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Judging (Marvel’s December) Books By Their Covers

by  in Comic News Comment

Marvel’s December solicits are up (they’ve been up so long that February is around the bend!), 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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I believe that Ron Lim only draws a certain way because that’s what people expect of him, and this cover, I think, shows how he CAN draw in a different style (in fact, it is right next to the standard Ron Lim figure).


It’s just too bad people only want him to draw like how he did on Silver Surfer twenty years ago.
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Fair enough cover layout by Mat Broome, but the specifics of the figures seem a bit rough.


Particularly the faces.
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This Dave Bullock cover is pretty darn adorable.


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Very cool Lee Weeks Amazing Spider-Man cover.


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I like this Barry Kitson cover even better – it is a lot looser than what you expect from Barry Kitson, and I think the end result is a good look for Kitson.


Very old-school looking cover.
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Cute Patrick Olliffe cover, although I don’t get how Spider-Man would ever think this was a good idea – doesn’t his webbing stick to stuff for, like, an hour?


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Very strong Ron Frenz cover.


Quite the romantic cover – very “Rhett and Scarlett.”
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This David Nakayama cover is not striking at all.


It’s an interesting enough drawing, however.
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Cute homage by Ariel Olivetti.


I think more artists should homage this Steranko drawing, especially like this cover, where it stands out because Cable doesn’t fit the traditional mold of this cover, and I think that’s what Olivetti is trying to get across – to protect the kid, Cable will do whatever he needs to do, even if it requires great feats.
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I dig that Epting did a little mini-theme on these last three covers.

First Bucky/new Cap, then Winter Soldier/New Cap and now, new Cap by himself.


Good stuff.
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Strong Howard Chaykin cover – one of his most mainstream appealing pieces of work in some time.


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This Civil War: House of M cover doesn’t look like Mike Perkins at all. Is it really him?


I hope it is not him, as it is an underwhelming cover design.
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There are a couple of dirty jokes that came to mind when I saw this Jae Lee cover.


I shall repeat none of them!
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Decent Kaare Andrews cover – definitely a step up from the last Dead of Night series!


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Decent Ferry cover – perhaps a bit too cluttered, but basically, a good cover.


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This Tim Green cover freaks me out, but if he is supposed to be drawing a totally emaciated kid, he did a fine job!


If it is just supposed to be a scrawny kid, that’s just weird.

Nice cover design, though!
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Fair enough Jimmy Cheung cover for the variant to this comic (or is the Green one the variant? Same difference, I suppose, since it is a 50/50 split).


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A good iconic pose by Daniel Acuña, but the execution just seems flat.


That flatness is something that I think will trouble me with Acuña’s art every issue – when it isn’t there, he’s awesome – when it is…well, not so good.
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I’m quite interested in Francesco “Matt” Mattina’s work – he seems to be a new talent to watch out for. His Thunderbolts covers have been stunning.


I think this cover is a bit too hit and miss, though. The Sue part is striking, especially the way he manages to make a photo-realistic character flow with the image. However, I don’t love the overall layout and the Thing figure seems lackluster.

Still, forgetting his great Thunderbolts cover, just on that Sue alone I think Mattina is one to pay attention to.
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Sorry, Clint Langley, I don’t dig this Blastaar enough to merit it the whole cover.


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And I definitely don’t think Langley drew this monster lady well enough for this Danny Ketch cover to work.


I have to think that the intended effect was actual horror, not Rocky Horror, and if so, I don’t think it works.
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Cool cover by Gerald Parel.


I like the attention to the background figures.
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I like the way Bob Layton makes the hand on this cover appear like an animal in and of itself.


Clever idea.
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Come on, Marko Djurdjevic!

You can crank out covers like this one in your sleep!


Where’s the flair? Where’s the elan?

You’re one of the most dynamic cover artists out there, I’d like to see it!
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Frank Cho is a lot more dynamic on this Hulk cover, and you, of course, simply have to love the sight gag.


Sorry, you have to – it’s a requirement.
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Wow, that’s a pretty garish cover.


Not a good use of two great artists in Steve Lieber and Dave Bullock.
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Very trippy cover by Juan Doe.


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Now Tommy Ohtsuka has changed his look, so he doesn’t look so much like Proctor anymore!


Damn, now I have nothing left to say about these covers!
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Decent enough Clayton Henry cover – has Thor not appeared on the cover of a Marvel Adventures Avengers issue yet?


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Pretty laid back Salva Espin cover.


Probably a bit too much so.

Hey, has anyone noticed that these titles have no colons in them? They’re not what you would think, Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four, it’s just simple Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four. Weird.
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Very cute Francis Tsai cover.


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Awesome cover by Art Adams – loses some of the luster when you see it was drawn almost a decade ago, but still, awesome!


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I love the interesting coloring on this Gerald Parel cover – it has an intriguing effect.


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Cute cover by Greg Tocchini.


I think he was spot on with his cover design choice.
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This cover by Jay Anacleto is interesting to me, in the sense that the intent of the piece is to, like the original Marvels, place the famous Marvel heroes into the same plane as “real life” so that they pop out more than they normally would.

However, I think the effect here is that the Thing looks LESS “out of the ordinary” and I think he actually pops out LESS than a normal cover.


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This second issue cover, though, I think gets that approach right.


Spider-Man pops out here more so than a normal Spider-Man cover, although I would note that there have been other covers that got the same feel, as well, so this Anacleto cover doesn’t have that same uniqueness that Marvels did, as the whole “clash the out of the ordinary with the ordinary” cover approach is a big one for a lot of Marvel’s current crop of cover artists (Adi Granov and Kaare Andrews two notable ones).
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Wow, I didn’t know that they made tin woman pornography.


Tracing jokes aside, it’s a good cover by Land. Strong layout.
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The tracing jumps out more here, but the cover is fair enough.


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Decent Djurdjevic cover.


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Clever cover design by Suydam – really using his painting style to good use here, getting across a feel that other artists simply CAN’T provide.


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Strong work by David Williams with a tough assignment – “Make a goofy character seem imposing.”


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I like this New Exiles cover – Alex Garner, right?


My question is, though, Rogue has changed her costume since this cover was first solicited – think they’ll change the cover?
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Nic Klein does a good job doing a work similar to David Williams’ assignment “Make ridiculous looking characters look kinda cool.”


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Speaking of doing their best with a bad character design, Mike Deodato…well, actually, this cover design isn’t that great, either.


The character drawing (of an ugly design), is good, though!
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Alina Urusov is really vibing Middleton here, to good effect.


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A strangely mundane Dave Johnson cover.


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You have to appreciate Dave Wilkins’ ability to just all out on all his assignments.

I do not know if that bustling energy always sells the project, but damned if he doesn’t bring that energy on every cover assignment he does!


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Typical Bachalo cover.


And typically for Bachalo covers, a good cover.
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Stuart Immonen is amazing, which makes it more disappointing when his idea for a cover is just a lone figure drawing doing basically nothing.


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It’ll be an awesome comic, but that Steve Dillon cover isn’t all that good.


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Decent little character piece by Ramos.


So what’s the deal – is Runaways canceled again or what?
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This Frederic Genet cover reminds me a bit of Massimo Carnevale’s covers – and that’s a fellow you want to be compared to!


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I actually like a lot of this She-Hulk cover by Deodato – the facial expressions (particularly Valkyrie) are spot on.


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Can’t say that I am a fan of this Stjepan Å ejić cover, though.


Is that Cousin It on her left shoulder?

By the by, what’s the deal with re-naming Annuals as one-shots instead? Does a She-Hulk one-shot really sell better than a She-Hulk Annual? I find that hard to believe.
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If this is the Yearbook cover, it looks really quite slapped together.


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You are so adorable, Terry Moore! And Christina Strain, holy crap, that is some awesome coloring!


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Very cool variant cover by Dennis Calero.


Impressive work.
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This Ron Garney cover looks like an interior panel cover.


Not a fan of those.
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Seriously, that lady’s chest does not even look like it fits on to her body!


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Quietly very effective cover by Lee Bermejo.


I love he is able to mix his style up so much on different covers – some are very stylized and some are quiet and subtle.
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That’s a big darn nose on Juggernaut.


It’s crazy how Mike McKone has the light reflect off of Xavier’s bald head in a radiating pattern…oh, that’s not what that is?

My bad.

I didn’t know Xavier has SONAR.

Oh…not that, either?

Never mind.
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This Ferry cover looks barely finished!


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This Immonen cover is an example of how a lone figure cover can still be effective, when the sheer appearance of the figure is getting across a story point.


And, obviously, since it is Immonen, it is well drawn.
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I wonder, is the look on Rogue’s face intentional or just happenstance?


What I mean is, is Mark Brooks trying to intentionally convey something about Rogue’s personality by the way she is handling jumping from an airplane with complete detachment/calm?

Or is it just happenstance?
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Yeah, this cover is pretty cheesy, but I think the Dodsons mostly pull it off.


Unless the purple-haired woman is supposed to be Pixie, in which case, never mind.
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Speaking of cheesy, this Angel Medina Venom cover is pretty cheesy, too, but he definitely pulls it off.


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Gurihiru is really good at these silly covers.


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More dynamism than I usually expect from Michael Ryan.


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The solicits credit Roberto de la Torre for this cover, but it doesn’t look like his work.


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An impressive cover team-up by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Marko Djurdjevic.


Love the odd cover design.
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An even more impressive mix-up of Jimmy Cheung and Marko Djurdjevic.


And I love the sheer “WTF?” nature of this cover!

I think Marko Djurdjevic should be added to all covers, sort of like a steroid – to enhance performance.
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Djurdjevic soooo could have enhanced this cover, too!


Although, to be fair, McGuinness did a fine job on this one by himself.
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Nice cover by Scherberger.


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Djurdjevic enhanced the heck out of this Ron Garney.


Seriously, Marvel should do a What If..? for One More Day, and have them turn down the Mephisto offer and then have that lead to Mary Jane and Peter like, getting hit by a bus or something. That’d be hilarious.

Actually, even better, make it 22 pages, and show 22 different outcomes had they turned down the offer, and have each one of them in a horrible death for Mary Jane and Peter.

HILARITY!!!
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Standard enough cover look, but a good one!


Nicely done, Deodato.

Wolverine and Wolverine Jr. on the prowl!
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Definitely a dynamic McNiven cover.


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Wow, almost kinda sorta restrained work by Dave Wilkins!


What’s he homaging here?
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Really odd effect on this X-Factor cover by Mike Mayhew.


The faces on the Madroxes don’t all seem to, well, fit.
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Decent enough cover by Mike Choi, but I don’t think the collage effect works as well as it could have.


I’d like more of a demarcation between the three figures.
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I almost have to appreciate this cover in its sense of “yeah, I know what you’re thinking – and I don’t care! I like drawing this type of stuff and people love me, so I’m going to keep doing it – deal with it!”


Gotta love Finch. He draws what he wants to draw.

I honestly admire that about him.
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Is this a brand new costume for Nightcrawler?


Surprised at how laid back the Ramos cover is. The Runaways cover was pretty laid back, but it had slightly more of an edge to it – some sort of characterization spark. This doesn’t seem to have any of that.
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I will destroy you with my legion of miniature airplanes!!!


What’s that, Brandon Peterson?

No, I have never heard of this “perspective” you speak of.

What is it?

Uh huh.

Uh huh.

Uh huh.

Oh, okay.

Never mind, then!
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How come this X-Men Noir cover looks kinda goofy and overly computerized shiny…


but this cover, also by Dennis Calero, is spooky and effective and awesome?


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Mario Alberti did a great job on the interiors of the first issue of this series.


This cover looks funny (in an intentional way).
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Maybe a bit much, but really, this Mike Deodato cover isn’t that bad.


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Very cool Bachalo cover.


I like when he gets all manic with his covers.
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This Adrien Floch cover looks fair enough.


Kinda generic, but not offensively so.
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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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I do love it when Ross uses different angles to depict his action.


Definitely lends a uniqueness to the covers, and when the basic premise is this sharp, it works wonderfully.
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These Djurdjevic covers are what I expect from him…

First, the imposing regal nature mixed with the drama of the Executioner…


Secondly, an offbeat dynamic use of different angles on this cover…


You’re the tops, Marko!
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Super suitably spooky cover by Jason Pearson.


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A great introduction to the characters of Incognito by Sean Phillips.


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TOP FIVE
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5. Clayton Henry’s recent months have had quite a few really sharp, dynamic covers.

This is one of them.


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4. Tim Bradstreet killing me with my bias towards Christmas covers!!


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3. Francesco “Matt” Mattina continues his striking Thunderbolts cover work with a cover that stands alone as a striking image, but also manages to get story elements in beautifully.


Diggle is lucky to have this guy drawing the covers to his new run as the book’s writer.
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2. Obviously, my Christmas bias is showing, but this is one of the best Clayton Crain covers that I can recall seeing.


The comparison between the darkness of the cover and the Christmas lights works beautifully.

A striking work.
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1. You know even Marvel realizes how much Skottie Young is killing this project when they devote an entire giveaway sketchbook to his artwork for this comic.


He is absolutely blowing this book away with his work.

Wow, that’s a great cover by an artist wholly in his element and killing it.
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Well, that’s it!

Tell me YOUR top fives and YOUR prejudices!!