I’m not sure who I’m more upset with, Mark Wheatley for changing his Princess of Mars artwork so Dejah Thoris is scantily clad instead of naked, or IDW for asking that he make the modifications in the first place. Or maybe I should be upset with a culture that would make such a request expectable.
I’ve never been a big fan of artists altering to their work for the sake of sales. Sure, I understand the reasoning behind it, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I voiced my concerns over Frank Cho’s modifications to Marvel’s Shanna, the She-Devil mini series, but this is even more near and dear to my heart. It’s Edgar Rice Burroughs we’re talking about here. His Barsoom series got me reading as a boy and made me want to write. This is sacred ground for me.
On top of that, I plan to plunk down good money for these 1-in-30 variant covers. But once I get my hands on these pretties, will I appreciate them for what they are, or will I only see the dastardly addition of Dejah’s bikini top? It's hard to find fault at all—especially with the painting in the background being the original Princess of Mars book cover...nice touch Mark—but damn it, try as I might, I can't get my eyes to stop focusing on that new bikini.
Don’t get me wrong, my grumbling has nothing to do with my desire to see breasts (well, maybe just a smidge, but not because of the breasts themselves but because everyone knows Martian women don’t wear clothes). What I’m complaining about is seeing and appreciating the original artwork but knowing that the art I finally get to bring home will be inferior. Let’s face it, no matter how minor the addition, these new covers just aren’t as good as the originals.
If these images were the regular edition of the covers, I doubt I’d raise any concerns at all. But that’s not the case. These variants will cost $30 or more, and I’m already questioning my need to own them.
The books in question, issues 4 and 5 of the mini, are still months away from being announced, let alone going on sale. That’s a long time to be debating this issue, but if my track record is any indication, debate this issue I will. It’ll be an interesting match up of wits and will power. Who will win, the collector or the art lover? Only time will tell, but to be honest, I think we’ve both already lost...