Urban Legends, the urban catalog platform of Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), and Marvel Comics are collaborating to bring together the mighty, epic worlds of comics and hip-hop with an ongoing exclusive album series that will feature variant covers for select collector’s editions of some of the record label’s most legendary hip-hop releases. The first releases in this joint series, out December 7, are Iron Man standing behind cracked glass for 50 Cent’s incendiary 2003 debut, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’; the Punisher replicating LL Cool J’s famous stance on the cover of his 1990 album Mama Said Knock You Out; and Iron Man dueling Maestro, mirroring the cover of GZA’s second studio album, Liquid Swords.
Marvel Comics originally debuted these album art-inspired images as comic book variants for many of their top comic titles in 2015, reinterpreted by a number of fan-favorite comic book artists. Now Marvel’s highly successful variant comic book cover series will be combined with UMe’s vast catalog that includes the most revered and influential albums in hip-hop history.
In making this announcement, Bruce Resnikoff, President/CEO, UMe, said, “Marvel comics have always occupied a special place in the hearts of hip-hop fans – both media continue to serve as source of expression, escapism and inspiration for generations of super fans around the world.”
Andre Torres, Vice-President, Urban Catalog and Head of Urban Legends, adds: “There is an undeniable heroism that consistently runs through the veins of both art forms and I’m excited to help weave these iconic narratives together in a way that celebrates their art and introduces new fans to their genius.”
Daniel Fink, Executive Director, Business Development at Marvel, said, “Marvel’s hip-hop variant covers celebrated the music industry in a whole new way, combining the creativity of original album art and the Marvel Universe to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. We’re excited to collaborate with UMe to bring these variants back for fans of these iconic albums.”
Each album release will boast a pair of collectible options, the first one being a double color vinyl Variant Cover Collector’s Edition that replaces the album’s original image with Marvel’s variant hip-hop cover art.
Second, a Deluxe Variant Cover Collector’s Edition will sport the featured album itself housed in a gatefold LP with the variant cover printed directly on the front. The deluxe collector’s edition will include double color vinyl, along with a copy of the limited-edition corresponding Marvel comic book that ties in with the artwork. The deluxe version will also include a 3D lenticular print of Marvel’s variant cover artwork. Each initial Collector’s Edition will be capped at 3,000 units.
UMe plans to release hip-hop variant albums each quarter, distributing them to traditional record stores and retail channels, as well as directly to consumers. The initial limited-edition runs will be capped at 5,000 units each.