Marvel Comics has revealed a new set of variant covers designed to promote interest in math and the sciences among young readers. The STEAM variant covers will each be dedicated to one the core tenants represented by the acronym: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
“With our new STEAM variants, we plan to continue to motivate our fans to explore their passions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math, and present these disciplines through some of our favorite young heroes who are doing just that – following their dreams and preparing for the challenges that await them ahead,” says Marvel senior vice president of sales & marketing David Gabriel in a statement to Popular Science.
The five STEAM variant covers will appear on copies of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #13 (Science, by Joyce Chin), Spider-Man #10 (Technology, by Pasqual Ferry), Invincible Iron Man #2 (Engineering), Champions #2 (Arts, by Pascal Campion), and The Unbelievable Gwenpool #8 (Mathematics, by Will Sliney). The Invincible Iron Man #2 engineering-themed cover has yet to be released, but the other four Marvel STEAM variant covers can be seen in the gallery below.
Superhero comics in general, and Marvel Comics, in particular, has a long history of scientists who become superheroes, including Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk, Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man, Reed Richards becoming Mr. Fantastic, Tony Stark becoming Iron Man, and Hank McCoy becoming the Beast. This makes the genre and the publisher fertile ground for planting seeds of interest in science and math among young readers. Of course, there’s plenty of science-based villains as well, but Marvel can keep them out of the variant covers.