Tom Cruise sells magazines. Of course, those are certain types of magazines, not, typically, a Canadian geography magazine. If there was a Tom Cruise of the Canadian Geographic cover world, though, it would be the mighty wolf.

Our issues with wolves on the cover consistently sell better than average; our bestselling cover ever featured a wolf. So for our January/February 2017 issue we went to the photographer responsible for that best-ever cover image — John E. Marriott — to get his latest, greatest wolf photos.

Turns out we only needed one. One image was so compelling that art director Javier Frutos created three options for our cover vote (held each issue to solicit feedback from our followers) with different crops.

Many voters commented that they loved all three choices (no surprise!), but option one — my personal favourite — emerged as the clear winner with 48 per cent of the tally (options two and three nabbed 20 and 32 per cent). Respondents appreciated seeing the wolf’s entire body and felt that it better represented the wild wolf Canadians know and love. (For what it’s worth, I think option one also has better contrast: the black wolf against the white snow).

In the end, it was an easy choice. But will it set a new bar of excellence on newsstands?

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