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CSBG Archive

Judging (DC’s March) Books By Their Covers

DC’s March solicits have been up for quite awhile, but I don’t think April’s are up just yet, so I can still claim to be current when I make some prejudgments based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don’t we?).

Let’s begin!
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Very strong visual by Phil Hester for this Superman Confidential cover.

Even T has to give it up to Hester for this cover design!
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The return to DC really seems to have agreed with Scott Kolins.

His work since he’s gotten back to DC has had a lot more “pop” to it than his Marvel work.

Nice Superman/Batman Annual cover. I like seeing Joe Kelly get another crack at the World’s Finest team!
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I dunno if Renato Guedes really nailed the whole perspective shot here on this Superman cover.

It seems a bit out of proportion.

On the whole, though, Guedes is awesome.
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Intriguing Supergirl cover by Drew Johnson.


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Nice, straightforward Robin cover by Freddie Williams.

Hey, no covers by Patrick Gleason this month! What gives?
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Deathlok sure has gotten grumpy since he got wings.

Nice Nightwing cover by Rags Morales and Michael Bair.
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Stronger Gotham Underground cover by Jim Calafiore than usual.


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I love the idea of DC doing brand new covers for their trades!

That said, this Andy Kubert cover is decent, but not much more than that.
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Pretty good Tony Daniel Batman cover.


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Another nice target cover by Rags Morales for Batman Confidential cover.


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Gary Frank showing a bit more of the ol’ spark with this cover.


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VERY strong Wonder Woman cover design by Terry Dodson.

It probably should be an honorable mention.
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I don’t get Mauro Cascioli’s thought process on this Trials of Shazam cover.

It looks like he’s using models – but he’s using models who look nothing like the characters he is drawing – you don’t need to make the characters look JUST like the models, Mr. Cascioli – at least not when the models don’t look like the characters in question.
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The conflicting nature of a nice Carlos Pacheco cover and a 12-issue maxi-series catching up on the Tangent universe is enough to blow many a man’s mind.

Really?

A TWELVE-issue series devoted to the Tangent universe?
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Cool John K. Snyder cover for Suicide Squad.

Reason #139393 why the Salvation Run plot is lame – it takes Deadshot out of the Squad!!
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Cute Simon Dark cover by Scott Hampton.


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Pretty cool looking Shadowpact cover by Phil Winslade.


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Fairly blah cover for Salvation Run by Sean Chen.

I love that Girder is in this story. “Oh no! I hope Girder doesn’t get hurt!” “What will Girder do?!?” “I wonder which side Girder will take?”
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Nice cover for the Raven mini-series by “maverick” artist, Damion Scott.

I love the concept of a comic artist being a “maverick.”

If he’s like James Garner’s Maverick, then that would explain how he convinced his editor to accept some of his past Robin covers – “No, you see, I’m going for a REALLY minimalist work!”
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Pretty good Legion cover by Francis Manapul, but I wonder if perhaps the staging of the cover is a bit unclear.

Is Lightning Lad producing the lightning or reacting to it?
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Effin’ Cloud Dracula.

I hate him.

Nice JSA cover by Alex Ross.
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When I do favors for people, I tell them I’m doing them a “Sean Chen.”

Decent enough JSA Classified cover.
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Holy crap! Major Force is guest-starring in Jonah Hex?!?!

Oh, oops – sorry, Rafa Gares! My bad!
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Sadly, this JLA cover is probably a step UP for Benes.


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“What the hell has he got there??!?!”

“I think it is a kerosene lamp!”

“Holy crap! Back the hell up, Leaguers!!”

“Is it lit?”

“Omigo, I think it is lit!”

Trippy, Joshua Middleton, trippy!

Farewell, JLA Classified! You opened with Grant Morrison and you ended with Stern/Byrne – that is a fine way to open and depart!
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I guess I can give Matt CampMax Fiumara this much on this Infinity Inc. cover – the design (while not exactly inspired) is decent enough.

But overall – worse than blah.
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Nice to see Ivan Reis experimenting with his style a bit.

I like the results on this Green Lantern cover.
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Interesting Nelson cover for Green Lantern Corps.

He has a real nice, clean style.
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Oh crap!

It’s “makes you see yourself with worms on your face” man!

I love that guy!

Freddie Williams portrayed “Makes you see yourself with worms on your face” man really well on this Flash cover.
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Nice, old fashioned cover by Starlin for Death of the New Gods.


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Damn, if this Lord Havok and the Extremists cover demonstrates the amount of detail Liam Sharp puts into his PENCILS, no wonder his covers are often a bit on the tight side.


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Another good Scott Kolins cover, this time for Countdown to Final Crisis.


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This Eddy Barrows Countdown to Adventure cover is pretty much the epitome of average.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing, of course.

Better than a BAD cover!
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I like the way Stephane Roux chose not to use a standard mixed lines cover for this Birds of Prey cover.

It’s definitely interesting.
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Nice Dan Jurgens Booster Gold cov…oh wait, it has stupid OMAC robot things.

I take that back – bad cover!
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“Stay behind us, Ice! You know DC wouldd love to kill you TWICE!”

Good Rafael Albuquerque cover for Blue Beetle.
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Interesting cover by Ladrönn, in that we see a large enough picture of the Atom to see how Ladrönn handles his eyes.

And he handled them quite nicely, I might add (and I just did!).
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I like the idea of doing multiple stores in Teen Titans Go.

Todd Nauck’s split cover got the job done.
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The code for this comic is TITI.

I think the Tiny Titans are more mature than I am for finding that amusing.

Nice Art Baltazar cover.
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Cute Robert Pope Scooby Doo cover.


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Basically a good Looney Tunes cover by Scott Gross, but I think it would be nicer if it was clearer exactly what the three fellows were doing.


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A strong Cartoon Network Block Party cover by Stephanie Gladden!


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And a strong Cartoon Network Action Pack cover by Travis Kotzebue.


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Nice design on this Batman Strikes cover by Christopher Jones.

Harley Quinn seems to show up on an animated comic every other month!
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Nicely laid out Wildstorm Revelations cover by Ivan Reis.


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I especially like Reis’ level of facial detail on this next cover of Widlstorm Revelations.


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Speaking of facial features, gotta love Samwise Didier’s digital spittle on this World of Warcraft cover.


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The film Sweeney Todd used the color red in much the same way as CP Smith does on this cover.

Both look quite nice.
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Interesting cover for the New Dynamix by JJ Kirby.


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Clever looking Midnighter cover by Lee Garbett.


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Woah!

I was NOT prepared for Gen13 to suddenly have a cool looking cover!

You scared me, Michael Lopez!!
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Decent enough Freddy/Jason/Ash cover by Jason Craig.

Is Jason Craig related to Wes Craig?
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Well…that’s A cover by Darick Robertson for Authority: Prime.


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Nice, standard Jack Hawksmoor cover by Cully Hamner.


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Nice to see Tomer Hanuka try an Un-Men layout that is not simply “look at the freak!”

Even then, it’s not MUCH more than “look at the freak!”
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I expect a lot out of Jock, so I was a bit disappointed in this Scalped cover.

Not a BAD cover, but not that good, either.
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Massimo Carnevale continues his excellent usage of negative space on this Northlanders cover.


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This Zachary Baldus Jack of Fables cover is GOOD.

That said, why make a big deal out of Brian Bolland becoming the cover artist, only to replace him so soon?


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Not a big fan of this Glenn Fabry Hellblazer cover.


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What’s going on on this Tony Moore Exterminators cover?

Whatever it is, it is drawn pretty well. I just don’t get what’s going on.
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Another strong DMZ cover by Brian Wood.

He is Mr. Reliable.
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Look!

It’s the dude from Hellraiser!

Decent enough JH Williams cover for Crossing Midnight.
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Good Dave Johnson cover for 100 Bullets.


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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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This Dougie Braithwaite Outsiders cover is here only because I am continually amazed by how nice looking Braithwaite’s Alex Ross-inspired style is.

Even when it doesn’t exactly work, like this Outsiders cover.
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VERY clever cover approach by Alexander Serra for this Legion cover.


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Another strong Nguyen cover for Detective Comics.


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Striking cover design by Tony Harris for the first Sandtarman Omnibus.


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Same with Kevin O’Neill and the Absolute League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier.


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Cool Cliff Chiang Black Canary/Green Arrow cover, depicting them fighting off against their newest arch-rival – random lasers from the sky!!


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Kalman Andrasovfsky just continues to improve on these Checkmate covers.

Well done, Mr. Andrasovfsky!!
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Perhaps a standard pose by George Perez for this Brave and the Bold cover, but so well executed.


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Very nice job for this first issue of Super Friends by J. Bone.


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Another imposing Marcelo Frusin cover for Loveless.

I needs me some more Marcelo Frusin interiors!!
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This is why you should just let Sean Phillips draw what he wants.

He won’t let you down (as seen by this Vinyl Underground cover).
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Beautiful Mario Alberti cover for Countdown to Mystery!

He’s been quite the find for DC, hasn’t he?
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I absolutely adore this Christopher Jones Justice League Unlimited cover, but this is a strong month for covers, so it just misses…

The 2004 date is curious – was this originally meant to come out awhile ago, or was it a pin-up by Jones made INTO a cover? What’s the deal?
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TOP FIVE!!
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5. This is a really great cover for a New Frontier one-shot by Cooke.


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4. I am flabbergasted sometimes by the amount of energy Hughes manages to put into these Catwoman covers.

He’s got to be leaving the book soon, no?
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3. Very cute Teen Titans Year One cover by Karl Kerschl.

Cute AND a strong cover layout (and typical excellent execution by Kerschl).
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2. If folks choose not to pick up David Lapham’s new Vertigo title, Young Liars, it won’t be for lack of effort on Lapham’s part!

This is a great cover for a first issue.

Brimming with energy and really drawing in the reader.

Well done.
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1. It’s been awhile since I’ve been stunned by a James Jean Fables cover.

This one is stunning.
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Well, that’s it for me this month! Feel free to share YOUR prejudices (and your Top Fives)!

33 Comments

That is a nice Fables cover.

Small nitpick- you praise Tony Harris for his SANDMAN Omnibus cover…

Even though I’m not reading it, that Simon Dark cover is a really great one.

And totally agree with you about the Fables and Teen Titans: Year One covers. Both are fabulous.

I know it can be difficult to describe art that is merely sufficient, barely adequate, and often middling, but you used the word “nice” twenty-one times in this post, Cronin. Could you maybe cut that back a little next time? That’d be, you know, nice.

Also: I totally agree with your top three. Those are some strong covers, and Jean’s really is the best of the lot.

Sorry, Ian, blame the folks who complaih about the other adjectives I use.

So “nice” it shall be!

I have never heard you refer to doing favors as “doing a Sean Chen.”

oh yes… that Fables cover is amazing.

I don’t think the Shazam cover characters look that off-model. Maybe I’m missing something.

I should say, I don’t think they look off-model, except for Superman, who looks a little young.

I really dig the way Aqualad looks.

The film Sweeney Todd used the color red in much the same way as CP Smith does on this cover.

Actually, I’d say it was in the exact opposite way, as the cover uses it sparingly for effect and the movie uses it gratuitously for effect.

Guess what I thought of the movie?

While Hester’s design is nice on that cover, his actual artwork just doesn’t do it for me. I think I’d enjoy him more if he storyboarded or did breakdowns for other artists.

But the real surprise to me is how much stronger Scott Kolins is. For someone I wasn’t that crazy about before, he REALLY wowed me this week.

god willing, adam hughes will never leave the catwoman cover chore!

Oh yeah, and the “doing a Sean Chen” joke was great.

Cliff Chiang gets bonus points for the Green Arrow/Black Canary cover. It actually looks like archery! The bow has a shelf and a sight window, the arrow is on the correct side of it, and Ollie’s actually pretty close to having an anchor. And wow, the arrow’s even nocked the right way!

Best portrayal of archery on a DC cover since Gene Ha’s JLA one.

Daniel O' Dreams

January 22, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Just for fun count how many covers feature only the hand of a character/villain or group of characters. I counted NINE… It’s the new running/flying at you cover! (Although there’s lots of those too.)

and is that Abin Sur as an angel on that Authority Prime cover?

Much as I love Darwyn Cooke and New Frontier, I think that cover is actually kind of bland. I’d have put Countdown to Mystery or Vinyl Underground in there instead.

Nightwing cover: That’s not Deathlock, that’s Eddie – Iron Maiden’s mascot – from the cover of Somewhere In Time… but with metal wings.

Terry Dodson Wonder Woman: This is the first time I think I’ve seen the bodice look good. I hate that comic artists want to draw the costumes as if they’re painted on. The costume is fabric, but is never drawn as such. This is a GREAT rendering of WW’s bustier.

Damion Scott / Raven: I happen to like minimalist comic art. This is a little too cartoony for me, but it’s a nice change from the norm. Paul Smith was the master at realistic minimalisn in comics.

JSA: When did a floating Pipi Longstockings join the team?

Ivan Reis GL: There’s something wrong with Hal’s lower anatomy. His package is just in the wrong place. If it’s gonna be pronounced like that, it’s gotta be in the right spot.

GLC: Deathbird got waxed in Annihilation, then showed up in Green Lantern?

Stephane Roux BoP: It’s interesting that a female artist would draw a female character with her hooties ready to pop out of her poorly designed costume.

Brave & The Bold: Perez pretty much gets a pass at this point. He’s earned it.

Teen Titans Year One: I’m sorry, but the depressive, ‘I need more sleep’ Aqualad just looks dumb. Maybe it’s the oxygen drying out his eyes.

Stephane Roux’s a dude.

The Tony Moore Exterminators cover was changed last minute to cover up the bomb in the melon.

http://tonymooreillustration.com/

The post from 11.26.2007 shows the original.

Stephane Roux’s a dude.

I just googled Roux, and Anun is correct. He’s a he.

Roux as a she must be one of the most common misconceptions around.

I guess he and Adrian Alphona will have something discuss at conventions.

Strong batch this month. I have to note, I love the dog flying upwards on the Gen13 cover. Very nice detail.

The Tony Moore Exterminators cover was changed last minute to cover up the bomb in the melon.

http://tonymooreillustration.com/

The post from 11.26.2007 shows the original.

Thanks for that!

It’s staggering the amount of changes like that occur. Like, I’ll say, “Why was the cover like ____?” and someone will reply, “On the artist’s website, it was originally ____ before they made him change it.”

Yeah, that’s weird that they made him change that cover. The original is much better.

Has Freddy Freeman taken on the old Captain Marvel costume? I don’t get that Trials of Shazam cover at all otherwise.

And Giganta makes everything better.

That Infintiy Inc. cover is by Max Fiumara, not Matt Camp- DC made a mistake in the solicits. ;)

[...] On Judging (DC’s March) Books By Their Covers, I remarked that I had no idea what was going on on a Tony Moore cover for Exterminators. Reader Danx wrote in to post a link to Moore’s original cover, and let me tell you, it is striking how silly the change is – it takes a cover that made perfect sense and made it make NO sense! [...]

Thanks, Pete!

So loving the JLU cover w/Booster & Beetle. It’s the big, happy! smile on Batman’s face that totally sells it, I think.

Lots and lots of style points this month. The Fables cover is gorgeous, the Gen13 cover ditto, also the once for Northlanders.

Man, does Renato Guedes ever draw a great Superman.

I’m assuming that isn’t supposed to be the Kingpin on the Gotham Underground cover… but, wow. Does he have an [eviller?] twin in the DCU I’ve never heard about?

More proof that Batman has the official Best Rogues Gallery Ever: The 10 feet or so of flourishes in the ‘Boiling Vat of Acid’ pipe on the Batman Strikes cover. I’m imagining Harley looking at one of those novelty straws as a kid and going “Someday…[evil giggle]”

It’s a lovely drawing, but I’m not quite feeling the amazing specialness of the Terry Dodson WW cover otherwise. My first take on the pose was Amazons do ballet now?”

You’re absolutely right about the Fables cover. Terrific work. And here I was starting to think that Jean was overrated.

Love the Lapham cover, too. It’s a great #1 cover. It actually makes me want to get the issue (and I had NO interest before this second). But the JJ Kirby cover doesn’t leave me wanting to pick up the New Dynamix comic. Standard group shot? Been there, done that…a hundred covers ago.

Brian when are you getting around to the marvel covers?

I had my FTP fixed literally the same day I put the DC stuff up.

So I hope to have the Marvel stuff this week, then next week have DC and Marvel’s April stuff (and if we’re lucky – perhaps Image and Dark Horse? Dare to dream!!).

okay cool

keep up the great work i really like this column

it’s a shame it’s only once a month! =P

I love this column. Now, if only you’d add some of the indy covers….

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