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When We First Met - When Did the First Gimmick Covers Come Out?

In this feature we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check 'em out!

Reader The Third Man wanted to know when all the various major "gimmick" covers first debuted...

VARIANT COVER

The whole "variant cover" craze was big with mass market paperbacks in the early to mid 80s, so it was only a matter of time before comic books picked up on it, as well, and I believe 1986's The Man of Steel #1 was the first one to do so, and they definitely picked up on the idea to market it AS a collectible.

FOIL EMBOSSED COVER

If we're just talking ANY foil embossed cover, then Rio probably has the win, coming in 1987...

There were a few other books with foil LOGOS, but I think we really mean 1991's Silver Surfer #50 when we mean foil embossed covers, as it had an actual FIGURE on the cover be foil and embossed...

GLOW-IN-THE-DARK COVER

The Sandman Special #1 just barely edged out the famous Ghost Rider #15 cover in 1991...

FIRST POLYBAGGED COMIC

Thanks to commenter Mr. Phil Jackson, Howard Chaykin's Black Kiss did it in 1988.

This was another thing where comics followed in the footsteps of other media, as magazines had begun to be polybagged around this time, especially adults only magazines, which Black Kiss very much was.

FIRST POLYBAGGED WITH A CARD

Here's one where it's just what you expected, Marvel's X-Force #1...

FIRST DIE CUT COVER

That would be 1991's Fantastic Four #358...

Just edging out Wolverine #50.

FIRST HOLOGRAM COVER

Thanks to commenters Mr. Phil Jackson and Erich for noting that 1986's Boffo Laffs #1 had a hologram cover...

FIRST PRISM COVER

I believe that this is the first time that Image beat Marvel to a gimmick, as Wildcats #2 JUST edged out Incredible Hulk #400 for having a prism cover...

FIRST CHROMIUM COVER

And Valiant beat everyone to the punch with a "Chromium" cover to Bloodshot at the end of 1992...

Those are all the specific gimmick covers that the Third Man asked me for. Feel free to request other ones in the comments section!

And feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com to request more comic book firsts for spotlight in this column!

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