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CSBG Archive

I Can’t Cover What I Am – Marvel’s 70th Anniversary Covers

In this feature, I spotlight comic book covers that follow a specific theme. Here is an archive of all the cover themes we’ve spotlighted so far.

With their books cover-dated October 2009 (so roughly August 2009), Marvel decided to celebrate their 70th Anniversary as a company (unlike their 1986 25th anniversary, which only celebrated the beginning of the Marvel Universe specifically) with a series of variant covers in the style of their 25th Anniversary covers from 1986. Jim Cheung did the border art and a variety of artists did the spotlight art. So today, here are all of the Marvel 70th Anniversary covers (Thor did not come out that month, so as far as I can tell, it did not get a 70th Anniversary cover).


All covers courtesy of the Grand Comics Database!


It’s a sad statement about the industry that the 1986 covers were the regular covers, while these were all variants.

It’s a sad statement that variants were invented sometime between 1986 and 2009?

No, it’s a sad statement that Marvel didn’t want to do this as a line-wide event again because they wanted to squeeze as much money as possible out of people. Plus, these weren’t that common, so if you wanted to buy them all (why would you, I don’t know), you might not even be able to find all of them.

thats an insane number of of comic books about super heroes to be published in one month. what a bizarre industry.

Marvels Project was blank? is that only an incentive for sketches? :-/

Michael Golden draws a great Hulk.

If I didn’t know it was set in the wrong era, I’d say The Marvels Project had the Invisible Woman on the cover.

It looks line-wide to me. Did they skip some books? I see every Marvel title I was reading at the time.

The 1986 breakdown: 18 superhero books, 6 kids books, 2 fantasy books, 1 war, 1 sci-fi, 1 industry news.

The 2009 breakdown: 36 superhero books


Michael: Yes, it was line-wide, but they weren’t the “official” covers. They’re variants, so they were done in far fewer numbers, and I know that where I buy comics, the variants are far above cover price the day of release (if, that is, the number is less – Dynamite does the whole 3-4 covers at the same number as each other cover, so none are “rarer”). I don’t know if that’s the way it is with every retailer, but my point is that instead of these being the “regular” covers, they were variants. Why Marvel didn’t just do them as the regular covers, I don’t know.

For the most part, they’re terrible, so I’m glad Marvel didn’t make them the regular covers.

On the other hand, Marvel does many, many of these linewide variants, and thank goodness they didn’t decide to, say, have the zombie or Deadpool variants be the regular covers for a month.

I own the Wolverine First Class and New Mutants ones, as I do love Illyana and Kitty (with Lockheed too)

I enjoyed those covers, but what I found annoying was NONE of them featured the two characters that made a 70th Anniversary possible, Namor and the Torch. Granted, he isn’t the same character, but would it have been so bad to put Johnny on the FF cover? And Namor could have gone on the Uncanny X-Men cover.

Rheged: Either one of those originals could have gone on The Marvels Project cover too (instead of no one).

Ms. Marvel(ous mounds).

@buttler — The Marvels Project did have other variants with Namor and Torch. I’m not sure why they went with the 70th Anniversary Frame as a blank, though. I dunno, I’m sure it’s my bias showing, but I think it would have been a nice touch to show that the characters that started it 70 years ago, were still active now.

I really like that Guardians of the Galaxy cover.

The only two I own are the Amazing Spiderman (Red and Blue) and X-Men Legacy. Both bought right off the rack at normal price.

I love those borders, just like I loved the originals from ’86 that they are paying tribute to. However, this post did remind me that I was buying a lot more Marvel books three years ago than I am now (even before all this NOW!-nsense started).

You’re missing the Runaways one (I only noticed that as it is one of the two of these covers I own).

There are variants within the variants: some of the borders are different than the others. Can you spot the difference? Hint: look for Spidey in the bottom row

Thanks, Graham, I also missed the Black Panther one. GCD didn’t have the Runaways one for some reason.

I’ve got the X-Factor one but that’s because it’s my fave book so I make a point to get all the variants for it (and it alone).

Man, the people sure loved Wolverine back in 2009!

Thank goodness we learned better!


The relaunches/reboots make it a bit muddy but I think of those 36 books about 20 (20!!) are not around anymore.

The best cover is the Hulk, and he only has 4 toes- Rob Liefeld bad, like that Cable cover by Liefeld bad.
I like how the Dark X-Men cameod on Thunderbolts, Dark Avengers, Dark Wolverine, and Ms.Marvel.

Is that classic Dave Cockrum artwork for Wolverine Origins, or did they just get someone to do a really, really good impression of him?

Maybe I am giving Marvel too much credit but I assumed at the time they were being clever with the blank Marvels Project cover: since the point of that story was the origins of the Marvel superheroes, no one was yet a Marvel so, for the characters in that story, the future was unwritten, the canvas was blank, etc. and this miniseries would draw in the details.

Is that classic Dave Cockrum artwork for Wolverine Origins, or did they just get someone to do a really, really good impression of him?

It’s Herb Trimpe. I dunno if it is new art or not. My guess is that it is classic art, but Trimpe still DOES draw, so I dunno.

Oh, just freakin admit it, the covers are nice.

The only sad part about the ’86 covers was they did not convey the level of drama within the books. The X-Men had just face The Marauders.

Didn’t the X-Men cover show a badly wounded Wolverine on it? That doesn’t convey a high level of drama?

The variants that have a blk suit spidey at the bottom are cuz those covers are affiliated withq dark avengers titles or Osborn related…

Why are these so much more boring than the ones that inspired them originally, ? :(

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