TOP

Judging (DC’s January) Books By Their Covers

by  in Comic News Comment

DC’s January solicits are up (they’ve been up so long that February is out tonight!), so let’s make some prejudgments based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don’t we?).

Let’s begin!
___________________________________________________

Okay, so this January, DC is doing a theme month, and the majority of their DC Universe comics are going to have similar covers – an all black background with the sole figure of a villain (typically a villain connected to the title in question) on the cover.

Since I really can’t give any of these covers points for creativity, I’ve decided instead to just show them all, ranked in order of my least favorite cover using the theme until my favorite cover using the theme.

Then the covers shall continue as regularly scheduled!
___________________________________________________
I normally always enjoy Brian Stelfreeze’s covers, but here, two of his entries I think are the two worst covers…

First off, here’s a weird new re-design of Anarky (not Stelfreeze’s fault, I presume) for Robin…


Then a weird looking Ra’s for this Nightwing cover…


___________________________________________________
This Hush Detective Comics cover is here more of my bias against Hush than Andrew Robinson’s fault.


___________________________________________________
Tony Daniel MIGHT be going for lecherous with his Jericho look here on this Titans cover – but I don’t think so.


___________________________________________________
Kobra is normally pretty silly, but he looks REALLY silly on this Andrew Robinson cover for the Kobra one-shot.


___________________________________________________
Although at least Robinson’s cover isn’t taking itself quite as seriously as Mauro Cascioli’s cover for this Prometheus one-shot.


So maybe I should have Kobra first – it’s slightly goofier looking, but it’s done in a more cartoonish style…hmmm…I dunno.
___________________________________________________
The normally solid Stephane Roux has a bit of a mis-step with this Birds of Prey cover…


It doesn’t look ominous, it looks silly.
___________________________________________________
Shane Davis is also working with what they gave him, and I can’t say red vomit is all that imposing on this Green Lantern cover.


Davis seems to be vibing Ed Benes a bit on this Grundy one-shot cover.


That’s not a good thing.
___________________________________________________
The following covers by Robinson, Benes, Eddy Barrows then Robinson again are all pretty straightforward covers.





Nothing much to say about them, except to note that Benes’ Starbreaker cover for JLA is not bad (the books covered here are, by the way, Secret Six, JLA, Teen Titans and Vigilante – it’s kinda odd that two of the books have, for their “evil” covers, the main characters from the book itself – that sort of seems to defeat the purpose of this event, but whatever).
___________________________________________________
Aaron Lopresti’s Wonder Woman cover has a little more flair to it…


___________________________________________________
And Brian Stelfreeze Dan Jurgens definitely tries out something unique for this Booster Gold cover…


The result is the best cover of his three.
___________________________________________________
I like the energy in this Pat Gleason Green Lantern Corps cover…


___________________________________________________
Ladrönn TIME!!!

How’s the archery on this Green Arrow/Black Canary cover?


It looks pretty good.

His Deathstroke cover for the one-shot is suitably ominous…


And the Bizarro cover for Action Comics is interesting…


___________________________________________________
Joshua Middleton is a good cover artist, and he does a fine job on this Supergirl cover introducing Superwoman.


___________________________________________________
Finally, when you come up with the idea of doing covers with black backgrounds and a single character posing ominously, then darnit, that’s practically the definition of Alex Ross’ wheelhouse, so unsurprisingly, he rocks this category, with covers for Superman, JSA and Batman, respectively.




That’s an awesome looking Catwoman by Ross.
___________________________________________________

Okay, on to the rest of the covers!!
___________________________________________________

I like the design of this Phil Noto cover, but the finished artwork looks a bit flat.


___________________________________________________

Decent Stephane Roux cover for Batman Confidential, but certainly lacking some of the oomph of previous Roux efforts.


___________________________________________________

I think this is one of Kelley Jones’ best covers yet for this Batman: Gotham After Midnight series.


It is vintage Jones right here.
___________________________________________________

This Adam Kubert cover for the Batman and the Outsiders one-shot has a really cool design to it, and I even appreciate some of the character work (Kubert’s Creeper is very cool looking).


The best part of the cover?

It APPEARS as though it is lacking Grace.
___________________________________________________

I bet this Bernie Wrightson Superman/Batman Annual cover will look cool when its finished.


I wonder what is the smallest amount of visual evidence a comic company has used for a cover solicit?
___________________________________________________

Those are some darn smooth figures on this Doug Braithwaite Brave and the Bold cover.


A bit too smooth, but still!
___________________________________________________

Interesting cover by Rafael Albuquerque for Blue Beetle.


I wonder where Rafael Albuquerque will end up after Beetle? He’s quite good.
___________________________________________________

An all right El Diablo cover by Phil Hester.


___________________________________________________

I was pleased to see Jim Shooter, in his exit interview, basically say the same stuff about Manapul’s covers that I was saying. The guy is a really talented artist, yet his covers were strangely undynamic.


This last issue cover, though, has energy in spades.

Good job.
___________________________________________________

Pretty good final cover of Manhunter by Brad Walker.


___________________________________________________

Yet another Justiniano Reign of Hell cover that is way too busy.


I love his energy, though.
___________________________________________________

This Sgt. Rock cover by Billy Tucci is way too bright.


Less bright and I think this would look cool.
___________________________________________________

Another neat Scott Hampton cover for Simon Dark.


___________________________________________________

An okay entry by Paul Rivoche.


It seems like a lot of Spirit covers have used the fire escape angle – I wonder why.
___________________________________________________

Very nice Ivan Reis cover for the Tangent comic book.


I love how stylized he draws the characters.
___________________________________________________

I like Joe Bennett’s work, but man, this Terror Titans cover is not a proper return for one of the coolest characters from the 1990s.


___________________________________________________

So, the whole “all covers will be done by Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and Carlos Pacheco” thing lasted about halfway through the year, if we listen to the solicits (who say Shane Davis is doing two covers)


That’s actually not that bad.

This Andy Kubert triptych is cool looking.
___________________________________________________

It’s extremely difficult for an artist like Middleton to get across the feeling of floating, and I don’t think he pulled it off on this Vixen cover.


___________________________________________________

Fine throwback cover by Ladrönn for the War that Time Forgot.


___________________________________________________

Fun first cover of Batman: The Brave and the Bold by James Tucker.


___________________________________________________

Smart to spotlight Ben 10 on the cover of Cartoon Network Action Pack.


Fine Min S. Ku cover.
___________________________________________________

Also good that they’re letting Stephanie Gladden just do a full cover on one of the three features in Cartoon Network Block Party.


___________________________________________________

Is this a new Walter Carzon cover for Looney Tunes?


___________________________________________________

Good Eric Jones cover for the second issue of the new Supergirl comic.


Nicely foreboding.
___________________________________________________

Another cute Art Baltazar Tiny Titans cover.


___________________________________________________

I guess if this Authority cover was just going for gross, then Simon Coleby did a fine job.


I sorta figured you’d be trying for something more than just “gross,” though, ya know?
___________________________________________________

Trippy Jonathan Wayshak cover for Ferryman.


Quite haunting.
___________________________________________________

Since I’ve been told this is what the Gears of War people actually look like in the game, then Brandon Badeaux is doing the best with what he has to work with.


___________________________________________________

Cool Stelfreeze cover – this is the sort of thing I expect from a Stelfreeze cover, not a weird looking dude in a diaper!


___________________________________________________

Cool looking Mario Alberti for Push.


___________________________________________________

Cute Tom Fowler cover for Jeff Parker’s new Mysterius comic.


___________________________________________________

Strong CP Smith cover for the Resistance comic.


___________________________________________________

Actually a bid of an oddly boring cover by Leandro Fernandez.


The characters are all drawn well, though!
___________________________________________________

Good Gene Ha Top Ten cover.


___________________________________________________

I like the design of this Jon Buran Worlds of Warcraft cover.


___________________________________________________

Oooh…good return to comic book-y artwork for this X-Files cover by Jim Daly & Tim Bradstreet.


___________________________________________________

I ponder…is this Neil Googe Wildcats cover SUPPOSED to look unbelievably goofy?


Or is it supposed to be taken seriously?
___________________________________________________

A good Dave Johnson 100 Bullets cover, although it’s a bit of a retread, concept-wise.


___________________________________________________

Decent M.K. Perker cover for Air.


Another homage, I presume.
___________________________________________________

Another fun Rick Veitch cover for Army@Love.


___________________________________________________

I can’t get over how easily John Paul Leon slipped into cover duties – he picks up where Brian Wood left off without skipping a beat.


Good work.
___________________________________________________

Interesting Greatest Hits cover by Glenn Fabry.


I always like it when he mixes things up on his covers.
___________________________________________________

Strong Lee Bermejo cover for Peter Milligan’s first issue of Hellblazer.


___________________________________________________

Another different looking Fabry cover, this time for House of Mystery.


Cool.
___________________________________________________

Good drawing on this cover of Haunted Tank #2, although I dunno how well it works as a cover piece (it reminds me of a similar looking piece on a recent Secret Six cover which I thought didn’t work as a cover).


Still, great drawing.

Is that Paul Pope?
___________________________________________________

Very cool Yuko Shimizu cover for this Sandman: Dream Hunters cover.


___________________________________________________

Another fun Young Liars cover by David Lapham!


___________________________________________________

HONORABLE MENTIONS
___________________________________________________

Pretty straightforward Bill Sienkiewicz cover, but he’s so good that even a typical cover of his deserves some honorable mention…


___________________________________________________

Awesome! Dan Hipp!

Very cool cover for Gen 13.


And very cool of DC to think of Dan Hipp to do an issue of Gen 13!
___________________________________________________

What a bold cover by Igor Kordey for Unknown Soldier.


Really stands out.
___________________________________________________

Wow, a Joe Staton cover art sighting!


I really like the feel of this Scooby Doo cover.

It is engaging and action-filled.
___________________________________________________

Rafa Garres is a great fit on Jonah Hex.


This is a nicely designed, forceful cover. Good work.
___________________________________________________

Did someone say that James Jean was leaving Fables’ covers?!?!

NOOOO!!!


I hope I only hallucinated that, as James Jean’s covers are routinely great.
___________________________________________________

Brian Bolland looks like he’s having a blast with these Jack of Fables cover.


Nice to see.
___________________________________________________

I really like this Cully Hamner cover for Black Lightning Year One, so I’m sorry that it JUST missed the top five.


It’s hard to feel bad, though, when you see the talent lined up for the Top 5.
___________________________________________________
TOP FIVE
___________________________________________________

5. First, the great J.H. Williams III delivers this striking design for the last Superman Beyond issue.


___________________________________________________

4. Next, the similarly great Massimo Carnevale shows up with another one of his forcefully designed covers with beautiful uses of negative space.


___________________________________________________

3. Next, the great Jock follows with another great negative space cover, as well, only his cover has a slightly cooler cover design than the Northlanders one, I think.


___________________________________________________

2. The great J. Bone is next with this amazing Super Friends cover.


What an awesome idea for a cover, and he nails it, as usual.
___________________________________________________

1. Finally, the great JG Jones shows how lone character covers can be extremely effective – they work well when their appearance on the cover has some meaning to the story, and this shot of Superman flying to (hopefully) save the day is absolutely gorgeous.


___________________________________________________

Okay, that’s it! Feel free to share your top fives or your prejudices!!