But some fans are insisting that this is a joke - a poorly played joke, but a joke nonetheless. The band and webmaster aren't budging, but there are some hints here and there - this tour poster, for example, shows Eddie alone, with only one CG figure appearing out of the side of the poster. There have also been comments that the artwork that has shown up on EMI's site is different than what's been shown on the official site - the wolf's snout behind Eddie, one of the dancer's arms not around him. The artwork has even reached beyond music borders and put graphics guru at arms - as evidenced by this seven page thread on CG Talk.
So is this childishly executed artwork for real? Die-hard fans are practically having seizures at the thought, but singer Bruce Dickinson has slyly hinted that this may not be so set-in-stone. On MTV Europe's Headbanger's Ball, Bruce is reported to have indicated that fans won't see the real artwork until the release date, indicating, in a roundabout way, that what's on the site isn't really the real artwork. We'll just have to wait and see, he says.
So what's the deal? Is it a joke on fans - and a way to expose the fickle fair-weather fans - or is it a ploy for exposure? The world - well, the portion that care about Iron Maiden - will have to wait, apparently. In the meantime, take a look at the great artwork we've seen in the past, below...
(And I'm really, really amazed that I spent the amount of time I just did researching this. You can see more nutty, wacky zaniness like this at unproductivity.)