Call It A Comeback: '90s Cover Gimmicks Ripe for a Return

Bust out your British Knights and your Sony Walkman, because everything '90s will be awesome again starting with this summer's "Armor Hunters" event from Valiant. The company, enjoying a resurgence in prominence and popularity following their initial rise two decades ago, will fire up the chromium coating machines to produce a series of covers for the 18-chapter event. This recent announcement seems tailor-made to tug at the nostalgia strings of fans that have been around the block a time or two, and for newer fans who may be unfamiliar with the once ubiquitous metallic covers -- well, get ready for a whole new world of shiny excitement!

EXCLUSIVE: Valiant Brings Back Chromium Covers for "Armor Hunters"

Now, we have to wonder: Will the return of the chromium cover open the floodgates? Are there more cover gimmicks coming our way? And if so, which ones are ready to make their return? CBR runs down some of the cover gimmicks of yesteryear that could find their way on the shelves before the end of 2014.


While their charm can't be caught by a scanner -- unless you think the big chunk of gray on "Amazing Spider-Man #400" is irresistible -- embossed covers appeal a comic book reader's sense of touch as well as sight. These covers allow for a 3D experience, which is something that the fast-growing digital marketplace can't offer, and tend to be the classier option for the gimmick-minded publisher. Have an anniversary or wedding issue coming up? Then go with embossing.


Hologram covers offer a flat alternative to embossing for fans still seeking the thrill of experiencing their heroes in triple dimensions. They're also edgier, perfectly suited for depicting heroes whose super powers involve guns firing lasers. While they were obviously the result of cutting-edge technology 20 years ago, the format was still riddled with limitations. Holograms tended to take the form of trading-card-sized additions glued onto covers, though a few publishers made the attempt at full-sized hologram covers. Modern technology would allow for at least two more colors on those covers, I bet!!!


For publishers that wanted to display artwork void of cluttery logos and corner boxes, acetate overlays offered a solution. In the case of mid-90s "Marvels" series, which featured gorgeous painted artwork by Alex Ross, the logo and border were all placed on a clear sheet that could be lifted up to reveal the full, breathtaking image, unemcumbered by any branding. The reverse was done for 1995's "X-Men: Prime," which featured the heroes on the overlay, revealing an orangey-yellow swirly background when lifted up.

Glow In The Dark

While other cover treatments might limit the artwork, the glow in the dark gimmick can provide additional enjoyment to fully-realized art pieces. The technique can even mimic the powers of the heroes it enhances, like the Green Lantern's power ring or Ghost Rider's hellfire. Well, it does help if that hero's power is a very specific shade of green.

Rub the Blood!
This gimmick, involving a blood splatter pattern printed in heat-sensitive ink, has only ever been done once. Truthfully, we aren't sure if any other cover gimmick can truly top "Bloodstrike" #1's confidently over the top invitation to "Rub the Blood!"

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