Ever since the debut of the first HD DVD and Blu-ray discs, fans have bemoaned the cookie-cutter cover art that most supporting studios have adopted in order to create a more recognizable look for discs released on each format.
The most common complaint is that the artwork for the movie itself is forced to compete with the format's artwork -- those familiar swooshes of red (for HD DVD) or blue/steel (for Blu-ray).
Not surprisingly, it didn't take long for some early adopters to begin creating their own more movie-focused custom cover art. The first such cover to make the rounds was created by David Mackenzie (also known as "Lyris" online), a student in Scotland who posted alternative box art for the HD DVD release of 'Serenity' back in July:
Mackenzie told us that he has been creating custom DVD covers as a hobby for 5-6 years, and that he created the custom 'Serenity' box art after reading criticism of the official HD DVD art, which some fans have said make film look like a "cheap space porno."
Since Mackenzie's 'Serenity', custom box art for several other titles on both high-def formats have surfaced online, including this alternative take on the 'Underworld: Evolution' Blu-ray release, by AVSForum member DeathStalker2:
But perhaps the most popular alternative box cover to hit the web yet is the custom cover for the HD DVD release of 'Superman: The Movie,' also by DeathStalker2:
It was the popularity of the 'Superman' cover that prompted Evan Angelides, a software engineer from Rockville Centre, New York to offer up his own personal web space to help DeathStalker2 and other custom box artists more easily distribute their work. Angelides, who developed and distributes a free Plasma TV break-in DVD from his site, now hosts 13 alternative high-def box covers (including a couple Japanese imports), all available for free as high-res printer quality downloads.
And while the legalities of custom cover art are something of a murky area, given that there's no money changing hands, and that all participants are simply doing it out of "love for the sport," here's hoping that there will be lots more fan-made art in the high-def months and years to come.