X-Men #1 Launch
After the unprecedented succes of Todd McFarlane's SPIDER-MAN #1 launch, Marvel decided to up the ante by relaunching their X-MEN franchise with a new #1 issue by the superstar creative team of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. It was the first X-MEN #1 since the titles creation in the early 1960's and expectations were high. And of course, this title would be released shortly after Marvel went public. No pressure.
My job was to not only draw attention to this high profile release, but also to maximize the potential exposure of the property. Not the easiest thing to do in a monthly periodical business where titles stayed on the racks for 7-14 days. Our solution? Extend the product lifecycle to capitalize on press and fan interest by creating a series of interlocking covers. Each week of the launch month we released the same issue with a different cover, culminating in the release of an uppriced deluxe edition for the hobby market, which featured a gatefold cover with all four pieces of artwork combined together. A solution like this had never been tried before and it was a big risk (albeit a calculated one) to do this with such a high profile launch.
Luckily, the readers loved it, actively seeking out all five versions of the book and making X-MEN #1 the most successful comic book launch in 50 years. While comic book historians argue about whether it was the best selling comic book of all time there's no question that the book was an off the charts best seller. Sales of the various printings added up to over 8 million units and both the franchise and the creators achieved new heights of popularity, that continue to this day.