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Judging (DC’s February) Books By Their Covers

DC’s February solicits are up (they’ve been up so long that March is up today!), so let’s make some prejudgments based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don’t we?).

Let’s begin!

Dynamic Aaron Lopresti cover for Action Comics.


Bit of a lackluster cover homage, though, by Lopresti to the #0 issue of the new Adventure Comics.

I really don’t understand why you’d change the angle on the shot like that. I don’t think it helps the piece at all.

Decent straightforward Batman Confidential cover by the legendary Jose Garcia-Lopez.

Can’t believe it’s really taken this long to get King Tut into the comics!

I was there that day that Kelley Jones and Anatomy got into a huge fight. As Anatomy walked away in a huff, I heard Jones shout, “I’m through with you, Anatomy! THROUGH!”

This Batman: Gotham After Midnight shows the ramifications of their quarrel.

I’m digging the slightly tighter pencils from Lee Garbett here.

How amusing is it, though, that the book lasts 50 issues as the Outsiders, gets re-launched as Batman and the Outsiders, and within 15 issues, it’s back to the Outsiders again?

Not exactly stellar future planning there…

Speaking of odd homages to classic covers, Andy Kubert makes some rather, well, odd design decisions on this Detective Comics cover homage to Bob Kane’s famous Detective Comics #27 cover.

I think it works better, though, than Lopresti’s Adventure Comics #0.

Strong final issue cover by Don Kramer.


Good final issue cover by Freddie Williams III (I wonder where he’s going to be going next?), although Robin really should ease up on the hair product.


I love me some Joshua Middleton, and this Supergirl cover is okay, but it’s not nearly as dynamic as his usual Supergirl covers.

In addition, is Superwoman supposed to look that unimposing?

Impressive cover layout on this Brave and the Bold cover by Doug Braithwaite.


A very clever farewell cover by Rafael Albuquerque.

One of the few things to look forward to re: Blue Beetle’s cancellation is that we will likely get to see Rafael Albuquerque get bigger and bigger assignments – he is good and just getting better all the time.

Woah, unannounced Marvel/DC crossover on this Cully Hamner cover for Black Lightning Year One!

Look everyone, it’s that guy from that issue of Generation X!

Or at least his cousin.

Seriously, though, that’s a nice cover design by Hamner – the Superman, in particular, looks dynamite.

You can usually count on Dan Jurgens to provide bold superhero poses on his covers, and he does so on this Booster Gold one!


Nice final issue cover by Stephane Roux.


If you add some laughter to this cover, Joker-style, this Phil Hester cover would be amazing.

Even without lettering, it is quite good. Electrifying, even. ;)

Gotta give Ivan Reis credit, he delivered on the emotion “required” by the character on this Green Lantern cover, and greed is certainly something that’s not exactly easy to convey. So good job, Ivan!


Pat Gleason must have missed the memo – he covered up the female character’s ass shot and gave us the guy character’s ass shot!

Doesn’t he know anything about the public’s desire to see the asses of female comic book characters on comic book covers?!?!?

Someone get Professor Benes on the line for some tutoring!

Of course, as if on cue, right after I tease the guy, Benes come back with this stunning Justice League drawing (sans ass shot).

I dunno if it necessarily works as a cover, but wow, as a drawing, that’s an amazing looking Doctor Light by Benes (he’s credited in the solicits, at least).

If we could get THAT in JLA monthly, could that be arranged?

The cover idea is good, but David Michael Beck’s art here is way too “photoshop-y.”

The flier looks like it does not exist on the same plane as the background figure.

That’s an awesome, awesome drawing by Jerry Ordway.

I don’t have it higher because the way it is laid out, it looks more like an interior panel than a shot meant to stand on its own, but still, what a great drawing.

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I have been LOVING the way Ordway has been given more and more to do with JSA as of late.

He’s a great artist.

And I bet he’s happy with the notion that Desaad has likely been possessing Mary Marvel for quite some time now (yes, that was not conveyed in Countdown at ALL, but hey, communication between creators is overrated).

Good Dave Johnson cover for this new out of continuity superhero book by Peter Tomasi and Peter Snejbjerg (you might recall them as being the creative team for Tomasi’s first comic work for DC,


A fun thing about outer space is that you can have people leaping out at you at all sorts of odd angles and explain it as “no gravity!”

With that in mind, good REBELS cover by Andy Clarke.

When did Vril Dox start working for JAG, though?

The slightly more restrained approach really suits Justiniano.

Good cover for Reign in Hell.

Scott Hampton’s Simon Dark covers usually are not the most dynamic of covers, but usually the design elements are so strong that the cover still pops.

This cover, though, seems flat AND doesn’t exactly have an impressive design.

Nice drawing by Nicola Scott, but I don’t think it is bold enough for a cover shot – as an interior, it’d be great, but as a cover it is lacking.


Interesting to see Dan Jurgens do the cover for the last issue of Tanget: Superman’s Reign.

Decent enough cover by Jurgens.


Poor Joe Bennett – the Clock King is not exactly the greatest figure to feature on a comic book cover, and a result, this Terror Titans cover just looks kinda hokey.

But Bennett draws it well enough.

I love how bold this Howard Porter Titans cover is, however, the character drawings are way too sharp and angular, and the perspective seems to be all off for most of the characters on the cover.


It’s interesting, I am not too impressed by the main character drawings on this Shane Davis triptych, but the REST of the characters are drawn quite well, and in the cool style that I know Davis can draw in (and the inker helps, too, of course) – bright and not a lot of cross-hatching.


So…male or female on this Eddy Barrows Teen Titans cover?


Nice sense of movement by Walt Simonson on this Nightwing cover, but the figures look a lot less sharp than a typical Simonson drawing.

Nightwing, in particular, appears to be lacking definition.

Good Justiniano cover for the War that Time Forgot.


Can’t blame Aaron Lopresti for this Wonder Woman cover – unless, of course, he was the one who designed Genocide.

If so, then, well, okay, I guess we can blame him.

Genocide looks re-donk-you-lus.

Nice Mike Kunkel cover for Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam.


Very strong cover layout by Scott Jeralds for the Batman: Brave and the Bold.


I love the idea of giving the popular features of Cartoon Network Action Pack the whole cover, and a group shot works well here that it might not work so well on a serialized comic.

This Jay Stephens’ cover of Secret Saturdays could really help sell the book in a way that an action shot really might not.


Good Camp Lazlo cover by Robert Pope for Cartoon Network Block Party.


Perhaps I should move this Robert Pope Scooby Doo cover up higher – it’s a very strong visual design.


Very cute Supergirl cover by Eric Jones.

I love the look on her face as she drops the book and pencil.

I really don’t get how this Simon Coleby Authority cover is meant to sell the book.

It’s well-drawn, but it is as interesting as paragraphs of exposition.

Howard Chaykin gives the first cover of Bang! Tango a cover that certainly evokes the title better than one could ever expect.


Once again, Brandon Badeaux is doing his best with what he has to work with.

What fascinates me is that Liam Sharp is not doing rhe covers – the he-men of Gears of War seem to fit Sharp’s style perfectly.

An okay Niko Henrichon cover for the Mirror’s Edge.

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Excellent city backdrop, though.

A very endearing cover by Tom Fowler for the second issue of his new book with writer Jeff Parker.


Maybe I should just drop judging these video game covers, because you have to imagine the editorial restraints are massive.

Mario Alberti is a lot better artist than this, and I bet it came down to him following some sort of guideline for the cover. Same with Mirror’s Edge, Gears of War, etc.

Then again, while I am unfamiliar with the video game Resistance, I find it hard to believe that this CP Smith is what the game is like, so perhaps they have more freedom than I think.


Leandro Fernandez changes his usual Stormwatch cover routine a bit, and the results are impressive.

Nice motion and an intriguing design.

Neil Googe, too, comes back from a rather disheartening Wildcats cover last month with an intriguing one here.

A lot more laid back of a cover than last one, with the over the top silliness of Maul fighting some other jolly goofy giant.

Straightforward Jon Buran cover for World of Warcraft, but I think it’s an effective one.


I’m really liking these drawn X-Files covers by Jim Daly & Tim Bradstreet.

Nice dramatic feel to the cover, and the characters are still cartoon-y enough to be fluid and not stiff.

I still can’t get over how seamlessly John Paul Leon took over DMZ cover duties.


Man, what a lame cover by James Jean! Who wants to see a big ol’ Top Secret sign on a cover?!?!

Of all the nerve!

What’s that?


Never mind, then.

I like the slightly different cover layout than normal from Glenn Fabry for Greatest Hits.

It’s a nice mix of the mundane with the surreal.

That’s one scary-ass effed up baby right there by Lee Bermejo!


This Glenn Fabry cover, unlike the Greatest Hits cover, is ONLY mundane.

Nicely drawn of course, as this IS Glenn Fabry we’re talking about, but what a boring cover image for House of Mystery.

A strong Kaluta cover for Haunted Tank.

This book has gotten some impressive cover artists so far!!

Brian Bolland must be having a BLAST with these Jack of Fables covers.

Yet another hilariously offbeat one.

Solid Young Liars cover by Lapham, as usual.



I love the layout on this Yuko Shimizu Dream Hunters cover.


Brian Bolland is having some fun on this Spirit cover, too, but I think this cover idea jumps out a bit more than the Jack of Fables one.


Bold Air cover by M.K. Perker.

It adds a bit more flair than previous issues – so it was definitely a good pick by DC to use for their “jump on” issue.

A good, distinct conclusion to the Vixen mini-series by Joshua Middleton.


Come on! It’s Starro as a pirate!!

J. Bone – will you marry me?

Mike Huddleston has such an amazing style to him.

This Gen 13 cover is way too cool for a cover that is basically just a guy riding a skateboard.

It’s not even that Amy Reeder Hadley rocks this Madame Xanadu cover, execution style, but the idea is so strong that I still enjoy it a lot.


It’s Jock!

He is almost genetically incapable of doing a bad cover!


Igor Kordey has had a number of very striking covers for Unknown Soldier.

Love the water effect.

A grand farewell to 100 Bullets courtesy of Dave Johnson.

For 100 issues, Johnson has delivered with numerous stunningly designed covers – he is a comic book treasure.


5. Andy Kubert is a pretty good cover artist, but this Batman cover for the first part of the Neil Gaiman two-parter is some of the best work I’ve seen from him on a cover in awhile.

The layout is excellent and the execution is strong, too.

4. This Alex Ross cover loses some points for the fact that Pa Kent died, what, seventeen months ago or something like that?

Still, it’s a powerful image.

3. Speaking of a powerful image (and I was – look at ranking #4 if you don’t believe me), Ladrönn delivers one on this Green Arrow/Black Canary cover.

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Definitely a cover that forces you to take a gander at it.

2. See, this is what I’m talking about when I say Billy Tucci should just DRAW!

When he is just drawing freehand, he can be dynamite, like this bursting off the page Sgt. Rock cover.

If Tucci spent too much time on photorealism for Rock and the Tank (which many artists do), it would have DRAMATICALLY sapped the cover out of tons of energy – by drawing them freehand (with photo references, of course, but that’s fine), Tucci allows himself to add a great deal of manic energy to the cover, resulting in an awesome cover – the best of the series so far (by far).

1. Massimo Carnevale should really start doing covers on, like, stilts or something or drawing in the back of a convertible with the top down. He needs to up the difficulty level somehow, because he makes great covers look so easy.

Yet another dramatic cover using colors and shading beautifully, as well as shadows and perspective to create a beautiful work of cover art.

Well, there you have it!

Feel free to share YOUR Top Fives and YOUR prejudices!


In that Booster Gold cover, it almost seems like the lower body was an afterthought.

And the Authority cover definitely caught my eye. It implies the return of the Engineer, and that is all kinds of awesome if they deliver on it.

Aaron Lopresti has really learned his craft. Kudos!

I love Misfit’s body language/expression in that BOP cover.

Is it just me, or does Dr. Light appear to have some man parts in that drawing? I’d read the story that explains that!

Of COURSE they used well-rounded male Green Lantern buttocks in that cover. It’s practically a requirement! ALL Green Lanterns have fabulous behinds.

After watching some more Gears of War cutscenes on youtube recently, the thing that struck me about the Badeaux cover was that he actually made the anatomy less exaggerated on this cover than the characters appear ingame.

I haven’t played much Resistance outside of a demo at a trade show last year, but from what I did play, the CP Smith cover is a pretty accurate, if stylized, representation of one of the Chimera enemies.

The Ladrönn cover for Green Arrow/Black Canary is incredibly striking though. That’d probably be my pick for cover of the month.

I’d put money on that Mirror’s Edge piece being an internal panel, since it looks exactly like Matthew Dow Smith’s art and nothing like Niko Henrichon’s. Unless Henrichon decided to ape Smith’s style for some reason.

And, man, Mike Huddleston is tearing it up on Gen13. His art has been absolutely killer on that book, month after month. I hope he and Scott Beatty stick with the series for a good, long while.


Is that Night Owl from Watchmen on the Outsiders cover??!!?

Bwah! Green Arrow got his ass kicked by a leetle girl.

Second on the Night Owl WTF. That looks like a really interesting group of heroes to put together. Shows how out of touch I am that I thought at least two of those characters were dead. Is that Jack Ryder and Rex Mason? Is the comic any good?

That Spirit cover is a classic.

Hey. Another Team-Up book.

And while I grant you it’s probably an improvement, Tucci’s actual Sgt. Rock figure doesn’t really fit with the rest of the piece. It’s a great BACKGROUND, but not that strong a cover.

“Is it just me, or does Dr. Light appear to have some man parts in that drawing? I’d read the story that explains that!”

I hope they tell the story of how the Justice League told her there was nothing in poor taste about her taking the name and costume of a rapist, and that there’d be nothing strained at all about her serving on the same team as Ralph and Sue Dibny.

Omar Karindu, back from an Internet Thogal ritual

December 16, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Nope, it’s Owlman of the Crime Syndicate, not Night-Owl.

Is it just me, or does Dr. Light appear to have some man parts in that drawing?


Without color, the shadows are a bit disconcerting. But when you look closely, you can see that it is clearly shadow. I’m sure when it is colored, it’ll be very clear.

I hope they tell the story of how the Justice League told her there was nothing in poor taste about her taking the name and costume of a rapist, and that there’d be nothing strained at all about her serving on the same team as Ralph and Sue Dibny.

I wonder if anyone other than Kurt Busiek ever put that much thought into a retcon.

I would have liked to see it, as well (as, come on, Meltzer put barely any thought into the retcon), but it is interesting to note that stuff like that ALWAYS seems to come up for almost every retcon. “But if X is true, than Y no longer makes sense.” I wonder how many retcons completely avoid contradictions?

I love your “Judging by the Covers” series as much as I hate Misfit. And that’s a whole lotta emotion (in one way or another – bipolar I be).

P.S., is it me or did the Johnny DC titles kick overall arse in the covers dept? So good yet so simple. Wish some of the main DC books took that to heart in terms of cover design.

“Look everyone, it’s that guy from that issue of Generation X!”

or is it crazy old Jamie Braddock!

The Vigilante-Nightwing cover is from the Vigilante series and isn’t a Nightwing cover.

I agree with your number 5 choice… that’s quite an impressive shot by Andy Kubert.

My all-time favorite cover artist, Dave Johnson, did a beautiful job on the final issue of one of my all-time favorite ongoing series.

You’re right – we’re incredibly lucky to have him. I’m so sorry to see 100 BULLETS go.

- I think they’re still worried about being sued by Fox over King Tut.
– I really don’t understand what’s going on in the Tec 27 tribute cover.
– The Robin cover is an homage to the cover of the first limited series, which is nice (Nightwing isn’t, however, and neither is BOP; would’ve been nice to acknowledge the history of what are three well-respected titles all going out at once).
– On that note… c’mon, they couldn’t find a way to sneak Black Canary onto the final BOP cover? Really?
– Hey! It’s a sighting of the old, BoP-era Ed Benes! Who let him out of the dungeon?

On a similar note – DC’s soliciting a JLU trade in the new Previews. Go buy it, those are all good stuff and expose why half of us thought Beechen was the next big thing for a while there.

I’m pretty sure that’s Kid Eternity on the Teen Titans cover, so the answer is ‘Guy’.

I think they’re still worried about being sued by Fox over King Tut.

How?? King Tut is a nickname for King Tutankhamun isn’t it? How can Fox seriously argue copyright over a historical figure?

If it was the Mummy from The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, etc., I can see the point… But that wasn’t King Tut… or Rama Tut…

The Andy Kubert homage cover is a bit odd… Batman’s not actually holding his rope… Guess he just let go, in order to quickly drag his cape up???

‘Abandon all hope etc.’ doesn’t look so depressing with such an interesting font. It should really have a more diabolical typeface – like comic sans for example.

“If it was the Mummy from The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, etc., I can see the point… But that wasn’t King Tut… or Rama Tut…”

No, it’s not relating to the Mummy, it’s relating to the original production of the Batman TV series from the 60ws. The way I recall it, WB obviously retained their copyright to any characters created prior to appearing on the TV series, but Fox own(s/ed – the entire series is legally tied up) any characters created for the TV series. So King Tut, the Batman villain, can therefore be their property.

DC is getting around this by, as you suggested, just calling a dissimilar character “King Tut”.

Ah! Thank you Stephen.
Don’t recall ever seeing an episode with a mummified enemy… But then, I barely remember the ones that I did watch, it was that long ago…
Thanks for clearing it up!

As for the Fables cover, does it look like someone’s pulling someone else to them in an embrace?? I’m thinking Red and Blue here…

Not Nite Owl or Crime Syndicate Owlman. It’s Alfred dressed as Owlman.

One of the clues from an old DC Nation was “the Owl is the butler”.

Sorry, it was DC Nation 137 and the clue was “the Owl and the Butler are the same person”



10 clues, five true, five false

Bit of a lackluster cover homage, though, by Lopresti to the #0 issue of the new Adventure Comics.

To be fair, though, the original cover is lackluster it’s homaging was flat and bland and is only homaged so often because of the significance of the issue rather than the cover’s merits. It’s pretty hard to do a homage of that cover that ISN’T lackluster. I think the angle actually helps a little bit.

I was there that day that Kelley Jones and Anatomy got into a huge fight. As Anatomy walked away in a huff, I heard Jones shout, “I’m through with you, Anatomy! THROUGH!”

THANK YOU. I’ve always wondered why Liefeld is hounded for his horrible anatomy, but Jones is diefied when his anatomy may be even worse and even MORE distracting from the story. How many ribs and abs can a human being have anyway?

How amusing is it, though, that the book lasts 50 issues as the Outsiders, gets re-launched as Batman and the Outsiders, and within 15 issues, it’s back to the Outsiders again?

Not exactly stellar future planning there…

Making it up as they go along is par for the course for DC.

There is something off about the way Don Kramer does faces, especially the lower half of the face and the mouth and chin area in particular that I can’t stand. If he could fix it, I think he could be one of the greats. Or maybe it’s just me. Everyone looks mildly retarded to me when he draws their facial expressions.

Oh, and for once I think I actually 100% agree with your top five Brian!

I like that Fabry House of Mystery cover more than you do. I’m not exactly sure why, It looks right out of a 70s horror book.

What’s up with Kid Eternity on that cover(aside from the fact I thought it was Power Girl at first)? I don’t get what’s significant about him taking off his sunglasses. Did they turn him into the Corinthian or something?

“If you add some laughter to this cover, Joker-style, this Phil Hester cover would be amazing.”

Great idea, Brian. Here are three more covers that could benefit from Joker-style laughter:
Action Comics
Adventure Comics
Jonah Hex

Why, this could be a new feature!

The cover idea is good, but David Michael Beck’s art here is way too “photoshop-y.”

The cover idea is generic. The execution is awful… Hex looks too plastic. His scar looks too much like Two-Face meets the Joker, and the horizon meeting the sky looks like a stock background…
Took me ages to actually notice the flyer…
That shiny face just reminds me (in a bad way) of really early Chris Bacchalo stuff – where, for some reason, everyone had shiny red noses…

“Don’t recall ever seeing an episode with a mummified enemy… ”

You wouldn’t. If memory serves, he was a fat professor of Egyptology who’d occasionally get bonked on the head and start thinking he was the actual King Tut. Sadly, as Batman made-for-TV villains go, he was probably the best of the bunch (and because of the amnesia gimmick, he wound up discovering that Batman was Bruce Wayne in practically every appearance).

He was kinda like the Maxie Zeus of that era, I guess.

"O" the Humanatee!

December 17, 2008 at 7:39 pm

The Simonson Vigilante cover is one of the weakest things I think I’ve ever seen him do. But I notice that the cover bears three signatures: Simonson’s familiar “dinosaur,” a boxed “DB” that’s probably for the colorist (David Baron?) – and, inside the big “O” of Simonson’s signature, the letters “RWS.” So it looks like someone else worked with him on the cover. Anyone have any idea who?

Have you noticed that DC covers are exciting and fun and maintain the look of comic book covers while more and more of the Marvel stuff looks like photo-realistic illustration…and boring because of it?

The Lopresti Adventure Comics #0 cover does what a good cover is supposed to do; it makes me want to buy the comic. To my mind, it’s much superior to the Lopresti/Action cover.

Lopresti’s Wonder Woman cover is the best he’s done for the series…which is sad, ’cause it isn’t that great a cover. The guy has done some fine variant covers for different stuff, some dynamite Red Sonja covers, he goes to one of the Big Three, and suddenly seems over his head (cover-wise. The interiors are solid).

I think the BoP cover is the best BoP cover I’ve ever seen Roux do. So why didn’t he throw in Black Canary?

The Jerry Ordway/JSA cover hit me the same way as Adventure #0 but even harder. It’s a great and intriguing comic cover. It’s my #1.

Dear CBR,

A friend of mine sent me this link with your comment regarding the cover for Jonah Hex #40,…I thought I might write you with a bit of technical info just for the record. The covers for Jonah Hex #40, & 41 are oil on canvas. None of my work is digitaly rendered. Even the lettering is hand executed.

The design of cover #40 was along the lines of an iconic approach, not nessarily to be taken literaly. I very much appreciate and respect your perspective ,comment, and additional exposure of the Jonah Hex title and my work associated with it.



Any chance of March’s covers going up and being jjudged soon?

I second the request for some judgement and posting of March Covers!

Here Here! The people have called for March Covers!

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