By: Chris “DOC” Bushley
This weekly feature will take a look at the most visually compelling covers on the market today. Whether they be variant editions or standard ones, these are the top 5 covers that stand out amongst the bevy of books that are released each week. They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” these covers are worth more than that! No matter the storylines found behind them, these covers draw you to at least check them out, which can be worth exponentially more than just words to the companies that publish them! Enjoy!
1. Astro City #1 (Vertigo/DC): Alex Ross is a living legend of “realism” art in the comics genre! Focusing on bringing true depictions of comics characters to life, his paintings have graced covers too numerous to count but they all stand out above the rest on the racks. What makes this cover extra special is that it is the debut of Astro City for a new generation. Ross brings that aspect across stunningly as the Samaritan opens the door for, not only the other heroes, but to let fans into their world as well! Perfect!
2. Herobear and the Kid Special #1 (BOOM!Studios): Simple and classic, artist/writer Mike Kunkel, brings his modern American style of “cartoonism” back in this wonderful all-ages special. Crisp and clean, Kunkel keeps the cover to the “bear” minimum which helps to accentuate his skill of a single image on a bold background. This makes Herobear appear iconic and solidifies it as a stylised logo with but a single image!
3. Archer & Armstrong #10 — variant edition (Valiant Entertainment): Retro is all the rage right now and nothing means retro quite like the 8-bit variant covers that have been popping up everywhere! Matthew Waite’s “Donkey Kong” rendition is a cut above the rest due to him implementing specific examples regarding the characters throughout the cover. Just check out little drunk and sleeping Armstrong in the bottom corner to see how Waite mimics his cover with the hilarity writer Fred Van Lente brings inside the book!
4. Fearless Defenders #5 (Marvel): Piggybacking off of the retro game theme, Fearless Defenders has an amazing Street Fighter cover this week! Mark Brooks does a spectacular job paying attention to detail in this one, the logos are even the same! Mark Brooks always has unique ideas to bring to the covers of this book, from action figure themes to paper doll cut-outs, he truly does his best to make this book stand out on the rack.
5. Suicide Risk #2 (BOOM!Studios): Tommy Lee Edwards makes this cover scream off the racks with a blitzkrieg of colors that convey the chaos that awaits you inside! Lead character, Leo Winters, may be in a cacophony of exploding color but Edwards directs the reader upward to his eyes, where a stoic calm resonates and lets the reader know that below the surface, Leo Winters is deducing what his next move is. Fantastic!
6. Ten Grand #2 (Joe’s Comics/Image): Ben Templesmith is known for his mesmerizing line work that ensnares you with it’s complexity. Nothing resonates that fact more than this cover. With A stark white background all we can focus on are the two characters embracing in the middle. Nothing matters to them except each other, the rest of the world has fallen away. A cover should give you a sense of what the issue is about, THIS cover tells you what the entire series is about in a single image! Stunning!
7. Daredevil: End of Days #8 (of 8) (Marvel): Continuing with the beauty of single image covers, we gaze upon Alex Maleev’s haunting rendition of Daredevil. Juxtaposed against a white background, the stark crimson frame of DD can only draw attention away from the other books that may surround it on the racks. It is a powerful images that tells the reader the hero is weary of his quest and yet stoic enough to stand against evil. Maleev is one of the top cover artists of today and this is more proof as to why!
8. Earth 2 #13 — variant edition (DC): Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund combined to make an amazing color cover to this issue, but it is the line and ink version that is visually more astounding! Booth exudes enthusiasm in his line art that is sometimes overshadowed during the coloring process, but here we can see the pure emotion of Captain Steel as he is set ablaze capturing the the very essence of Booth’s line! There is something magical about crisp line and ink pictures that resonate with readers, this one is awesome!
9. Avengers #13 (Marvel): Simple line and ink can convey great emotion to a reader, then again, so can a cover that is so crammed with action that you are completely blown away! Lenil Francis Yu gives you an adrenaline rush from the first glance of this book and it makes you gravitate towards it immediately. His upward scale drives the eye from the twisted pile of heroes toward the looming threat above them, making the cover ominous as well as action packed! Few can manipulate such a magnitude of characters and convey that amount of emotion to a reader in a single image, few but the Yu!
10. Black Bat #2 — variant edition (Dynamite): I have watched Jae Lee evolve from an artist trying to find his own style to becoming one of the best cover artists in the business today! His balance of the subject and the juxtaposition of pure black against a vibrant background makes a truly astonishing cover. It seems overtly simple but it is a highly detailed melding of the creeping stark black of shadow with hint shades of grey. The sinister swathe of red draws the eye in and you can’t help but gravitate to that bold red logo as it screams off of the rack!