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I Can’t Cover What I Am – Marvel’s Wolverine Art Appreciation Covers

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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.

Today we look at every one of Marvel’s Wolverine Art Appreciation variant covers from 2009!


NOTE: This thing is image intensive, so I’m splitting it over two pages.

In 2009, in honor of the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Marvel did a series of variant covers for books cover dated June 2009. A group of Marvel cover artists would do variant covers for various Marvel titles featuring Wolverine in homages to famous artists of the past. Here are the covers as well as a sample piece of work by the artist who influenced the cover in question. Except for the covers that are directly homaging a specific piece of work, I am not trying to perfectly match the cover with a particular painting by the artist in question or picking their most famous work. I am just picking a notable work that I felt like featuring.

First up is Gerald Parel’s cover for Agents of Atlas #3…

Parel is homaging the work of Edvard Munch. Here is Munch’s “Vampire”…

Next is Paolo Rivera’s cover for Amazing Spider-Man #590…

Rivera is specifically homaging C.M. Coolidge’s series of paintings under the general heading of “Dogs Playing Poker” (I just chose one example of the series)…

Paolo Rivera also did the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #592, in tribute to Salvador Dali…

Like Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory”…

On the cover of Captain Britan and M.I. 13 #12, Skottie Young homaged the work of Edward Gorey…

Here’s a sample Gorey cartoon…

On Daredevil #118, Juan Doe pays homage to the work of Roy Lichtenstein…

It’s weird to homage Lichtenstein when so many of his works were based on repurposing old works…

Next up is Exiles #1 by Jason Chan…

homaging “Son of Man” by Rene Magritte…

Alina Urusov’s Ghost Rider #34 cover…

was based on Japanase woodworking prints….

Ed McGuinness’ cover to Hulk #11…

is based on ancient cave paintings…

Finally, on this page, David Williams’ cover for Incredible Hercules #128 is based on the work of Jack Kirby…

Here’s the closest Kirby cover I had to work with…

Go to the next page for the rest of the covers!

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cool. i love the sunday funnies one, good work copying not just Schultz, but Watterson and Davies too.

Why didn’t Marvel use that last unused cover by Rivera? That is perfect! I’d love to hear their reason…

Love the Exiles cover.

It seems silly to me to have variant covers featuring Wolverine on titles that have nothing to do with Wolverine (unless he appeared in each of the stories as well, as part of the gimmick).

“It seems silly to me to have variant covers featuring Wolverine on titles that have nothing to do with Wolverine (unless he appeared in each of the stories as well, as part of the gimmick).”

Wait, there are Marvel titles that have nothing to do with Wolverine?

The one attributed to be based on Kirby looks more like a Trimpe homage to me…

In terms of postmodernism, only Morry Hollowell is successful at articulating the emptiness and flatness of the “quotations” to “sources” that really mean nothing. The references are unmoored from the signifying chain and have their limited meaning dispersed across the surface. Regardless of their theoretical or thematic success/failure, I still really liked most of these.


If you look at the link posted, you’ll see that editorial approved it, but it was legal that said no. Unlike the rest of these images, Wolverine Gothic isn’t an homage. It’s a digital paint over. If you look at it, you can see that a whole lot of the source painting is retained. Even though the original, implied copyright on the Grant Wood original has long expired, the work might retain SOME legal protection. The Wolverine paint over is certainly fun to look at, but it’s not an original image. Legally speaking, it’s a derivative work. It’s not original enough to be protected in its entirety.

It’s a shame that sales didn’t support Dr Strange’s title when Dali and Magritte were trading arcs awhile after Ditko left. Too bad.

While some of these were, to be diplomatic, total pieces of shit, that Dali homage was brilliant. First, the complaints: 1. The Warhol was both lazy and done to death already. 2. People have been “homaging” (i.e. ripping off Kirby for decades). 3. The cave painting looked more like Peter Kuper circa 1990’s. 4. As for that American Gothic, I’m surprised the editors didn’t have enough sense to reject lame junk when they saw it. American Gothic parodies are almost as played out as Mona Lisa parodies, and that lazy artist not only just did a paint over, but made no effort to imitate Wood’s style at all. What was the point of it? It was not clever, it was not funny, and it was not well-executed.

Now onto the Dali, which WAS funny (check the claw-sliced surrealism of the tree, use of the maple leaf, the X- Plane (or whatever it’s called). It was clever (the soft glove mirroring the melting clocks) and, most impressively, the technique was spot-on. Dali was a technically brilliant painter, and this artist perfectly captured his very difficult style. Especially note the play of light on the mask, water, egg, and clouds–very Daliesque!

@cool arrow, Matthew, and Travis: LOL!

Since I’ve been trying to be more gracious lately, I’ll note that the pitchfork/ claws thing on the Rivera piece was nice. But that’s as far as I will go!

"O" the Humanatee!

September 15, 2013 at 11:39 pm

@mrclam (and also @Rob): From the description on Paolo Rivera’s site, I’d guess he did the “paint-over” of American Gothic as a relatively quick-and-dirty job meant to show the general proposal to editorial and legal. Why should he have bothered with a fully finished piece if he wasn’t going to get paid for it? It certainly doesn’t reflect his technical abilities: Rivera, whom mrclam calls “that lazy artist,” is the very same painter he praises for “perfectly captur[ing]” Dali’s “very difficult style”!

Are we sure Gerald Parel’s Secret Warriors cover isn’t a homage to Bill Sienkiewicz? ;^)

@O– I thought that was the finished piece, which is why I called it “lazy”. I didn’t bother to go to the blog because I had no interest in that crap idea. He did great on the Dali, but even perfectly executed, the American Gothic would have been a bore. Do a Google image search for “American Gothic parody” and you will see what a tired, been-there-done-that idea it was.

Isn’t the Dali one an homage to a specific painting? Not Persistence of Memory, but something else?

I thought it might be Metamorphosis of Narcissus* because the maple leaf in the egg reminded me of the flower in the egg, but it isn’t that. There’s one with the specific twigs holding things up effect that the artist used on the mask here.

Sorry, I haven’t been able to find it (I just plugged ‘Dali’ into an image search… don’t know how else to look for it).

*I had to look that up, I don’t just know this stuff off the top of my head.

As late as this is, I am with mrclam on American Gothic parodies.

I also think celebrating Lichtenstein is shitty, the guy just ripped off other artists.

NO KIDDING!?! Fiona Staples did that Wolverine cover?!?

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