Though they still haven't tackled The College Dropout or The Marshall Mathers LP, Marvel continues its embodiment of the lucrative overlap of hip-hop heads and dedicated comic book nerds (I say "nerds" with a distinct sense of flattery) with the unveiling of three more variant covers. This time, artist Adi Granov interpolates the classic Nas album Illmatic (see above) — while Jim Cheung tackles The Roots' Illadelph Halflife and Sanford Greene inserts Hawkeye into Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s iconic Mecca and the Soul Brother:
Two weeks ago, Marvel unloaded its first batch of variants — featuring a pre-bankruptcy 50 Cent logically merging worlds with Iron Man and a brilliant Ol' Dirty Bastard / Howard the Duck convergence. The full line is expected to drop in October, though another teaser or two shouldn't be unexpected. The College Dropout, please!
Marvel's line of hip-hop variant covers comes at a time of increased scrutiny surrounding the comic book industry at large, centered on its supposed aversion to accurately representing the racial diversity of its readers. Recently, greater steps have been taken — not exclusively through these variant covers — to bridge that gap and renew interest in younger, more skeptical generations of potential comic book fans.