In a cool bit of crossover marketing that puts Iron Man in Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s spotlight, along with other mashups that pair music icons with comic book characters, Marvel and Universal Music are teaming up to reimagine classic hip-hop album covers with a neat superheroic twist.
The new, ongoing album reissue series will feature variant covers for curated collector’s editions of landmark hip-hop albums from Urban Legends, Universal Music’s hip-hop imprint. Marked exclusively for vinyl, the first batch already mixes the two worlds in intriguing ways.
Iron Man’s Arc Reactor becomes the focal point for the holeshot shattered glass of 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (although in Tony Stark’s case, the wealth comes first and the life-risking comes second), The Punisher strikes a familiar pose on LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out, and Maestro and Iron Man square off to recreate GZA’s cover for Liquid Swords — and these three are only the first releases of many to come.
Each release will offer one of two collectible options: a double color vinyl “Variant Cover Collector’s Edition” featuring Marvel’s cover art, or a “Deluxe Variant Cover Collector’s Edition," which, according to Universal Music, “will come with the featured album itself housed in a gatefold LP with the variant cover printed directly on the front.” The deluxe version also will pack in the limited-edition comic book that originally featured the album’s variant cover, as well as a ”3D lenticular print” of the cover art.
New installments in the variant album series are set to debut each quarter, available both at brick-and-mortar stores and online. The deluxe editions will be capped at 3,000 units each, while the broader-release collector’s editions will be capped at 5,000 units.
Pre-orders can be made online for each of the first three releases, which are scheduled to arrive on Dec. 7.