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Top Five Actual Pieta Covers

In general, we refer to any cover with one character holding another character outstretched in his/her arms as a “Pieta” cover, after the famous Michelangelo statue of Mary holding Jesus’ body.

Well, I was just doing a bit about La Pieta at Legends Revealed here, and it reminded me of the last time I did a bit on this style of covers some folks noted we should draw a distinction between covers likely influenced by La Pieta and covers CLEARLY homaging La Pieta.

So, here are the the top five covers that are homaging the actual La Pieta (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far)…


This Greg Lauren Hellblazer cover is a bit too subdued for my tastes, but it’s still a strong piece of work.


This Alvin Lee Deadpool cover is a strong one, and even ties directly in with the Deadpool story arc (which involved the whole “Deadpool doesn’t seem to be able to die” plot point), but since it clearly follows in the footsteps of another cover on this list, I knocked it down a bit.

3 (TIE).

This was a clever cover approach by Pat Broderick.

First, he does a bit about how Captain Atom and the villain Plastique share some compassion…

and later, we revisit their relationship…

Very nice little sequence there, separated by almost exactly three years!


This is probably the most famous cover on the list, and Jim Starlin does a magnificent job, but I just think there’s another cover that’s a bit more on point than this great cover, which spotlighted the cover of the first Marvel Graphic Novel – the death of Captain Marvel!


Okay, so this member of Harbinger is forced to sacrifice her child for the good of the world and she meets him later on when he’s an adult and has taken on a sort of savior-like role for the world.

Come on, do you get any more spot on for having a La Pieta cover homage than this Howard Simpson cover?!

I say thee nay, so it gets the #1 spot.

What say you folks? Any good La Pieta cover that I’m missing? Let me know (I don’t really need to tell you that, do I?)!!


I’m not familiar with the title. Why does the adult child on the Harbinger cover look so much like Magnus, Robot Fighter? He even has a big M on his belt buckle.

my favourite pieta was in a comic book. Brainiac 5 cradling his broken supergirl sex bot

Because that was Magnus, Robot Fighter. :>

Though it’s not as directly influenced by the statue, I’ve got to mention Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. It’s one of the best covers of all time.

Nah, Starlin’s deserves top spot.

I bought two Legion Of Super-Hero books when I was a kid. they’re the only two I ever had, but one was the one with Brainiac 5 and the Supergirl sex-bot. Thanks for mentioning it, Nicola. (I don’t remember the actual Pieta picture, though. Unfortunately.) (The other issue I had was the one with the death of Invisible Boy. It was the first book I ever read in which a hero died. Considering that it was a series I never read, I had the good luck to grab an important issue my first time.)

Which came first: Crisis #7, or X-Men #137 (I think) with Scott holding Jean in the same pose?

The X=Men cover came first, Adam.

But as you can see from this cover gallery of covers that seem tangentially inspired by La Pieta, it was a very popular cover motif before either cover came out.

The list goes from number five to number three. Also, the Harbinger cover rules.

There’s a tie for #3, so that means no #4.

Fables #81 is Pieta-esque, but I guess not as much as the covers on your list.

It’s a beautiful cover, though.

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 14, 2009 at 5:55 am

I agree with Namor.

What I find interesting as an art historian is that people generally agree that although the Pieta is a masterpiece, Michelangelo really warped the proportions of his figures to make it work as an image (Mary is huge, bigger than Christ, and her lap makes it seem like her thighs are really long, etc.).

These artists did a great job emulating Michelangelo but often get caught with the same problems. For that reason, I have to give props to The Death of Captain Marvel if only because it makes more sense that Death is proportionally larger.

Is her lap so large that she can actually hold God on it, or is God so small that he will actually fit on a human’s lap?

The anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion also has a very iconic image of two of its characters in a Pieta pose. It was used in the advertising for the show.

I’m happy to have my cover chosen number one in this category. Brian hits the nail on the head for why the Pieta homage was chosen, because Kris has to sacrifice her son Magnus, Robot Fighter.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the others are just about someone dying, not the mother son combo.

I know Starlin is a much better artist than I am and I understand why people would want his to be number one.

The final page of 100 Bullets #100 is a La Pieta as well, although reversed and armed.

Sure, some of the proportions of La Pieta don’t stand up to close inspection (look at Mary’s right hand), but when I think that it was chopped out of stone with a hammer and chisel, without the benefit of photographic references, I want to drop to my knees in awe.

Michael Painter

August 14, 2009 at 5:08 pm

What about Fables #81’s cover? If that isn’t one of the top Pieta covers, then I don’t know what is.


August 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm

I have to admit, every single time someone brings up La Pieta, my mind has ALWAYS jumped to the Harbinger cover. I’ve seen lots of others – I even own plenty of others – but the image of Kris and Magnus has always been the quintessential La Pieta to me.

It was literally the first issue of Harbinger I ever bought (and in turn, was the first Valiant comic I ever bought), and I bought it solely on the merits of how awesome that cover was. When the inside turned out to be well-written and interesting in its own right, it led me on a back-issue bin spree that ended with me owning nearly every Valiant title from Solar #1right up until Acclaim took over and ran everything into the ground.

So, I suppose I could say that Howard Simpson is at least partially responsible for me spending a HELL of a lot of money back in the early 90’s. : )

How about this? I think this Pieta is the best thing which I ever seen!!


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