The New 52’s first truly major, all-encompassing event (Trinity War and Death of the Family both encompassed families of titles, rather than the entire DCU) Forever Evil, has been promoted with some rather striking motion covers. Alongside the 7-issue miniseries and a trio of 5-part side-series, the event will see every regular September title hijacked by the protagonist or team’s villainous counterpart, a concept which extends to each issue’s logo and cover.
Which sounds great, until Jim Lee starts throwing the term “3D motion covers” about like the 90s never happened:
We’re also commemorating this event by doing something really unheard of, I think, as far as a major publisher – we’re actually adding a special cover on every single villain’s book. It’s called a 3D motion cover and it’s essentially artwork that’s been separated onto different layers, so when you hold the cover, which is a premium stock cover, and you slightly rotate the comic book left or right or up and down, the images move a bit.
And yes, the GIFs that have cropped up across the internet look pretty impressive (you’ll need to click on the examples below to view the effect), even if some of the artwork doesn’t hold up to mainstream cover standards once you strip it of the motion feature.
But what worries me is that DC are merrily returning their franchises to the sort of gimmick-driven nonsense that defined the fondly remembered Dark Age of comic books. It’s as though a committee of cold-blooded salesmen sat there one afternoon and said “we’ve just seen this really cool 3D paper doohicky, how can we use it to up cover prices and increase sales for one month?” rather than implementing the motion imagery into an event that would have been just as interesting without.
So far, Forever Evil appears to “villain month with fancy covers”, and that, coming from a publisher who only a few years back was actually making an effort to outperform its competitors with the likes of the ambitious 52, the Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night isn’t just disappointing but pretty fucking depressing.
Moderately more encouraging, however, is the initial Forever Image promotional image, which shows Catwoman alive, well, and sided with the bad guys. This suggests that her apparent demise, courtesy of a bullet to the head, was more a bold cliff-hanger than the abrupt death of a major character that the media primarily reported it to be.