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My Top Ten (DC October) Covers

Here are the DC solicits for October, and here are my Top Ten covers for the month!

This was a weird month for covers – besides one cover, I didn’t really see many covers that made me think, “Wow!” but at the same time, I also didn’t see any covers that were so bad that they made me laugh. In fact, I don’t have a single cover to make fun of this month, which is rare. So yeah, it’s a weird month for covers.

On to the covers!!

10. Suitably spooky Shield cover by Francis Manapul.

It has been a great delight seeing Manapul develop into one of the best cover artists working at DC. He always clearly had the talent to do it, but his cover designs often left me puzzled – more recently, though, his art has maintained the same brilliant dynamism it always had, but now his cover designs are getting really good, as well. It’s awesome watching a guy go from a really good artist to a great artist right in front of your eyes.

9. Cover designs are a specialty of Jock’s, as he can do the most sparse actual drawing, yet arrange it in a manner that gets across so much – this Scalped cover is a good example of this.

Not a whole lot going on on this cover, yet how Jock arranges it conveys so much mood and characterization that it’s really quite striking.

8. I presume the effect is achieved through the use of computer colors/effects, but however he does it, Scott Gross always manages to make his Looney Tunes covers “pop” more than most other covers.

The cover concept is good, the character drawings are good, but it is the background that really makes the image stand out – I wonder how Gross does it.

7. Andy Kubert has been doing a really good job on these Blackest Night: Batman covers.

This is another standout cover – really using the character’s history to good effect.

I wonder why his covers for this series, in particular, have been so good?

6. Again, Jock uses an interesting cover design to almost throw us off-kilter with this Azrael #1 cover.

This time, though, the character work stands out, as well, which is why I have it ranked higher than his Scalped cover.


I’ve mentioned before that I thought the cover for Mark Bagley’s first issue of Justice League of America was very clever, with the little in-joke about Bagley’s last project.

I’d have it in the top ten if it weren’t for the fact that I don’t think Bagley plays it entirely fair – the picture in the background with the Trinity on it – what would it look like if it were not tilted? It wouldn’t really work as a picture, would it? That’s what I mean by Bagley not entirely playing it fair there.

I think this Batman: Widening Gyre cover by Bill Sienkiewicz is just a BIT too over the top, but damned if it isn’t a well drawn cover.

5. This Wildcats cover is just a standard pose cover. Not really an interesting design. However, Ryan Sook just draws the hell out of the characters SO much that I couldn’t help but put it on the list.

That’s some astonishingly good character work right there by Sook.

4. Cover artist Yuko Shimizu compares favorably to J.H. Williams’ covers for the Unwritten and Crossing Midnight (both Mike Carey projects), and I think that, in and of itself, is a great compliment.

But to be more specific, I think Smimizu does a wonderful job evoking the old-school story aspect of the Unwritten with an ornate and striking cover.

3. Oh, J. Bone, how do I love you – let me count the ways!

Okay, never mind, I don’t feel like counting – let me just say that this is another striking, clever cover by J. Bone that is infused with characterization and gives the target audience something to make them want to grab this book off of the shelf (and its even topical, with this being an October release).

Great work – I especially love Green Lantern lighting up his face with the ring and the look on Aquaman’s face.


2. Speaking of characterization work, Massimo Carnevale delivers on that beautifully with this Northlanders cover that captures the terror of the plague beautifully, with a well-designed, detailed cover that features emotive character work.

1. This final Planetary cover (which you can click on the image to enlarge) almost seems like it is John Cassaday saying, “Yeah, so we’re late, so what, look at what I’m giving you!!!”

It’s a beautiful, classic image that makes the wait worth it.

Okay, so that’s my top ten! What’s yours?


How disappointing is the cover for October’s issue of Detective Comics? It’s the first one I haven’t drooled over since Williams took over.

I can’t believe Octorber’s Detective Comics cover isn’t on this list.
And I’m a fan of Manapul’s character work, but I don’t like how lately he’s been going with the painted look. It’s not really my thing most of the time.

So far, Planetary HAS NOT been worth the wait. The Denouement of the “Four” plot was pathetic. If they were that easily tricked, then really all the story leading up to that point was pointless.

Planetary the series has struck me as more of an elaborate outline for a real series that was never actually made. There were a lot of dangling plot threads and suggestions of possible stories that never really panned out. I would have like to have read more about Carlton Marvel and what ultimately happened to him. How about more actual story about Opak-Re. What ever happened to the Imaginary Being that Randall Dowling pulled from that Imaginary Planet (Planet Fiction). We hardly saw anything of Anna Hark and her father. What about the adventures where Elijah Snow and Doc Brass crossed paths. What about the Russian Cosmonauts that also encountered the parallel earth Apokolips? That story would have been nice to experience.

There were always tantalizing intimations of actual stories, but never the actual stories themselves. That’s why “Planetary” is merely OK and far from great.

And keep in mind, the storytelling style was EXTREMELY “decompressed” – a story told over 11 YEARS!

That Cassaday cover is just SICK!

Can’t wait!

My Top Five:

5. The Unwritten
4. Looney Tunes – This series consistently has terrific covers.
3. Arkham Reborn by Frazer Irving – I love puzzle piece covers, and this is a great one.
2. Batman: The Unseen #1 by Kelley Jones – Dig that floating organ man. Absolutely gorgeous layout, too.
1. Planetary.

Doug Atkinson

July 21, 2009 at 4:51 pm

“And keep in mind, the storytelling style was EXTREMELY “decompressed” – a story told over 11 YEARS!”

That’s not the storytelling style, it’s the circumstances of publication. Most of the individual issues are fairly self-contained. If the same amount of story had been spread over 120 issues, then it would be decompressed.

I’m surprised you resisted the urge to make fun of Benes’ cover for GL 47, which proves that no matter how alien a female character is, Benes can make her look like a hooker.

Of course, I guess we already knew that.

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 21, 2009 at 5:57 pm

A Bill Sienkiewicz cover being “over the top”?
Well, if there was no thong, that might be “over the top”, heh.

Dug the Cassaday cover. Just can’t wait for the last Planetary issue.

Now, if Ellis can get back to Desolation Jones, Fell, and newuniversal, then I’d be in heaven.

The female character on the Wildcats cover almost looks like she was drawn by Dave Stevens.

My question is why do the superhero books aimed at kids always have the superheroes acting like kids? Why would anyone, even an 8 year old, want to read the Justice League going on a camping trip?

Sure, the texture that Gross uses for the Looney Tunes cover is interesting but, it doesn’t look like dirt. It looks like crumpled paper.

But besides that, even if making the underground look like crumpled paper was his aim he doesn’t allow the characters to fit within the hole. Mugsy especially doesn’t look as if he’s in the hole.

Yes, the cover compared to your normal comic cover may stand out but Gross fails (IMO) on making his characters fit within the environment and to make the environment work.

Sam, you appear to have lost touch with your inner child. Wouldn’t it be cool as all get out if you could go camping with your favorite superhero? Kids think things like that.

Why exactly is the Bill S. cover “over the top?” I really can’t understand how that cover only gets an honorable mention.

My question is why do the superhero books aimed at kids always have the superheroes acting like kids? Why would anyone, even an 8 year old, want to read the Justice League going on a camping trip?

That’s a GREAT point. It’s like they can only operate under one laughable extreme or another under Didio.

Frazer Irving’s puzzle-piece cover should easily make the Top Five. What a striking cover — I’ve stared at it more than once. Against the backdrop of the Doctor Arkham, the Joker’s face is what pops first, but then I realized Irving slipped in bits of Two-Face and the Scarecrow too. Crazy scary cover. I might actually buy the comic just for the cover. (I like to display spooky comics covers in my apartment around Halloween.)

Meanwhile … I like Ivan Reis’ “Blackest Night” cover for its lack of zombies and its way of encapsulating the War of Light with the various Lantern Corps. But how hilarious that he drew the characters in such a way that the colorist has to screw up the spectrum. Yellow before red and orange? Kinda ruins the effect. Heh. Meanwhile, as a John Stewart fan, I like the “GL” cover highlighting him. The pose is obviously very static, but it highlights a different style of ring-slinging. Neat.

The Kubert cover is very good. I wasn’t planning on buying any of these spin-off minis … but I might change my mind about the Batman one, because I’ve been enjoying “Batman and Robin” and “Detective” so much, and I like Tomasi’s “GL Corps” as much or more than the main “GL” book, and he’s writing “Batman: Blackest Night.” It’d be fun to see what he does with Dick Grayson. (Too bad they brought Ra’s back to life. It’d be great if he were a Black Lantern fighting against Dick, Damian and Talia.)

I’m not remotely interested in paying any money for the “FC Aftermath” books, but I do enjoy looking at the Stelfreeze and Kako covers every month. That said, I wouldn’t place either of these efforts near the very top. On the other hand, I’d promote Jesus Saiz’s “Brave and the Bold” cover. Great dynamic shot, great Flash cover.

I hope DC gets some new art from Jose Luis Garcia Lopez for their “DC Comics Presents” compilation.

That fun Bone cover (which is practically redundant) is a good one … but GL should have a green glow on his face. Duh.

Yeah, after reviewing them all again just now, I’d easily put the Irving “Arkham” cover as Number One.

Is Vixen standing her ground against an off panel foe or did she kick everyone’s’ butts?

I have no love for that Manapul SHIELD cover. Not among MY top ten. Bottom of the list, more likely.

Your J. Bone love is admirable. I don’t share that love — not even close. Again, not among my top ten. Not at the bottom of the list but, really, not terrific.

But that WILDCATS cover? Oh, yeah. The Kubert cover. Super. So super that it is easily my #1 pick.

Actually – for that Looney Tunes cover I really needed a good rock texture — so I crumpled up a brown paper bag over and over again, then scanned it in. THEN Photoshop magic. That’s how I got the look :)

-Scott Gross

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