Karen: It seems that Stan Lee had sent out a memo regarding this cover, finding it dull, and describing ways it and other Marvel covers should be changed to make them more exciting to the readers. Please hop on over to Scott's page linked here to see Stan's memos and learn the whole story (and check out the rest of his blog while you're there -it's a treasure trove!). I think it shows just how much Stan cared about doing things right -I mean, the Marvel way! Below you can see the cover rough and the areas Stan marked up, as well as the final cover and how it changed (note Giant-Man's more aggressive expression).
Doug: Man, that's a subtle change, isn't it? I guess it does punch it up a bit, but much like I had some qualms about editing the cover submissions of Big John Buscema, Johnny "Ring-a-ding" Romita would also seem to be above that. Guess not. To the best that my eyeballs can discern, the facial expression on Goliath is the only change that was made. Stan knew what he wanted, and of course could provide the rationale to support his preferences.
Karen: Hawkeye's expression is very slightly altered but you'd have to see it up close. There's also that blurb on the right-hand side about "More Madcap mayhem" which Stan had suggested. They did not, however, incorporate his suggestion of "Avengers Assemble!" on the left-hand side of the cover. You can see he pencilled this in on the rough cover.
Doug: The cover I think of most often when our conversations turn to comic book covers that were amended or rejected is the cover to X-Men #56 by Neal Adams and Tom Palmer. Below left is the rejected version and to the right is the famous published cover.
Doug: As we've mentioned in the past when discussing this cover, apparently Stan did not like that the logo was obscured by the hostage mutants. I'll go to my grave liking the rejected version better. You can see these covers, as well as 19 (!) other rejected X-Men covers by clicking here. If you jump over to Nic Caputo's blog, you can find a rejected Gene Colan DD cover, as well as another Silver Surfer cover from John Buscema that never saw the light of day.
Doug: I don't have any sort of inventory of these things myself, but I did ask Karen if it would be OK to do a gallery of published covers from the Marvel Comics Covers Artist Edition. She thought that would be great, since we love this topic. So feast your eyes on a dozen and a half such gems, from a wide range of Marvel luminaries. NOTE: Please keep in mind that the Artist Editions are huge books, so you're looking at photographs rather than scans. I wish it could be the other way... but no way.
Karen: I love seeing the rough versions! Thanks Doug. So here's a question for you all: what comes to mind when you think of a 'Marvel-style' cover?