The Venn diagram of “collector of limited-edition variant cover Marvel comics” and “college football obsessives” surely has a rather thin overlap. Superheroes may be more mainstream today than they’ve been since the 1940s–but the audience for things like variant covers is still pretty small and specific. That hasn’t stopped Marvel from partnering with ESPN, however, for alternate covers for a number of their January titles.
Issues of The Punisher, Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool, Ant-Man, All-New Captain America, Amazing Spider-Man, Hulk, Avengers, and Legendary Star-Lord in January will ship with lovely, two-tone designs on the front, with the word “IN” upon them in bold letters. Comics website Bleeding Cool initially described the images as “Inversion Variants,” assuming that they were tied into Marvel’s current Axis: Inversion crossover–instead, it’s a crossover of a different sort.
Of course, Marvel and ESPN are both Disney properties, which makes this more of an intra-company crossover of the Secret Wars variety, and less of a truly left-field Amalgam Comics or Archie Meets The Punisher thing–so all that’s really left to wonder is if the combined might of Marvel’s assembled heroes have what it takes to bring down Nick Saban and Alabama.