Being an artist is a lot like being a stripper. No matter how lofty your goals, you have to catch someone's attention before they stuff a dollar in your panties, and the comic book equivalent to a thong is a tantalizing cover. But just as a provocative outfit might obscure a more transcendent beauty, often cool-but-cheap covers make a hero look a tiny bit sad. It's hardly a new issue, with it being traced back as far as the 1950s, when covers became a lot more involved. Keep in mind that the first appearance of Superman was just him lifting a car - and that's it. During the '50s, however, artists started incorporating eyecatching features such as wacky plots, sensationalist slogans, and gimmicks that would later give rise to the embossed covers and scratch-and-sniff (seriously) monstrosities that have followed since. Later, 60s and 70s comic publishers especially Marvel started packing their covers with previews for two and sometimes even three different stories, when before there was no such indication, and not to mention lots of random hero fights. The 80's drifted away from overly busy covers in favour of dynamic images and tie-ins to major storylines of the era, such as DC's Crisis On Infinite Earths and Marvel's Secret Wars. And then the 90s there was boobs - lots and lots of boobs. Oh, and guns; lots of guns. It's safe to say covers have
Honourable MentionChew Goes Scratch & Sniff Usually, the idea of a variant interactive cover that features a scratch and sniff feature would be completely deplorable, but just about the only comic that could pull it off without leaving a bad taste in the mouth (somewhat ironically) is the excellent Chew, which has done more for gastronomic crime than McDonalds. The cover, which was announced to be unveiled at Comic Con 2011, was herladed by the creative team of John Layman and Rob Guillory, with the former simply teasing: "Has there ever been a scratch 'n' sniff comic book cover? Or is the CHEW SDCC '11 variant gonna be the first?"