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Judging (DC’s November) Books By Their Covers

by  in Comic News Comment
Judging (DC’s November) Books By Their Covers

DC’s November solicits are up, so let’s make some prejudgments based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don’t we?).

Let’s begin!
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Rags Morales and Phil Noto face off in a “lifting characters over their heads” cover challenge!!!

Noto starts us off strong with this cover for a Supergirl/Superman mini-series.


Good form by Noto, including a nice shot of Superman flying in from behind.

Can Morales retaliate?

Well, right from the start, he has a unique idea for the cover, Batman sort of doing the same thing to Bane that Bane did to him…


And he also has Superman coming in reacting to the lift…

I am awarding this bout to Noto!!

I think his cover flowed a bit better.
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Superman and Batman fighting Werewolves and Vampires?!?!

Wow, I think Patrick Zircher might have been overestimating comic plots a bit…


This is the type of comic Mandrake does well, though, so he’s a nice fit.
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A BUNCH OF ALEX ROSS COVERS THAT ALL LOOK FINE IN AND OF THEMSELVES, BUT BATCHED TOGETHER, TEND TO BLEND TOGETHER

What’s that?

“But Brian, isn’t that all Alex Ross covers?”

Oh, you scamps!!

Be nice!




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I absolutely love the way Carlos Pacheco split the cover in half (although I would make the papers calendar papers, but that’s just me), but man, that is a pretty fugly looking Superman right there.


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Fine Robin cover by Freddie Williams.


I think now that there is a Red Robin, though, that Tim Drake should bring back the green to his costume.
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About Two-Face – is the scarred half of his face, like, constantly in pain?

Couldn’t you more or less bring him down just by touching that huge open wound on his face?

Or do scars actually heal to the point where they look awful but they don’t actually hurt?


In any event, Rags Morales has been doing some strong Nightwing covers – very bright and attractive.
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This Aaron Lopresti cover for the Guardian of Metropolis is decent enough, but boy, it is not exactly the most commercially attractive cover, is it?


Especially since it’s part of the New Krypton storyline, except all the other covers have Alex Ross covers and this one has an Aaron Lopresti cover.

Odd.
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Dustin Nguyen is pulling out all the stops and making this Detective Comics cover probably the best cover ever to feature Hush.


Sadly, that’s a lot like putting lipstick on a pig.
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Poor Grace – everyone is pointing something of note at her – “I’ll stretch out my elemental hand and crush you!” “I’ll zap you with electricity!” “I’ll zap you with elemental powers!” “I’ll stab you with my sword!”

“I’ll…punch you?”


Otherwise, though, fine Calafiore cover.
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Suitably eerie Kelley Jones cover for Batman: Gotham at Midnight.


This series has been all about what Kelley Jones does best – eerie dark stuff!
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Probably a bit soon for Stephane Roux to be doing another Joker cover.


This Batman Confidential cover is good, but it’s not nearly as good as Roux’s recent Birds of Prey cover featuring the Joker.
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While the solicits would have you believe this is by one of the Kuberts, I’m pretty sure it is actually interior art by Walt Flanagan.


And it’s fairly decent artwork, at that.
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Is Andy Clarke trying to draw stubble on Batman and Nightwing on this Batgirl cover?


Weird effect, as it does not look good.
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Pretty striking Wonder Woman cover by Aaron Lopresti.


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What’s funny is that this Teen Titans cover was solicited BEFORE Wonder Dog turned out to be an evil Cerberus-esque bad guy.


Pretty good Eddy Barrows cover – a bit more going on than some of his other Teen Titans covers.
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Strong Amanda Conner cover for this new Terra series.


I see DC feels that every generation should have their own Terra to sorta like!

I can’t wait to see what the Terra of the twenty-teens will look like!
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This Andy Kubert triptych might be the best one Trinity has seen yet!


Each part holds on its own, but together, what a neat image!

By the by, making it a steady three artists doing the triptychs was a great idea by DC, especially when the three are such marketable names as Carlos Pacheco, Kubert and Jim Lee!
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I love how Red Arrow appears to be firing the arrows out of sheer force of will on this Titans cover.


Come on, Howard Porter, I know you can do better than this!
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This Terror Titans cover by Joe Bennett is actually set up pretty darn nicely.


Good job by Bennett.
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I really love the job Brad Walker did on Batman on this Tangent cover.


I also really hate how Batman looks on this Tangent cover.
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You wouldn’t think it would work, but yeah, this Billy Tucci Sgt. Rock cover sorta does, doesn’t it?


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A great looking drawing by Scott Hampton, although I think it is a bit laid back to work as a cover.


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Holy hell, that’s one busy Justiniano cover for Reign of Hell!!


That must have taken him ages to draw.

I wish it looked cooler, because he clearly put a ton of effort into it!
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Pretty straightforward Jim Starlin cover for Rann/Thanagar War.


Also a pretty boring one.
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A strong Manhunter cover by Matthew Clark.


I especially like how Clark handles the kid – he actually looks LIKE a kid.
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I love how Night Girl seems to be cognizant that Francis Manapul is drawing some detailed ass-shots on this Legion of Superheroes cover, so she dressed accordingly and covered up, as well.


I love the detail of the Legion members in the audience – nicely done by Manapul. I wonder what DC has for him after Legion. Maybe a Superman book? I’d sure prefer Manapul to Ed Benes on JLA – maybe that could happen!
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Doesn’t this remind you of those old DC comic books where they’d have the heroes names listed on the cover (or sometimes, on the inside front cover)?


A very Bridwell-esque cover by Alex Ross for this JSA/Gog tie-in one-shot.
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Homaging yourself is kinda weird.


Ross is seriously going to draw this full issue? Wow.
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The Flash on this Dale Eaglesham variant cover for JSA reminds me of the Mitch Hedberg bit.


“I think Bigfoot is blurry, that’s the problem. It’s not the photographer’s fault. Bigfoot is blurry, and that’s extra scary to me. There’s a large out of focus monster roaming the countryside.”

Go out now and buy the new Mitch Hedberg CD, made up of shows he did right before he suddenly died!!
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Ross DOES love to work that “slant the figures to get a cool new angle” bit, doesn’t he?


But damned if it isn’t effective!

You’re a crafty devil, Alex Ross!!
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That is one effed up beauty pageant Jordi Bernet has going on in his mind!


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Oh man!!

What the heck are Icon and Superman doing on this JLA cover?!


I don’t think Ed Benes fully thought this pose out before he began to pencil it – they’re, what, pushing on each other’s wrists?!

Icon is bracing himself on the sky behind Superman’s head?!

Lame!
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Pretty cool Green Lantern Corps cover by Pat Gleason, except the Star Sapphire characters remind me of the stupid OMAC robot things that I hate so much.


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“I was officially one of the top two martial artists in the world, DC! I am taking it back!!”


Lots to like on this Cliff Chiang Green Arrow/Black Canary cover. It’s nicely designed and drawn beautifully.
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Oh no! Will Wally and Linda be separated by some outside force for the umpteenth time?!!??!?!

Say it isn’t so!


Otherwise, decent Brian Stelfreeze cover, although he can draw a lot better than this, so maybe I should take off demerits!
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I hope, for his sake, that this design for this Final Crisis: Revelations cover wasn’t Philip Tan’s idea.


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Cool cover by Phil Hester showing the two El Diablos together.


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For the most part, I think this Birds of Prey cover is great.

But then I wonder whether Stephane Roux couldn’t be a lot clearer on the cover – like, for instance, does Joker even appear to be attacking? Is the knife stuck in the staff or is the knife moving at the staff? It looks like NEITHER, really, which is odd.


More clarity, please!!
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I love the idea of doing a highlight real of the last 14 issues of Booster Gold.


In fact, it is so bizarre, I think I actually have to give Chris Batista credit here with the idea – it is such a silly idea that I think it works.
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Rafael Albuquerque keeps getting better – I love his style on this Blue Beetle cover – so dynamic.


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I think this was a rejected national flag for Australia, well, gold and green ARE official colors in Australia, right? Right? See, I’m not just making up nonsense!!


Otherwise, decent Doug Braithwaite Brave and the Bold cover.

Why is it Doug on this comic but Dougie for Secret Invasion Thor?

Is this code!?!? Are there two Braithwaites doing comics??!!?
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Straightforward, but still funny, cover gag for Ambush Bug’s mini-series by Kevin Maguire.


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Why are the kids so happy that Superman is leaving with their cake?


Seriously, though, another good Super Friends cover by J. Bone.
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Good Scott Neely cover for Scooby Doo, although I question a bit what the point is to make the White House SO detailed but not be drawn in such a way as to be clearly the White House.


Especially when you’re working with a young audience, I think you have to be explicit that you’re drawing the White House – use the famous front drawing of the White House that people are all familiar with – the one with the fountain.

Other than that, good cover.
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Cool Looney Tunes cover by David Alvarez (spelled Alvarex in the solicits), although the colors seem a bit oddly muted.


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Very cute Robert Pope cover for this Cartoon Network Block Party cover.


The most impressive thing about it is that Pope conveys the idea of the cover topic without readers (like myself) needing to know anything about who these characters are at all.
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While, to a certain extent, this Min Ku cover for Cartoon Network Action Pack, is also along the same lines of the Pope cover, in the sense that we can get the basic gist of the story being told on the cover via just the cover, but it really does help a lot to know Ben 10 back story in viewing this cover.


By the by, I know a few shows have DONE it, but has any show been successful with aging all the characters from kids to teens? How long did Doug last after it did that? How about Rugrats?
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This Samwise Didier World of Warcraft is one of the better covers in the series.


Tilting the angle, even slightly, really does help the dynamism a bit.
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This Chris Robinson cover for the other World of Warcraft book is less impressive.


It’s way too static.
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Yep, Neil Googe, those ARE the Wildcats.


It’s a fair enough pin-up cover.
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This is suitably trippy Top Ten cover by Gene Ha.


So wait, does Alan Moore not own the ABC characters or what?

Or is it that Cannon and Ha ALSO own the characters, which is why this series is okay?
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A great drawing by Leandro Fernandez for this Stormwatch PHD cover.


It might not work well as a cover, but it’s still a great drawing.
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Decent Storming Paradise cover by Butch Guice.


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Actually a clever cover for this Gears of War cover by Brandon Badeaux.


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I love the facial work on this Mike Huddleston cover for Gen 13.


That’s some fine emotin’ right there!!
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Jonathan Wayshak certainly knows how to make this Ferryman cover appear dynamic.


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Sort of a bland Simon Coleby Authority cover, although well drawn by Coleby. He’s been doing a great job on Authority so far.


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I never know what these Young Liars covers are going to look like as a whole, but so far, so great on this cover by David Lapham.


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That’s Igor Kordey art?


I would not have guessed that.

Pretty bold work.
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Out in late December from Vertigo! P. Craig Russell draws a comic book based on Neil Gaiman’s address book!! This bold original project is a sequel to early December’s bold new idea of having P. Craig Russell draw a comic book based on Neil Gaiman’s tax returns!


So, yeah, I think it is silly to have P. Craig Russell (an amazing talent) re-draw Dream Hunters as a comic book, rather than a prose with pictures story.

Nice cover by Yuko Shimizu, though!
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I love Jock something fearsome, but I can’t say that this Scalped cover did much for me.


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Fair enough House of Mystery cover by Glenn Fabry.


I would have preferred to have seen a David Petersen cover, though. He’s doing a story in this issue! Woohoo!!! I can’t wait!!
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On this Fabry cover for his mini-series, Chas Chandler looks like he’s stuck in a wacky comedy.


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My goodness! ANOTHER Fabry cover!


This is a good trippy Greatest Hits cover – very out there.
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For this Fables cover – didn’t House of Mystery, like, JUST have a cover that looked just like this?


Demerits, Jean! DEMERITS!!!!
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Smooth collage effect on this DMZ cover by Brian Wood.


He has wonderful designing skills.
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That is one bizarre cover for Air by M.K. Perker, but I like bizarre!

Points for Perker!!


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Oddly straightforward Dave Johnson cover for 100 Bullets.


Maybe this is just a detail?
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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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It’s a new Frank Quitely cover, and it IS good, so it deserves some attention, but it isn’t exactly the type of cover that’ll knock your socks off, is it?


It is almost like “Quitely drawing Death! That’s all we need!”
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This is the first of the Army@Love covers that really made me laugh.


Very cute.
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Now this is definitely what the first cover of a comic adaptation of an outside property should look like!


This looks totally designed to draw in X-Files fans, and it does so nicely, I think.
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Another bold Vixen cover by Joshua Middleton.


Are those wolves supposed to look weird, though? Just curious…
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Very cute Secret Six cover by Nicola Scott.


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Kevin Nowlan can draw some awesome/scary giant spiders!!


These The War That Time Forgot covers have been a blast.
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Two strong Batman covers by Alex Ross – the two best of his run of covers yet, by far, I gather…



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That’s an amazingly cute Tiny Titans cover by Art Baltazar.


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I love it when Brian Bolland is allowed to be funny on covers – he has a great sense of humor.


This Jack of Fables cover is not only funny, it also manages to capture Jack’s characterization well, as well.
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TOP FIVE
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5. Massimo Carnevale and I have a thing going on – I can just feel it.

He knows I loves me how he uses negative space, so he keeps coming out with awesome covers that use negative space wonderfully.


Like this one.

I will soon begin looking for coded messages for me from him in his covers.

“Kill…your…neighbors….”

“Whatever you say, Massimo!”
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4. An excellent farewell to the Legion of Superheroes cartoon tie-in comic by Sanford Greene.


Such characterization and detail mixed in with a stunning group shot (and the nice fading effect) – a beautiful last cover.
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3. Chuck does not deserve an artist as talented as Kristian Donaldson coming up with bold designs like this one!


But it got him, and it is good.
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2. Not only does Tony Harris come up with a eye-catching cover for Ex Machina, but he even manages to work in some characterization with it!


Very impressive.
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1. You know I normally don’t like rewarding straight pin-up covers, but, well…

A. It’s not the strongest month for top covers (I really like a lot of the top covers, but none stand out TOO much as “WOW!”) and

B. Come on, few pin-up covers are as dynamite as this JG Jones Batman cover for Final Crisis!!


I bet the Superman cover will be out of this world!!
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Well, that’s my prejudices and my Top Five!

How about you folks?