Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cover Versions: Death

The cover of Contest of Champions #3 (August 1982) may have felt oddly familiar to fans of the Defenders. The image of heroes circling the skull of Death was strikingly similar to the cover of Defenders #107 (May 1982).

Yet the purple-cloaked, skeleton figure of Death who introduced herself in Contest of Champions had not appeared in Defenders #107. Rather, the skull and dark background on that Defenders cover merely set the tone for the haunting story that issue, which mourned the apparent deaths of Nighthawk and Valkyrie. (Both characters, incidentally, were alive during Contest of Champions and among the numerous heroes to appear in the three-part series.)

Covers of the first two issues of the Contest of Champions appear below.


pblfsda said...

Did the Death persona ever speak in the Contest Of Champions series? I seem to remember her being created by Jim Starlin in the old Captain Marvel series as the object of Thanos' obsession. When you used the phrase "introduced herself", I wasn't sure what sense you meant. When Starlin used her, she never spoke. The readers were never quite sure if this was because she couldn't or because she didn't want to encourage Thanos in his efforts to win her over. When the Contest Of Champions was going on, Thanos was presumed dead (turned to stone in the Warlock finale in 1977-- Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2). In fact, he and Death greet Captain Marvel in the afterlife in the Death Of Captain Marvel graphic novel just about the time the CoC series came out. Much like the CoC series, that first Marvel Graphic Novel had some Defenders in the crowd, too.

It's cool to see you catching these out-of-title guest appearances. They're just the sort of thing that elude the plethora of derivative databases out there. As is your knack for nailing the implications of the stories. Cool posts.

james said...

Yes, Death spoke during the Contest of Champions. She kept her face covered throughout most of the series, though, so only in the last issue did she state her true identity.

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