Full Metal Jackets: Comic Book Confidential

Here’s a conundrum for you: If the whole point of SteelBook packaging is to offer fans an aesthetically pleasing collectible to display on their movie shelves, then why, pray tell, would a studio like Universal release a whole wave of Blu-ray SteelBooks with butt-ugly artwork on them? Somebody please explain this to me.

Universal’s line-up of “Reel Heroes” Blu-ray reissues in SteelBook packaging ought to be an exciting development for metal case collectors. On June 25th, the studio will unleash 16 new SteelBooks on the market for a fairly reasonable price ($19.99 MSRP, currently selling for $13.99 each on Amazon). Unfortunately, all the titles share a common “comic book” artwork theme that is, if you ask me, absolutely hideous.


Shaun of the Dead

Hot Fuzz


The Big Lebowski


Van Helsing

Pitch Black

The Chronicles of Riddick


The Incredible Hulk

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Death Race


The Mummy

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

In addition to those, at least two more releases with the same theme are available in Europe:



First off, are ‘Scarface’ or ‘Paul’ or ‘Death Race’ or ‘The Big Lebowski’ actually “Reel Heroes”? I love the movie, but what heroic thing did Lebowski ever do?

Of these titles, the only ones that have anything to do with comic books are the two ‘Hulk’ movies, ‘Hellboy’, ‘Scott Pilgrim’, ‘Wanted’ and ‘Kick-Ass’. Who picked the other films to receive this treatment? It feels like the titles were randomly plucked out of a hat. Did we just narrowly miss comic book SteelBooks for ‘Out of Africa’ or ‘Schindler’s List’?

‘Scarface’ was already released with a better-looking SteelBook when that disc first came out. A few of the other titles (like ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Kick-Ass’ and ‘Scott Pilgrim’) were also previously available in much more attractive SteelBooks in other countries.

This is such a shame, because I would love nice SteelBooks for some of these movies, especially ‘Pitch Black’, ‘Serenity’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’. But not like this, Universal. Not like this.


  1. Timcharger

    I don’t think they look that bad, Josh. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no?

    Yes, you’re right, not all are from comics or relatable to comic-style storylines. But the comic-style steelbook DOES work well for many of those titles.

    You say that you would like steelbooks made of these titles, but “not like this.” I say, that it’s better to have these, than not.

    I can easiliy picture a line hundreds-deep at Comic-Con of fans willing to pay twice, thrice the price of these steelbooks.

    The one with Tony Montana coming out of the comic-book frame with his “little friend”, that looks like a great steelbook cover to me. I’m not judging the other Scarface steelbook cover, but this one with the sepia tone except the red splattered blood, Josh, it looks damn good.

    • Ron

      The thing about a Steelbook IMO, Iis it should be unique to the movie in question. When you have a series of movies that all look the same, it takes away from the exclusive feel you get from having a steelbook. Worth mentioning is the other line that has the title in big letters along the left side and then a picture from the movie. Eg. Wolf of wall street, WWZ. Again, blah.

  2. njscorpio

    I was just recently bitten by the steelbook bug, so I’m interested in most anything I could purchase at a reasonable price…but some of these are just too ugly.

    As a set, the Simon Pegg & Nick Frost “trilogy” kinda works. I never saw Paul, but I like the first two enough to consider them.

    I’m a huge Riddick fan, so I’d love to have those films in steelbooks, but the art just conflicts with the movie so much that I don’t think I’d pick those up. (Also, what ever happened to the next Riddick movie?)

    The Mummy seems odd as a one-off, without the others in the series (not that I’d buy any of them).

    I think it works best with the two Hulk movies. The art, of course, suits it, but it’s like dueling Hulk movies. (Like when there were two versions of Tetris for NES).

    To me, Scarface looks kinda cool. It doesn’t make Pacino look ugly, like Summer Glau on the Serenity one. Oh, and I’ll admit I’ll probably buy Death Race if it ends up under $10.

    • Josh Zyber

      ‘Paul’ is unfortunately nowhere near in the same league as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz.

      The third Riddick movie (just called ‘Riddick’) will be released in September. The trailer looks like a retread of Pitch Black. While I liked Pitch Black a whole lot more than Chronicles of Riddick, I’d hope for something more than a carbon copy.

      Who is that supposed to be on the cover of the Doom SteelBook? It certainly looks nothing like The Rock.

      • njscorpio

        Thanks for the info on Riddick. With that, I’ll skip those steelbooks, and wait for a the inevitable box set.

        Speaking of the quality…Brendan Fraser looks like he’s a disapproving meme face.

      • njscorpio

        Ah, that’s on my radar, and looks VERY funny. Thank you for clearing that up for me. I put trilogy in quotes because it felt like a loose application. As with the third Riddick, I’ll wait till that comes out on blu-ray, and get the box set.

    • Josh Zyber

      These are all straight-up repackaging reissues. No new discs have been authored. If any of the titles previously came with an extra disc of bonus features, it’s likely that will be missing and you’ll only get Disc 1.

  3. I like the ‘Hulk’ cover art. Has a nice 3D feel to it. The others are quite hideous. Scott Pilgrim is passable. Excellent movie that deserved more love. A lot more.

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