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Brett Warnock On Why Marvel Has Variant Editions Of An Archival Series
posted January 22, 2012

Just wanted to explain to you the "variant" in the Marvel Masterworks line. When they launched the very first volumes in the line (yeesh, over 20 years ago?), they had a variable trade dress. The general trade dress was the same, but each comic book series had a different color on the dustjacket. The F.F. may have been blue, Spidey may have been red, etc.

In time, the line floundered a wee bit, and then when they re-launched with fervor (maybe 10-15 years ago?), they revised the general trade dress, so that on a book shelf, all books in all series looked the same. Black, silver, and red.

The variant is merely a run of dustjackets printed up (the interiors are identical) to match that early first volume of masterworks for those collectors who want consistent trade dress on their bookshelves.

As a full-time art director, part-time designer, and lifelong Virgo, i think having this option for the anal retentive types like myself and many other collectors is nothing less than a gift from the gods.