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Judging (DC’s November) Books By Their Covers

DC’s November solicits are up, so let’s make some prejudgments based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don’t we?).

Let’s begin!

Rags Morales and Phil Noto face off in a “lifting characters over their heads” cover challenge!!!

Noto starts us off strong with this cover for a Supergirl/Superman mini-series.

Good form by Noto, including a nice shot of Superman flying in from behind.

Can Morales retaliate?

Well, right from the start, he has a unique idea for the cover, Batman sort of doing the same thing to Bane that Bane did to him…

And he also has Superman coming in reacting to the lift…

I am awarding this bout to Noto!!

I think his cover flowed a bit better.

Superman and Batman fighting Werewolves and Vampires?!?!

Wow, I think Patrick Zircher might have been overestimating comic plots a bit…

This is the type of comic Mandrake does well, though, so he’s a nice fit.


What’s that?

“But Brian, isn’t that all Alex Ross covers?”

Oh, you scamps!!

Be nice!


I absolutely love the way Carlos Pacheco split the cover in half (although I would make the papers calendar papers, but that’s just me), but man, that is a pretty fugly looking Superman right there.


Fine Robin cover by Freddie Williams.

I think now that there is a Red Robin, though, that Tim Drake should bring back the green to his costume.

About Two-Face – is the scarred half of his face, like, constantly in pain?

Couldn’t you more or less bring him down just by touching that huge open wound on his face?

Or do scars actually heal to the point where they look awful but they don’t actually hurt?

In any event, Rags Morales has been doing some strong Nightwing covers – very bright and attractive.

This Aaron Lopresti cover for the Guardian of Metropolis is decent enough, but boy, it is not exactly the most commercially attractive cover, is it?

Especially since it’s part of the New Krypton storyline, except all the other covers have Alex Ross covers and this one has an Aaron Lopresti cover.


Dustin Nguyen is pulling out all the stops and making this Detective Comics cover probably the best cover ever to feature Hush.

Sadly, that’s a lot like putting lipstick on a pig.

Poor Grace – everyone is pointing something of note at her – “I’ll stretch out my elemental hand and crush you!” “I’ll zap you with electricity!” “I’ll zap you with elemental powers!” “I’ll stab you with my sword!”

“I’ll…punch you?”

Otherwise, though, fine Calafiore cover.

Suitably eerie Kelley Jones cover for Batman: Gotham at Midnight.

This series has been all about what Kelley Jones does best – eerie dark stuff!

Probably a bit soon for Stephane Roux to be doing another Joker cover.

This Batman Confidential cover is good, but it’s not nearly as good as Roux’s recent Birds of Prey cover featuring the Joker.

While the solicits would have you believe this is by one of the Kuberts, I’m pretty sure it is actually interior art by Walt Flanagan.

And it’s fairly decent artwork, at that.

Is Andy Clarke trying to draw stubble on Batman and Nightwing on this Batgirl cover?

Weird effect, as it does not look good.

Pretty striking Wonder Woman cover by Aaron Lopresti.


What’s funny is that this Teen Titans cover was solicited BEFORE Wonder Dog turned out to be an evil Cerberus-esque bad guy.

Pretty good Eddy Barrows cover – a bit more going on than some of his other Teen Titans covers.

Strong Amanda Conner cover for this new Terra series.

I see DC feels that every generation should have their own Terra to sorta like!

I can’t wait to see what the Terra of the twenty-teens will look like!

This Andy Kubert triptych might be the best one Trinity has seen yet!

Each part holds on its own, but together, what a neat image!

By the by, making it a steady three artists doing the triptychs was a great idea by DC, especially when the three are such marketable names as Carlos Pacheco, Kubert and Jim Lee!

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I love how Red Arrow appears to be firing the arrows out of sheer force of will on this Titans cover.

Come on, Howard Porter, I know you can do better than this!

This Terror Titans cover by Joe Bennett is actually set up pretty darn nicely.

Good job by Bennett.

I really love the job Brad Walker did on Batman on this Tangent cover.

I also really hate how Batman looks on this Tangent cover.

You wouldn’t think it would work, but yeah, this Billy Tucci Sgt. Rock cover sorta does, doesn’t it?


A great looking drawing by Scott Hampton, although I think it is a bit laid back to work as a cover.


Holy hell, that’s one busy Justiniano cover for Reign of Hell!!

That must have taken him ages to draw.

I wish it looked cooler, because he clearly put a ton of effort into it!

Pretty straightforward Jim Starlin cover for Rann/Thanagar War.

Also a pretty boring one.

A strong Manhunter cover by Matthew Clark.

I especially like how Clark handles the kid – he actually looks LIKE a kid.

I love how Night Girl seems to be cognizant that Francis Manapul is drawing some detailed ass-shots on this Legion of Superheroes cover, so she dressed accordingly and covered up, as well.

I love the detail of the Legion members in the audience – nicely done by Manapul. I wonder what DC has for him after Legion. Maybe a Superman book? I’d sure prefer Manapul to Ed Benes on JLA – maybe that could happen!

Doesn’t this remind you of those old DC comic books where they’d have the heroes names listed on the cover (or sometimes, on the inside front cover)?

A very Bridwell-esque cover by Alex Ross for this JSA/Gog tie-in one-shot.

Homaging yourself is kinda weird.

Ross is seriously going to draw this full issue? Wow.

The Flash on this Dale Eaglesham variant cover for JSA reminds me of the Mitch Hedberg bit.

“I think Bigfoot is blurry, that’s the problem. It’s not the photographer’s fault. Bigfoot is blurry, and that’s extra scary to me. There’s a large out of focus monster roaming the countryside.”

Go out now and buy the new Mitch Hedberg CD, made up of shows he did right before he suddenly died!!

Ross DOES love to work that “slant the figures to get a cool new angle” bit, doesn’t he?

But damned if it isn’t effective!

You’re a crafty devil, Alex Ross!!

That is one effed up beauty pageant Jordi Bernet has going on in his mind!


Oh man!!

What the heck are Icon and Superman doing on this JLA cover?!

I don’t think Ed Benes fully thought this pose out before he began to pencil it – they’re, what, pushing on each other’s wrists?!

Icon is bracing himself on the sky behind Superman’s head?!


Pretty cool Green Lantern Corps cover by Pat Gleason, except the Star Sapphire characters remind me of the stupid OMAC robot things that I hate so much.


“I was officially one of the top two martial artists in the world, DC! I am taking it back!!”

Lots to like on this Cliff Chiang Green Arrow/Black Canary cover. It’s nicely designed and drawn beautifully.

Oh no! Will Wally and Linda be separated by some outside force for the umpteenth time?!!??!?!

Say it isn’t so!

Otherwise, decent Brian Stelfreeze cover, although he can draw a lot better than this, so maybe I should take off demerits!

I hope, for his sake, that this design for this Final Crisis: Revelations cover wasn’t Philip Tan’s idea.


Cool cover by Phil Hester showing the two El Diablos together.


For the most part, I think this Birds of Prey cover is great.

But then I wonder whether Stephane Roux couldn’t be a lot clearer on the cover – like, for instance, does Joker even appear to be attacking? Is the knife stuck in the staff or is the knife moving at the staff? It looks like NEITHER, really, which is odd.

More clarity, please!!

I love the idea of doing a highlight real of the last 14 issues of Booster Gold.

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In fact, it is so bizarre, I think I actually have to give Chris Batista credit here with the idea – it is such a silly idea that I think it works.

Rafael Albuquerque keeps getting better – I love his style on this Blue Beetle cover – so dynamic.


I think this was a rejected national flag for Australia, well, gold and green ARE official colors in Australia, right? Right? See, I’m not just making up nonsense!!

Otherwise, decent Doug Braithwaite Brave and the Bold cover.

Why is it Doug on this comic but Dougie for Secret Invasion Thor?

Is this code!?!? Are there two Braithwaites doing comics??!!?

Straightforward, but still funny, cover gag for Ambush Bug’s mini-series by Kevin Maguire.


Why are the kids so happy that Superman is leaving with their cake?

Seriously, though, another good Super Friends cover by J. Bone.

Good Scott Neely cover for Scooby Doo, although I question a bit what the point is to make the White House SO detailed but not be drawn in such a way as to be clearly the White House.

Especially when you’re working with a young audience, I think you have to be explicit that you’re drawing the White House – use the famous front drawing of the White House that people are all familiar with – the one with the fountain.

Other than that, good cover.

Cool Looney Tunes cover by David Alvarez (spelled Alvarex in the solicits), although the colors seem a bit oddly muted.


Very cute Robert Pope cover for this Cartoon Network Block Party cover.

The most impressive thing about it is that Pope conveys the idea of the cover topic without readers (like myself) needing to know anything about who these characters are at all.

While, to a certain extent, this Min Ku cover for Cartoon Network Action Pack, is also along the same lines of the Pope cover, in the sense that we can get the basic gist of the story being told on the cover via just the cover, but it really does help a lot to know Ben 10 back story in viewing this cover.

By the by, I know a few shows have DONE it, but has any show been successful with aging all the characters from kids to teens? How long did Doug last after it did that? How about Rugrats?

This Samwise Didier World of Warcraft is one of the better covers in the series.

Tilting the angle, even slightly, really does help the dynamism a bit.

This Chris Robinson cover for the other World of Warcraft book is less impressive.

It’s way too static.

Yep, Neil Googe, those ARE the Wildcats.

It’s a fair enough pin-up cover.

This is suitably trippy Top Ten cover by Gene Ha.

So wait, does Alan Moore not own the ABC characters or what?

Or is it that Cannon and Ha ALSO own the characters, which is why this series is okay?

A great drawing by Leandro Fernandez for this Stormwatch PHD cover.

It might not work well as a cover, but it’s still a great drawing.

Decent Storming Paradise cover by Butch Guice.


Actually a clever cover for this Gears of War cover by Brandon Badeaux.


I love the facial work on this Mike Huddleston cover for Gen 13.

That’s some fine emotin’ right there!!

Jonathan Wayshak certainly knows how to make this Ferryman cover appear dynamic.


Sort of a bland Simon Coleby Authority cover, although well drawn by Coleby. He’s been doing a great job on Authority so far.


I never know what these Young Liars covers are going to look like as a whole, but so far, so great on this cover by David Lapham.


That’s Igor Kordey art?

I would not have guessed that.

Pretty bold work.

Out in late December from Vertigo! P. Craig Russell draws a comic book based on Neil Gaiman’s address book!! This bold original project is a sequel to early December’s bold new idea of having P. Craig Russell draw a comic book based on Neil Gaiman’s tax returns!

So, yeah, I think it is silly to have P. Craig Russell (an amazing talent) re-draw Dream Hunters as a comic book, rather than a prose with pictures story.

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Nice cover by Yuko Shimizu, though!

I love Jock something fearsome, but I can’t say that this Scalped cover did much for me.


Fair enough House of Mystery cover by Glenn Fabry.

I would have preferred to have seen a David Petersen cover, though. He’s doing a story in this issue! Woohoo!!! I can’t wait!!

On this Fabry cover for his mini-series, Chas Chandler looks like he’s stuck in a wacky comedy.


My goodness! ANOTHER Fabry cover!

This is a good trippy Greatest Hits cover – very out there.

For this Fables cover – didn’t House of Mystery, like, JUST have a cover that looked just like this?

Demerits, Jean! DEMERITS!!!!

Smooth collage effect on this DMZ cover by Brian Wood.

He has wonderful designing skills.

That is one bizarre cover for Air by M.K. Perker, but I like bizarre!

Points for Perker!!


Oddly straightforward Dave Johnson cover for 100 Bullets.

Maybe this is just a detail?


It’s a new Frank Quitely cover, and it IS good, so it deserves some attention, but it isn’t exactly the type of cover that’ll knock your socks off, is it?

It is almost like “Quitely drawing Death! That’s all we need!”

This is the first of the Army@Love covers that really made me laugh.

Very cute.

Now this is definitely what the first cover of a comic adaptation of an outside property should look like!

This looks totally designed to draw in X-Files fans, and it does so nicely, I think.

Another bold Vixen cover by Joshua Middleton.

Are those wolves supposed to look weird, though? Just curious…

Very cute Secret Six cover by Nicola Scott.


Kevin Nowlan can draw some awesome/scary giant spiders!!

These The War That Time Forgot covers have been a blast.

Two strong Batman covers by Alex Ross – the two best of his run of covers yet, by far, I gather…


That’s an amazingly cute Tiny Titans cover by Art Baltazar.


I love it when Brian Bolland is allowed to be funny on covers – he has a great sense of humor.

This Jack of Fables cover is not only funny, it also manages to capture Jack’s characterization well, as well.


5. Massimo Carnevale and I have a thing going on – I can just feel it.

He knows I loves me how he uses negative space, so he keeps coming out with awesome covers that use negative space wonderfully.

Like this one.

I will soon begin looking for coded messages for me from him in his covers.


“Whatever you say, Massimo!”

4. An excellent farewell to the Legion of Superheroes cartoon tie-in comic by Sanford Greene.

Such characterization and detail mixed in with a stunning group shot (and the nice fading effect) – a beautiful last cover.

3. Chuck does not deserve an artist as talented as Kristian Donaldson coming up with bold designs like this one!

But it got him, and it is good.

2. Not only does Tony Harris come up with a eye-catching cover for Ex Machina, but he even manages to work in some characterization with it!

Very impressive.

1. You know I normally don’t like rewarding straight pin-up covers, but, well…

A. It’s not the strongest month for top covers (I really like a lot of the top covers, but none stand out TOO much as “WOW!”) and

B. Come on, few pin-up covers are as dynamite as this JG Jones Batman cover for Final Crisis!!

I bet the Superman cover will be out of this world!!

Well, that’s my prejudices and my Top Five!

How about you folks?


Are the animals on the Vixen covers perhaps meant to be hyenas rather than wolves?

Those are some naughty tentacles on that Rann-Thanagar War cover.

That red and green Batman cover literally hurts my eyes… not as in it’s horrible, but I have to squint to look at it since it causes physical pain. I hope it’s just the computer screen doing that and the physical cover doesn’t induce any pain.

How dare you imply Catwoman is a pig!

Good god. I was already all too aware of the situation, but seeing all those Alex Ross covers in one place makes me realize just how utterly B-O-R-I-N-G his stuff is. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

The DMZ cover appears to be by John Paul Leon – not Brian Wood. But you’re right, it IS nicely designed.

Outside of maybe the second cover (the one with Supergirl), the Alex Ross covers look terribly static, especially when compared to some of the other, better covers… I’m not getting much of a sense of movement (even when the figures are supposed to be depicted in mid-motion). Instead of snapshots of figures in motion, they look quite stiff and artificially posed (although I suppose that’s been a long-standing criticism of Ross’ art). His compositions looks pretty bland, especially when contrasted against some of the more visually engaging designs such as the Army@Love one and the LSH cover by Sanford Greene.

No, Moore does not own the ABC stuff, DC does (for whatever reason League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was a seperate deal and he and Kevin do own that). As I recall when Moore came up with ABC he could have either kept the characters but his artists would have gotten less of a guaranteed pay and had to wait longer for any possible return on investment (which for struggling artists could mean hard times for a while) or he could sell the rights and make more up front. So he opted to help out the artists by giving them a bigger paycheck up front and then Lee sold Wildstorm to DC.

I’m really not sure about the Phantom Stranger on that B&B cover… just looks odd to me…

I’m worried about Brian’s neighbors.

Gasp! did you just compare Sarah Palin to a Hush!?

Regarding Alex Ross doing a whole book by himself, I reckon that if he can stop doing covers for other books for a month (judging from his output here alone) he should be fine and dandy…

On a separate issue, I’m also enjoying Dini’s take on hush…

I’m also a bit worried (from the Gog cover) that the hole on Kara’s costume has A) re-appeared (after changing to a button-over flap style) and B) seems to have grown and slipped a bit…

Don’t agree with all your comments ,Brian, but so what.

Very nice feature. Thanks!

That X-Files cover drives me nuts because Mulder & Scully aren’t looking at what the Lone Gunmen are looking at, they’re just staring dead ahead. It makes it look like the people in the background are just wearing Mulder & Scully masks.

A lot of time scar tissue is just dead flesh, so yeah, it wouldn’t hurt that much. It’d feel weird, though.

Note that on the JLA cover, most of the League are running towards Superman and Icon, but Flash appears to be leaving. “Oh, screw this; I’m going to Denny’s.”

Yikes, that Birds of Prey cover is not good. Not good at all. Who the heck would want to pick up a book where a handicapped woman is clearly getting her @#@ beat?

Also, when did Gen13 morph into a latter day Scooby Doo and friends?

While the solicits would have you believe this is by one of the Kuberts, I’m pretty sure it is actually interior art by Walt Flanagan.

If you scroll down just wrong, so you don’t actually see Joker’s hands, you’re looking at what the Comic Critics were looking at this week.

I would guess that the papers on that Carlos Pacheco will be calander papers or somthing simular and they just haven’t been lettered yet.

On the Flash cover why does Linda have Man Hands?


One of those Fabry covers is dated ‘o7 so it may have been sitting in a drawer for awhile.


I agree with you on the X Files cover, but Mulder and Scully’s heads don’t look as if they fit their bodies.

am awarding this bout to Noto!!

I think his cover flowed a bit better.

Not just that but lordy is that anatomy bad by Morales on the cover. Look at the muscles on top of muscles on top of muscles on Batman’s arms and torso, the width of his torso compares to his shoulders, etc. And this is the guy who ripped Liefeld online for his poor anatomy? Geez!



Really love that Death-cover (that’s for Madame Xanadu?)

That Gen13 cover makes me wonder yet again about the post-Apocalyptic setting Wildstorm is sporting these days. That’s a really awkward fit for Gen13.

>Jordan D. White
>September 11, 2008 at 6:30 am

> How dare you imply Catwoman is a pig!

I would buy a comic called Pigwoman.

You say it’s weird for Alex Ross to homage himself on the KC Special, but when Kevin Maguire homages his own JL #1 for the forty-fifth time on that Ambush Bug cover, you call it “Straight-forward, but funny”.

Now, I agree that it’s funny, and I always love to see Maguire do a take-off on that cover, but why isn’t it weird when he does it?

Is it just me, or did Alex Ross draw 87.23% of DCs’ Novemeber covers? Heavens above, he’s keeping himself busy, isn’t he?

Having said that, the second -darker- cover of for Batman is very beautiful, especially the small Talia and Damian segment.

wow..I realy wish Eaglesham was doing the regular covers for JSA..I am sooo tired of Alex Ross and his static, boring photo covers.

Also isnt the Vixen mini taking place in Africa…those are probably wild dogs..They have those real big ears.

You say it’s weird for Alex Ross to homage himself on the KC Special, but when Kevin Maguire homages his own JL #1 for the forty-fifth time on that Ambush Bug cover, you call it “Straight-forward, but funny”.

Now, I agree that it’s funny, and I always love to see Maguire do a take-off on that cover, but why isn’t it weird when he does it?

Because he’s doing it as shtick.

Perhaps not a huge difference, but I think it’s a difference.

Oh, and Brian: Why do you think Batgirl is Grace?

Brian, glad to see you’re back and covering covers again. This is my favorite CBR feature.

I, too, was surprised to find that large quantities of Alex Ross = boring. I was pleased that Cliff Chiang continues to impress (his Green Arrow stuff has been uniformly solid) when he never seemed capable of better-than-B stuff before. The Lopresti ‘Guardian’ cover is bland while his Wonder Woman cover leads me to believe he could have done better. Maybe he should stick to WW. Or to women in general — his Ms Marvel/Red Sonja stuff was great.

There aren’t any really bad DC covers this month and there aren’t any really knock-out, wowza!, pieces. I agree with your #1 pick: JG Jones did some good stuff here…but I almost hate to say it since I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with your #1 pick before.

I’m sorry Brian, you jumped King Shark this time, giving any praise to that X-Files cover.

It’s the epitome of what’s wrong with these photo-referencing/throwing a jpeg thru a photoshop filter artists.

What’s Mulder looking at? How about Sculley? How about the Gunmen? There’s stuff on the table, but no one has the same eyeline. None of these characters are in the same scene.

Yes it looks just like the characters…but as an art composition, it’s garbage.

“Who the heck would want to pick up a book where a handicapped woman is clearly getting her @#@ beat?”

Because, since it’s Babs, odds are pretty good that Joker’s missing a few teeth as well. That’s why the Oracle character works well – while she’s always an underdog whenever things get physical, she’s tough enough to give as good as she gets.

As usual, the wordpad dump of thoughts while reading:

– That Rags “Batman Breaks Bane” cover is just fugly. The perspective doesn’t work, Batman looks as though he’s dislocated both shoulders, and Superman looks like his left leg’s been amputated.
– Take one look at Supergirl’s chin in that Ross cover and tell me that he didn’t just start off with a leftover Superman cover sketch. In this case, though, “looks the same” appears to be quite deliberate, as I’d bet good money it’s a three-part piece split over the three Superbooks (the middle appears to be missing).
– I thought it was just scar *tissue* on Two-Face’s mug – EG, he healed enough to function, but not much more than that. Besides, being in constant pain is a nice element for the character, isn’t it? (edit: beaten to it.)
– Who WOULDN’T be preferable to Benes on JLA right now? I think it’s a close call between him and Liefeld. To think I used to like the guy a lot in his BoP days….
– Rant ahead… Will the Gog storyline please just END? It’s been like eight months already and has somehow turned Johns into Bendis in terms of plot / page ratio. Rant over.
– The Icon / Superman cover was, I think, supposed to be the “test of strength” spot from wrestling, used since time immemorial, but who the heck knows what Benes did with it.
– Booster should’ve been striking the Heisman pose – since that adds the Desmond Howard joke to the proceedings (if you don’t get it, think of what Howard was wearing when he struck his famous pose).
– The Ben 10 transition worked because they weren’t all that small to begin with, and the kids had clearly run their course – there was only so long Ben and Gwen could be on summer vacation. Of course, now there’s all sort of creepy net fangirls drooling over Kevin, so while the show’s better it’s created a monster.
– That Kristan Donaldson Chuck cover looks like something out of the monochrome era of Detective. In a very good way.

In Dragonball, the characters aged from kids to adults. We first see Goku as a child, and last we see him he has a granddaughter! Although the transition was smoothly enough (it was done in 42 books, or like 340 episodes or so, without counting Dragonball GT)


September 14, 2008 at 8:31 pm

I think this was a rejected national flag for Australia, well, gold and green ARE official colors in Australia, right? Right?

We almost had it to, but then Harradine decided The Phantom Stranger wasn’t a wholesome enough character, and said he wouldn’t approve the Telstra sell off, and so they replaced him with The Flash, but at the time Morrison was writing him in his book and in JLA, so of course the National party pulled it’s support – you never get the farm vote with Morrison – and so then Howard declared it wasn’t a ‘core election promise’ and it fell of the agenda, so we stuck with ol’faithful.
(Of course Latham had ideas about an Elongated Man and Atom flag, but as soon as the election was called he lost his nerve on that one, like he did with everything else.).

Doug was never drastically aged between series, was he? From what I remember he finished junior high when the show was on Nickelodeon and started high school when it moved to ABC.

Yeah, Sean, when they changed series, he went from being in the 6th grade to being later in Junior High.

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