Corner boxes, which started in the ’60s, have been used less in recent years, but X-Men designer Tom Muller is bringing them back in Destiny of X.
Tom Muller, the immensely talented designer behind much of Marvel Comics’ branding of their X-Men franchise over the past two years, recently revealed on Twitter that upcoming titles in the new “Destiny of X” era will include a throwback to classic comic covers, the beloved “corner boxes” but with a decidedly modern lens. While corner boxes in comics covers were first introduced by DC in the 1930s Action Comicsthey became particularly prevalent in the 1960s when Marvel began using them as an opportunity to include “floating head” drawings of the main heroes featured in the issue.
The history of comics corner boxes starts with how comics used to be displayed, with comics for decades being shown in magazine racks which only showed the top of the comics, so publishers would include the boxes to clue buyers into what they were going to pick up , without needing to remove the issue from the stand. The practice of corner boxes has greatly decreased over the past three decades as comics are now usually shown on wall displays, which allow readers to see the entire cover, removing the necessity of the boxes, which are now mainly used for nostalgia purposes. And nostalgic they are, as many comics fans who either grew up reading comics before 2000 or read their parents old back issues consistently talk about how much they miss the corner boxes, which often included small jokes or teasers.
Artist and graphic designer Tom Muller – who worked closely with Jonathan Hickman to develop the branding, logos, font, and graphic style of Hickman’s House of X / Powers of X 2019 X-Men relaunch – recently tweeted out preview images of two out of five variant covers for the upcoming “Destiny of X” title launches. The covers that were revealed, for Immortal X-Men # 1 written by Kieron Gillen and Marauders # 1 written by Steve Orlando, reveal that Muller’s variant covers will be interconnected and will include corner boxes, reminiscent of classic corner boxes of old days. These, however, will have a definitively Muller-esque design twist. Muller himself is clearly excited about the return of the classic corner designs, writing, “Wait, are those … corner boxes ?! X-boxes?”
Tom Mullers designs for the “Dawn of X” era won him a “Brand Impact Award” in early 2020 for the contributions he made to X-Men’s relaunched logo, font, cover, and interior design, showing that his creative designs have impressed not just fans, but many members of the industry as well. One of the most innovative design decisions Muller made was to format Hickman’s “Data Pages,” or written informational pages inside of X-Books, to include small hints and teases in code-like formatting on the tops and bottoms of the pages, something that he has continued to do in these latest variant covers, including in the newly introduced X-Boxes. The corner boxes Muller includes in his cover for Immortal X-Men spirit Marauders include the Marvel logo, his X-Men logo, the “Destiny of X” data page branding, the number of the issue, and the 3 main creatives behind the book.
While Marvel has not indicated that Muller’s addition of these corner boxes to his variant covers is indicative of any long term plans for a line-wide inclusion of the nostalgic boxes, fans can at least rest assured that all 5 of his “Destiny of X” variants will include them. Tom Muller continues to prove that his eye for brand design, innovative formatting, and consistent line-wide design continuity have been central to the success of the relaunched X-Men franchise, and hopefully his designs will continue to be used for many X- But eras to come. Make sure to check out all of Tom Muller’s Marvel Comics cover variants for the newest X-Men titles launching in the “Destiny of X” era, which include the nostalgic corner cover boxes, which will debut on March 30th 2022.
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