Laden as they were with polybags, chromium, and variants, the '90s were not a good time for comics. Hey, what's that, Marvel press release?

The Ultimate Comics story of the decade hits its climax as Marvel is pleased to unveil the two special polybag designs for Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160 and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160 Bagley Variant. The record-setting creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley pull out all the stops for Death of Spider-Man and with covers so shocking we had no choice but to conceal them. It’s the story that will have everyone talking and the industry buzzing because in the Ultimate Universe, There Are No Rules!

In addition, Marvel has officially announced that there will be no overprint on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160, and the issue will also not appear on newsstands.

A variant cover inside a polybag? That noise you hear is the frantically masturbating Ghost of 1994.

Publicity stunts like this aren't anything new (Marvel just did another polybagged issue for another "death" issue, Fantastic Four #587, a tactic that did not, shockingly, prevent that issue's big spoiler from getting smeared all over the internet before the issue even came out), but what's a particular bummer here is that Ultimate Spider-Man is really, really good right now. It shouldn't need goofiness like this. This stuff makes non-comics readers write off comics as gimmicky, even as it not-so-kindly reminds longtime readers of the era in which publishers greedily milked fanboys for all they were worth.

If the past decade of Ultimate Spider-Man is any indication, Bendis and Bagley's Ultimate Spider-Man #160 will be a solid, maybe even great issue. Cramming it into a plastic bag hides Bendis' words and Bagley's art. Those are the two things Marvel should be selling, not the fact that they've sealed another book inside a glorified Ziploc.