The Issue Box

I was always a big fan of the little box at the top left of Marvel Comics that had the issue title and on team books little heads of the roster or some other little drawing. DC in the 80s did a similar thing with non-Direct Market books where they had a slogan (like "Who Watches the Watchmen?" or "DCUniverse is Must Reading") in the ISBN box. In recent years, both of those things have faded away into the realm of nostalgia.

While reading this weeks New Joe Fridays Q&A over at Newsarama I came across this:

Q: “ThomHunt”- Any chance we'll ever see the return of the cover corner boxes on Marvel Comics covers?

You remember, the ones that generally depicted a team book's roster or a solo star in some action pose? They are such a rich part of Marvel's history and a truly unique identifier of the "Marvel brand"; I always thought it such a shame when they went away a few years back. What was the reason for their demise? Maybe put it to a fan vote as to whether they should return?

JQ: Of course I remember them, ThomHunt, I dug them too and during my six years we’ve tried to bring them back in several ways. Many years ago, we used a neat little circle window that had the character in the box. Eventually, artistic aesthetics changed and we stopped using them. Most recently we’re using a version of the character box on our X-Men titles.

So, I guess the short answer is that I dig them and I’m sure they’ll keep coming back from time to time but I think the reason you don’t see people artistically going bananas over them is because it’s something that resonates mostly with people in our age group who grew up with it. There is an argument that covers are busy enough and now that comic shops don’t rack their books like the newsstands, it’s not that important. That was the only reason those icons were up there in the first place, so that as the book was racked, you could see the logo but also get an action shot of the hero hopefully enticing you to pull the book out and see what the art on the cover was. Any attempts at doing that now are just warm and cuddly retro moments for we older fans.

Never knew that little marketing reasoning behind the roster box. Even an old dog like me can learn a thing or two every now and again!

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