The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide celebrates the 50th anniversary of Marvel Comics’ The X-Men with an original cover by artist Mike Deodato, Jr. and colorist Leonardo Ito. This is the first Overstreet cover for both creators, and it is also their first collaboration. This edition will be available in both hardcover and soft cover versions, with the hardcover version offered exclusively in comic shops.

Fifty years ago this year, Professor X, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, The Angel and The Beast arrived on newsstands in the pages of The X-Men #1, cover September 1963. Set apart from the rest of humanity by their mutant abilities and in some cases their appearance, they battled the worst elements of humanity and other mutants to protect mankind from amazing threats. Over the years the roster changed, and in 1975 Giant-Size X-Men #1 the character Wolverine first joined the team, forever altering the mix. In addition to comic books, the X-Men have been featured in a long-running cartoon series, videogames, and films, including this summer’s The Wolverine.

Deodato first attracted attention with his work on DC’s Wonder Woman, followed by a stint on Thor with writer Warren Ellis that included the popular “World Engine” story arc. Since then, along with runs on Amazing Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk, he has become associated with a number of Marvel’s Avengers titles including Avengers, Dark Avengers, New Avengers and Secret Avengers.

Although this cover marks the first collaboration between Deodato and Ito, it was Deodato who requested his colleague for the assignment. Ito has previously plied his colors on books for children and teens published in the North American, European and South African markets.

Last week, Gemstone Publishing announced that artist Andy Kubert and colorist Brad Anderson had created a Superman cover for The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #43 celebrating the DC Comics character’s 75th anniversary. Deodato, Ito, Kubert and Anderson join a roster of Overstreet cover artists who have been among the top talents of several generations including Kubert’s father, Joe Kubert, Will Eisner, Carl Barks, Bill Ward, Wally Wood, Alex Schomburg, L.B. Cole, Murphy Anderson, C.C. Beck, John Romita, Sr., Carmine Infantino, and Jerry Robinson, among others.

Since the Guide’s move to a July release celebrating its fourth decade with The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #40, the covers have showcased works by Mark Chiarello, Darwyn Cooke, John Romita, Jr. & Klaus Janson, Walter Simonson, Amanda Conner, John Romita, Sr. & Tom Palmer, Joe Jusko, Adam Hughes, and Matt Wagner.

“As the general public has known for a couple of decades now and comic book fans have known for just about 50 years, The X-Men are among the most exciting characters around. With them, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created a venue through which they and the creators who came after them could talk about social issues and reach readers who might not otherwise consider them. And they did so by wrapping the series with great action, fantastic villains, and a huge amount of drama. I think Mike Deodato and Leonardo Ito have done a superb job capturing three different eras of X-Men with their wonderful cover,” said author and publisher Robert M. Overstreet.

The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #43 will be featured in the April 2013 edition of Previews from Diamond Comic Distributors and it is scheduled to go on sale on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

Additional details about the Guide, including new articles and other features, will be revealed in coming weeks.