Covert Nerd Podcast

Nerd culture podcast that aims to bring out the inner nerd in all of us! Celebrate your inner nerd by uncovering books, video games and comic book gems from the past and present and analyzing them from a nerd perspective.


episode 91: Darker and Edgier: Gimmick 90s’ comic covers

Al, Ben and Lee talk about their favorite gimmick comic book covers from the 90's. Listen and let us know which one is your favorite.


The Dark Age of Comic Books was the culmination of a gradual move towards an older audience for Comic Books, particularly those featuring superheroes that had started in The Bronze Age of Comic Books. Sometimes, to follow the Gold/Silver/Bronze progression, at other times it is jokingly called "the Chrome Age", owing to the frequency of publishers selling comics with holofoil covers as a marketing gimmick during the period, but "Dark Age" is the much more common and accepted term. Usually characterized as a Darker and Edgier period featuring an increased focus on sex, violence and dark, gritty portrayals of the characters involved, much of the content produced during this era is very controversial among comic book fans.


It's not the world's most exciting cover, but 1991's Silver Surfer #50 gets the nod for being the first comic in industry history to feature the chromium embossed effect, and for how it utilizes the gimmick in a sensible manner. 

As the 90s chugged along, publishers were seemingly embossing every other comic without much rhyme or reason. But Silver Surfer #50 adds the embossing to the Mr. Radd himself. And that makes sense since the character's name is "Silver Surfer" – so some silver chromium embossing is neither excessive nor inappropriate. Yes, I understand that I'm essentially awarding points here for lack of excess, but considering we're talking about the 90s here, why not applaud Marvel's show of restraint. 

Tom Chirstopher  Cover Art  Tom Christopher Inks  Ron Lim Pencils - Cover Art  James (Jim) Starlin  Scripts  Tom Vincent Colors 

Als first pick: Marvels Silver Surfer #50 1991


One of the biggest selling comic books of all time, more than 8 million copies of X-Men #1 were snatched up in the 90s, primarily because of the gimmick – five variant covers that interlocked to create a beautiful Jim Lee-illustrated landscape of the X-Men fighting Magneto (there was also a special edition gatefold version of the comic which contained the entire image). Sure, needing to buy five copies of the same comic in order to see Lee's entire image was annoying and an inefficient use of funds, but the iconography of this issue and its gimmick cannot be denied. Plus, in terms of its historical significance, this was the comic that cemented Lee as one of the industry's best young artists, which of course led to the "Image Revolution" in 1992 of which Lee was one of the core founding member of the company (alongside Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld and Erik Larsen).

Chris Claremont-Scripts  Jim Lee Pencils - Cover Art  Tom Orzechowski Letters Joe Rosas Colors  Scott Williams Cover Art - Inks

Ben's 1st Pick: Marvels X-Men #1 Oct. 1991

Great interior art from Jim Lee. Look at Magnetos glorious mane.

Another amazing interior fold out page

The X-Men gather for Illyana's funeral. Magneto brings Avalon to Earth and offers the X-Folk a chance to join his dream. Colossus says "Yes." 

Script Scott Lobdell 

Pencils John Romita Jr.; Jae Lee; Chris Sprouse; Brandon Peterson; Paul Smith 

Inks Dan Green; Dan Panosian; Terry Austin; Tom Palmer; Keith Williams 

Colors Mike Thomas 

Letters Chris Eliopoulos 

Lee's 1st pick: Marvels Uncanny X-Men #304 September 1993


Writer(s)  Dan Abnett  and Andy Lanning  Penciler(s)  Doug Braithwaite 

Inker(s) Josef Rubinstein  Colorist(s)  Kevin Tinsley 

Letterer(s) Mike Higgins

Als 2nd pick: Marvels Punisher #75 Feb. 1993





Ghost Rider

Writer: Howard Mackie  Penciller: Mark Texeira Cover Artist: Mark Texeira 


Bens 2nd Pick: Marvels Ghost Rider #15 July 1991



Est. Print Run:, 935,000  Cover Date:, Apr '93  Cover Price:, $2.95  Current Value:, $3.00 

Blood Brothers: Prelude. Story by Rob Liefeld and Eric Stephenson . Art by Rob Liefeld, Dan Fraga, and Danny Miki. When the government needs a job done, they call in the best, they call in Bloodstrike. An elite group of metas and efficient killers who accomplish their missions with deadly precision. Created out of Project: Born Again, Bloodstrike consists of Fourplay, giantess with four arms of terror, Deadlock, psychotic ex-member of the nefarious Four, Tag, the lassie with the freezing touch, Shogun, robotic killing machine, and Cabbot, their leader who has a mysterious connection to Battlestone, the leader of Brigade. Story continues in Brigade (2nd Series) #1. 

Dan Fraga Pencils - Cover Art Kurt Hathaway Letters Rob Liefeld Pencils - Cover Art  Danny Miki Inks Brian Murray Colors  Eric Stephenson Scripts - Editor Byron Talman Colors

Lees 2nd pick: Image comics Bloodstrike Apr. 1993

Typical 90's and Image comics artwork

Is that Snake Eyes?

Spiral and Wolverine?

Remastered version



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 2022-02-27  59m