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Judging (Marvel’s March) Books By Their Covers

Marvel’s March solicits have been up for so long that April has been up for a week now, but we can still 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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Now, on these Jimmy Cheung covers, is he just aping the styles of the past artists for the background stuff?

If so, he does a very nice good job on aping past styles.

If not, disregard the acclaim!

Decent enough cover either way, although past issues with this effect have looked better.
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These X-Men Legacy covers are going to be connecting covers?

That’s a nice pretty cool idea.

Finch laid out a strong cover, even if I probably would differ with him a bit on the execution of it.
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Nice Impressive cover by Clayton Crain.

Quite often, I think his covers seem to lack a sense of interactivity, in the sense that his figures, while often fair enough on their own (although, sometimes, less so), do not seem to work well with each other.

This cover, though, the figures work well together.

Good work, Crain.
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What a nice strange cover for X-Men First Class.

It is an okay cover by the great John Romita, Jr., but it doesn’t seem to fit the whole “X-Men when they were teens” motif of the book.

Cool visual effect, though!
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I’m not even all that sure what the intended effect on this nice Fabry cover is supposed to be.

I mean, I can make a guess that it has something to do with the wrecking ball coming down on Madrox, but it doesn’t exactly look like that, does it?

Did it just miss him?

Or what?
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Very nice cute John Romita cover for Damage Control.


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I love the dynamism on this nice Cheung cover, but I think it loses a bit in the coherence department.

I mean, what exactly is he punching through?
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This nice Bianchi cover looks like Deadpool and Wolverine are having a “Vogue”ing contest.

Either that, or Wolverine is learning that his healing ability does not affect underarm odor.
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Nice Decent Salvafor Espin cover for Wolverine: First Class.

Do you think they’ll reduce Kitty’s breasts for the final cover?
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Nice Good cover design by Mike Choi, although I could do with a less computerized look.

A natural feel would work really well for his stuff, I think – the guy is quite talented.
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Nice Clever idea by Salvador Larocca! Onslaught as a Rock’ em, Sock ‘em Robot!!


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Nice Interesting cover by Immonen, in the sense that I thought he really developed a new style since his Ultimate X-Men run, but here, it brings me right back to his X-Men run.

Pleasant stuff, still.
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Nice Okay Ferry cover.

Nothing special, really.

EDITED TO ADD:

Okay, usually, the solicits are wrong. This time, it’s all on me. I totally missed that Land did this cover, not Ferry. My apologies!
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What a nice weird cover by Kaare Andrews.

That’s basically just a Doc Savage cover, no?

I think I see something on Andrews’ signature on the back – I presume it’s mentioning the cover artist he’s aping here, which is fair enough.

It’s just strange, because Kaare Andrews is one of the finest cover artists doing covers for Marvel, and this cover (and another cover you’ll see from him later) just seems oddly uninspired.
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It is nice appreciated to see a posthumous Ringo cover.

Was this done as a cover before, or is it a unpublished pin-up (or, in the alternative, a published pin-up I do not recognize)?
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Very nice strong trade dress for One More Day.

That should sell a few more copies.
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Mike Deodato had a number of nice clever covers for She-Hulk, but he seems to be falling off a bit with this fairly routine cover.

Not a BAD cover, though.
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Nice Cute Gurihiru cover for the Power Pack origin mini-series.

I’m really looking forward to the Coover back-ups!
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Another nice effective use of shadows by Mike Oeming, although a little bit less effective than some of his past usages.


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Fairly nice standard superhero team shot by Barry Kitson.

I am going to miss the Order a lot.
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Nice Bizarre Dalrymple cover, which is not that out of the ordinary, but I think this bizarre cover is not as strong as some of his past efforts on Omega.

He has been doing a marvelous job on the artwork of the book, though.
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Nice Okay Alex Maleev Nova cover.

Seems like a strange fit for Maleev, to be doing Nova covers.

His realistic style also makes the absurdity of Nova’s costume even more evident. If someone startles Nova from behind, I can just see the scene – “NOVA!” “Wha…AUGH! MY EYE!!!”
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I love the nice manic energy Nic Klein often brings to his covers.

I absolutely love it.

Not always a fan of how he uses it (as I think this cover is a bit lackluster), but I love that he brings energy month in and month out.
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It appears that Michael Golden has been captured and replaced by an art-bot.

The layout, actually, is pretty nice strong, but the computerized effects just do not work for me at all.
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Nice Capital cover by David Mack.


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I am not feeling these Suydam Moon Knight covers.

They do not seem to be as nice evockative as I know Suydam can be with his work.

It’s just, like, “Here’s Moon Knight – just standing there.”

Greg Burgas helps me out with the following:

To be fair to Arthur Suydam, he’s homaging (is that a word?) old Moon Knight covers from the original series (the one from this month refers to Moon Knight 23, while the one from the next issue references Moon Knight 25), so perhaps you should blame Bill Sienkiewicz for the lackluster design of that cover.

Thanks for that, Greg, but I still think it is Suydam’s “fault,” because, like the Andrews’ homage above (and later on), there doesn’t seem to be a reason FOR the homage.

Not to mention the whole “Dude, quit it with the homages!” factor with Suydam.

That said, it’s an important point to note that the cover is an homage, so thanks for that, Greg!
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The cover layout by Bagley is quite nice sound, except his Thing appears to be out of proportion.

Is the Thing really THAT big?
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Darn that Frank Cho! I had a nice perfect opportunity to make a “mindless” joke about his cover, and he had to go and draw a completely acceptable/well-stylized cover!

Next time, Cho! Next time!!

EDITED TO ADD:

Actually, since it is apparently a mis-solicit, and the cover is by Bagley, things make more sense, don’t they?
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I like Leonard Kirk’s pencils, so I’ve been quite disappointed in how his Marvel Adventures: Avengers covers have turned out.

In fact, I think his covers are actually getting worse! His past covers I thought were a bit on the nice bland side, but this is not even bland, it just looks rushed.
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This Steve Scott cover isn’t nice great, but Scott is at least trying some different things.

It is appreciated!
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Nice Capable Gerald Parel cover.

He got the point across well.
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Bit of a nice disappointing John Watson cover for Moby Dick.

I don’t think the cover looks as ominous as I think he intended it to appear.
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A nice respectable Iliad cover by Paolo Rivera.

Hey, Jim, how does the bow look?
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Besides the curious use of invisible discs, this is a nice pleasant Tom Grummett cover.


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Nice Impressive introduction cover by Jim Muniz.

Would be definitely nice to see Colossus outside the X-Titles for awhile.
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Any Lord of Avalon readers out there?

Is the guy supposed to look this nice silly?

If so, then well done, Tommy Ohtsuka!
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A pretty nice striking Risso cover.

But

Finally armed with long-lost memories from his past, Wolverine returns to one of his first battlefields to settle an old score in an all-new adventure with a shocking revelation about the man known as Logan.

Isn’t that what Origins is supposed to be?
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A nice presentable cover by John Romita Jr.


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It’s interesting – the interiors of Kabuki are nice amazing, yet Mack’s covers for Kabuki often seem to be much less amazing.


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This McGuinness cover is just nice painful for my eyes.

What a garish cover.

And the white background only highlights it.

Ye-uch.
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A bit more of a nice laid-back cover approach by Art Adams, but it is still a fine cover.


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A nice fun Djurdjevic cover.


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A very nice efficient cover by Chris Eliopoulos.

Not as “out there” as some of his past efforts, but it still works.
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Fair enough cover by Bryan Hitch, but it seems a bit towards the nice unenergetic side, for two covers in a row now.

Which is odd, as I presume the interiors will be a lot more energetic.
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Kaare Andrews’ cover homages for this series have been continually nice flat.

There’s no humor here, there’s no irony – it’s just using the same format as old covers – I just don’t get it – Andrews is SOOO much more creative than this normally.

They’re still serviceable covers, though. He’s such a strong artist, he can still deliver a good cover even if it is not all that creative.
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Jae Lee does a nice sound piece of work in creating an evocative piece with his Dark Tower covers, even if they are, at their most basic, pin-up pieces.

It’s really quite remarkable on his part, to take these simple ideas and infuse them with enough personality for them to still work as mood pieces.
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Oh man!!

The Thing from Addams Family has gone rogue!!!

Nice Good work by Alan Davis in depicting this horrible turn of events.
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Ed McGunness does a much nicer stronger job on this Captain Marvel cover than his Hulk cover this week.

Love the shadows and the pose.
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A bit less nice impressive of a cover by Steve Epting.

The collage effect doesn’t seem to work as well here as it usually does for him.
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A like a lot of this Ariel Olivetti cover.

I think the idea for the cover was a nice smart one.

But come on, dude, you have to deal a LITTLE bit with proportions, don’t you?
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Dave Wilkins has a little of the same problem with his Black Panther cover.

The atmosphere of the cover is depicted nicely well, but the Panther himself looks like he’s been taking some of Roger Clemens’ special cocktails.
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This Steve Uy cover doesn’t look all that nice finished.


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Nice Standard enough cover by Staz Johnson.

It’s a bit of a thankless task, drawing covers like this.
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A nice compelling cover by Ron Frenz.

He’s really been impressing me on his Amazing Spider-Girl covers. It seems like on Spider-Girl, he had a different editorial edict. There, it seemed like the standard “pin-up” covers, which can get kinda boring when a guy has been doing the book for as long as Frenz has. Since the relaunch, though, his covers seem to be a lot more plot-driven, and it works quite well.
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Speaking of Ron Frenz, this new Spider-Man villain is a definite Ron Frenz Rule violator.

Otherwise, it’s a nice fair enough Phil Jimenez cover.
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This is a nice strange cover to release as a poster, as Marvel has done.

Spider-Man’s eyes are pretty freaky.
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I like this nice standard Phil Jimenez Spider-Man cover the best of his three covers this month.


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Ultron looks like he’s got the cyber-HGH.

Otherwise, nice good cover by Aleksi Briclot.


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Ah…Ron Lim, how I’ve missed your nice reliable competency!

EDITED TO ADD: Jordan White ruins my fun by pointing out that this cover is by Brett Booth.

Well, I am sure the Lim cover is competent!
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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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LET’S PLAY – CONNECT THE COVERS!!

First off, here’s a nice strong Djurdjevic Thor piece.

Which is then connected to another nice good Djurdjevic cover, this time, a moody piece with Daredevil in the rain.

This is then connected to this even nicer moodier Gerald Parel Iron Man cover, which depicts Iron Man, turned to the side ominously, in the rain…

Which connects to this nice ominous Tim Bradstreet cover of the PUNISHER turned to the side!

This connects to this other Punisher piece by Alex Maleev, which uses black, white and red very nicely effectively.

GAME OVER!

Back to Honorable Mentions!!
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Nice Impressive use of collage by Jimmy Cheung.


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Nice Striking Paolo Rivera cover.

The bullet hitting Cap’s shield seems a bit off, though, doesn’t it? Like it was an afterthought.
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Nice Old-fashioned (in a good way) cover by Art Adams.


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Nice Compelling layout by Ferry.


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A nice beautiful cover by Claire Wendling.

This pretty much defines her wheelhouse.
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If you want to evoke mood, there are few better artists than Sean Phillips.

A nice great cover.
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What a nice wonderful piece of Spider-Man art this Tony Harris cover is.


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Harris’ Spider-Man cover is probably a bit nicer better, but I put Sean Murphy’s cover ahead of his only because of their respective positions in the comic industry.

Harris, we expect good things from – Murphy, I don’t think people are as familiar with (although I believe I’ve done a whole “This Artist Is Good” on him in the past).

MARVEL-ADVSM037.jpg

This is a really strong Spider-Man drawing. The personality and energy Murphy put into this drawing is remarkable for an artist who has not drawn the character that often.

However, end of the day, it’s still a bit on the “pin-up” side, so I don’t have it in the top five.
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TOP FIVE
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5. A few things that I particularly liked about this nice robust Djurdjevic cover

1. It follows my personal “Show the people right BEFORE they fight” preference for covers

2. While not being overly detailed, it is detailed enough that we can grasp what the people in the background are doing

3. Lara Croft appears to be in it, which makes me laugh.


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4. Cary Nord uses negative space here to nice great effect.


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3. I think this is the nicest best cover I’ve seen from Joe Madureira in…hmmm…could it possibly be EVER?

Someone find me a nicer Joe Madureira cover than this one!
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2. Sometimes you get the bull, and sometimes the bull gets you.

And sometimes Greg Horn comes up with a really nice clever and well-executed cover.


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1. Can Cassaday do these types of nice propaganda covers in his sleep?

Perhaps.

But damned if he does not do it nearly perfectly.

Great cover.
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That’s it! Feel free to share your prejudices (and YOUR top five!)!

47 Comments

X-Men Legacy 209: Something about it keeps reminding me of the Jim Lee/Rob Liefeld stuff. Did Finch come from their camp?

Damage Control 3: Dude has one helluva rear shoulder developlent to hold up that much weight at that angle!

Mighty Avengers 10: Thing is one of those characters who’s size varies in accordance with the artist’s need. Kinda like the Hulk. And no, he is not that big.

Might Avengers 11: Note that the black thingies are holding Ms. Marvel’s legs open….

Dorian Grey #?: The painting’s head is all squished down. It’s getting older, not deflating.

Kick-Ass #2: Dude looks like his bones are made of rubber. Of course, if it’s the same guy we say getting punched last month, his bones probably aren’t functional anymore!

War Journal #17: NICE!!!

War is Hell #1: Agreed. Best cover of the month from Marvel.

I believe that Mighty Avengers cover was done by Bagley.

Nice — er, enjoyable — analysis, as always.

That 1st post wasn’t annonymous! The new computer I have at work didn’t have my info in it yet.

To be fair to Arthur Suydam, he’s homaging (is that a word?) old Moon Knight covers from the original series (the one from this month refers to Moon Knight 23, while the one from the next issue references Moon Knight 25), so perhaps you should blame Bill Sienkiewicz for the lackluster design of that cover.

Tom Breevort said on his blog that the old versions of the character are in fact drawn by Cheung in the style of those artists. Which is pretty nice, er, good!

Now that we know it’s by “avengers63,” does that really make it any less anonymous?

Re: the Kaare Andrews cover for THE TWELVE:

I think I see something on Andrews’ signature on the back – I presume it’s mentioning the cover artist he’s aping here, which is fair enough.

James Bama painted the covers for the Bantam’s Doc Savage reprints from the 1960s and 70s, and when I strain my eyes, I can just make out “Props to Bama” on the Andrews cover. So, yeah.

Jack Fear: Yea, yea, yea…. smartass. ;)

Why is Batman on the Captain Marvel cover?

On the WWH: Aftersmash Warbound (hell of long title, dude), I reckon he’s punching through the head of Korg, the big rock guy.

Why he’s punching through his own team-mate’s head? I guess that’s supposed to be the draw to read the thing…

My favorite cover this month is probably Mythos: Captain America, if only for Hitler’s reflection (and the shape of Cap’s head).

Is that El Aguila on the cover of Marvel Atlas!?!? Bueno!

I can’t be the only one who saw the arm on Avengers: The Initiative #11 and thought “that guy has a penis for an arm,” right?

I am really looking forward to Brian’s upcoming creator-owned, fan-tempered title, STRIKETHROUGH: NICETURI. Apparently, it’s a one-shot.

On the WWH: Aftersmash Warbound (hell of long title, dude), I reckon he’s punching through the head of Korg, the big rock guy.

Why he’s punching through his own team-mate’s head? I guess that’s supposed to be the draw to read the thing…

If that was clear, then yeah, that’d be fine, but I don’t think it is clear, which is my problem.

I think everyone’s said everything I thought of already – except…

Captain America: Mythos could be the most fantastic cover there. It’s Cap punching Hitler! Again!

Yeah, no way is that Cho. It’s gotta be Bagley.

Nova = Heath Ledger

Actually, that Anita Blake cover is Brett Booth. That’s the Variant.

Sadly, it seems that most of the comic covers of late have fallen into the “pin-up” category. There’s nothing compelling about the cover itself (“Look! It’s Iron Man! In the RAIN! Will he rust?”) except that a super hero is on it.

And computerized covers just seem…sad. Michael Golden used to be a terrific artist. Michael “Photoshop” Golden isn’t nearly as compelling.

The Joe Mad cover rocks. You’re right, it’s probably among the best of his best. The Cary Nord cover rocks. That Avengers/Fairy Tale cover is gorgeous.

I didn’t have the love for the Spider-Man covers that you did. Pin-ups, just about every one of ‘em. (Not saying that the cover artwork wasn’t frequently good; just that the covers failed to offer much beyond Spider-Man…using his web! Zzzzzzz.)

What was up with all the “nice” strikthroughs? It got a bit annoying after a bit. Anyways I have to say that the Nory and Land covers are really good.

Just a minor correction, the Ultimate FF cover is by Land not Ferry, it says his name in the bottom right cover. Also did you skip the New Avengers cover?

Uncanny X-Men #496: They’re awfully…pretty…aren’t they? And why is Nightcrawler dressed as Doctor Who (the most recent version, played by David Tennant)?

X-Force #2: Very interesting contrast with Rahne on that cover…I’ll allow myself a faint flicker of hope for the series.

Damage Control: Isn’t Goliath dead?

I like the juxtaposition of the Dorian Gray cover on top of Moby Dick cover — it looks like the same guy with two right arms.

Why do the Fantastic Four have priest collars now?

FINALLY!

Thanks Brian.

You can be forgiven for mistaking Booth’s Anita Blake piece for Ron Lim work – Lim’s been “emulating” Booth on that book’s covers lately anyway.

And I think you’re too harsh on Joe Mad – he’s drawn plenty of eye-catching, effective covers!

I gotta say I don’t have a problem with that McGuinness Hulk cover. Looks fine to me…

WWH: Aftersmash – I don’t read it, or know what it’s about, but I thought he was punching through the Thing’s head.

Kick-Ass 2 – I think we’re looking at the guy who did the punching last month. Twist!

And yeah, Finch did get his start at Image, under Silvestri’s Top Cow imprint.

Daniel O' Dreams

February 4, 2008 at 7:20 pm

A crotch centric Moby Dick cover? Uhmmm…

I also thought Goliath (is it too UnPC to call him Black Goliath these days?) was dead. Whuhappin?

And only one mysterious hand cover don’t they know they are all the rage at DC?

This is the nephew of the original Goliath.

And I think you’re too harsh on Joe Mad – he’s drawn plenty of eye-catching, effective covers!

Hey, I asked for other covers if you can think of better ones! :)

Mister Cronin, you crack me up. The strikethrough has never been used to better effect. Kudos.

Now, on these Jimmy Cheung covers, is he just aping the styles of the past artists for the background stuff?

Unless Cheung became the new J.H. Williams III or Stuart Immonen when no one was looking, those backgrounds are definitely collages of other artists’ work.

@ Ian.

No, he redrew them all himself. There’s a post about it in Tom Brevoort’s blog.

Tom Breevort said on his blog that the old versions of the character are in fact drawn by Cheung in the style of those artists. Which is pretty nice, er, good!

Seriously? Holy crap! Cheung is amazing, then.

Mister Cronin, you crack me up. The strikethrough has never been used to better effect. Kudos.

I aims to please. ;)

What was up with all the “nice” strikthroughs? It got a bit annoying after a bit.

Just goes to show that there’ll always be someone to complain.

Wow, Greg Land. I never thought I’d see Thanos pornface. Well, I hoped I wouldn’t, anyway.

Speaking of porn, I can hardly tell She-Hulk’s boobs from her knees up there. And wow, I really did not need a Captain Ahab crotch shot.

On T-Bolts.

That’s not Laura croft. Clearly Ellis is aping suicide squad further. That must be Duchess.

Nice comments. :-)

This post was actually a very Warholian experience, I think, in that the idea– for example, Warhol making an eight hour film of the Empire State Building or a man sleeping– is unfortunately more amusing as an idea than in execution– i.e., watching the Empire State Building (or a man sleeping) for eight hours.

Similiarly, I think I’m going to enjoy telling people about this “nice” post more than I enjoyed seeing the striked-through nice again and again– though I must say that the comments themselves were enjoyed thoroughly. I think aspiring cover artists should read through a few of these posts as you do make a number of very salient points about cover design.

except his Thing appears to be out of proportion.

35 comments and not one “Yeah, I get that a lot, too.” or “That’s what she said!”?

For shame.

Had no idea about that Logan series. Risso on Wolvering Origins, Vol. Who Gives A Damn Anymore? So… very… conflicted…

I was just about to comment on his Thing being out of proportion before I read that. Consarn it.

A couple of minor points on spelling and grammar (I didn’t look for them, but they jumped out at me):

1. “Andrews’signature” – When using the possessive for a plural ending with an “s”, you simply add the apostrophe. However, if it is a singular, you add the apostrophe and another “s”, and pronounce it appropriately.

2. Evocative has no “k”.

I can only get away with being such an asshole because this is the internet. If I did this to my friends, I wouldn’t have any. ;-)

Nice to see a reasonable Sentry cover, though I prefer him not to be horribly overmuscled. I don’t know why they changed the lightning-bolt cape fixers, either.

The Kabuki image is by Alex Ross, a variant cover from Kabuki: Skin Deep. I agree with your assessment of those nice Kabuki covers, however; they’re usually nice, but can look a little nice sometimes.

- Nord and Cassaday are artistically my top two
– Mythos: Captain America, look at those faces! Pretty captivating
– I really like the “Byrne meets Silvestri” vibe Finch has been giving me lately
– Art Adams will generally draw the hell out of anything, but that Herc cover really impresses me. That fight scene can only be described as titanic
- Cyber HGH? I think the only HGH here has been spread between Cable and Panther. Not that I don’t love their proportions on the covers

Steve Mcniven did the Last Defenders cover…also I think those Kabuki covers for Reflections are supposed to be more coherent and standard like a magazine cover, to show the difference between it and the normal sequential Kabuki book…as it’s a collection of random stuff all packaged in one place.

One other thing, this column is a great idea-enjoyable read, but with the amount of negativity you spout in almost every cover review, I think you should back up your opinions with a lil’ more deconstruction on them…or at the very least point out some of the obvious good in the covers you attack (if there is any good of course), cuz by the end of this article you got a bit annoying…but I would like to read more of these…just a thought, since I did agree with most of your opinions…it’d just make the read flow better (imho).

RE: Spidergirl covers. Wow! Imagine that. Covers that tell you something about the story rather than pin up after pin up after boring f-ing pin up. The only time you see covers that have anything to do with the story is when A) Wolverine is guest starring or B) when Punisher is guest starring.

What is the “Ron Frenz Rule”?

Poor month, imo.

Top Five

5 Iron Man 27 – but only because I love Gerard Parel – this is fairly average for him.

4 Avengers Fairy Tales 1 – not that it’s such a great cover, just that it’s different and this month’s pile of covers are so-so

3 Powers 30 – what can I say? I like minimalist portraiture

2 X-Men First Class 10 – very nice Cyclops portrait(which doesn’t happen very often), love the curve of the beam

1 Ms Marvel 25 – made me smile, stands out in an otherwise mediocre month.

Mobelius Rodelius

February 7, 2008 at 10:29 am

Avengers Classic is the best cover of the month by a huge margin. Did it not rank higher because it’s on a reprint book? Or is it because Art Adams is so consistently amazing that it you start expecting it? Kind of like building a tolerance to heroin.

“Do you think they’ll reduce Kitty’s breasts for the final cover?”
They’ve released the final cover art as an ad in a couple Marvel books this week, and they did indeed reduce Kitty’s breasts in it. They also added in the mask.

I have known Steve Scott for twelve years, he’s one of my best friends so I’ll cop to being partial.
With regard to the Marvel Adventures Hulk cover, he was going for a simpler sort of retro seventies feel. Steve was really excited to be doing a Hulk Vs. Samson story. It pulled him right back to his days as a kid reading them off the “spinny rack” and at one point he had hoped to get John Severin to ink it ( since it was Severin inking over Trimpe for their original clash in the desert ) but it didn’t happen. The splash is Samson is winding up getting ready to wail on the Hulk as he sails in from the right. I have it tacked to the bullitin board in my studio.
Keep an eye out ’cause he’s pencilling the next Indiana Jones mini for Dark horse and the pages look great!!
…………………….Karl

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