both for it being a GIANT image as well as being a "fun" gimmick if you happen(ed) to get all four issues!

avengers_double_feature_giant_man_379to382b

Nowadays…these would absolutely be VARIANT covers. There’d be NO "flipbook" aspect–it’d just be extra-sized with a "backup" feature, and multiple variants covers per issue, with ONE being this.

Or even more egregiously…I would NOT put it past modern Marvel to have all four of these be variants on the SAME ISSUE, incentivising the purchase of no less than four copies of the exact same issue…and they’d do this for multiple characters or costumes. Getting one to buy 16+ comics for a four-issue story.

But back in the ’90s? The price of the given issue was increased fairly proportionately to the increase in content, with the added bonus of the flip-book to let it "feel" even more like a bonus/extra issue, and all that.

Which–if one is already paying an extra price for an issue at all is far better than chasing variants and multiple variants PER extra-sized & extra-priced issue.

These particular copies of the issues?

I paid $1 for the 4-parter. 25 cents per issue…and incidentally, 12.5 cents per cover!

I would gladly welcome back the ’90s and the ’90s sort of covers over this modern deluge of variants. And heck…at least the way MY memories are…it’d even be preferable to the MODERN speculation bubble that’s been bubbling up more and more the last several years, too!

avengers_double_feature_giant_man_379to382_blogtrailer

Possible Packaging for The Avengers?

packagingthumbThe other day, my roommate and I got to talking about the Avengers movie coming out in a couple days, and then of how we oughtta watch the “solo” films this week in the lead-up to it.

We then got to talking about DVD packaging (I have the original Iron Man in a case shaped like his helmet mask, and I have The Dark Knight in a case shaped like Batman’s cowl; he has one of the Transformers films in a transforming Bumblebee figure. And the gem of the special cases–his model of the 2009 Enterprise, with the film encased in the saucer section of the ship. (Something we’d joked about the time the film first hit theaters: how cool would it be for them to do a case that was the Enterprise, but the saucer held the DVDs? And then sure enough–the idea proved fruitful from elsewhere.)

So our conversation turned toward the packaging of Avengers and/or the solo films. Captain America’s shield–that’s round. WHY Target (they did those other ‘special cases’) didn’t have an “exclusive” packaging shaped like the shield is beyond us.

But then we got to thinking about how there’s bound to be special collector sets when Avengers comes out on home release, with it boxed with the other solo films.

Why not a box/case with Avengers, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America, and Thor attached to a handle–the disc case part being the head of Thor’s hammer?

Or returning to the idea of Cap’s shield…and this is the idea I think we liked best…have the films packaged in a much larger replica of the shield.

They could put the films around the outer rim, with Avengers locked in the center. Have the main front of Cap’s shield as the lid (screw-on, snap-on, hinged…whatever works).

How cool would that be?

capblurayshield
Above: Mock-up of 6-film Avengers package idea

Chiming in on Captain America

So, Marvel–or the comics news sites, or some combo therein–managed to hook me.  Last week while I was at my primary local comic shop, I asked if I could be put down for a copy of Captain America #600.

I had picked up the first couple issues of Brubaker’s run when they came out, and didn’t find it to my liking at the time.  I returned with issue #25, and stayed on til #45 (18-part Death of Captain America epic, and the first three “Bucky issues.”  Decided to bail on the book to wait for the trades (and lookie here, I only lasted the equivilent of a single arc and I’m coming back).

I don’t know what the “big news” will be next Monday–whether it’ll be a Return or actual Rebirth of Steve Rogers.

But to be honest, I sincerely hope the news does not involve “the” (nor “a”) return of Steve Rogers. At least not yet.  I just last week finished reading the Captain America Omnibus (1-25 plus a couple specials), and adding that to what I read in singles from 25-45…it’s just far too soon in my mind for them to be bringing Steve back. With 25 issues of build to get to the death, and another 18 issues to get Bucky officially into the costume…I can’t honestly believe they’d (Marvel) force Steve’s return when Bucky’s only actually BEEN in the costume for 9 issues.

I think back to the 1990s and changes wrought–remember the bone-claws Wolverine?  That particular change stuck for a full SIX YEARS (real-world time). So much so that I think that version of Wolverine was actually starting to get a bit of notice outside of standard comic book readers (I have zero stats to back that up, though).  (But when one looks at stuff like the Ultraverse crossovers, the Overpower card game, possibly video games, etc…)

I hope that Bucky stays in the costume for at least a few more years.  Even then, at this point I think I’d find Steve much more interesting in a General Hawk sorta way–circa the latter issues of the first Devil’s Due G.I. Joe series.

But hey…time’ll tell. Right?

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