A limited cover variant of Image Comics‘ The Secret History of the War on Weed garnered widespread backlash due to its use of a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT image. On April 20, 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 dead Pool creative team Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan and Scott Koblish on a true historical story of America’s so-called War on Drugs. While variant covers are a common promotional tactic in the comics industry, many comic book fans spoke out against the cover, as it featured a procedurally generated Bored Ape Yacht Club image. The tweet announcing the sale of variant covers 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.
Something brewing in the… weeds? Celebrate 4/20 with #THESECRETHISTORYOFTHEWARONWEED #BAYC #7073 @BoredApeYC @thebrianposehn @GerryDuggan @Koblish #apefollowape https://t.co/KvhL75mu3M pic.twitter.com/VMAPBNIRUJ
— Image Comics (@ImageComics) April 20, 2022
Bored Ape Yacht Club is an NFT collection featuring algorithmically generated cartoon apes, with several NFTs belonging to celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton and Justin Bieber. While the NFTs are digital tokens tied to a blockchain (the energy-intensive Ethereum blockchain in this case), the owners of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs claim intellectual property rights to their specific monkey cartoon by plus several other minor property benefits.
Ownership of this particular image of Bored Ape was revealed by comic book creator Chris Ross earlier this week, who posted on Twitter that the NFT of the image appears to be that of Jeff Boison, 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, Posehn and Koblish were previously announced as participants in a separate NFT project for Crypto.com and Heavy Metal.
So, who owns this NFT? Good question:
OpenSea owns this: https://t.co/V0yRj4hNRq
Pindeldyboz is an interesting word: https://t.co/UifNYmWMhD
Who is this founding publisher? Looks like Jeff Boison, Director of Sales and Publishing Planning for Image Comics https://t.co/W0tHMRoD8d
— chris ross (@chrisross) April 20, 2022
While proponents 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 supposed appeal of NFTs is that they exist independently of a specific platform and ownership cannot be revoked by a platform’s operators (or by the closing of a platform ), many blockchains use an energy-intensive “proof of work” method. to remain operational. According to Fortune magazine, a single transaction performed on the Ethereum blockchain, such as buying the NFT used on The Secret History of War Cannabis, consumes as much energy as an American household uses in a week. As more and more transactions are made on the Ethereum blockchain due to the creation of new NFTs and the resale of existing NFTs, the energy costs of the blockchain will continue to climb.
Since NFTs are presented as investments as much as they are collectibles, the use of a private NFT by an Image Comics employee raises additional concerns. Bored Ape NFTs are already a household name, but this particular NFT can now be promoted as the first Bored Ape NFT to appear on a comic book cover. At this time, the NFT has not been released for sale by Boison.
Image Comics quickly sold out all 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. According to the variant’s cover description, a portion of the $10,000 raised from the sale of the comics will be donated to “organizations dedicated to helping the victims of America’s unethical war on drugs.” Resellers are already charging $130 to $150 for copies of the cover variant in the secondary market.
Image Comics has no comment on the story when contacted with questions.