We produced these Adventurers Illustrated covers for each of the anniversaries of this comics feature, so I thought running through them all at once here would be a good way to look back the series’ evolution. For instance, it’s a bit of a jolt to see this first “issue,” from back when Erica was still the series artist and Bandit was arguably carving out a place for herself as “the cute one.” I don’t think this would’ve felt appropriate to us once Bandit started acting as more of a leader.

Sports Illustrated  is still doing swimsuit editions in 2022, and getting an SI swimsuit cover is still a gold standard for fashion models, as it probably will be for as long as print magazines have any clout at all. I can’t say I ever got into the swimsuit editions, but I like that they’re out there. They’re a weird mix of cynicism and wholesomeness…they only exist because sex sells and people are willing to make threadbare excuses for it (“Swimming is a sport, right?”). But compared to the kind of porn you can stumble across accidentally these days, photos of young models in swimwear are positively genteel. And it’s cute that SI still pretends it doesn’t know what people are there for.

I don’t really ogle my own characters. I’m a little too conscious of their unreality for that. But I do think “Good job, Erica” here: this rendition of Bandit seems likely to draw the reader’s eye. Looks like Gravedust wasn’t the only member of the team to hide his muscle definition.