Image Comics’ Bored Apes NFT Cover for The Secret History of the War On Weed Draws Backlash


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A limited variant cover of Image Comics‘ The Secret History of the War On Weed has drawn widespread backlash due to its use of a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT image. On April 20th, Image Comics announced that it was selling a limited cover version of The Secret History of the War On Weed, a one-shot comic by former Deadpool creative team Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan & Scott Koblish about a true historical story from America’s so-called War on Drugs. While variant covers are a common promotional tactic in the comics industry, many comics fans spoke out against the cover, as it featured a procedurally-generated Bored Ape Yacht Club image. The tweet announcing the variant cover sale received over 1,000 replies and 1,000 quote-tweets, almost all of which were critical of the decision to use an NFT-related image to promote a comic. 

Bored Ape Yacht Club is an NFT collection featuring cartoon apes generated by an algorithm, with several NFTs owned by celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton, and Justin Bieber. While NFTs are digital tokens tied to a blockchain (the high energy-consuming Ethereum blockchain in this case), the owners of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs claim intellectual property rights to their specific ape cartoon in addition to several other minor ownership benefits. 

The ownership for this particular Bored Ape image was revealed by comics creator Chris Ross earlier this week, who posted on Twitter that the image’s NFT appeared to be Jeff Boison’s, the Director of Sales and Publishing Planning for Image Comics. ComicBook.com has since confirmed that Boison is the owner of the NFT. Although the exact arrangement between Boison and the creative team of The Secret History of the War On Weed is unclear, both Posehn and Koblish were previously announced as participants of a separate NFT project for Crypto.com and Heavy Metal.

While promoters of NFTs claim they are the next evolution in digital collectibles, they come at a high cost due to their use of blockchain technology. Although the so-called draw of NFTs is that they exist independently of a specific platform and ownership can’t be negated by a platform’s operators (or by a platform shutting down), many blockchains use an energy-extensive “proof of work” method to remain operational. According to Fortune magazine, a single transaction made on the Ethereum blockchain, such as the purchase of the NFT used on The Secret History of the War On Weed‘s variant cover, consumes as much energy as a US household uses in a week. As more transactions are made on the Ethereum blockchain due to the creation of new NFTs and the re-sale of existing NFTs, the blockchain’s energy costs will continue to climb.

Given that NFTs are promoted as investments as much as they are collectibles, the use of a privately-owned NFT by an Image Comics employee raises additional concerns. Bored Ape NFTs are already a known brand, but this particular NFT can now be promoted as being the first Bored Ape NFT to appear on a comic cover. At this time, the NFT has not been listed for sale by Boison. 

Image Comics quickly sold the 500 copies of its The Bored Ape Yacht Club variant cover of The Secret History of the War On Weed, which had a price tag of $20 per comic. Per the variant cover’s description, a portion of the $10,000 raised from the sale of the comics will be donated to “organizations dedicated to helping casualties of America’s immoral drug war.” Re-sellers are already charging $130-$150 for copies of the variant cover on the secondary market. 

Image Comics has no comment on the story when reached for questions.





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