Urban Legends and Marvel Comics are collaborating to bring together the mighty, epic worlds of comics and hip-hop with an ongoing exclusive album series that will feature variant covers for select collector's editions of some of the record label's most legendary hip-hop releases. The first releases in this joint series, out December 2018, are Iron Manstanding behind cracked glass for 50 Cent's incendiary 2003 debut, Get Rich Or Die Tryin'; the Punisher replicating LL Cool J's famous stance on the cover of his 1990 album Mama Said Knock You Out; and Iron Man dueling Maestro, mirroring the cover of GZA's second studio album, Liquid Swords. Marvel Comics originally debuted these album art-inspired images as comic book variants for many of their top comic titles in 2015, reinterpreted by a number of fan-favorite comic book artists.
Each album release will boast a pair of collectible options, the first one being a double color vinyl Variant Cover Collector's Edition that replaces the album's original image with Marvel's variant hip-hop cover art. Second, a Deluxe Variant Cover Collector's Edition will sport the featured album itself housed in a gatefold LP with the variant cover printed directly on the front. The deluxe collector's edition will include double color vinyl, along with a copy of the limited-edition corresponding Marvel comic book that ties in with the artwork. The deluxe version will also include a 3D lenticular print of Marvel's variant cover artwork. Each initial Collector's Edition will be capped at 3,000 units.
Released in 1995 by Geffen, GZA's second solo studio album, Liquid Swords, peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The platinum-certified album is critically acclaimed, recognized as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time and as a particularly strong solo release by a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. The exclusive hip-hop variant cover inspired by this album was originally drawn by Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz and colored by Chris Sotomayor for Contest of Champions #1 in 2015.