I was looking through the Marvel Solicitations for their product being released in August 2008 and I came across the cover for Ghost Rider Annual #2.
It looked a little familiar. So after a little research, I found the following in my collection which I scanned for your comparison...
This issue came out in early 2007 and was timed with the release of the Ghost Rider movie. The colors are a little different but it's the same image. From what I know, Maxim commissioned the image from Marvel who hired the artist so Marvel technically owns the image and has every right to reuse it, not to mention the copyright and trademarks to the character Ghost Rider.
If Marvel does use this image as the cover for Ghost Rider Annual #2, it means they will save money on the issue because they don't have to pay for a new cover, which is again their every right. From a financial standpoint, it's a very smart move.
I'm just curious if Marvel is paying the artist some sort of reuse fee as the artwork? Just for the record, I know the artist and do not speak on his behalf. I also wonder if the image is relevant to the story --- does Ghost Rider drive up the side of a building in the issue? I just hope one or the other is true as it would be really greedy and, IMHO, unfair of Marvel to reuse a cover that they themselves were paid for.
Speaking of comic book characters on the covers of mainstream magazines, this week's Sports Illustrated cover which features Bizarro [as drawn by Mark Bagley - the artist on the DC Comics weekly comic book series Trinity].
Does this mean that George Steinbrenner is Lex Luthor??!?