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Top Five Most Iconic Darkseid Covers

Here are my picks for the top five most iconic covers featuring Darkseid (with iconic being determined by what covers are most established and most recognized when it comes to Darkseid, with a preference towards covers that are homaged a lot). This is not a BEST cover list and due to the very nature of icons, very few (if any) recent covers will be on the list. A notable exception to the rules is that I don’t count covers from a character’s first appearance (which isn’t applicable to all characters, of course, just those who appeared on the cover of the comic they debuted in), as those tend to be automatically iconic so they’re boring. Here‘s a list of all characters featured so far.



For the fifth spot, I was going to go with the Hunger Dogs graphic novel by Jack Kirby, but there were enough decent choices out there that I figured it only fair to let you folks pick the fifth cover!

So your decision was…

Artist: John Byrne


Artist: J.G. Jones

Perhaps the most recent cover on any of these lists, but Darkseid really doesn’t have as many “iconic” covers as you might think, and this cover is pretty darn iconic.


Artist: Jim Starlin

This is the storyline that really introduced Darkseid into the DC Universe proper, and if you’re not going to have Kirby draw Darkseid, Starlin is certainly no slouch, as clearly he has a great affinity for the character.


Artist: Keith Giffen

One of the most memorable moments of a memorable creative run of Keith Giffen and Paul Levitz…


Artist: Jack Kirby

The first cover appearance of Darkseid!

This set the tone right off the bat on how to depict Darkseid – floating head!


I totally remember buying that Super Powers comic. For that, and because it is an awesome cover, it has my vote.

That’s a tough one though because they’re all good. The Legends one is equally iconic, and that Pearson one is sweet.


I totally agree that the Super Powers cover, the Byrne Legends cover, and the Pearson cover are the cream of that crop. I voted for the Legends cover, because I think Byrne does a great Darkseid and want to see him represented on this list, but if the S P cover wins, I could live with that.

I would’ve liked to see Byrne’s cover for Superman # 3 make the list, but it’s not my list…

I’m amazed that the LSH isn’t number one. Your #1 seems like an iconic Orion cover, but despite the issue title Darkseid isn’t really prominent there.

Wow … with all due respect to both s1rude and King Kirby himself, that Super Powers cover in the #5 vote is pretty rough. If you cropped out the title of the series and the “In the clutches” word burst, I’m not sure I’d even recognize that as Darkseid.

Cosmic Odyssey and Galactus/Darkseid are iconic stories, but those cover images of Darkseid himself aren’t particularly inspiring, unfortunately. I voted for Byrne’s Legends #1 cover.

How about the cover for Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans? That one has Darkseid in it, and it’s pretty popular, although I am not sure if it counts as a “Darkseid” cover.

I like how on his first appearance, it says “O’Deadly”, like he’s some Irish dude with a scary name. 70’s comics rule.

That’s only fitting, Matt, when you consider his nemesis is O’Ryan.

Oooh, you’re killing me on the choice between Legends and New Year’s Evil. My gut tells me to go with Legends, since it’s the first major Post-Crisis appearance of Darkseid. However, the NYE cover sure is pretty.

Definitely not the Darkseid/Galactus story, which had me salivating for a very cool story when announced and instead fell completely flat.

Kirby originally designed “Darkseid O’Deadly” wearing a leprechaun outfit for his earliest Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen appearances, but DC editorial nixed it, so he went for the kilt instead. Kirby always said, when in doubt, go for the cosmic kilt.

I would also have to throw this Justice League of America cover into the mix:


I call foul on #1. No way is that the most iconic. Darkseid is hardly even featured. It may be drawn by Kirby, but that doesn’t mean everything about it is iconic (I agree with shurwitt that it may be an iconic Orion cover). I certainly wouldn’t put it before the Legion cover.

I voted for Cosmic Odyssey, because it is more than Darkseid looking menacing. He seems to be commanding the world’s greatest heroes, showing how powerful he is. Also, it showcases the yin/yang dynamic of Darkseid and High Father. Their poses almost make a loose yin yang.

This may be radical because Darkseid is only featured on a poster on the cover, but I think JLA #14 deserves a spot. It is the second greatest Darkseid story (behind the Great Darkness), and it shows how horrifying his vision of the world can be (illustrated more effectively by the heroes’ reactions than their actual surroundings). http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/battle58.jpg Plus, “Darkseid Is” had become a major part of the character, and people instantly recall this cover and story whenever they read that statement.

For sins against Big Barda, Byrne should be disqualified.

Say what you will about Final Crisis, JG Jones knocked it out the park with the Covers, and that Darkseid one is gorgeous.

Aw man, I respectfully call bullsnazzle on that list. The J.G Jones cover should be #1, I think, and as for Darkseid’s first cover appearance, man, ANY of the other choices would have been better than that one, I think. He’s not even really featured!

What about that X Men/Teen Titans crossover issue? He was pretty prominent on that one, wasn’t he?

If I may recommend another contender — at least for the fifth spot — how about: http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=27217&zoom=4 .

It was the last issue in Kirby’s original Fourth World run and is slightly different from the others.

What was the deal with that Galactus/Darkseid crossover? I’d never heard of it.

all the covers were good choices for five but had to go with the legends one. and glad the great darkness saga made the list. for dark side is dc top of bad guys

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm

I’d have suggested JLA (1997 series) #14; that’s more iconic to me than Final Crisis #4.

Honestly, I think both Legends and New Years’ Evil should be in there instead of that JLA cover that I’ve never seen before and #2 should be #1.

I still feel like we’re missing something though. Let me delve into the past.


From your own site even!

I need to scour the Superman Adventures covers later.

Milqueywhite Toast

September 28, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I’m no expert, but I might have picked these:

1. LOSH # 294
2. Superman # 3
3. Justice League of America # 185
4. Super Powers # 1
5. JLA # 14

The X-Men/Teen Titans crossover cover is very iconic to me and I think it should be included, but the Cosmic Oddyssey stuff is pretty iconic too. Really though, #1 does not deserve its spot at the top.

Darkseid had been bumming around the non-Fourth World DCU here & there before that JLA crossover, notably in Secret Society of Super-Villains, but not nearly in such a high-profile way. It’s funny what a huge surprise his appearance in the Great Darkness Saga was at the time, when nowadays he’d be the first Big Bad you’d assume to be behind everything.

From your own site even!

And note what cover that cover references?

The #1 choice.

Heck, also note what cover the LSH cover at #2 is referencing?

The #1 choice.

Giffen is clearly riffing on Kirby with his cover, and the cover being riffed on is always going to have the advantage when it comes to determining iconicity.

Is Mister Miracle 18 disqualified? (For obvious reasons?)

That probably would have been my # 1.

Byrne’s Superman #3 cover is THE cover I picture when I think of a Darkseid cover. It should at least be a runner for 5th!

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

All of the options for #5 are pretty good. It’s strange how few Kirby Darkseid covers there are, let alone iconic ones.
I appreciate the significance of #3, but it’s not a particularly interesting cover.

Superman #3 hands-down.

When I saw the subject of this post, LSH 294 was the first to pop into my head. Darkseid is Zardoz!

As for the Final Crisis cover, I might not even have guessed that was Darkseid if I saw it without context.

Thank you, Brian, for picking such interesting characters for this series. When you first said you were going to do this, the twenty or so obvious subjects came to mind. You’ve only hit about four so far. Well played.

And may I request Sgt. Rock, Tarzan and Conan?

I voted for Cosmic Odyssey, I’m a sucker for Mignola covers. Not based in any Iconic status at all since I don’t read enough DC to really know.


Those two right there beat out Orion, Hunger Dogs, and Super Powers.

I mean, Genesis might have sucked, and sucked hard. But that cover is freakin’ amazing.

And yeah, I love Kirby, but he’s kinda lacking in terms of Darkseid covers, I’ll admit.

I’d put LEGENDS #1 and SUPER POWERS #1 in the #3-4 spots. Add SUPERMAN #3 or JLA #185 for the fifth spot.

Incidentally, Darkseid is on the BACK cover of the X-Men/Titans book. I’m not sure that counts in this contest.

I voted for the Byrne Legends cover as it has all the elements of Darkseid :

A looming presence, instigating the battle between Good vs Evil, seemingly above it all… a really evil and very real New God…

The LoSH cover is awesome and would have got my #1, but I dig Kirby covers but never understood the Hunger Dogs roller coaster ride he was on…

I think it’s ironic that over half of the covers posted have Darkseid facing the “camera” directly. And almost have have at least one hand in an open clutch.

And can someone explain to me how Superman #3 is referencing Orion #3? I’m not seeing it.

And can someone explain to me how Superman #3 is referencing Orion #3? I’m not seeing it.

Not the drawing, the caption. (“O, Deadly Darkseid”)

Well played, Cronin, and curse Byrne for his Kirby love. If it wasn’t for that one bit of text in the corner, I would have won this one.

I had to go with the Hunger Dogs cover. The Death of the dread planet Apokylyps (sp?) was amazing in it, and that is what the cover shows. Jack’s art is great on it too- the different style looks nice.

And, btw, that LoSH ish is so freaking awesome. It manages to make Darkseid absolutely badass even as he loses.

I’m with Matt — That Genesis cover was probably the first that came to mind when I was thinking of Darkseid covers. It’s a classic.

Have a good day.
John Cage

The Hunger Dogs cover looks like a wacky roller coaster / ghost train ride!

Another vote for Superman #3. That cover definitely needs to be there.

Also JLA #14 – “Darkseid Is”. Classic!

I dare say there’s some reason why Darkseid doesn’t look like Darkseid on the Final Crisis cover, but even so surely that would exclude it from being considered iconic.

I would put the LSH first and the Supes#3 second.

And the Starlin cover is just…odd.

I really want Darkseid to be holding a snifter of brandy on that New Gods cover that Namor linked.

“Oh hello, I didn’t see you there! I’m Darkseid. In tonight’s adventure, I’ll be crushing all will and all thought. Enjoy!”

Is that supposed to be Darkseid on the Final Crisis cover? I didn’t read the mini-series, and until now I did not realize who that was supposed to be. It seems like any iconic cover should have a drawing that, you know, actually *looks* like the character.

JLA #184 is THE Darkseid cover in my books – far superior to #185.

Of course, I bought it off the racks and read it about a million times so I may be a bit jaded. First non-Dillin issue was bittersweet.

I’d put the LSH cover first too. The fact that the NEW GODS cover MAY have influenced it doesn’t necessarily matter. A cover that references another cover may become more iconic than its predecessor.

I’d say JLA #184 is roughly equivalent to JLA #185. I’m not sure why Brian picked one and not the other. Maybe because he already had enough covers with big Darkseid heads.

In FINAL CRISIS #4, Darkseid changed his headpiece to cover his mouth because he was feeling shy. He didn’t want anyone to see him talk.

LSH 294 for the win!

I’d still pick the Legion cover as #1. Then again, that era of the Legion is probably one of my top 5 runs ever.

let’s not forget that Darkseid was defeated by Six Pack with a broken whiskey bottle in Ennis’ Hitman run



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