"Cover of the Week"

Cover of the Week: April 6 & March 30, 2011

  • April 8, 2011 11:17 am
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Every Wednesday I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Nonplayer #1 by Nate Simpson.

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Cover of the Week: March 16 & 23, 2011

  • March 25, 2011 11:32 am
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Every Wednesday I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Batman: The Dark Knight #2 by David Finch.

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Cover of the Week: March 9, 2011

  • March 9, 2011 2:33 pm
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Every Wednesday I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Justice League: Generation Lost #21 by Dustin Nguyen.

In our January 26 Cover of the Week I gave praise to the Fantastic Four #587 cover for doing something different with a “death” issue [Link] and although Justice League: Generation Lost #21 doesn’t separate itself from the “death” category, in fact it embraces it, it does capture the moment in a way we’ve not yet seen before. Placing the characters so far away almost forces you to squint or move in for a closer look, maybe you don’t even realize what’s happening at first (which can give you a moment of surprise or shock) and then surrounding them in white helps keeps you focused, it’s as if were getting a sneak peek into a private moment between Booster Gold and his fallen friend.

The ability to take a white sheet of paper and manipulate it with pencils and ink into something that stimulates emotion is no easy task, but this is as good of an example as any. Dustin Nguyen is no stranger to our Cover of the Week picks but this might be my favorite work of his.

Other Honorable Mentions (click title to see cover):

Elephantmen #30, Sherlock Holmes: Year One #2, Doom Patrol #20

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Cover of the Week: March 2 & February 23, 2011

  • March 2, 2011 12:05 pm
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Every week I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Conan: Road Of Kings #3 by Doug Wheatley.

Isn’t Conan awesome?

A master of combat, traveling the world, seeing fantasy wonders and mixing it up with the likes of wizards, monsters, and of course constantly surrounded around beautiful women…he’s the ancient version of a rock star. And since Dark Horse Comics began their take on him in 2003 they have been knocking it out of the park (Kurt Busiek’s run being my favorite). This cover in particular is a great example of how well the publisher and artist understand the character. Everything you need to know about Conan is right there; staring boldly into the face of some terrifying monster, the odds of coming out alive surely impossible, the scantily clad clothed beautiful woman protected and holding on for dear life (and the angle just happens to give us a full shot of her), skulls scattered on the floor ocean floor with an amazing attention to detail on the creature and ocean giving the image it’s final touch, it’s as great as you would expect of a Conan cover – harkening back to the classics before it.

Conan’s presence in comics goes back far enough that he can get lost in everything else coming out but this week the cover to Conan: Road of Kings #3 stuck out, reminding me again of what a great character he is. And I’m not sure it was done intentionally or not but this cover reminded me of another one I had to hunt down, The Savage Sword of Conan #26 by none other than Jim Starlin.

Other Honorable Mentions (click title to see cover):

First Wave #6, Darkwing Duck Annual #1, Heroes for Hire #4

February 23, 2011

Missed last week due to being busy but the pick of the week was Gotham City Sirens #20 by Guillem March.

This might be one of the creepiest Joker looks I’ve ever seen. Good lord Guillem March, what is wrong with you?

(that was a compliment by the way)

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Cover of the Week: February 16, 2011

Every week I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Donald Duck and Friends #363 by Don Rosa and Carl Barks.

BOOM! Studious has helped make a name for themselves through some of their Disney comics, from the classics like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to the nostalgic Duck Tales and Darkwing Duck they’re giving back to the medium some of the most original and fun animated characters of all time; which is why I can’t help but love this cover. Whenever you re-create a classic it’s hard to bring back all of its original charm, in comics this is most obvious through art. And although not every Disney issue has looked exactly like it’s original (which, in some cases can be a blessing) my hat goes off to the team on this issue, this cover captures the original Disney animation style so well it stuck out more than anything else on the shelves this week.

From the watercolor-styled background, the slightly-faded colors, to the simple humor in what’s actually happening it takes me back to sitting in my Grandma’s basement watching her VHS tapes of recorded cartoons. The artists credited for this cover, Don Rosa and Carl Barks, must have a tremendous amount of respect and knowledge for the characters because it bleeds through in their own re-creation of them.

I love the world saving, the space battling, the multiple, infinite, and final crisis-ing, but I equally enjoy time traveling back to when I watched Tom & Jerry, Donald Duck, and Looney Tunes…and comics like this make it fun and easy.

For comparisons sake, and to just enjoy, here’s a 1952 Donald Duck cartoon:

Other Honorable Mentions (click title to see cover):

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #5, Uncanny X-Force #5, Daredevil: Reborn #2

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Cover of the Week: February 9, 2011

  • February 10, 2011 11:14 am
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Every week I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to New Avengers #9 by Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo.

I’ve spoken about it before [here and here] that I hate “rifle scope” covers, or as I’ve called them “sniper covers.” I loathe them. At the risk of angering anyone (and displaying only my own personal opinion) I think they’re mostly uncreative, give an excuse to ignore any backgrounds, and are usually a heavy handed wink at the story (“Hey, someone is out to get your heroes! Will they survive?”) that almost never results in anyone significant ever getting shot (if anyone does any shooting at all). It just always feels like a cheap way to get your points across. They’re not all bad, but a lot are.

So..when I saw the cover to New Avengers #9 I was speechless. Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo did it, a sniper cover that actually makes sense, that actually looks great! Instead of sacrificing any artistic value the cover is full of it; a great background, excellent covers, deep blacks/inks and great depth. And what a novel idea, show the shooter! My hat is off to Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo for taking a comic book cover trope and spinning into something great.

And for comparison’s sake some of my [least]favorites (click for bigger image):

Other Honorable Mentions (click title to see cover):

Justice League: Generation Lost #19, Incognito: Bad Influences #3

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Cover of the Week: February 2, 2011

  • February 4, 2011 9:12 am
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Every week I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Brightest Day #19 by David Finch and Scott Williams.

I know, I know, I know, this cover falls into the category of “heroic pose” (although it’s a villain) which I frequently enjoy the opposite of but as a comic fan I can’t help but fall for the tropes from time to time, I mean come on, what a cool looking cover! One of the greatest things about comics is the vast library of characters that it can pull from, always opening up for a new look or take and although David Finch isn’t resurrecting Black Manta or even adding something to him this is the best he’s ever looked – at least for me. This cover is also a GREAT example of how much of a difference color can make. I’m not sure who did the coloring, only David Finch and Scott Williams are credited for the cover, but holy mackerel – the different shades of blue, the bright and vibrant red, the shadows from the red light coming from his helmet, the light from above, the detail in the backgrounds, it’s gorgeous.

David Finch is creating some of his best work ever with these Brightest Day covers and this is hands down my favorite so far.

Other Honorable Mentions (click title to see cover):

Iron Man Legacy #11, Deadpool & Cable #26, Ozma of Oz #4

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Cover of the Week: January 26, 2011

  • January 28, 2011 2:37 pm
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Every Wednesday I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Fantastic Four #587.

Death in comic books has become something of joke within the industry; but it’s not a joke for the publishers and certainly not for sales. A characters death can bring in two to three times the sales numbers of a single issue and bring with it new readers — one of the first comics I ever bought was the Death of Superman — so it’s always interesting to me how the “death issues” are marketed. Starting with the covers.

Historically “death issues” are busy; usually foreshadowing the death or even showing the dead character, it’s focus is usually morbid or sad and usually commands an emotional response or shock from the viewer, but Fantastic Four #587 was the opposite. An unknowing reader wouldn’t know that that book held the death of a major character, the cover isn’t morbid at all (it’s as relaxed as a cover can be) and instead of focusing on the death and character in question it actually teases the events AFTER the death – The Fantastic Three. This doesn’t focus on a death or an event worth mourning, instead it promotes change, gives a glimpse of the future, gives you something to think about.

Granted this cover didn’t require much artistic work nor am I suggesting that it’s some stroke of genius, I am however pointing out its difference from a lot of other “death issues” and tipping my hat to a bold decision for an issue that was without a doubt going to get a lot of hype.

For the sake of reference here are some notable “death issues:”

Superman #75

Uncanny X-Men #136

Daredevil #181

Captain America #25

Batman #428

Wonder Woman #125

Other Honorable Mentions (click title to see cover):

Scalped #45, Neonomicon #1 Project Comic Con, Loki #4

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Cover of the Week: January 12 & 19, 2011

  • January 21, 2011 8:11 am
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Every Wednesday I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Thor: First Thunder #5 by Jay Anacleto and Brian Haberlin.

Wow. If anyone ever asks you who Thor is and what he’s all about save yourself some time and just direct them to this cover. This embodies just about everything that’s great about Thor – the fantasy elements, the big ol’ hammer, Loki covering in the corner, and Thor’s pure power. I didn’t even notice that Thor’s ‘heroic pose’ at first because with everything else going on this feels much more like an action panel than a cover. This art deserves to be both hung in a gallery and painted on the side of a hippy van.

Other Honorable Mentions (click title to see cover):

Invincible Iron Man #500, Northlanders #36

Our Cover of the Week for January12, 2010 went to Irredeemable #12 by Diego Barreto, Juan Manual Tumburus, Damian Couceiro and Jeffrey Spokes.

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Cover of the Week: January 5, 2011

  • January 7, 2011 6:11 am
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Every Wednesday I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Tonci Zonjic’s Who Is Jake Ellis #1.

One of my favorite kind of covers are the ones that pay no attention to the ‘comic book cover rules.’ From the off-center title and character to the barcode and blank space this cover would stick out from the rest just from it’s formatting alone (although the artist does make the character stick out by overlapping his head over the title space), but that wouldn’t be giving the art any credit, which it deserves. With lots of red on the top and blacks on the bottom the whole image itself seems to fade to black as you scan from top to bottom. And despite it giving your eyes a lot to look at their are only three colors in play (black, white, and red). From the placement, to the colors/shades of colors, and the graphic design this cover easily grasped my attention and may have hooked me for a purchase.

And if the cover wasn’t beautiful enough Tonci Zonjic also did the interiors; here is a preview (click here).

Other Honorable Mentions (click title to see cover):

Irredeemable #21, Iron Man/Thor #3, Wolverine: The Best There Is #2

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Cover of the Week: December 29, 2010

Every week I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Widowmaker #2 by Jae Lee.

One of the unique elements of comic book art is it’s habit of walking the thin line of photo-realism and the impossible; the cover to Widowmaker #2 is a perfect example. No ones body is shaped quite like Natasha’s (i.e. the Black Widow), hair does not group nor flow like that, and the only way to achieve that pose on the ledge of a statue would be to fall; but that’s what makes it great. There is no fear on Natasha’s face (in fact it’s the opposite) and the acceptance of her body and hair stylized like it is gives the picture the power to barley manipulate your sense of realism and imagination, fusing the two together.

On top of all that there may be a small something being said about women in comics. Whether intentional or not — and by all means I could be reading into this — Natasha has quite the dominate position over our nameless male there. I honestly tried not to read into this but couldn’t escape it. She literally has him on a leash, he’s bowing away from her, and gives her a place to rest her knee. Women have been portrayed in all sorts of ways in comics; the most common of those being as sexy/busty counterparts or disposable characters for our male heros to love and then lose; this image however, turns those concepts on their head and puts the fully-clothed woman in a dominating position of power.

Perhaps I’m seeing too much into this, but regardless, it’s stunning.

Other Honorable Mentions (click title to see cover):

Gears of War #15, Jack of Fables #49

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Cover of the Week: December 22, 2010

  • December 22, 2010 12:10 am
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Every Wednesday I pick my favorite cover from all the comic books that came out during the week…today’s pick goes to Invincible #76 by Ryan Ottley & FCO Plascencia.

Mark Grayson (Invincible) isn’t new to our Cover of the Week column but it seems like it always takes him getting a beating for us to pick him. I credit this mostly to Ryan Ottley’s incredible ability to capture action; I love a heroic-pose punch or strike as much as the next fan but Ryan Ottley always seems to capture a moment at it’s absolute highest amount of tension, where the emotion, drama, and action is at it’s greatest. And once in awhile adds another panel to the cover where they’re otherwise would be ‘wasted’ space, giving us that much more of the story. As I browsed over all the covers this week I kept coming back to this one, feeling bad for Mark and thinking, “Dang. That looks like it hurts.”

And if you like the cover Ryan Ottley also does the interior. Invincible continues to be one of the more underrated book and shouldn’t be passed up by superhero fans.

Other Honorable Mentions (click title to see cover):

Sonic The Hedgehog #220, Namor: The First Mutant #5, Invincible Iron Man #33

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