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Top Five Team Face-Off Covers

I get a lot of e-mails regarding the blog, and a lot of them are quite neat. I will often put them aside with the intention of getting back to them, only to get caught up in something else, and never returning to them for way too long. One such instance is this week’s Top Five – which were developed as the result of a lot of research work by Comics Should Be Good commenter, Rebis.

Thanks, Rebis! Here, then, courtesy of a bunch of cover choices Rebis supplied me with, are the the top five team face-off covers (face-off covers are those covers that show one team on one side of the cover and another team on the other side)!!

Enjoy!

5. Justice League of America #106, November-December 1973

What a clever use of the X of Earth X by Nick Cardy!!

1449_4_108.jpg

Striking cover.

4. Justice League of America #132, July 1976

1449_4_132.jpg

I love the way this Ernie Chan cover pops off the page (as noted to me by Rebis, as well), and I think I differ with Rebis in that I think a cover of the Justice League fighting anthropomorphic animals RULES! (I checked with my pal Fabian, and he was underwhelmed by the animal concept as well).

3. Avengers #130, December, 1974

This Gil Kane & Dave Cockrum cover is strong, but it loses points due to the fact that (also noted by Rebis) the villains they are facing are mostly lame ones.

1571_4_130.jpg

Imagine the Avengers against some really COOL villains with that art?

2. Justice League of America #56, September 1967

This Carmine Infantino & Murphy Anderson cover might be the very FIRST team face-off cover, and it sure set a high standard right off the bat!

1449_4_056.jpg

Such strength – such power – such movement.

An awesome cover.

1. X-Men #100, August 1976

Dave Cockrum’s cover is pleasing to the eye, but also has THE best match-up of all of these team face-offs – the original X-Men against the All-New, All-Different X-Men?! Who WOULDN’T want to read that?!?

1576_4_100.jpg

That’s why it is numero uno.

Well, that’s the top five! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

Thanks again to Rebis, and sorry it took waay too long for me to get this puppy posted!

53 Comments

The X-men need about 600% more Wildcat before they’re as good as the number 2 cover. I never really dug Sekowsky as the interior artist on JLA, but he did some of my favorite covers ever.

Rohan Williams

April 24, 2007 at 2:07 am

I love that Titanium Man, Radioactive Man, Crimson Dynamo and Slasher lose points for being lame villians, while just one spot down, the combined might of the Justice League made the list for taking on some escaped zoo animals. Who are not lame at all, of course.

I don’t get it, Rohan. The Avengers cover ranked HIGHER than the JLA one, right? So wouldn’t your comment work better if the JLA one was higher than the Avengers one?

Rohan Williams

April 24, 2007 at 2:28 am

Oh no, it’s a cool list as always, and I agree those villains aren’t the best. I just thought it was funny that the JLA cover seems to be on the list BECAUSE of the anthropomorphic animals, whereas the Avengers cover is on the list DESPITE the featured villains. Really shows where those villains rank in the heirachy.

I.. don’t have any idea who the Slasher is.

There goes my geek cred.

I probably would have ditched number 3 and replaced it with Mike Allred’s X-Statix vs Avengers cover.

By the way, I think the JLA vs endangered species cover rocks.

I’d pick Avengers Annual #2 over X-Men #100 any day..

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=22165&zoom=4

Avengers 141, with the Avengers facing off against the Squadron Supreme, is a classic. Other covers have been done as an homage, such as Avengers volume 3 number 6. A wonderful design by Gil Kane.

Dude, Avengers #141. It was so cool, Mead put it on their Trapper Keeper Marvel Comics edition, circa 1977!

(http://lightyearstoyesteryear.blogspot.com/2007/03/keeping-with-captain-america-theme-here.html)

I believe it was the first part of the Englehart Squadron Supreme/Serpent Crown Affair storyline. This, and the Michael saga, are pretty much the pinnacle of Avengers storytelling. (Okay, the Kree/Skrull war was decent, too.) And it’s a damn fine cover.

Gotta agree with Rob A about Avengers Annual #2.

Two more great ones:
Fantastic Four #73 by Kirby http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=21796&zoom=4 and Avengers #53 by John Buscema http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=21935&zoom=4

A giraffe with a spear? AWE.

Oooh – I’ve got a cover homage for that X-Men cover:

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=106451&zoom=4

I know it’s not the snark free zone. So what?

Spear Giraffe needs his own series!

How about the original George Perez 80′s JLA vs Avengers

Ahh! Great post, Brian. The timing’s all good, too; this list (like so many potential ideas you get, I bet) is really an evergreen topic.

The Justice League vs. “the BEASTS who FOUGHT like MEN!” is admittedly a great cover, and an especially great entry on any list in Ape-ril. I think you err in your number-one slot based on the teams involved. Of course Old vs. New X-Men rocks, but the composition’s a bit cluttered, which would push it down to #2 or 3. I’d easily put the Infantino-Anderson League vs. Society matchup in the number-one slot. If I owned that comic, I’d frame it.

(Though isn’t it funny to look at the line-up of the two teams? Damn, there’s some more SuperboyPrime-style slaughter in the making. If it were written today, the cover blurb would trumpet, “You’re split-seconds away from the Society-crippling battle you thought you’d never see!”)

Ummm… those animals on the Justice League of America cover AREN’T anthropomorphic. Which is admittedly unusual for animal characters in comics, but still.
And I second the comments re: Avengers #141. That was the cover I was expecting to see as soon as I read the subject.

Avengers #70 has always been my favorite face off cover because it’s a) The Avengers, b)drawn by John Buscema, and c)one of the first back issues I ever bought.

http://www.samcci.comics.org/avengers/070.htm

I think, simply it terms of composition, JLA 132 is probably the best one on the list.

This is a cool article. You should do a list of the best ‘team tearing through the cover’ covers. If that makes sense.

They’re using weapons. To fight superheroes. In formation. That’s somewhat anthropomorphic.

I had the same thought as Rebis about JLA #132. The pre-Crisis Superman, a Green Lantern, and a Flash (along with a guy without powers) against two guys without powers, one guy with wings, and one guy with the most moderate case of super-strength ever to grace the pages of a comic. It’s not as though the JSA lacked for heavy hitters (GL, Flash, Starman, Dr. Fate, to say nothing of Superman, Power Girl, or Wonder Woman), but for some reason they pitted three of the most powerful leaguers against four of the least powerful JSAers.

“A giraffe with a spear? AWE.”

Battle Beasts!!!!!

That JLA #56 cover boasts that beautiful Carmine Infantino/Murphy Anderson artwork, but… are they sure about the selected line-ups for that tussle? I mean… Superman, Green Lantern, Flash and Green Arrow versus Wildcat, Mr Terrific, Hawkman and Hourman? The JSA doesn’t stand a CHANCE in that one, sorry. The guy who gets matched up against Green Arrow may even come out on top, but he’ll have his hands full after the three other JLAers wipe the floor with the remaining JSAers. But hey, I guess it could be amusing to watch Mr Terrific trying to defeat Superman.

Just for that, I’d strike out that cover and replace it with that cool silver-age “Secret Origins of Supervillains” cover where the Legion of Doom faces off against the JLA, from a comic I’ve read when I was little.

“The Slasher?” Does he write gay fanfic about the heroes to embarrass them?

I am proud to say that I own that JSA/JLA fight. Robin totally beats the crap out of Hourman.

I love that X-Men cover, but Cyclops is about to punch Colossus. That’s pretty stupid.

This X-Statix vs. Avengers cover is a doozy, too.

I’d also pick Avengers Annual #2 over any of “top 5″ listed above. By the way, the Avengers #70 cover was drawn by Sal Buscema, not John.

Some other nice face off covers…

Avengers #15 (Avengers vs. the Masters of Evil)
http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=19102&zoom=4

Avengers #25 (Avengers vs. Dr. Doom, a bit one sided, but a great cover)
http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=19838&zoom=4

Avengers #53 (Avengers vs. X-Men)
http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=21935&zoom=4

Fantastic Four #112 (Hulk vs. Thing, Nuff Said!)
http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=24361&zoom=4

Why does Iron Man have a nose?

Ryan, that is because Cyclops is a robot (as are all the original X-Men on the cover).

Oh no, it’s a cool list as always, and I agree those villains aren’t the best. I just thought it was funny that the JLA cover seems to be on the list BECAUSE of the anthropomorphic animals, whereas the Avengers cover is on the list DESPITE the featured villains. Really shows where those villains rank in the heirachy.

Gotcha! :)

Why does Iron Man have a nose?

For about seven months in the 70s, Iron Man redesigned the armor to include a nose.

I agree with Rob A about AVENGERS ANNUAL #2. Also, although they’re not QUITE what you’re talking about, the JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL/SUICIDE SQUAD cross–over in 1988, #13s both, deserves an honorable mention.

Those JLI/Suicide Covers, Ted, were awesome-rageous!

Hey Ryan,

Yeah, that X-Statix v. Avengers rocks! No surprise, given the artist (although generally I do prefer slightly less busy layouts for the team-vs.-team cover dynamic). Mabye just one less pair of heroes? Plus Wasp and Ant-Man are spoiling that awesome Doop pose. Still, it’s Allred-tastic.

I.. don’t have any idea who the Slasher is.
There goes my geek cred.

Click here to learn more about Slasher/Razorblade.

The link works, Ian! :)

Flush it all away

April 24, 2007 at 5:23 pm

And don’t forget the totally awesome cover of Avengers Annual 16: the Avengers versus dead heroes and villains!

Read about it here:
http://daveslongbox.blogspot.com/2006/07/avengers-annual-16-marvel-comics-1987.html

Man, I loved this issue when I was a kid.

I know it’s a robo-Cyclops. But it’s still a stupid robo-Cyclops. Didn’t the robots have approximations of the X-Men’s powers? In Art Adams’ re-do of the cover, Cyclops is blasting instead of punching.

Oooh – I’ve got a cover homage for that X-Men cover:

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=106451&zoom=4

Damn, I’ve never seen that one before! Now I have to rtack down that issue. Dave Cockrum was such a fantastic artist. Even when he was doing stuff on Justice League Unlimited that fell below the radar of most readers, he was still producing quality work.

Oh, yeah, that JLA vs. zoo animals cover by Ernie Chan rocks. And it has a gorilla with a machine gun. A relative of Monsieur Mallah, perhaps?

And don’t forget the totally awesome cover of Avengers Annual 16: the Avengers versus dead heroes and villains!

I wonder how many of the dead guys on that cover have come back to life since this was published? Probably most of them, I expect.

Why does Iron Man have a nose?

For about seven months in the 70s, Iron Man redesigned the armor to include a nose.

I believe the nose came about when Marvel licensed some characters to a toy company which was too cheap to sculpt a separate head sans nose for its Iron Man figures. Thus Marvel started to draw the nose on him to conform with the toy line.

Maybe that’s a good topic for an Urban Legend column?

Mobelius Rodelius

April 25, 2007 at 8:15 am

One more vote for Avengers Annual #2. Rob A, that cover is fantastic. Good call.

Justice League 56 is a great cover….

of course, those particular members of the JLA would have laid out those particular members of the JSA in 3 seconds, but it’s a nice buildup.

That “JLA vs. Wild Kingdom” cover has me wondering:

What the devil does Black Canary think she’s going to do when she connects with that tiger?

Maybe that’s a good topic for an Urban Legend column?

Definitely. :)

My understanding of things is that Mego originally sculpted the head for a Dr. Doom figure that would have been to expensive to produce, so they used it for Iron Man instead:
http://www.megomuseum.com/wgsh/ironman.html has pictures of the figure. The article mentions the nose being present in the comics, but the character artwork on the package has the traditional flat face.

The figure came out in 1975. When did the nose pop up in the comics?

Ha – I like the way the picture on the box that Iron Man comes in is still drawn without the nose

Iron Man’s new mask first appeared in IM #68, cover date June 1974 (so it was probably on sale in February or March).
http://www.comics.org/details.lasso?id=27479

Tom from West Chester

April 27, 2007 at 1:52 pm

“http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/images/spiderman_spectacular/170.jpg”

Come on, where’s the love for Spectacular Spider-man #170: the Avengers vs. the Outlaws?

That said the Justice League vs Justice Society one is outstanding and the best of the five shown.

Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! auvaqhsoaudff

And check out Xavier as a human ‘X’!

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