web stats

CSBG Archive

Knowledge Waits: 20 Rejected X-Men Covers

1 2
Next »

This is the latest in a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me. Here is a collection of all of the installments in the feature so far.

Today we take a look at 25 X-Men covers that were turned down for publication by Marvel. I used Chris Haizlip’s amazing The Unpublished X-Men site for a lot of these.

Here are the covers in chronological order.

Here’s Jack Kirby and Chic Stone’s rejected cover for X-Men #10…

unusedxmen1a

Here is their published cover…

unusedxmen1b

Here is Werner Roth’s rejected cover for X-Men #33…

unusedxmen7a

Here is Gil Kane’s rejected replacement cover for the issue…

unusedxmen7b

Here is Kane’s published cover…

unusedxmen7c

Here is Don Heck’s rejected cover for X-Men #38…

unusedxmen2a

Here is Dan Adkins’ published cover….

unusedxmen2b

Here are two rejected covers by Don Heck for X-Men #48…

unusedxmen3a

Here is John Romita and Frank Giacoia’s published cover…

unusedxmen3b

Here is Barry-Windsor Smith and Mike Esposito’s rejected cover for X-Men #53…

unusedxmen4a

Here is his published cover…

unusedxmen4b

Here is Neal Adams’ rejected cover for X-Men #56…

unushedxmen5a

Here is the slightly different published cover…

unushedxmen5b

Here is John Byrne’s unpublished cover for Uncanny X-Men #142…

unusedxmen6a

Here is Terry Austin’s classic published cover…

unusedxmen6b

Here is Paul Smith’s rejected cover for Uncanny X-Men #169…

unusedxmen8a

Here is the published cover…

unusedxmen8b

This probably doesn’t count, exactly, but it is close enough. Here is a rejected early cover sketch for Uncanny X-Men #173 by Paul Smith…

unusedxmen9a

Here is his classic published cover…

unusedxmen9b

Here is Barry Windsor-Smith’s original cover for Uncanny X-Men #205…

unusedxmen10a

Here is his published cover…

unusedxmen10b

Go to the next page for the next group of ten rejected covers…

1 2
Next »

42 Comments

There’s some lovely stuff in there, a fair few better than what we ended up with!

For X-Men #10, I think the published cover is clearly the better one, but for most of the others, I actually like the unpublished covers better.

I can see why the Neal Adams cover for issue #56 was rejected, given editorial policy at the time: it makes the logo almost unreadable!

Paul Smith rejected for Greg Land? Criminal.

That JRjr rejected cover you can’t place is probably for issue #306, which introduced the Phalanx version of Cameron Hodge. JRjr din the interiors, and that looks like that version of Hodge on the cover.

That unused Rogue cover is in a strikingly similar pose to that infamous Spider-Woman variant. Coincidence? …Yeah, probably.

That unused Rogue X-Treme X-Men cover’s nearly as bad as the Milo Manara Spiderwoman cover, innit?

Turk –

“Paul Smith rejected for Greg Land? Criminal”

Gotta say, the Greg Land cover isn’t as bad as I expected. Yeah, I’m sure he traced that bike, but it’s a pretty interesting cover, nonetheless.

Fury –

“That unused Rogue X-Treme X-Men cover’s nearly as bad as the Milo Manara Spiderwoman cover, innit?”

It seems like Rogue moonlighted as a mutant porn star and the cover was taken from one of her movies. I wonder how they got around the whole “can’t touch her skin” problem…

@Rene: full body condoms are the safest sex there is.

It also seems that X-Men cover artists had trouble drawing hands. Cyclops appears to be sporting an early version of Hulk hands on the cover of #53.

Barry Windsor-Smith/Thousands Of Wires is my OTP.

It also seems that X-Men cover artists had trouble drawing hands. Cyclops appears to be sporting an early version of Hulk hands on the cover of #53.

I’d guess that it’s a consequence of artists who aren’t Jack Kirby being directed to draw in the Kirby style.

That JRjr rejected cover you can’t place is probably for issue #306, which introduced the Phalanx version of Cameron Hodge. JRjr din the interiors, and that looks like that version of Hodge on the cover.

Aha, I think you’re right. The later issue number threw me. It must have been an errant number.

I can believe those Paul Smith covers were rejected! I just… I dunno, maybe I happen to be predisposed to Smith’s art but goddamn the characters on all of them are so good! Especially the one for Uncanny #169 (which always seemed like an anomaly to me since it lacked the pop of Smith’s other covers). I don’t remember #169 very well anymore… was it rejected for a conflict with the story?

I think 48, 53, 142, 173, X-men 63, X-men 7, and the X-treme cover changes were obviously needed. So was the Neal Adams revision, but the original is still a very neat cover. Too bad about the smoking thing, but the cover used is just as good IMO.

I sort of prefer the original 10 cover. Definitely prefer the original for X-men 75, and what happened to 453 is almost tragic.

I do assume that it’s OK to have the BWS cover that says “may not be reproduced” now?

Maybe I would be a terrible editor, but i don’t see what was wrong with most of those rejected covers. Most of them were just as good as the published ones, and a few were even better.

#10: “Ka-zar! Unquestionably the most spectacular new character of the year!”

That issue came out in March1965. Other minor characters who first appeared in Marvel Comics that year were Hercules, Norman Osborn, Mary Jane Watson, both the agencies of S.H.I.E.L.D. & Hydra, the Frightful Four, and the members of the Inhuman Royal Family. But Ersatz Tarzan has them all beat! ;)

I always thought the published cover to #33 was one of the most boring Juggernaut covers ever. The unused Werner Roth cover would have been much better.

Some awesome covers…a lot of work went into some of these covers, and then to get rejected? These guys must have thick skins! Especially when your assignment gets passed to another guy. One that was particularly interesting was the cover for X-men #33, by Gil Kane. He seems to have kept the figures in place and just changed the characters, more or less. Now, having been switched with Marvel Girl, could this be the source of Ice-Man’s recent gayness? There has to be some explanation.

LouReedRichards

August 30, 2015 at 12:53 pm

I think The published cover for #169 is far and away the best one of the bunch.

@Nick Marino – it’s all a matter of taste of course, but I feel that cover pops far more than any other one on this list. I haven’t read the story, but that cover makes me very curious.

All of the other covers just look like a bunch of people standing around or fighting, not bad stuff, just seen it a million times. That cover has a very real sense of urgency and drama.

The only one that really bothers me is the unused #205 – what a jumbled, overly detailed mess – but that pretty much sums up how I (generally) feel about BWS’s stuff anyway.

X-men 142 was the right call, that’s a classic image now. For X-men 169 I prefer the one Smith originally submitted by far. I wonder why it was rejected?

beatingadeadhorse

August 30, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Someone get that Rogue cover to Rich Johnson right away. I don’t think he’s done enough with the Spider-Woman/ Milo Manara controversy over at Bleeding Cool.

I always thought the published cover to #33 was one of the most boring Juggernaut covers ever. The unused Werner Roth cover would have been much better.

In his introduction to the relevatn volume of Marvel Masterworks, Roy Thomas notes that it wasn’t Marvel who rejected the cover. Instead, the Comics Code declared it “too much like horror” or somesuch, and the published version was a quick redrawn/paste-up job.

Now you just need to combine this with another column and have the Top Rejected Homage Covers. ;-)

cool covers including the one for days of futures past . plus that rogue one looks a little bit like that spider woman one that caused an uproar due to how spiderman and now rogues butts are displayed.

@David I originally decided to defer to the artist’s wishes and not use the BWS cover on my site, but after it turned up on tumblr, I figured the genie was out of the bottle. It’s certainly a grey area, but that’s the internet for ya!

Kane used the same hand for that cover on #33.

This was a great collection of unseen art, Brian!

Salvador Larroca was actually better then than now.

Does anyone know the story behind the unused cover for #205? I’ve always thought the published cover for the issue was a bit strange, given that it bears little relation to the interior (which was odd for the mis-’80s). I’m curious why the original was rejected.

I stumbled across what I think was a rejected cover to one of the Psi Wars issues. Art by German Garcia, features Phoenix holding the body of Psylocke.

That Van Sciver #119 cover. That’s a solid piece, really gives you who Wolverine is. I kinda liked the Jim Lee sketch over the cover they went with too, the Wolverine/Omega Red. That one always struck me as rather bland.

Conversely the Byrne covers, there’s just no topping the published cover.

Never been a big fan of Gil Kane´s art. It looks like a generic Golden Age art.

The JRJR cover was very clearly for UXM #306. I don’t know why there would even be any confusion.

Funny, Pre-Byrne, with a couple of exceptions, I like the rejected ones all better. Then Post-I like the actual covers. Till we hit around X-Men #63, then I start preferring the rejected ones again. Well, except for Spider-Rogue.

Maybe the Jim Lee sketch for X-Men #7 was rejected since it’s a ripoff of Hulk #340 by McFarlane?

Lee’s cover for Uncanny #264 is certainly an improvement over Collins, I have to say.

And while Byrne’s cover for #142 is fine, Austin’s is rightfully legendary.

I wonder why Paul Smith’s original for 169 was rejected? I like the new one better, but that’s a nice cover to begin with.

The published Paul Smith 169 cover is really dynamic with that extreme pov scale change between the rat and Angel. But it’s the first time I recall as a kid noticing that the colorist could really wreck a cover.

Anyone else think of the Spider-Woman kerfuffle from a year or two ago with that Xtreme X-Men Rogue cover?

For the most part, I prefer the published covers, but I do dig the unpublished X-Men #56.

@David P. – Out out of curiosity, how do you feel the colorist wrecked the cover?
I really like both the design and the execution. I think the colors really do a good job of helping your eye move across the image, but I’d like to hear another opinion.

That colour job on the unused X-Men 56 may be a little misleading. Pretty sure I read once that Adams’ plan was for the X-Men to be coloured monochromatically – in the colours of the logo. So the title would still be obvious.

Now I want that issue where the X-Men fought Blastaar.

I prefer Jack Kirby’s first, unused cover for X-Men #10 to the published one. Nearly 50 years later it did finally see print when Roy Thomas used it for the cover to Alter Ego #120…

http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_55&products_id=1078

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives