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Month of Avengers/X-Men Top Fives – Top Five George Perez Avengers Covers

All month-long we’ll be featuring top five lists about either the Avengers or the X-Men. Here is an archive of all the past top five lists!

In this installment, based on a suggestion by Josh G., we’ll look at the top five covers by legendary Avengers artist George Perez (who we are all hoping feels a whole lot better real soon)!

Enjoy!

NOTE: I figure JLA/Avengers shouldn’t count, so no covers of that here.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Oddly enough, Perez didn’t get to actually draw the covers to Avengers on a regular basis until this cover (After seemingly giving Perez cover duties finally with #149, Marvel celebrated the return of Jack Kirby by having Kirby do the covers on the Avengers for most of the covers from #151-159). His first cover as the regular cover artist was this striking one for a classic Avengers tale, “The Trial”….

Perez’s cover for #173 has a nice sense of foreboding…

Perez did a nice job with covers regarding new Avengers lineups, both #150…

and the third volume’s #4…

Here’s one of the most badass Hawkeye covers ever…

Taskmaster might be the best costume design Perez ever made and it debuted on quite a cool cover…

This cover is an awesome combo of both an awesome Thor action shot, an awesome display of how powerful Nefaria is while he just shrugs off Thor’s hammer and finally an awesome shot of Vision sneaking up behind Nefaria…

Here’s a funny one Perez did for his final Avengers cover (until he returned for Volume 3, of course)…

5. Avengers (Volume 3) #1

What a way for to re-introduce the Avengers!

topfiveperezcovers5

4. Avengers: The Korvac Saga Trade Paperback

When Perez gets a chance to just cut loose and feature a whole ton of characters on a cover, he really can come up with some outstanding visuals. What a classic cover…

3. Avengers #161

What a bizarrely striking cover! Very memorable!

2. Avengers (Volume 3) #19

It is rare for major superhero titles to make such great use of negative space and it was even less common over ten years ago!

1. Avengers #181

One of the all-time iconic covers. Once again, when Perez features a lot of characters on a cover you know you’re in for a treat!

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

26 Comments

I think sometimes Perez’s ability to draw many characters in one picture gets overrated — and in turn encourages writers to pass over good storytelling in favor of “It’ll be fun to see George put all these people on the same page” (I would argue the conclusion of JLA/Avengers suffers badly from this) — and often enjoy the simpler, more dynamic ones like several of your honorable mentions.

A sillier favorite of mine, and the last Avengers cover he did for a long time, I believe:

http://i.annihil.us/u/prod/marvel/i/mg/f/b0/4bb6de8d7d7c2/detail.jpg

His Avengers covers work is great but the Crisis covers were his best work

I think sometimes Perez’s ability to draw many characters in one picture gets overrated — and in turn encourages writers to pass over good storytelling in favor of “It’ll be fun to see George put all these people on the same page” (I would argue the conclusion of JLA/Avengers suffers badly from this) — and often enjoy the simpler, more dynamic ones like several of your honorable mentions.

A sillier favorite of mine, and the last Avengers cover he did for a long time, I believe:

http://i.annihil.us/u/prod/marvel/i/mg/f/b0/4bb6de8d7d7c2/detail.jpg

I agree that it can negatively affect the stories themselves sometimes, but boy, it sure works on the covers!

And I considered including the Jarvis cover, as well, as it is so funny that it definitely stands out.

Great covers. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Perez last year and he signed my copies of #181 and #161 (#s 1 and 3 on this list). 181 was my first Avengers comic and that cover’s still my favourite.

He seemed especially excited to see #161 again, pointing out: “This is the cover where I got every single ant wrong!” He then showed me, sure enough, he’d given every ant eight legs.

Very charming and talented guy.

As I was strolling down to number #2 I was getting ready to make a strong case for #181′s absence. And then… JACKPOT!

The thing about #181 is that Gyrich provides a nice twist on the whole “Old Order Changeth” angle. This time around, an outsider makes the decisions as to who goes and who stays (poor Hawkeye) while pissing off several longstanding members in the process.

This issue also features the start of John Byrne’s second, slightly longer run on the series. And Byrne is inked here by the late, great Gene Day, one of my top favorite inkers ever! The Perez cover is merely the tasty icing over the proverbial four color cake.

That said, issue #200′s cover was a lot cooler than #150. I’m miffed that you didn’t give it an honorable mention at least, Brian. It’s one of the best Perez anniversary covers of all time.

BTW: The Jarvis cover to #201 is outstanding work. George really went out with a bang there!

I’ll toss in the Jarvis cover so people who don’t know it can see it!

As for #200, I’ve never been a fan. It’s not exactly a striking layout. They’re all just sort of tossed on there. Compare it to the other covers on the list where he features a ton of characters. They’re not just on there, but they’re laid out in a distinctive design.

#161 is mildly infamous, because apparently all the ants have the wrong number of legs (8 rather than 6).

I’d have put in a vote for at least an honorable mention for issue #171′s cover, which is a distinctive layout and concept.

I’m also fond of the cover of #167 with the old-school Guardians of the Galaxy out of sheer nostalgia, and I dig the covers to Avengers v.3 #14, 20, 22, and 33, though I can understand why they wouldn’t rate an honorable mention on this list.

I’ve always thought of #181 as the Elbows on the Table cover.

You can’t help but love and be impressed by Perez’s multiple character covers and posters. Has he ever done as many characters on the covers of a series as he did with Crisis? It must be a hell of a lot of work.

The sad thing about his cover to the “Heroes Return” cover? The team’s gotten a LOT more members since then. At the time, that lineup looked positively huge, but it’s got to be less than half of the team’s membership today.

Did Perez cement the look of gloves with loose flared ends and boots wth the tops folded down as standard super hero kit? thats always how i doodled superheros in my grade school notebooks.

i’m sure there was precedent for that look but from the look of it perez helped to at least promulgate it.

anyway, good stuff!

In that last one, both on the cover and in the issue itself, I love how the Guardians of the Galaxy are just hanging around the mansion almost as if specifically to be thrown out. It’s like, what are you guys even still doing here? It’s not like they actually think they’re going to stick around and become full-fledged Avengers.

I’d nominate the wrap-around cover for “JLA/Avengers #3″ where he puts in EVERY character who’s EVER been a member of either team, even if only for an issue. He doesn’t cheat either as we get Hank Pym as Giant-Man, Ant-Man, Yellowjacket and Goliath, several Iron Men and more, really amazing work there.

It’s nice you point out, Brian, that Perez didn’t draw the covers to Avengers regularly ’til #160. I recently noticed the same about Byrne’s classic X-run.
Not to the same extent as the Perez-Avengers situation, but still: Cockrum (124-6); 128 (Perez); 130 (JR jnr); 123, 142-3 (Austin); plus many by Cockrum early in the run etc.

Part of the issue is that both companies had “cover artists” whose main job was to provide cover art for books they never drew! At Marvel, the main “cover” man was Gil Kane, but Dave Cockrum did a fair number of covers for various books — if Kane wasn’t drawing an Avengers cover, it was often Cockrum and Kirby did a bunch after returning to Marvel later in the decade. John Romita Sr. did a few, too, in his capacity as Art Director. During the 60s, of course, Jack Kirby used to do covers for a number of books he was no longer primary penciller or even layout artist for. Steranko contributed the odd cover here and there, but had mostly moved on to his magazine and creator-owned projects.

At DC in the same timespan, it was mostly Ernie Chan, though I recall Neal Adams doing a lot of covers as well, and Rich Buckler started to contribute a number of covers as the decade wore on. (I’m sure I’m forgetting another DC cover star. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, maybe? I mostly think of him as the guy doing DC’s licensing-related art, not their cover art, though.) Joe Kubert was sometimes called on, too, but most often for non-superhero genre titles.

171 is probably my favorite cover of all time.

The ants were mutant ants, that’s why they had eight legs.

George Perez is GOD.

I met him at MegaCon 2007, and he signed JLA/Avengers 1-4, and my Absolute Edition of Crisis on Infinite Earths (inside the covers of both books and on the slipcover!). We also chatted about Teen Titans, Firestorm and the JLA/Avengers crossover that was supposed to have happened 20 years earlier but got canned when Marvel and DC couldn’t agree on who would win what battles.

Meeting George was one of the best days of my life.

5 is one of my favorite covers ever, because of D-Man. The rest of the Avengers have all these cool action poses, and he looks like he is trying to catch up, sucking wind.

Omar: yeah, DC’s covers guys in that period you’re referring to were Adams (roughly late 60s to early 70s); then Nick Cardy (early 70s to mid 70s, especially the 20 cents to 100-page era from ’73-75); then Ernie Chan/Chua (mid 70s).
Gil Kane did a HUGE amount of covers: he and Adams must’ve done at least a few hundred each.

Count me among those who really like the cover to #200, but otherwise, good list!

Suggestion for top 5.

Five teams of Avengers that lasted longer without leaving a member.

Five Avengers teams more classic

Five best leaders in the avengers.

Personal favorite isn’t technically even an Avengers cover.
Avengers/JLA 4, with Superman holding the shield of Captain America and the hammer of Thor. I don’t know that I will ever tire of that shot, the iconography, the history of comics represented in that picture.

Agreed, Erich. Brian was pretty explicit in his intro about it not counting for this list, but just seeing that cover the first time was an “Oh HELL yeah!” moment for me as a fan.

I agree that some of the action shots are more striking to me than the “how many characters can I fit on a cover” look that seems more like an early 90′s poster.

But man to show his range he can do stuff that busy effectively, and then hit you with that Ultron cover’s simplicity. I turned that into a Jack O Lantern that year.

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