Saturday, 20 June 2015

Is this the greatest comic cover of all time?

There are several types of comic covers. One of them is a faithful depiction of the action in the story, previewing events. Another is a more abstract depiction of what the comic is. Sometimes, as Dreamwave was infamous for, they would choose to just make the cover a completely unrelated pinup.

Marvel UK was more adventurous.

Transformers 233's cover is the only serious comic cover that I can think of that is dedicated solely to the free gift rather than the contents of the comic. Clearly the editor saw that the issue was printing some late-run Budiansky, some Micromaster story and some Action Force reprint, and decided that the highlight of the issue was the temporary tattoo on the front of it.

Yes, UK 232 attempted to blaze that trail, proudly displaying a large image of Thunderwing fruitlessly searching for Micromasters, bemoaning his lack of a magnifying glass, ironically unaware of the cheap magnifying glass out of a cracker that was sellotaped to the cover, but that at least bore some reference to the story within.

There is nothing about this cover, save perhaps for Iguanus looking on proudly, that relates to the inside of the magazine. And why should it? My god, owning this comic could literally make you become a Pretender! As the chap on the cover had obviously purchased the comic already to get his tattoo, the reader can relate to him as an avatar of the perfect Transformer reader. Look how rugged he is - clearly we are all cut from his mold. And he is best friends with the Decepticon Pretenders, too! Does this mean all readers of the Transformers comic are in league with the Decepticons? (The master-narrative cuts deep - we all know that Dreadwind and Hi-Test were on the editorial staff during this period).

What other comic cover is dedicated to the reader in such a way? None, save from when Time Magazine couldn't decide on Man of the Year and so just stuck a shiny cover on and proclaimed "YOU!" But this is more special, I feel. In this one issue, this one week, we the reader became the story. We became part of something far, far greater.

And that is why I have kept my pretender tattoo, safe until the day comes where I need it. For that, I am grateful.

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