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Marvel Comics reveals 20 amazing cosplay-based covers

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Marvel Comics has revealed its upcoming October variant covers, each one featuring a different amazing cosplayer's tribute to one of their flagship characters.

"Each convention I go to, it seems like there are more and more fans dressing up like their favorite Marvel characters," says David Gabriel, Marvel senior vice president of Sales & Marketing. "These homemade, hand-crafted costumes are so elaborate, it looks like they leapt off the comic page. The Cosplay Variant initiative is our way of supporting a community that supports us."

The Cosplay Variant Initiative will run with at least twenty of Marvel's books in October. Variant covers adorn the outside of issues for a variety of reasons: Because they can become collector's items, some issues with variant art are awarded to retailers after a certain number of books purchased as an incentive, so that those retailers can then mark those rare issues up for sale. Some are a reward to readers for pre-ordering the comic instead of picking it up on its day of release, and some are simply printed for fun and to let readers pick and choose.

These days, it seems that every few months cosplayers are blamed for the ills of the comics industry, or at least for clogging up isles at conventions and supposedly "distracting" attendees from buying the wares of vendors. It's good to see the hobby, which inarguably delights and amazes fans worldwide regardless of whether they themselves cosplay, getting some serious recognition from one of the companies that inspires it.

And it's also great, in a time when Marvel is being criticized for a lack of minority representation on and off the page, to see a group of variant covers celebrating the hard work of women, people of color and queer folks.

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