Marvel’s 25th Anniversary “Headshot Covers”, 1986, Marvel Comics, Covers by various.
The POP Retro Cover Of The Week continues its celebration and examination of iconic comic covers from the 1970s through the 2000s, this week returning to the Eighties, the Bronze Age of Comics, when Marvel Comics celebrated their 25th Anniversary by creating a cover gimmick that ran on all their titles in November 1986.
Some called them the “Frame” covers, others referred to them as “The Faces of Marvel” or the “Headshot” Covers.
Whatever you called them, they were a curious design to be sure. They could have been elegantly simple, close-up portraits of characters. But Marvel decided to create a very gaudy framing device around each portrait, chock-full of tiny figures representing every corner of the Marvel Universe, with a blah gray background behind every comic cover title logo. At least the framing figures were all done by the same artist (kind-of, since it seems Romita, Jr. had to add his version of the X-Men to his father's design), and not a mish-mash montage. That would have been a truly monumental visual disaster.
Most of the portraits were beautifully done, like Arthur Adams’ Storm on Classic X-Men #3, or Barry Windsor-Smith’s incognito Thing on Fantastic Four #296, but some seemed to be given little thought or effort.
Love them or hate them, the Headshot Covers were an eye-catching POP Retro Cover (Gimmick) Of The Week to be remembered.
Next week: A cover from the image-over-substance, cross-hatchy Nineties!