This week Marvel announced that several of its titles will have STEAM-themed variant covers. Readers are likely familiar with the STEM acronym – science, technology, engineering and math. STEAM adds art to the acronym, and can be favored by some advocates (who are generally objecting to the crowding out of many subjects in American education).
In November Marvel will issue variant covers for five of its titles, each one corresponding to a category in STEAM. As of this posting the images for four of the five titles are available, with the Engineering-themed Iron Man cover not yet available. Each of the four titles available features a younger superheroine or superheroines, likely intended to appeal to the young people Marvel wants to see in STEAM fields. The four other covers are:
Science – Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
Technology – Spider-man
Arts – Champions
Mathematics – The Unbelievable Gwenpool
While I don’t know enough about comics to be certain, Marvel has perhaps more than its fair share of scientists and engineers who support superheroes or are ones themselves. While some might complain that the titles selected are relatively obscure, I think most of the Marvel characters that have featured in the last decade of films were obscure as well.
Regardless, this is not the first time (and probably won’t be the last) that Marvel has tried to promote STEM or STEAM disciplines in connection with its comics. For some of its recent films Marvel has held contests to encourage students (often with an emphasis on girls) to develop projects and/or inventions using STEM skills. I suppose if someone inspired by these covers or film contests manages a scientific or technological breakthrough, they might get drawn into a panel or two. Maybe even their own title?