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CSBG Archive

Judging (DC’s May) Books By Their Covers

DC’s May solicits have been up for so long that June’s are almost upon us, so let’s 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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I dig the facial work that Ross does on this Superman cover – a little more fluid.

That said, as far as homages go, this is pretty silly.

If the image was not so burned in our brains, would this cover make any sense at all? I mean, even as an homage, it really doesn’t seem too clever.

Unless, say, Superman’s powers are out of control in the issue, and this symbolizes that – if that’s the case, then you win, Ross!!!
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Nice equal opportunity cover by Drew Johnson – if Supergirl can have ass shots, so can weird cyborgs!!

That’s not to say Johnson has ever done a Supergirl ass shot cover, as I don’t believe he has.
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Nice, straightforward Robin cover by Freddie Williams III.

It’s interesting – if it is not Stephanie, do you think it’ll be some OTHER established character? There’s not many out there, but maybe someone from Dixon’s first run?
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Interesting texture to Morales’ art on this Nightwing cover – reminds me a bit like modern Chaykin.


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Harley Quinn or Montoya – who’s the coolest character from the Bat cartoon?

And where does Lock-Up rank as the lamest?

Fair Calafiore cover.
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Wow, Dini is quite the ‘shipper, isn’t he?

Nice Nguyen cover.
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Pretty random cover arrangement by Yoshinori Natsume for this Batman: Death Mask cover.


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I have to give a lot of credit to Sal Amendola – this cover looks like it could have been done today, and it’s from two decades ago!


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Interesting Dougie Braithwaite cover for Batman and the Outsiders.

I’d like to think they’re making goofy faces at Metamorpho rather than dying – it is more amusing to me.
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Not exactly the subtlest of points, eh?

This is how I picture Ross when given the assignment for this Batman cover:

“Hard…to…convey….yoo-man emotions.”
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This can’t be the final cover for All Star Superman, can it?

If so, it’s not a BAD cover, but I expect a lot more from Frank Quitely.
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Okay cover concept by Shane Davis for Superman/Batman.

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I think Aaron Lopresti is on to something!

In every panel, have Wonder Woman have her bracelets obscure most of the panel – less time for drawing!!

Seriously, peachy cover by Lopresti.
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Second cover in a row by Kerschl that, while extremely well drawn (as usual for Kerschl), doesn’t work for me as a cover theme the same way that the first few Teen Titans Year One covers did.


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At least Kerschl’s cover works as a pin-up – this Eddy Barrows’ Teen Titans cover looks like it is an enlarged panel.

In fact, it is practically a duplication of the actual last page of a recent issue of Teen Titans.
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I gotta say, I’m impressed with the personality Joe Benitez put into the faces on this Titans cover.

Look at that Flash, in particular – it’s a far cry from the Silvestri/Lee style Benitez has used for years.
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That is, in fact, a shot of Batman standing behind some other guy.

Is that really it, Carlos Pacheco?

They’re well drawn, of course (as Pacheco

So yeah, not a fan of this Tangent: Superman’s Reign cover.
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Now, THIS is how you do tentacle porn!

Seriously, this is a suitably bizarre Simon Dark cover by Scott Hampton.
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I like this cover by Tom Derenick for the last issue of Shadowpact – it’s a nice “facing cancelation head on” look.


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Lex, dude, you’re stuck on an alien planet with a bunch of supervillains, now is not the time to be finger painting!

I know I’ve harped on it in the past, but seriously, what is Luthor wearing? It’s an outfit that looks like Lex would see Sonny Crockett in 1984 and say, “Wow, man, you are way overdressed!”
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I’ve used the term “colorform cover” before to describe covers where it looks like a cover artist just photoshopped an image on to a background, without any connection between the image and background (as thought it was a colorform being placed on a background).

This time, though, this Rann/Thanagar looks like Jim Starling was quite literally playing with colorforms! just
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Damion Scott’s art is like a walking LSD experience.

I dig it – even if it works a lot better on the covers of Raven than in the interiors (that’s most likely the case for Scott’s artwork period).
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Duncan Rouleau is an excellent artist, but there are so many interesting things you can do with a figure 8, and I don’t think this is one of them.

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Speaking of bland (which I sorta was, as I thought the figure 8 usage in the above cover was bland – Rouleau’s art is not bland, though, he is still nifty), Francis Manapul looks like he is trying out an old school vibe, and it’s an interesting approach, but I think the end result is sapping his work of the dynamism that makes him such a special artist.


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Decent enough JSA cover by Ross.

You gotta love the random dude in the front, just facing the reader for no reason.

It’d be funny if that was how Ross paid people for stuff. Like, a guy does his taxes, and Ross says, “If you give me a break on the fee, I’ll paint you into the cover of a comic book. You can be looking back at the reader for no reason. Right below an upskirt ass shot of this teen girl.”
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Man, Sean Chen sure loves him his finger painting…

Fair enough JSA Classified cover.
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I dig the characterization work Pacheco does in this Justice League of America cover. I know nothing of the Human Flame, and yet I feel like I know a lot about him due to Pacheco’s work.


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“Run! It’s the inevitable cancellation of this title!!!”

Nice Pete Woods cover for Infinity, Inc.
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I know more about the Human Flame than I do about crossbows, so fill me in on this – does it seriously just work like a gun like this cover suggests?

Just point and click?

Pretty good Matthew Clark cover for this Huntress mini-series.
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Very nicely designed Green Lantern Corps cover by Patrick Gleason, although I find it pretty funny that Mongul is getting such a big push by DC all of a sudden.

I think Jim Starlin should do nothing but create Darkseid homages, as he’s been extremely successful with both Thanos and Mongul (okay, maybe not Mongul so much, but maybe now!).

If Dreadstar featured a Darkseid homage, I bet it’d still be coming out!
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Nicely designed Green Arrow/Black Canary cover by Cliff Chiang.


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An even better designed cover by Freddie Williams III for this Flash cover.

Splitting the scenes give the cover a rich fullness that gives it a better chance of catching the reader’s eye.
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I think the DC Universe should have a battle royale with the Wildstorm universe, with the loser having to keep Nemesis.

Beyond the prominence of Nemesis on this cover, good overall job by Mike McKone.
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I’ve been fooled before by these Ryan Sook covers – they show you a detail, and it looks kinda lame, but when you see the whole cover, it looks awesome, so I will refrain from judging these covers until I confirm that they are the finished covers.

That said, if they ARE the finished covers, they’re pretty weak for Sook covers, as he is usually far more awesome than this.

They just seem like standard covers for a collection of past stories. Also, what is up with Libra’s teeth?

Finally, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just have Neron resurrect the original Mongul rather than have his son take up the name and have everyone pretend like he’s the original Mongul (I say this only because this collection of Mongul appearances contains only appearances of his father)? Since Neron killed him, you’d think it’d be pretty simply to just have Neron resurrect him, and that way, you’d get to keep the villain who actually did all those old stories (such as Alan Moore’s Superman Annual and the destruction of Coast City), as opposed to having to constantly say, “Remember that thing my dad did?”
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While not the most original of cover ideas, this DC Universe Zero cover is still quite effective.

I also like how it reminds me of the infamous “red background” from Infinite Crisis #7.
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Wow, this Ken Lashley Cyborg cover is not good.

It is surprisingly bad, as Lashley is normally better than this – it has a poor layout, bad anatomy, and overall, I just don’t know what he was thinking.
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Is that seriously Manuel Garcia doing this Checkmate cover?

Doesn’t seem like him. In any event, it’s a fine cover.
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Black Alice looks like a Wolverine parody on this Birds of Prey cover by Stephane Roux.

Hmmm…in the issue, Black Alice is kidnapped by the Dark Side Club – I bet she ends up in a sewer with some interesting shadows!!!
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This is an adorable Blue Beetle cover by Rafael Albuquerque.

Very cute – nice to see Traci 13 become a prominent DC character (although, as Azzarello pointed out in Dr. 13, it is not surprising, I suppose – magical attractive half-Asian teenaged girl = success).
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Good cover by Walt Simonson to conclude the Bat Lash mini-series.


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Batman and Jay Garrick?

That is an awesome idea.

Fine cover by Jerry Ordway. If Perez is leaving the book, I’d love to see Ordway get a crack at it.
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For the most part, another strong Ladrönn cover for the Atom, but I dunno…I’d love to see these drawings done to a larger scale, so we could more fully appreciate some of the crazy design ideas Ladrönn comes up with.

As it is, everything is fairly tiny.

Just because the guy shrinks doesn’t mean you have to draw the action small!
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Wow, Robin is a total egomaniac!

Thank you, Todd Nauck, for letting us know via this Teen Titans Go cover!
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RUN CARTOON CHARACTERS!! RUN!!!

First, the Scooby gang is running from a giant ant on this Scooby Doo cover (by the great Scott Neely)

and then Daffy and Porky run away from a rhino on this neat Scott Gross Looney Tunes cover.

Of the two, I’d have to give the edge to Gross – I think it’s a bit more dynamic, and I’m not a huge fan of that ant on the Scooby cover.
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Slightly subdued Alexander Serra cover for the Legion.


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For this Justice League Unlimited cover, I’d prefer it if Zach Howard made it clearer that the device Grodd is carrying is what is causing Superman and Mary Marvel to plummet.

That is, of course, if that is what is going on on the cover.
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This is an awesome Cartoon Network Block Party cover by Robert Pope.

Trippy as all get out, and an eye-popping cover.
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I get that this is one of Ben 10’s transformations, but boy, is it bizarre looking, and it doesn’t make for a particularly good cover shot for this Cartoon Network Action Pack cover by Travis Kotzebue.


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Christopher Jones does well with what he has to work with, but boy, the current designs for the Batman cartoon are awfully lame.


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This World of Warcraft cover by interior artist Ludo Lullabi looks as though it CAME from the interiors.


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Haven’t seen any work from Dave Taylor in awhile – this Texas Chainsaw Massacre cover by him is intriguing.


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Not the most striking Supernatural cover by Ben Oliver.

It’s not even really much of a pin-up.
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STARE-OFFS!!!

American super-soldier versus Russian super-soldier on the Programme cover…

Russian wins!

Unfair, though, as he has the weird eyes.

Lady versus disembodied head on this Un-Men cover…

Disembodied head wins!!!

Unfair, though, as he is a disembodied head.

Harvey Pekar versus a kitty cat!

Harvey Pekar wins!

Cats aren’t good at staring contests – they don’t like it when you make eye contact with them. It intimidates them.

Pussies.
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I enjoy this Darick Robertson cover for the Number of the Beast.

He uses perspective well here.
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I don’t get New Dynamix – J.J. Kirby does the interiors AND the covers, and yet the interiors have so much more personality to them.

The covers are just two musclebound dudes grappling with each other in an unimaginative pose.
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You would think Lee Garbett would come up with a new cover idea for Midnighter, as we already did the “Midnighter’s evil doppelgänger beats an Authority member up.”


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I am unfamiliar with Jonathan Wayshak’s work, but his cover for the Lost Boys comic is quite good.

It reminds me a lot of Darick Robertson, which is fine company to keep.
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While Cully Hamner draws this Jack Hawksmoor drawing well, it is not all that dynamic.


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B. Clay Moore is writing this new Casey Blue series?

Has B. Clay Moore written a comic with a worse cover than this one?
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I presume this is not the actual cover, but rather, a detail from Lapham’s finished cover, so I can’t really judge it, as is.


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Jock is virtually incapable of doing a bad cover, but this Scalped cover isn’t all that great, either.


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Brian Bolland does what Kaare Andrews hasn’t been doing on his Dead of Night covers – Bolland adds a ton of personality to his “homage an old style of comic” cover.

Jack of Fables is lucky to have Bolland.
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Fascinating first cover for the new House of Mystery series.

You’ll never think of the term “bug-eyed” the same way again….
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Lee Bermejo is probably the best there is at drawing characters inside other characters.

He’s used this theme more than once, no?
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Cute cover for the Exterminators, as the series draws to a close.


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Very nicely designed DMZ cover by Brian Wood – he is really good at making certain part of a cover pop out.


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Decent JH Williams cover for the finale of this series…


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Kinda bland 100 Bullets cover – which flies in the face of two things 1. It being drawn by Dave Johnson and 2. It is the last storyline on the title, and Johnson isn’t doing anything notable about that?

Weird.
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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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Did Darwyn Cooke come up with the nickname “highball” for Hal Jordan, or was it someone else?

This is a well designed and well executed Green Lantern cover by Ivan Reis.
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While I don’t like it for the cover of a company-wide crossover, this is still an awesome looking Green Lantern by JG Jones for this Final Crisis cover…


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This Fables cover is designed well, but a bit on the non-distinct side.

You can’t even tell right away it IS an issue of Fables!!
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Nice Adam Hughes piece depicting Catwoman’s return to Earth.


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Speaking of returns, check out Kelley Jones!!!

This is for a new Batman mini-series – it’s like Jones has never left!
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This Tor cover is really saved by Kubert by the border work – otherwise, it’s a fairly unremarkable cover of Tor fighting a croc.


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TEARING THROUGH COVER COMICS!!

First off, we have the gang from Astro City…

They are followed by an even cooler usage of the idea, with Michael Lopez’ Gen 13!

Neat stuff.
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Very nice work by Paul Smith on the Spirit’s face and his outfit.


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Outside of Donna Troy’s breasts, this trade collection of the Ray Palmer one-shots is an impressive piece of work by Greg Tocchinni.

It is almost textbook on how to design a trade collection cover.
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TWO NICE MAGUIRE COVERS!!

First off, we have this excellent cover featuring Batgirl and Catwoman….

I love how he makes the notebook notable enough for the reader to take, well, note of it in Catwoman’s hand – that’s tough to pull off, and he does it easily

Next, we have this unsettling cover of the Toyman…


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Nice, old school Booster Gold cover by Dan Jurgens…

It’s a real thrill to see all these characters together on a cover…
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This Tiny Titans cover shows the good AND the bad of Tiny Titans…

The Good – It is well drawn and funny

The Bad – The joke really only works for people old enough to remember Nightwing’s old costume (which he hasn’t worn in 15 years).
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TOP FIVE
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5. The only thing keeping this J. Bone Super Friends cover down on the list is the kiddie nature of Bone’s artwork.

Otherwise, this is a spot-on superhero comic book cover – a great idea and laid out extremely well.

Striking work.
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4. Great Corben cover.

Loses points solely for it being basically just a pin-up.
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3. This Vinyl Underground would be higher if it weren’t for the fact that I do not know how much the hanging pops out of the cover – is it automatically noticeable? I don’t think it is, and it really needs to be, but I could be wrong.

Still, that is an amazing piece of work by Sean Phillips – and this was a guy they were telling what to draw the first couple of covers?

So odd.
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2. The War That Time Forgot – classic Neal Adams!


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1. But current Massimo Carnevale wins out, I think…

You don’t get much more striking than this Northlanders cover – well designed (the negative space is still there, a bit) and drawn sharply – an eye-popping cover by a great cover artist.
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That’s it for this month! Feel free to share your prejudices (and YOUR top five!)!

39 Comments

I like how the Super Friends cover manages to be a cover homage while still maintaining its own identity.

Didn’t Dave Johnson design that Ben10 character?

I agree in part about some designs for The Batman, but I like how Batgirl & Poison Ivy look. Ivy’s hair especially.

tom fitzpatrick

March 17, 2008 at 5:26 am

“Now, THIS is how you do tentacle porn!”

Haven’t heard about “Tentacle Porn” for awhile.
Rather funny that. ;-)

What’s wrong with Donna Troy’s breasts, outside of the fact that it looks like breast implants?

That’s Doug Mahnke on the Nightwing cover, not Rags.

Ordway is doing at least 3 issues of Brave & the Bold. Love to see him do more.

How is the Jonah Hex cover a pin-up while the Northlanders one isn’t?

Thanks for the cover ratings!
By the by, Dreadstar had a Darkseid-ish character in it, the Lord High Papal.

Christopher Jones does well with what he has to work with, but boy, the current designs for the Batman cartoon are awfully lame.

Are you kidding. Just about every redesign that show has done has been vastly superior to the comic version, with the exception of the Barbara Gordon costume. Nothing can beat the original Gordon Batgirl costume. But yeah, otherwise, the show’s designs rock, especially Catwoman.

Also, that Ordway cover with Batman and Jay Garrick is a homage to an old Barry Allen Flash cover (by Ross Andru believe)

Harley Quinn>Montoya

The Condiment King (yes, he attacks people with mustard and salsa) is probably lamer than Lock-Up. Chuck Dixon apparently likes using him as an example of a pathetic villain.

You didn’t automatically take points off from the Booster Gold cover for having an OMAC?

I like the detail of the Superman dolls on the MacGuire cover.

Interesting to see covers showing two guys looking scared who almost always aren’t: Jonah Hex and Hans von Hammer….

Somebody needs to read them some Dreadstar! I pity the fool who hasn’t availed himself of that opportunity.

How is the current Batman show’s Catwoman design cool? With those giant ears, she looks more like a rat than a cat.

Henz_Be_Luvin_Me

March 17, 2008 at 10:09 am

Both Adam Hughes’ Catwoman cover (natch – when has he put out a bad cover for the book?) and the new “House of Mystery” bug-eye cover blow the Northlanders one away.

The ant on the Scooby Doo cover is deliberately drawn to look like the ones in THEM! I kinda like the homage myself.

This is disagree with Brian month, it seems… I thought Ross’ Action Comics 1 homage was great– I love how Superman just throws the car straight up, and they actually have a reason why the guy is holding his head!

I don’t think the kiddie nature of a comic should cause it to lose points– that Super Friends cover is frakking awesome.

I’m bored to death of tons of characters in company crossover covers. I think J.G. Jones’ cover to Final Crisis 1 is a breath of fresh air: a strong iconic image which I hope will continue on successive covers.

Evan —

That’s what I thought at first glance, but when I really thought about the ants in Them! (one of my favorite movies ever, as it happens … scared the living crap out of me when I stumbled across it on TV one Saturday afternoon at age 7), I realized that I look about as much like those ants as the one on the Scooby cover does. (And rest assured I’m a pretty average-looking guy.) I see a lot more resemblance to the titular creature in The Black Scorpion, or even in Attack of the Crab Monsters.

Actually, there is a type of cat with ears that big…I forget what it’s called. Either way, a rat’s ears are usually even smaller than your average cats’ so making them bigger doesn’t really make her resemble a rat. Besides, for most of her comics career she’s been freaking PURPLE…that’s not very catlike either.

[…] March 17, 2008 in comic books, comics, dc, dc comics, dc may previews, entertainment, previews by hookakat1 Tags: comic books, comics, dc, dc comics, dc may previews, entertainment, previews http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/03/17/judging-dcs-may-books-by-their-covers-2/ […]

The designs for The Batman show are suitably terrible for something with so much Matsuda stylization.

I like how the Super Friends cover manages to be a cover homage while still maintaining its own identity.

Yeah, it really was a nice job by Bone.

What’s wrong with Donna Troy’s breasts, outside of the fact that it looks like breast implants?

Just that. :)

That’s Doug Mahnke on the Nightwing cover, not Rags.

That explain it! Thanks!

Leave it to the solicits to always get at least one credit wrong each month. :)

How is the Jonah Hex cover a pin-up while the Northlanders one isn’t?

Illusion of movement, in this instance.

Thanks for the cover ratings!
By the by, Dreadstar had a Darkseid-ish character in it, the Lord High Papal.

You’re welcome!

I always thought Lord High Papal was more like the Magus, but I guess you’re right, he could be seen as a Darkseid-like guy.

You didn’t automatically take points off from the Booster Gold cover for having an OMAC?

D’oh! I know I forgot to mention something!

Yeah, that was a drawback for me. :)

This is disagree with Brian month, it seems… I thought Ross’ Action Comics 1 homage was great– I love how Superman just throws the car straight up, and they actually have a reason why the guy is holding his head!

I don’t think the kiddie nature of a comic should cause it to lose points– that Super Friends cover is frakking awesome.

I’m bored to death of tons of characters in company crossover covers. I think J.G. Jones’ cover to Final Crisis 1 is a breath of fresh air: a strong iconic image which I hope will continue on successive covers.

With over 70 covers to talk about, I’d be more surprised if people DIDN’T disagree on a few! :)

I think the Final Crisis thing would work a lot better as an alternate cover – maybe a 50/50, with the other cover being one that ties in to the plot of the book.

Massimo Carnevale just seems to be taking “300” and adding some armor to it. However, I think it’s only NOT a pin up because he’s so in your face it makes it a bit unsettling.

As for Catwoman’s redesign, I like that it combines elements of her modern comic’s incarnation and past. as for the ears: in the comic’s her cat-ears are usually very small, so it may be strange to see them so big, but that’s more in line to what an actual cat is like. Cats’ ears aren’t tiny stubs. Not to mention, it also helps distinguish her from Batman or Batgirl.

Actually, Bab’s redesign, save cape and skirt, is essential a past Catwoman costume. She has the purple, the thigh high boots, and the belt is even like one’s Catty has had. They’ve even had that analogy in the series with Catty telling her in one episode that minus the bat symbol she’d be a good sidekick for her.

The Bad – The joke really only works for people old enough to remember Nightwing’s old costume (which he hasn’t worn in 15 years).

I think that is his old costume.
The joke is his going from Robin to Nightwing not old Nightwing to new Nightwing

Didn’t Dave Johnson design that Ben10 character?

I don’t know if he designed that particular alien creature, but he was the principle designer on the show, so the chances are pretty high.

Leave it to the solicits to always get at least one credit wrong each month.

Also mis-credited: McKone for Ivan Reis’ Wildstorm/DC battle royale cover.

here is the original samurai pic from the Flash series. What do you think, homage or not?

http://cgi.ebay.com/The-FLASH-181-DC-Comics-1968_W0QQitemZ160043330978QQcmdZViewItem#ebayphotohosting

Because it’s so important for Catwoman to resemble an actual cat.

Oh wait, no it’s not at all. And no one’s confusing her with Batman or Batgirl.

Andrew Collins

March 17, 2008 at 3:56 pm

That’s funny about Paquette and his love for Wonder Woman’s bracelets. What’s even funnier is that the cover that was just revealed today (for the next Previews) features an even MORE prominent display of her bracelets by Paquette.

Andrew Collins

March 17, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Oops, having a flashback there. I said Paquette but I meant Lopresti…

Is it bad to have a cover mimic an interior panel?

And yeah, that’s pretty much how a crossbow works.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 17, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Fine cover by Jerry Ordway. If Perez is leaving the book, I’d love to see Ordway get a crack at it.

Poor Ordway, he seems to be a follower – when Perez or Byrne or someone leaves a book, you get Ordway.
I’d just like to see it where Ordway starts a book, and when he leaves they go ‘Bugger. The only person we could get who can even come close to this is Perez.’.

I was wondering if Lopresti could pick up the WW reins from the Dodsons.

I think he did just fine….

Crap, I’m going to have to post a write-up of the Samuroids before May, aren’t I?

(And yes, that does look like an homage.)

Superman really doesn’t like Don Rickles’ car.

For the record: the Samuroids are up.

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