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CSBG Archive

Judging (Marvel’s June, July AND August) Books by Their Covers – Part 3

Marvel’s June and July solicitations have been out for long that their August solicits are out, too, so let’s make some prejudgments for all three month’s worth of comics based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don’t we?).

To save on your load times, I’m breaking them into three parts!

Here’s August!
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Okay, CYCLOPS POSE OFF!!!!

First, Cyclops breaks out “Blue Steel” on this Dodsons cover, featuring a decent group pile-on.

Then he breaks out “Le Tigre” on this Ken Lashley X-Men: Legacy cover…

Uh oh, he is using “Ferrari” on this Adi Granov Cable cover, where Granov continues the tradition of depicting the baby character as though she is the size of a kitten…

BUT OH MAN!!!

He just dropped “Magnum” on this otherwise pretty bland Land cover!!!

WINNER – LAND’S COVER!!

Makes sense, Land knows the poses of models well.
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I normally enjoy Mike Mayhew’s work, but I think he dropped the ball on this cover – the character’s expressions are all lacking, well, EXPRESSION.

Particularly Jean, who happens to be the focus of the cover!!
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I’ll admit – the idea of showing Wolverine right after a vicious fight is a pretty good idea.

So good idea, Clayton Crain!


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Kind of a generic looking team cover by Carlo Pagulayan, but at least it is well drawn.


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Strange (albeit interesting) cover by Boo Cook.


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Cute cover by Salvador Espin.

I especially like seeing the Spidey doll.
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Decent cover design by McNiven, and his figures are handled well.


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Stephen Segovia must have made a mistake – he drew in a floating Wolverine head where he must have meant to put in a Cyclops floating head.

I presume Marvel will fix it before the book ships.
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I normally enjoy odd perspectives, but I think this Angel Medina cover goes past odd and into “why are you laying the cover out like that? territory.


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It is impressive by Denis Bajram to be able to have the character’s facial expression pop as much as it does on this cover.


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A fall-off, of sorts, from Gabriele Dell’Otto’s previous Ultimate X-Men covers.


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Good cover by Immonen, but I think the effect should be more dramatic – I don’t think the sense of urgency is really being conveyed here.


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Billy Tan completes the quadtych with a disappointing drawing of the Thing.


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Cute cover concept by Paul Gulacy.

I’m even impressed by his facial work!!
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Ugly Billy Tan cover.

Bring back Djurdjevic!!!!
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I guess Land figured one pose (hero carrying someone) would work for both of his covers this month!

I joke! I joke! The two images are not that similar – just same actions.
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Garney makes Skaar look suitably ominous here.


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VERY clever idea, having Terry Moore draw the first cover of his run on the comic.

Anyone know why Alphona is no longer doing this book?

While we’re at it – why are the Knaufs off of Iron Man – their choice or Marvel’s choice?
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I get what Gurihiru is GOING for here, but he does not get it.

The end result is not cute – it is lame.
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The Dodsons don’t seem to exactly be putting a ton of energy into this cover design.


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Yikes! Mike McKone – way too busy there, man!

And it’s not even like the main figures are even that interesting.
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Michael Ryan continues the triptych (or is it a quadtych?) nicely with this next part.


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Fine, Juan Doe! I will buy whatever product you want me to! Geez!!


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I can just imagine Gabriele Dell’Otto’s thought process – “Hey…I know what would be cool and different! Just show a Skrull face on the cover! NO one would have thought of doing that! Certainly not Greg Horn!”


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So far, so good with Ramos and the Runaways.

I dig the designs – a lot sharper than Ramos has been as of late.
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Wow! Alex Maleev sneaking in a Punisher/Midnighter crossover without us knowing!!

Where’s Frank Tieri when you need gay jokes about the Punisher?!?!
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A nice Dave Johnson cover (that’s almost implied when it is Dave Johnson), but I dunno if it is striking enough for the first post-Ennis issue of Punisher.


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That’s some fine Joshua Middleton aping by Alina Urusov!!

It’s kind of a haphazard collage, though.
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Paul Davidson’s cover here is awfully shiny…


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Yeah! This is the Nic Klein I love! Tons of manic energy!!


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While a bit of a cliche, this cover arrangement is a cliche that WORKS.

Although Brandon Peterson’s cover is also a bit on the shiny side.
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Is this Alex Garner piece the cover of New Exiles or is it a leftover card from the 1994 set of Marvel Masterworks?


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Sorry, Aleksi Briclot – it’s a clever homage, but it is still a Skrull homage – so automatic failure!


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Horn with the nice use of negative space!!

Shame his Ms. Marvel figure looks way weird – this could have been an awesome cover. Horn can be SUCH an awesomely creative cover designer – and he often then screws the pooch with some odd female designs.
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Pretty good Stephen Segovia cover.

The assortment of heroes flows better here.
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Strong art from Gerald Parel, although I think it could stick out a little more.


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Not a bad Michael Ryan cover – sort of a Patrick Scherberger vibe going on, which is nice.


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Cool looking Roger Cruz cover – although I think Spidey’s strategy looks suspect.


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Pretty straightforward David Nakayama cover here.


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Cute Salvador Espin cover – although I am curious – is that supposed to be Thing’s reflection on the water balloon? If so – that’s odd.


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Leonard Kirk wanted me to be able to bust out the ol’ “boring cover” bit!

Thanks, Leonard!


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Very interesting stylistic change by Jim Muniz.

Not a great cover, but I like the style change.
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Strong cover by Travel Foreman.

Covers like this one are always a good idea!

Although it is odd that there is red blood here but black blood on a recent Fantastic Four cover.
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Wow, now it is Salvador Larocca that is busting up the “generic looking Iron Man covers” trifecta with a plot-based cover!!

Luckily, Gabriele Dell’Otto and Adi Granov quickly right the ship with their generic looking covers.


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Weird looking JRJr cover – the action appears a bit stilted.


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I’ll accept this Clint Langley cover if one of the team actually IS a Skrull.

Otherwise, you’re on the list, Langley!!
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It is almost as if she is carrying the plastic ring at the top of a milk bottle!! I know Hannah the cat always goes nuts for those things.

Another nice piece of characterization by Doug Alexander.
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Tomm Coker keeping up the ominous…ness?


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Good work by Niko Henrichon!

The detail is striking.
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It appears as though Doom and Johnny are dueting on a power ballad on this Hitch cover.

I wonder which one.

I vote for “I Want to Know What Love Is”
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Djurdjevic also has the manic energy thing down pat.


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A little fall off by Sean Phillips.

Still a good cover.
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Is this seriously Hitch?

Weird – doesnt look like his work.

I hope they don’t change Captain Britain’s cover – I love the Alan Davis era costume the best.
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Another cool movie poster cover by Steve Epting, although I don’t like the costume – it is like the shield points down towards Cap’s crotch!

First kids are going to start shooting each other due to Cap carrying guns and knives, and now they’re going to be all sexed up because his costume points at his crotch! Marvel – you are EVIL!!


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Another strong Pearson cover.


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Not a great cover, but at least it is not an homage, so bonus points, Mark Brooks!!


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I think Bianchi is just recycling old Wolverine covers now.


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Ron Frenz with an energy infusion!!

Nice stuff!
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Some costumes aren’t meant to look realistic, Adi Granov!!


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Pretty cool cover by Jimenez.


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The inset is now totally as good as the ornate borders!

Well done, Pollina!


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Good work by Tommy Lee Edwards.

Realistic looking action.


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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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Gabriele Dell’Otto brings the energy (literally) on this cool Thor cover.


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Excellent cover design by Boo Cook.


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Paolo Rivera puts a lot of depth into this Twelve cover.


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A fine final cover of this excellent run – I love the contemplative look Bradstreet gives Punisher, while still blocking his face, so he is as detached as always – such thought was put into this cover – well done, Mr. Bradstreet!!


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Another classic cute cover by Chris Eliopoulos


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The best of the three covers for this Corben series.


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Another bold cover by Daniel Acuña!

Translate into the interiors, please!


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Good, classic imagery by John Romita, Jr.


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This strong Suydam cover JUST missed the Top Five for me.

I love the mixture of the foreground and the background figures.
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TOP FIVE!!
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5. This is a close match, but I enjoy this energetic Immonen cover a bit more than the Moon Knight cover.


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4. One of the cooler uses of the logo that Mike Deodato has done on his She-Hulk cover run.


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3. Some points off for her being nude for no particular reason, but otherwise, this is easily the coolest thing I’ve ever seen from Stephan Seijic!

It is bold, it is character-based, it tells a story – it is a wonderful cover.
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2. Alex Ross bringing the energy!!

Often, when he goes energetic, there is a loss of coherence, but this cover holds on well.

And look at the dynamism!!
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1. A classic cover. It’s one of those covers that makes you think “Why hasn’t this particular cover idea been used a lot?”

And when you do something that seems obvious in retrospect, you’re doing something right!
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Okay, that’s it! Feel free to share your prejudices (and your top fives)!

45 Comments

Spider-Man’s eye shape on the Avengers/Invaders cover is just perfect. The cats made the Genext cover feel really three-dimensional. The Moon Knight cover was awful.

Who’s the blue guy on the Last Defenders cover? An Atlantean?

FF #560 = R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly”

For real.

Is that MA: Hulk #14 supposed to be a riff on the similar cover to Captain America #25? Really digging the covers of SI: Inhumans #1 and The Twelve #7.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Marvel might be mislabeling the Captain Britain and MI13 covers as being by Brian Hitch, because they don’t really look like his style a lot of the time, and I’m pretty sure I read that Trevor Hairsine was doing covers for the series when it was first announced. It still could be Hitch, sure, but it seems a little unusual to me how different those covers look from the rest of the one’s he’s done recently.

Funny thing about the X-Force cover is that there’s gonna be a bloody variant for that one too, so that means Crain found a way to make a partially skinless Wolverine standing atop a pile of corpses even bloodier somehow.

I Think it’s funny you mocked Gabriel Del’otto’s Secret Invasion cover, but it’s the same layout as the amzing Spider-Man cover that made it #1. I actually thought it was going to be a Skrull on the #1 cover until I scrolled all the way down.

And I could have sworn Alex Ross has used that exact same layout for a Wizard cover at some point.

The Young/Avengers Runaways cover-combo has to be a triptych, because there’s only three issues in the miniseries.

Ian Astheimer

June 3, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Anyone know why Alphona is no longer doing this book?

When asked about Alphona’s disappearance in a recent MyCup O’ Joe column at MySpace, Quesada said, “at the moment he’s pursuing artistic options outside of comics.”

While we’re at it – why are the Knaufs off of Iron Man – their choice or Marvel’s choice?

I believe they’re still on the book but taking a hiatus to get caught up on Hollywood commitments.

Ian Astheimer

June 3, 2008 at 5:54 pm

Also, the woman on that Eternals bears a striking facial resemblance to Tricia Helfer.

Wonder if that was intentional.

I think on the Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four cover that Thing is just holding a really large balloon that already has his face on it. Mainly because the faces don’t match to be a reflection.

I think the Marvel Adventures Spiderman cover is perfectly fine, and I know it’s a book aimed at the youth market, but it was so weird seeing Black Cat that covered up. Not that I’m complaining. I don’t need to see “teh comic bewbies”. It was just a noteworthy character redesign considering how she’s been depicted for the last….for the last forever.

That’s actually what her costume originally looked like, Adam. The cleavage was a more modern invention.

I’m guessing also that the Knaufs are taking it easy from Iron Man during crossovers, given that after Moore’s arc comes the SI tie-in, and they didn’t bother with the WWH tie-in issues either. Gage seems to be the designated crossover fill-in writer of choice given that he’s handled crossover duties on Iron Man both crossovers and is doing Thunderbolts for SI too.

Kind of a shame, because the Knaufs’ CW issues were some of the best spin-offs to come out of the crossover.

Also, just realized this, but who colored the Dodson’s SI: X-Men cover? Because either X-23′s on the Uncanny team with a new costume, or they got the palette for her X-Force costume completely wrong.

Is that MA: Hulk #14 supposed to be a riff on the similar cover to Captain America #25?

I don’t think so, but nice pick up, Rich!

I’m guessing also that the Knaufs are taking it easy from Iron Man during crossovers, given that after Moore’s arc comes the SI tie-in, and they didn’t bother with the WWH tie-in issues either. Gage seems to be the designated crossover fill-in writer of choice given that he’s handled crossover duties on Iron Man both crossovers and is doing Thunderbolts for SI too.

I believe that was the ORIGINAL plan, but now the Knaufs are off the book period.

Kind of a shame, because the Knaufs’ CW issues were some of the best spin-offs to come out of the crossover.

Isn’t that where they killed off Happy?
I didn’t like that.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Marvel might be mislabeling the Captain Britain and MI13 covers as being by Brian Hitch, because they don’t really look like his style a lot of the time, and I’m pretty sure I read that Trevor Hairsine was doing covers for the series when it was first announced. It still could be Hitch, sure, but it seems a little unusual to me how different those covers look from the rest of the one’s he’s done recently.

That DOES look a lot more like Hairsine.

I Think it’s funny you mocked Gabriel Del’otto’s Secret Invasion cover, but it’s the same layout as the amzing Spider-Man cover that made it #1. I actually thought it was going to be a Skrull on the #1 cover until I scrolled all the way down.

I get what you’re saying, but the knock on Dell’Otto was that someone had JUST done the same cover the other month (Horn on the Skrulls one-shot), while shockingly, I don’t think anyone has ever done a Green Goblin cover like that (which seems hard to believe, but I sure can’t think of any).

I think on the Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four cover that Thing is just holding a really large balloon that already has his face on it. Mainly because the faces don’t match to be a reflection.

That DOES make more sense, Craig, so I hope that is what it is.

I haven’t been following the Iron Man announcements too closely, so didn’t know they had announced the Knaufs weren’t coming back following Gage’s SI run. That is disappointing, because I really enjoyed what the Knaufs did with the Mandarin and how they ended that arc.

Killing off Happy was probably the weak link of the Knauf’s run on IM during CW, but I personally felt like they dealt with Tony’s reactions to that event and portrayal of the character of Iron Man in a far more nuanced manner than any of the other writers on CW did. I mean, had someone like JMS or Slott written it, we would have gotten something like “Nyahaha; what is best in life is to crush Happy Hogan, see him driven before you, and hear the lamentations of his woman!” I didn’t particularly like killing Happy, but at least the manner in which they did it worked for me.

That said, I’m really disappointed that the Pepper Potts/Henry Hellrung relationship teased in The Order didn’t go anywhere and Pepper was abruptly switched to being Tony Stark’s girl Friday all over again upon cancellation of the series. But then again, I’m just generally unhappy that the last 2 issues of The Order effectively turned one of Marvel’s best new series into a glorified 10-issue trailer for Invincible Iron Man. And don’t even get me started on The Order being cancelled while New Warriors is still running.

I really like that Medina Spidey/Venom cover. I’m not usually a fan of Medina’s style, and it is an odd perspective, but I think it works because of the spiders hanging from threads of webbing. Whether you start with Venom or Spider-Man, the spiders draw my eye to the other character, which is a nice effect.

I’m disappointed in the Nova cover. On the one hand, I’m glad to see some action on the cover of his book for once, but it seems so lifeless. I’m really not buying that Nova took a swing at Super-Skrull based off what the cover shows.

I think the MA; Fantastic Four cover would work better if the Thing’s head was behind the balloon, so we’d be seeing his face through the balloon, and that would explain the distortion. It might mess with rest of what the cover is trying to depict though.

I really enjoy that Secret Invasion: Thor cover. I get the feeling the Skrulls thought they were winning, then KRAKADOOM! so much for them.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 3, 2008 at 11:32 pm

I’ve looked at too many of these in a row, or Young Avengers/Runaways has the same cover as last month (or the one before) in here.

I dunno – I’m pretty sure they just all look similar because they’re part of a triptych, but maybe there was a mistaken duplication!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 4, 2008 at 12:29 am

Yeah, it’s me whose crazy.

Although the character placements are almost exactly the same on all three.

What the heck is that at the bottom of the Astonishing X-men #26 cover? a leg? the back of a rhino?

I know New Avengers #44 is a skrull cover but is it definitely a homage too? If so which book?

The Knaufs are off Iron Man? Is this official? Anyone have a link? I thought it was a fairly good idea that they weren’t doing the tie-ins. Theirs was such a cool run in the beginning and then as soon as they started doing tie-ins it sort of lots its voice. The CW tie-in wasn’t bad but I felt like it still derailed the book; prior to CW their Tony was a guy who was convinced the could do anything, save the world, change the world to his own vision, and didn’t need to be accountable to anyone… suddenly he’s trying to make all the superheroes accountable to ordinary joes.

Then again, even when they’ve had other writers to come in, it’s still seriously disrupted the book’s flow, to the point where I stopped reading, and haven’t felt interested in picking it up again because the central story never gains enough momentum. And I’ve actually been reading the event books, so I don’t have a problem with those stories themselves. They just haven’t been able to incorporate the events very harmoniously. At least, when they’re using other writers for the tie-ins, they’re sort of acknowledging that.

For what it’s worth, it’s highly unlikely that Harry’s death wasn’t the Knaufs’ idea. It was a key part of Millar’s and Bendis’s original plan for Civil War itself. Given the job to do it themselves, I think the Knaufs executed it pretty well.

Pedro Bouça

June 4, 2008 at 6:30 am

The french get no respect! Bajram cut a friggin’ PLANET in half (yes, it’s on the story also) and doesn’t even get an honorable mention?

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I don’t see the Helfer resemblance on Eternals.

They are both blonde, I guess.

I disagree about the Jean Grey Origins cover. I think it is very solid and would have it AT LEAST as an Honorable Mention.

Considering in particular how strong the May and June covers for Nova were, this month’s is a real disappointment.
Also, Galactus appears to be providing Doom and Johnny with some kind of backing vocals, probably in a rich tenor voice.

Wasn’t there an Untold Tales of Spider-Man cover that was pretty close to the Amazing Spider-Man one?

What the hell??? Points OFF for Medusa being nude for no reason on Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1?? I beg to differ – I think it’s a great idea and one that should be used as often as those Skrull covers. Well done Stephan Seijic, a great cover.

Another terrific month

My top five

5 Marvel Illustrated Three Musketeers 3 – Parel rarely disappoints and this is an intriguiging cover – great use of red.

4 Mary Jane Loves Spider Man 1 – just cos it’s so darned cute :)

3 True Believers 2 – has there ever been a more kooky and charming representation of Reed Richards, reminds me somewhat of the notorious Nick Nolte mugshots.

2 Secret Invastion: Inhumans 1 – the hair! the hair! Best use of hair on a cover ever!

1 X-Men Origin: Jean Grey – wow, gotta disagree with you, Brian, I was knocked out by this stupendous and beautiful portrait – one of the covers of the year, imo. Well, it’s been the month for redheads…

T – the Avengers #44 cover is an homage of the cover to the “Bring On the Bad Guys” collection that came out back in the 70s or 80s. Marvel did a few different books in the series that reprinted origin stories of various characters.

I’d just like to point out that Hannah is way cuter than any of those kitties.

;-)

The balloon with the Thing’s face is symbolic.

5. Secret Invasion #5
4. Skaar
3. Amazing Spider-Man #568
2. X-Factor Special Layla Miller
1. Inhumans

Inhumans wins hands down. Amazing cover.

Can’t believe you put Thor at #5 – it’s WAY too bright, enough that it makes my eyes hurt.

I think Issue 1 of the 1995 Green Goblin series had the same style cover as Spider-man 568.

I also like the way Bradstreet (sort of) references the first Punisher miniseries.

I was also amused to see that, after thinking how much July’s Foolkiller looked like an emulation of Bradstreet’s Punisher, that August’s actually has Punisher on the cover.

I’d like Terry Moore’s cover of Spiderman Loves MJ better if she wasn’t so darned FUG UGLY.

Honorable Mention: Captain America. I like the movie poster covers. I would like to see them (perhaps not as frequently as they are used on Cap) on other books. Come to think of it, I’d like to see movie poster covers used for movie posters nowadays. When was the last time we got a good piece of movie poster art (that wasn’t already part of an older film series that used artwork) instead of some lame picture of the film’s star?

Top 5
5. Wolverine First Class (I like the little details)
4. Marvel Adventures Super Heroes (I like the energy)
3. X-Men Origins
2. X-Factor Special
1. Secret Invasion: Inhumans (just a beautiful, beautiful cover)

Andrew Collins

June 5, 2008 at 2:09 pm

My favorite cover is the Three Musketeers one. That figure and line work is just beautiful and I find it to be a very striking image. If I had any complaint, it’s that I think they could have maybe ‘zoomed’ in on the image a bit more, given it less of a far away feel and a little more menace. But still, an all around great cover in my book.

Perosnally, I also think the Power Pack cover is cute too. Sadly, I still see rap album covers that look just like that, so it’s not as out-of-date as I would have originally thought. Katie’s “PACK LIFE” ring is the clincher there for me.

Still not excited about Ramos’ Runaways designs. I especially don’t like his Nico, though his Molly isn’t half bad. I would like to have seen Mike Ryan stick with the book…

The Patsy Walker: Hellcat cover bears a striking resemblance to either the cover or an internal scene from Uncanny X-Men 176, Cyclops vs. Giant Octopus (artwork by JRjr).

Nope, not the cover, so it must be an internal page somewhere.

J.

Your Skrull-driven hate must end. Some of the best Marvel covers of the summer are Skrull-based.

Because the best of ‘em are intriguing, that’s why. Which beats a cover like the Terry Moore’s Mary Jane #1. (I like Moore’s work, love some of his Strangers in Paradise run, but his covers rarely invite wonder.)

I’m still not loving the Dodsons’ Marvel stuff. It just seems flat to me. As if they’d taken the big Marvel contract without any desire to do Marvel comics.

But Deodato on SHE-HULK? He has been doing some rockin’ stuff. I didn’t know he had it in him.

What the heck is that at the bottom of the Astonishing X-men #26 cover? a leg? the back of a rhino?

According to this week’s Sketchbook, it’s part of Cyclops’s arm : it’s the first part of a 5-part cover piece.

Re: the Runaways/Young Avengers cover….

I will mail a fresh $20 bill to the very next cover artist who manages to put the fricking arrow on the correct side of the bow. (Hint: it probably won’t be Michael Ryan, though he is a contender for the “worst portrayal of archery” award this month.)

Seriously. If you’re drawing covers for Marvel or DC and you have a chance to show an archer, do a little research, draw something that actually looks like archery, email me the cover scan and your address and $20 is yours free and clear, just for doing your damn job.

Criminal #6′s cover looks (to me) like a pretty spot-on homage to the ‘big scene’ in an old movie called “Gun Crazy”- her expression, stance, etc, all match.

(Since i may be the only person to have seen both, THANK YOOOU! :D)

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