The gloves are coming off as superstar Marvel writer “The Great One” Brian Michael Bendis prepares to depart his longtime post at the House of Ideas to defect to rival DC Comics. In the latest issue of Defenders, released last Wednesday, Bendis, speaking through Deadpool, fired a devastating parting shot at Marvel for their shameless use of decades-old art for variant cover gimmicks.
Harsh, but true. And DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee‘s doodles aren’t the only artifacts ripe for reappropriation as a retailer incentive variants to artificially spike sales of comics to retailers without actually growing comics’ readership. The latest ancient art getting the variant treatment, for instance, is a set of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko drawings gracing the covers of Marvel’s “t-shirt” variants, prompting awe from some of the creators of the books:
My first Marvel comic has a variant by Steve Ditko. I’m still trying to process that….is this real life? https://t.co/yCrQs82f7e
— DONNY CATES (@Doncates) November 18, 2017
It is real life, Donny, but Ditko almost certainly has no idea that Tom Brevoort found that Doctor Strange pic Ditko drew in 1964 in a dusty old trunk while tearfully watching home movies in the attic like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation and decided to slap it on a 2017 variant cover. Not that it isn’t still pretty cool for you — it’s pretty cool — but just sayin’.
And no, we don’t care that we haven’t had Thanksgiving dinner yet! We’re making Christmas movie references now, and we’re not ashamed of it!
But we digress. The point is, since we’ve accepted such loose definitions for these variants, we feel confident in arbitrarily deciding to classifying that Defenders recap page as a sick burn and not a friendly jab! And if Bendis is being this brazen with his attacks on Marvel before he’s even left, we can only imagine the Easter eggs we’re going to uncover in his upcoming DC books!