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CSBG Archive

I Can’t Cover What I Am – The Best Pieta Covers!

In this feature, I spotlight comic book covers that follow a specific theme. Here is an archive of all the cover themes we’ve spotlighted so far.

This week, we will take a look at what I think are the ten coolest comic covers that are similar in design to the famous Pieta statue by Michelangelo!


First, here’s the statue…

Now, the covers!!

Here is probably the most famous one, by George Perez!

Perez cited this Kirby cover as his inspiration…

This classic Batman cover currently factors into Grant Morrison’s Batman run…

John Byrne contributed this classic cover to the Dark Phoenix Saga…

Here’s an odd, but cool, one by Frank Miller…

Uh oh, Sgt. Rock sure stepped in it!

Tomahawk wants a piece of the child-killing action, too!!

Here’s a funny Doug Mahnke cover…

Here is a trippy Flash cover…

And of course, the clearest, most famous Pieta cover!

That was my ten picks!

Who would your ten picks be?

What theme should I do next?


There’s also the cover to Hellblazer # 217; the artist’s name escapes me, but he was the short-lived cover artist for the book between Tim Bradstreet and Lee Bermejo.



June 23, 2008 at 1:00 am

Maybe next up do ‘Ten best covers where the logo is part of the art’… or have you done that already?

I want to know why Rock killed the boy if he didn’t know that he was a sniper in the enemies uniform… what does he usually shoot at?

There was a great homage to the CoIE cover in the Panic in the Sky Superman crossover with Supergirl and a villain (Mongul?) in the places of Superman and Supergirl in that one.

Incidentally, that Daredevil cover was inked by Wally Wood, his last work for Marvel….

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 23, 2008 at 3:24 am

God, I miss MAJOR BUMMER. That series was a classic.

I agree with “The Death of Captain Marvel”, another classic, in which Marvel stepped on by bringing him back.

I want to know why Rock killed the boy if he didn’t know that he was a sniper in the enemies uniform… what does he usually shoot at?

I think the emphasis is on the Enemy-Uniform, he knew it was a sniper, just not a sniper who was on his side of the war.

Hey, Tom, Mar-Vell isn’t back…it was a Skrull. No, really, I know that’s the second most popular snarky reply in comics these days (after “Superboy punched Time”), but Mar-Vell is still dead, and the guy who looks like him is a Skrull. Whether that was the intent when the character was first reintroduced, well…that’s a topic for Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed.

I think Harbinger 14 would’ve been included on my list.
It’s a lot clearer than the Batman and Robin one, in my opinion.

Captain Atom #8 (from 1987) is a fairly blatant one as well, although I don’t know that I would include it in a top 10…

How many of these are just tributes to Crisis #7?

I forget the issue number, but Jim Lee actually did an homage with Superman and Wonder Woman during the “For Tomorrow” arc… I wouldn’t put it in my “Top Ten” by any means, but he actually wrote “after MB” in his signature, so I guess it bears mentioning.


June 23, 2008 at 7:25 am

While not “top 10″ worthy, Paul Smith also did this riff on the cover of X-MEN # 167 (Cyclops holding/carrying Prof. X’s body).

There was a feature on Pieta covers in an issue of Wizard several years back.
I don’t recall the issue, but I think it was after I found that I had had enough with the rag and stopped buying it.
(Although, I have no idea how or why I have THAT issue. Odd.)

Their list was quite extensive (but not “complete”).


The last Uncle Sam mini had one, with the american flag instead of someone. Could it be considered a Pietà?

How about this Conan cover, by Buscema and Chua (or Chan — I forget which name he was using then) http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=33519&zoom=4

@Jeff, seeing as how most of the covers on this list appear to pre-date COIE #7… probably not many.

Covers done since then? Probably a lot of them.

John Stanshall is referencing this one:
…which, while being Pieta influenced, does bring a new interpretation to the pose and changes the meaning. That is worth noting, at least.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Kirby Thor one isn’t really well done. I’d take the Jim Lee one over the Jack Kirby one (and fanboys across the globe utter a resounding “BOOOOO!!!!”).

Fun Art History Fact: While Michelangelo’s Pieta statue is one of the most famous uses of the motif, it’s hardly the only one from that period. Indeed, it was just as popular among medieval and Renaissance artists as it is among today’s comic book crowd.

This was a fun idea for a gallery.

[quote]John Stanshall is referencing this one:
…which, while being Pieta influenced, does bring a new interpretation to the pose and changes the meaning. That is worth noting, at least.[/quote]
It sort of reminds a little of Bermini’s “Ecstasy of St. Theresa”, which adds a whole other layer of meaning.


Crap! didn’t mean to put in bb code for the St. Theresa link. And it’s “Bernini”.


More accompaniment to Crisis #7, but it’s Mighty Mouse by George Perez. And that’s one ripe pun on the cover…


How about a 10 best cover collage covers, like this one from B & B #150 http://www.comicbookdb.com/graphics/comic_graphics/1/187/50958_20070517170020_large.jpg


June 23, 2008 at 7:40 pm

A cover concept SO good that the original MAN-THING series did it TWICE!

# 5 by Mike Ploog

and # 22 by Hannigan (?) and Jansen.



I’d go beyond calling Death of Captain Marvel the “most famous” Pieta cover and say it’s the only Pieta cover – there’s more to the scene than just holding a body in your arms (which can only be done so many different ways), and that’s sitting down so you have a lap. I don’t insist that the seated character be covered in drapes of cloth, like Death is on the gn cover, but being seated should be a requirement…

i agree with yo. Standing and holding a fallen character is not enough to really make it a Pieta cover.

Here’s another X-Men riff, UXM #167, by Paul Smith


Yo and Matt are right. The only Pieta cover here is the Captain Marvel one. I know that holding a dead superhero in the arms of a live superhero has long been considered a “Pieta” cover, but I think it’s just a natural pose for a live person to be holding a dead body. At least from an artistic standpoint.

I can think of one other “Pieta cover” under Yo’s more restrictive definiton — Captain Atom #44 by Pat Broderick

how about another Mike Ploog cover from Monster of Frankenstien #2

Funny thing about “Pieta” – Michaelangelo deliberately made the two figures out of scale – The Mary figure is HUGE compared to the Christ figure, which while perfect, is too small to be a grown man. But he had to be or he wouldn’t fit in her lap. Starlin got the sam disproportion on his cover – Death looks to be a foot taller than the Captain.

[…] Should Be Good has a feature on the top 10 Pieta covers — covers inspired by Michelangelo’s statue, Pietà, of Mary holding the lifeless body […]

[…] les listes établies par les fans de comics [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], les compositions de cette forme sont très souvent rapprochées de la Pietà de […]

Am I the only one who wonders how DC skirted the Comics Code by having “My G-d” coming out of the mouth of Sgt. Rock – on a 1960’s cover, no less? We’re jaded to the expression now, but once upon a time, it was a big thing.

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