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CSBG Archive

Judging (Marvel’s April) Books By Their Covers

Marvel’s April solicits have been up for so long that May is coming up, well, now, so let’s hurry and 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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Wow, Dave Finch is drawing a pretty damn big cover series here!

Is it going to last 12 issues?

That’d be remarkable.

Seeing the Hellfire guards that Wolverine killed reminds me – I think it was pretty clever of Claremont to bring them back as the Reavers. That’s the sort of continuity I dig – it was a nice touch for those people who remembered them, and totally unnecessary knowledge for any who didn’t remember them.
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ASS SHOT BATTLE!!

Ron Garney takes a commanding lead with this stylized cover featuring Mystique’s ass.

It’s not just me, Ron Garney has changed his style, right? It’s more similar to when he was doing Ghost Rider, as compared to the style he used on Amazing Spider-Man (and Captain America and the Justice League).

Ariel Olivetti cannot counter, with this cover, although impressively, his Cable appears to feature fairly normal proportions, which is nice.

And Bishop does look kinda cool, even if the whole “Bishop as a bad guy” riff is lame.

WINNER – GARNEY!!!
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You’ve lost me, Clayton Crain – that does not look like Wolfsbane at all.

Unless, of course, it is a brand new alien character, in which case, my apologies, Clayton Crain.
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I love how everyone is always so ROUND on a Terry Dodson cover.

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I agree with Greg’s comments on this cover – nifty idea, not so nifty execution.

Mike Choi is way too talented of an artist for his work to always be so computerized. The whole “everything looks shiny” deal is not a good look.
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Brandon Peterson sometimes has a similar problem with computers, but for the most part, I think he avoids any issues with this cover.

It’s a nice split cover – the various images flow well.
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I love how Wolverine is almost positioned as though to say “no, Land! She’s a kid! No ass shot!”

That’s an awesome looking Colossus by Land.
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Decent Iron Man poster by Land, if a bit too “by the books.”


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I’m glad they managed to repurpose this Yu promotional piece for Secret Invasion.

It’s a strong piece of artwork. Definitely captures the reader’s eye.
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I’m not feeling these Kick Ass covers.

Hopefully the interiors will be more interesting!
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I bet the interiors of this Punisher issue will be cool, but the cover by Bradstreet is a bit too on the low key side.


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Come on, Kaare Andrews! You gotta give me something more than just some interesting folks on the sidebar!


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While he still seems to be overdoing it a bit with the computer effects, this is a much stronger Michael Golden cover than last time around.

Heck, the computer stuff actually probably HELPS this cover, which is nice to see.
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Is Sage wearing a pasty on this Alan Davis cover?

Besides that unsettling thought, nice cover by Davis.
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Interesting take on the X-Men by Carlo Pagulayan – it seems like somewhat of a change for him, style-wise.

Reminds me of Tom Raney.
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You know, we’ve already gone past the point of when a “Wolverine and Deadpool should quit acting like Maddie and David and just go for it – this sexual tension is driving me nuts!” joke would be a working reference.

But how long before a “Sam and Diane” reference ALSO stops working?

Will it ever?

Or will “Sam and Diane” endure a la Honeymooners and I Love Lucy?
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It’s striking the amount of Wolverine covers recently that involve him appearing lackadaisical about some pretty crazy crap.

“Yep, I’m just chilling in a pile of skulls and bloody water. S’up with you?”

Otherwise, a good Risso cover.
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Your aping skills are the greatest, Jimmy Cheung!

I applaud you!

This cover reminds me of how impressed I am by the interview shtick in The Order. When you repeat almost anything, it will eventually get boring, like these Cheung covers (all on their own are quite lovely covers, featuring excellent aping of old artists, but month after month of the same basic cover, it gets old) – and yet I don’t think the interview shtick HAS gotten old.

Cheers, Matt Fraction!!
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I’m less impressed with this Cheung cover for the Warbound.

What is going on on this cover exactly?

Are they sliding down the hill? Are they backing up the hill?

Some of them look like they’re advancing, some look like they’re pulling back and some (the Brood one) don’t look like either!


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I like the idea of mixing a classic Thor pose with the modern day phone lines in the background.

CLEVER, DJURDJEVIC! CLEVER!!

I see Zircher is drawing this. Hopefully he’s busting out his Terror Inc. style to explode people’s brains with his newfound awesomeness (not that he wasn’t a good artist before, but now he’s awesomerageous).
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I like this Kaare Andrews cover for the Twelve. It’s a good step up from last month.

It is a veryfine-logo.gif cover.
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Goodbye, the Order!

I will miss you!

And it’s a pretty decent cover to send them out on!
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Eddy Barrows, take heed! Mike Deodato is on the ball! He’ll tell you how to work ass shots into covers!

Knowing Barrows, he’d probably have her, like, facing forward or having a piece of debris covering her ass.

That hack.
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Deodato further puts Barrows to shame by working in an ass shot even as She-Hulk is facing forwards!!!!

Pure genius.

Deodato tries to draw away from the genius by doing a very clever piece of working the logo into the cover, but he’s just being modest.
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Fine old fashioned cover by Gurihiru.

Perhaps not veryfine-logo.gif, but still, a fine cover!
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Next to sharp protrusions from his shoulders, the one other thing Nova has always needed is a surfboard shaped like his helmet logo.

Kudos, Alex Maleev, kudos.

Seriously, cool cover by Maleev.
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I’d like to view this cover as Night Thrasher having a nightmare about how garish the New Warriors look.

That said, this is a strong Nic Klein cover. Really gets the point of the divide between Thrasher and the group across.
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Homage or not, this Suydam Moon Knight cover works a lot better than last month’s.

Eminently, effectively and appropriately moody!
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Greg Horn impresses me yet again!

This is a good Ms. Marvel cover.

I especially like the use of lighting. Impressive stuff.
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Okay, let me just get this out of the way…

If this is what Marvel’s going to do for their Secret Invasion covers, then I am just going to be so irked.

Really?

MORE homage covers?

We just saw Arthur Suydam run the concept into the ground, then run it about twenty feet below the ground, and now we’re going to do it AGAIN, only with Skrulls instead of Zombies?

I cry foul.

FOUL, I CRY!!!

Homage covers work when they’re unique and surprising, not when they are rote and predictable.
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Nice to see Leonard Kirk spice things up a bit on this Marvel Adventures: Avengers cover.

A strong improvement over the sorta boring pin-up covers he had been doing.


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Francis Tsai’s perspective is totally dead on.

He’s correct.

That is how it would look.

Still looks weird to me! :)

Sorry, Francis!!!
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You know I dig me some Sean Murphy artwork, but come on, that Juggernaut is just waaaaaaay too skinny.

It throws off the entire cover.
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I bust artists sometimes for when they make the Thing look different, and I don’t mean to infer that I think every artist should slavishly copy Kirby, I just think that, if they’re going to make a change, make it look cool – some of the tiny head Thing drawings were not cool looking.

Graham Nolan’s more monstrous looking Thing, on the other hand, looks cool to me, so I’m good with it.
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Is this cover Ron Lim?!!?

If so, wow, Bob Layton is a freaking inking master!

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I absolutely adore this drawing by Gerald Parel, but comic book covers are not the place for esoteric ideas.

You have to appeal to the quick glance, and this cover doesn’t do that.
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I love the idea of getting John Romita Jr. to do a cover when the guest-star is an Eternal.

Cool cover.
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Clever Djurdjevic cover.

He IS trying to evoke angel wings on this cover, right?

Because if he isn’t, then I take back my compliment!
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A brilliant use of negative space by Kaare Andrews.

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An instance where the lack of red colored blood really hurts a cover.

It’s like they’re leaking oil.
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Very forceful and efficient cover by Djurdjevic.


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See?

Now this is a clever cover homage.

Alan Davis homages himself, only works in an unforeseen element to the familiar Excalibur cover, Forrest Gump style.

That’s cute.

It’s not “Zombies/Skrulls redo every notable Marvel cover ever.”
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Interesting Steve Uy cover.

Definite step up from last month’s!
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Come on, Alan Davis, give the lady a chair!

Wakanda is this super awesome country, but they can’t even get a chair for their queen?
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I love that Art Adams embraced his inner Ditko (do note that inner Ditkos prefer to be left alone normally) with the Spider-Men on this cover.

Nice cover.
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As you may very well know by now, I loves me the “slow walk.”

So yeah, I dig this Aleksi Briclot cover!

This is my current favorite “slow walk” in comics, though!

dcnfwork.jpg
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Great character work by Tony Harris.


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The negative space really accentuates the action on this Ron Frenz cover.


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This is possibly the greatest comic book title ever – Spider-Man (Iron Man/Hulk) Magazine!

Now if only there was a Spider-Man (Iron Man/Hulk/Thor…plus Captain America/Wolverine/Storm/Ant-Man….with Thing/Deadpool/Namor…featuring Gambit/Rogue/Banshee….introducing Cyclops as Colossus) Magazine, then the discussion would be moot.

Title silliness aside, that’s some of the strongest Clayton Henry work I’ve seen. Good job, Mr. Henry!
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Impressive David Williams cover.

I want to see more David Williams covers!!
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Joe Madureira follows up his impressive showing last month with a sweet gatefold cover.


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It’s like the Three Stooges.

Apocalypse is telling these two numbskulls that he’ll have to moider them..
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Greatest Omega Red cover ever?

Dubious distinction, Stuart Immonen, but it’s A distinction!!!
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Dude, she’s not your Gann Josin! Let her go!

Seriously, fine drawing by Tommy Ohtsuka of…well…whatever this is supposed to be.
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My goodness! This time, I know this IS Ron Lim, and yet it still looks like Brett Booth!

ABLKVAMG010.jpg

That’s some fine quality aping right there!
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I really like this Paolo Rivera cover.

It gets across the times quite well.
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Gerald Parel’s facial expressions for the win!!!

How awesome is that look?!!?
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An imposing cover by John Watson.


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Sean Phillips keeps up his moody, evocative Criminal covers.


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I’m very impressed with how Jae Lee laid this cover out.

Impressive design work.
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HONORABLE MENTIONS!
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Very nice moody piece by Cary Nord.

The use of the darkness is impressive, as well.
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Imposing Gabriele Dell’Otto cover.

That’s a badass looking Thing.
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Really cute Leonard Kirk cover.

Love the expressiveness of Kitty.
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Is this seriously Maleev?

Wow.

Not that his normal style isn’t amazing, but it is staggering to me that he could do such a different art style (Djurdjevic-esque) and have it still look good.

Best cover to feature Jigsaw on it?
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Thank you, Warren Ellis!

Can you imagine Machine Man starring on the cover of an anthology BEFORE Nextwave?

Great Brandon Peterson cover – the character really fits with Peterson’s computerized style.
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I think Djurdjevic should trademark that cover pose.

But consarnit, it is effective as all get out!!!
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Boy, Fabry sure is good at drawing unsettlingly bizarre looking people, isn’t he?


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Great idea for a cover, and Gary Panter executes the idea beautifully.


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TOP FIVE!!
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5. Jackson Guice’s first cover for Captain America, and he’s definitely mixing the style up, and it really works well.

An action piece, but a stylized one.
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4. This Bachalo piece would be higher, if it weren’t for the fact that the idea’s been done a few times in the past.

But rarely as effectively as Bachalo does here.
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3. Skottie Young is one of those cover artists where you really just can’t wait until you see what he’s drawing next, he’s that impressive.

The manic nature of a man made out of bees is perfect for Young’s style, and the negative space works wonders for him here.
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2. This cover disgusts me…

but this cover is awesome!!

Seriously, this McGuinness cover would be great if it was only one of them, together, it is a brilliant idea.

HULK004_501.jpgHULk0041.jpg

How come these things never seem to match up when you place them side by side?

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1. I absolutely adore this cover piece by Bachalo.

Intricate, striking, it is just a stunning piece of artwork (even if it slightly goes against my whole “I don’t like it when covers show commenced fights” thing, as it only SLIGHTLY goes against it, and really is more of a “this fight is about to REALLY become a fight” drawing).

Well done, Bachalo! TWO covers in my top five!!!
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That’s it for this month! Feel free to share your prejudices (and YOUR top five!)!

42 Comments

I’ll grant you, modern day Ron Lim has a tendency to be sub-par, but I will defend pre-oh, let’s say 91 or so Ron Lim with my dying breath. Pre-Gauntlet, anyway.

How is Panter’s Omega cover not in the top five?!

A billion times better than McGuinness’, Young’s, or Bachalo’s.

And I think the Kick-Ass covers are great. If you think it’s no big deal to see a young, unarmed person get hit in the face with a nightstick, the cover has made it’s point.

It’s kind of elegant, actually.

Who does Josh Brolin play in Captain America?

A billion times better than McGuinness’, Young’s, or Bachalo’s.

Unsurprisingly, I disagree.

Panter’s cover IS quite good, though! I had it as basically a toss-up between that and the Cap cover for the #5 spot.

I’ll grant you, modern day Ron Lim has a tendency to be sub-par, but I will defend pre-oh, let’s say 91 or so Ron Lim with my dying breath. Pre-Gauntlet, anyway.

My Layton/Lim comment was less of a shot at Lim as it was a “Wow, Layton really makes things he inks look like he drew them.”

Looking at that cover, it looks like a total Layton piece to me, but according to the solicit, it was penciled by Lim! That’s impressive to me.

And I think the Kick-Ass covers are great. If you think it’s no big deal to see a young, unarmed person get hit in the face with a nightstick, the cover has made it’s point.

It’s kind of elegant, actually.

As I mentioned for the Parel Iron Man cover, esoterism really does not have much of a place on comic book covers.

Well, that all depends on what kind of audience you’re going for. Certain people are captivated by action, and others are captivated by concept.

I liked the Iron Man cover, too.

Fair enough.

I think covers should be aiming for as wide of an audience as possible, but it’s fair enough to note that my view of what covers should be trying to do is not necessarily “the” view.

I think “Iron Man: Legacy Of Doom” is an homage to Iron Man 150…

Yup, it is.

J.

Right, J, but that’s still Ron Lim’s art there, right? Looking all Layton-y?

Panter for the win.

Hell, whoever thought up the idea of Panter working on a Marvel book for the win as well.

Another average to poor month cover wise. Thankly, I’ve just seen May’s covers and they rock!

Anyway, my top five, fwiw

5 X-Factor – Glenn Fabry is a bit of an acquired taste but this is weird enough to appeal.

4 Uncanny X-Men – yes, maybe the idea doesn’t quite work, but in a poor month, an amusing cover by the amazing Mike Choi still makes the cut.

3 Ms Marvel 26 – when Greg Horn tears himself away from just the T&A he is a serious proposition.

2 The Twelve 4 – Does this remind anyone else of the Days of Future Past cover? Anyway, it’s neat and I love the idea of this Laughing Mask guy.

1 Picture of Dorian Gray 5 – How come the best cover of the month isn’t anything to do with superheroes but based on an Oscar Wilde novel? Oh, Gerard Parel, that smile. I think I love you.

Given the end of X-Forc #1, maybe something happened to Rahne that makes her look like that.

I like that Iron man cover (#28, the close-up on the eye). I’m not an Iron Man fan, but the arresting nature of the image would probably get me to take a shot on the book.

I disagree that a comicbook cover has to feature some level of action, or even movement, in order to be effective. I think an eye-catching composition, an intriguing/interesting central concept and a mastery of a given illustrative technique (pen&ink, paints, CGI…) are more likely to entice a reader to take a chance on a book. After all, that’s the point, right?To get new readers? You’ve already hooked your main audience just by being there. I can’t imagine a long-time Batman fan saying to himself, “Well, I’ve bought every issue of ‘Detective Comics’ for the last thirty years, but this cover…JEEZ! What a piece of crap! Time to break the habit!”

Speaking of pieces of crap, is that Fantastic Four cover by Bryan Hitch? It’s RUBBISH! Not just because of the lack of red blood as suggested, but because it’s a really crappy drawing! How much does Hitch get paid again?

Terry Dodson cover: I csn’t get hung up on if the characters are rounded off a bit. Not when Cyke is shooting eye beams out of his ears!

Uncanny X-Men: Are you kiddin’ me? That’s a GREAT cover! Hippie Angel, flower child blond (Emma?), and mod Cyke. The logo style was nailed as well. Fantactic cover.

Punisher 56: Bradstreet has had so man great covers, I’d give him a pass. This may be kinda low-key, but it’s still well executed. Very consistent artist.

New Exiles 4: Mike Golden was SOOOOO much better when he drew on paper. This just isn’t him.

New Exiles 5: They’re not pasties, they’re the norse-styled boob-armor thingies. She’s just missing the leathers underneath. On a related note, it would appear that Kitty had her hooties sanded completely off!

Conquest 6: Yea, that “You’re gettin’ your ass kickes, now” walk is quite effective.

Spider-Girl 19: I’m so glad Frenz quit trying to draw like Kirby. I really hatede him in the 90’s.

PWJ 18: Cool! I’ve never seen Jigsaw actually look creepy before. Very nice.

Not unsurprisingly, I prefer the Bishop assshot to the Mystique one.

Although I enjoyed your comment about Wolverine hiding Pixie’s behind in the Land poster, the main thing that poster leaves me with is that Emma is teasing the straight male fans with the possibility that her breasts are going to pop right out of her top (and she knows it).

I’d rather look at the background with classic Vision than the teen version on that “Young Avengers” cover. He was my 4th favorite Marvel character and the young version kills my hope of getting the real Vision some nice day (or even a storymy one, I don’t care!)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but during that Punisher storyline, isn’t Castle up against 8 soldiers (and only six shown)?

Given the end of X-Force #1, maybe something happened to Rahne that makes her look like that.

What, did she run into Batman and steal his cowl?

Yeah, Skottie Young! Way to make even the Swarm look badass. =)

Agreed on that FF cover’s poor coloring choice.

“Nooo! They’ve sprung a leak!”

The Thing on that Ultimate FF cover looks a lot like Sharon Ventura to me.

I do look forward to the Zombie Skrull version of it, however.

I’m not sure how strictly the term “homage” should be defined, but the Layton/Lim cover does remind me a lot of the Layton/J.R.Jr. cover for IIM 150:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bmward1/2249064331/sizes/l/

Since my original introduction to Layton was his work with John Romita Jr. on Iron Man, it shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve always found his inks more impressive than his pencils. It was both Layton and Terry Austin who really taught me how important it was to pair pencillers and inkers to compliment each other, but Bob Layton was definitely the first name I ever learned to really respect as an inker.

What’s going on with Sebastian Shaw’s face in the Legacy cover??? It’s almost as odd as that face-front ass shot of the She-Hulk – wow, that’s crappy!

re Hulk Cover(s)

How come these things never seem to match up when you place them side by side?

Because your 2 graphics aren’t sized right.
The 2 halves form a whole that was used as a promo/christmas card give away in Decemeber:

http://img87.imageshack.us/my.php?image=9e321zj3.jpg

re: Ron Lim – Layton’s one of those Inkers, especialy on Iron Man, who really puts his stamp on the art.
Lim, unfortunately, is one of those pencilers who’s heavily at the mercy of his artists, as his frequent, unfortunate pairing with Al Milgrim shows.

Wow. Tony Harris gave Jameson a penis-nose. Colour me impressed.

Gary Panter. Dang. Is he doing interiors, too?

I’m still not sure if I’m allowed to buy Omega now.

You’re sure missing out, MA. Omega’s really hitting it’s stride.

Yes, Panter is doing the interiors as well. I expect what few average Marvel fans are reading this will completely explode.

Whoa, we get interiors by Panter, too?

Hallelujah!

That Jackson Guice Captain America cover would have to be my number one. I love how he uses the colors in the shield. Like Brian said, it’s action oriented, but highly stylized.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but during that Punisher storyline, isn’t Castle up against 8 soldiers (and only six shown)?”

I believe he’s going to be going up against the 8 US Generals who sent him on his mission in the Mother Russia arc. Those would be the soldiers they’re sending after him, though I could see there being more than the 6 pictured.

Speaking of the Punisher and cover homages, the War Journal cover looks like an homage to Punisher #55

http://image.milehighcomics.com/istore/images/fullsize/65894733778.55.GIF

The concept behind the Kick-Ass covers might work better for me if JR, Jr. weren’t so solidly established (and so genre-stylized) a superhero artist. I see the cover and get the basic idea, but the stylization and the artist association keep the violence from seeming visceral and the apparent ages of the character pictured from registering immediately. And for the shock effect to work, it’d need to register on sight.

That’s fair enough, Omar.

That Anita Blake cover irritates me every time I see it. Apparently he’s upset over having blood carefully poured over his shoulders. Granted, that would be upsetting.

And the Thing on the oily FF cover creeps me out. Both the teeth and the eyes are just… wrong.

I love the Ultimate Human cover. Hulk looks really menacing there. Impressive!

Bachalo’s Spidey-in-Snow cover is absolutely gorgeous. But number one pick for the the ASM #555 cover? I don’t know – is it actually finished?

Yeah, Hitch’s face for The Thing is not quite right. An example of a character for whom the faux-torealism doesn’t quite work.

That cover for Kick-Ass is actually interior art from the first issue, so I doubt that’s what the cover will actually look like.

Incidentally, I’m loving Apodaca’s ‘faux-torealism’ phrase. Seems like the perfect way to describe Hitch’s art, nicely done.

I love the Cary Nord/Ultimate Human cover. Deserves MY Top 5.

Also love how an artist can paint only half a cover and be praised for the use of “white space”. Cool.

Jebus Maria and Josef, that Glenn Fabry cover towards the end (X-FACTOR I believe)……..that…….

THAT’S ARCADE!!!!!!! :-O

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