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Judging (Marvel’s May) Books By Their Covers

by  in Comic News Comment

Marvel’s May solicits have been up for so long that June has been up for a week now, but we can still 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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Certainly not a bad cover by Tommy Lee Edwards, and it certainly captures the feel of the project well, but I think I’ve been spoiled a bit too much by his most recent covers, and in comparison, the figures don’t look nearly as sharp.


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Ron Lim continues to amaze me with the way he manages to keep his work looking like Brett Booth’s. It’s rare to see an artist put that much effort into keeping such a continuity of style.


Patrick Zircher on Cable and Deadpool leaps out to me as a prominent recent example.

Do note that I am not a fan of Booth’s Anita Blake covers, so I am not necessarily saying it is a GOOD thing for Lim to keep a continuity of style, just noting my amazement over it.
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I think this is a suitable first issue cover for the American Dream by Ron Frenz.


The character has been around for awhile now, but I think it is fair to note that a young woman dressed as Captain America is still a bit of a surprising visual, so giving her a pose cover like this is probably a smart choice.
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I’m torn on this Pollina cover.

First off, generally, I like it, as I’m a fan of Pollina’s art.

However, I am unsure if I should be giving him the credit for the ornate nature of the cover when, to be honest, a lot of the ornate aspects seem pretty rudimentary.


It’s not exactly like he’s come up with some brilliant design elements here or anything like that, so I don’t think it is impressive enough to lift up what is a fairly bland main image of Angel.
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The solicits say Ed McGuinness drew this cover, and while I can believe it is him, I could also believe it was someone else.

Anyhow, either way, it is a fun looking cover.


The placement of the new character is in a good spot on the cover, and the facial work is stunning – she is oozing personality – and that’s with half of her head obscured!!
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I have no problem with having a female character built really muscular – that’s fine by me.

I just don’t think that’s how May Parker has been depicted throughout her comics (including comics by the guy who drew this cover, Ron Frenz), so this cover with May as a cheerleader is a bit off-putting to me.


Otherwise, I do enjoy the cover layout a lot – very old school coolness – I presume the arrow will have some text on it.
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Steve Uy does do a suitable job of depicting this motley crew as, well, a motley crew.


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This Avengers/Invaders cover is one of the better Alex Ross covers I’ve seen lately.


I especially dig the look on Cage’s face – that’s priceless.
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ALAN DAVIS DRAWING COVERS THAT LOOK LIKE INTERIOR PANELS!

This Black Panther cover is like an interior panel to a much lesser extent than the next cover, as this match-up between Killmonger and Black Panther could possibly be notable enough to feature on a cover, it’s just that Davis makes the fight seem a little too laid back and unassuming.


Part of the point of covers is to draw the reader’s attention, which is a problem I have with interior panel covers, which seem to be concerned more with just drawing, say, a fight scene or whatever – but not as much time is spent on making the cover “pop” or drawing the reader’s eye to what you want them to see. In this Panther cover, what exactly is the reader meant to be drawn to? Killmonger is at the center of the actual cover, but he doesn’t seem to be the center of the piece, does he?

It just seems like Davis is drawing a fight.

It’s a nice looking fight, though! I especially dig the animals.
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Davis’ cover here, though, looks like it literally IS an interior panel.


The cropping of the visual seems almost haphazard.
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Is there some cultural precedence for drawing an infant this small?

Like, is there some famous old comic series or cartoon that had babies drawn this small?


Because while I will give Ariel Olivetti the presumption that this is an artistic choice, it’s a really weird artistic choice, unless there’s some precedence for it that I do not know.
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Decent Bryan Hitch cover for the new Captain Britain series.


I love the featuring of John the Skrull.
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I don’t think this Trevor Hairsine cover worked out the way Hairsine intended for it to work.


That’s SUPPOSED to look like a bullet flattening against Colossus’ skin, right?
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Jae Lee sure does a lot of nice pin-up covers for the Dark Tower series of books.


I’d prefer more story-oriented stuff, but at least his pin-ups ARE nice to look at.
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Kaare Andrews finally livens up the Dead of Night covers a little bit.


Still, the main feature of the cover appears to be that it looks like an old EC comic – which really isn’t much of a gimmick, is it?
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Let me take this moment to point out my agreement with, I believe, Greg Burgas (it might have been someone else) – the perfect world, and it’s policed by giant Captain America robots?

And Mr. Fantastic didn’t automatically think, “Seriously?”


Anyhow, surprisingly flat Hitch cover.
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Lan Medina’s Foolkiller covers have all been striking in their lack of fluidity.


A lot of stiff poses.
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Cute homage for this new series featuring the children of the X-Men.


Hopefully this’ll be Patrick Scherberger’s coming out party, even though he didn’t even do the covers (Doug Alexander did), which is odd, as Scherberger is a fine cover artist.
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Nice Gary Frank cover – I see it is marked 05 – has this image been shown before?


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I loves me some John Romita Jr. crazy helmets – he’s almost as good as Kirby in that respect!


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Even as far as pin-ups go, this Adi Granov one is ab it lackluster.


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His cover for this mini-series, while more than a bit on the tawdry side, at least fits the topic of the series.


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It’s a pretty big letdown to go from Kaare Andrew’s super stylized covers to this fairly routine Khari Evans cover.


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Not the actual cover, right?


Moving on…
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Disappointing, Frank Cho!

You managed to get She-Hulk’s ass front and center, but only the side of ONE breast?!?


Better luck next time…
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I love the shadows on this Risso cover, but the rest of it looks kinda silly.


What is going on exactly on this cover?
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I should ask the same thing for this Tommy Ohtsuka cover.


Is she hurt? Is she hiding? What’s the deal?
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Cute Dennis Calero cover.


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Sean Murphy is still drawing the Hulk way too thin for my tastes.


Gotta love that thock, though!
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Pretty good Graham Nolan cover, if a bit on the “interior panel” side, as well.


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Good Paolo Rivera cover.


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The stiffness on this John Watson cover strips it of the entire intention of the cover.


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This Gerald Parel cover is a BIT hard to follow, but I am impressed with the stylization of it all, with the painting in the background.


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I wouldn’t be surprised if this McNiven cover was literally just a pin-up he drew of the Hulk.


Nice pin-up, though!
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Skrull homages.

Yuck.


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Is this Arthur Suydam cover actually an original piece?!?!?!

Could it be?

Is it homaging some cover I just don’t recognize (like some of Suydam’s recent Moon Knight covers)?


If it is an original, well done – the eerie mixture of the brightness of Iron Man with the dark Moon Knight results in an off-putting, yet intriguing cover.
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I think Greg Horn’s Ms. Marvel covers are better the less he shows of Ms. Marvel.


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Can Morph fly?


Whether he can or not, this Alan Davis cover is intriguing – and doesn’t seem like an interior panel!!
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Strong Brandon Peterson cover.


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I basically enjoy the manic nature of this Nic Klein cover, but boy are the New Warriors’ costumes fugly.


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Imposing Tim Bradstreet cover for the Punisher.


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Disturbingly impressive Alex Maleev cover for Punisher War Journal.


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Mike Deodato is still doing a nice job on the She-Hulk logos, at least!!


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Boy, that’s way too much areola showing on this Alessandro Barbuci cover.


Besides that, it’s a nice cover.
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Decent Tony Harris cover, but it seems a bit too similar to past covers of this series.


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Good Djurdjevic cover.


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This is an attractive cover courtesy of Coipel.


Impressive to see him still on this title. I can’t be the only one who figured he’d be gone by now, can I?
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This looks like it could be a good first part of a quadtych courtesy of Billy Tan.


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Decent Ferry cover.


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Oh man! Are they going to do the Ultimate version of the time Colossus cured the Legacy virus?


Maybe they can then do a spin-off! Ultimate Astonishing X-Men!!!
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Pretty blah looking Tan cover for Uncanny.


#500 can’t come soon enough.
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Striking Wolverine First Class cover.

I notice that Salvador Espin has also thoughtfully reduced the size of Kitty’s breasts.


Nicely done, Espin!
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This Ron Garney cover is also a striking one.

I’m impressed with how the cover manages to get in a decent amount of action without actually getting to the real fight.


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Not as impressed with this Bianchi cover.


Looks like leftover artwork.

“What? You need a Wolverine cover? I think I have some sketches around here somewhere I can paint.”
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While not the most original of cover concepts, cliches are sometimes cliches because they work, and this Glenn Fabry cover works.


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Nice cover by an artist I am unfamiliar with – Boo Cook.


What are Cook’s credits?
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Wow! If it were not for the signature, I would seriously be doubting that this was actually Carlo Pagulayan.

This is some strong artwork – look at the personality work! Look at the fluidity! Neither are things I normally associate with Carlo Pagulayan (who is a fair enough artist, just using a different style).


If the cover layout was a bit more clever (floating camera notwithstanding), this would be definitely in contention for the top five covers.
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I at least appreciate how Crain’s computer art can make the lights bend in a neat way!


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How many people saw this Finch cover and said, “Yeah, I know the covers have all been showing things from the past, but I think this one is the present! PHOENIX IS BACK! OMG!!!”?


My vote is – too many.
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That is one garish Brandon Peterson cover.


It’s like an Easter Egg decoration. His computer must have been running in “pastel mode.”
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I don’t bet it was much fun for Jimmy Cheung to go out looking for “classic Ant-Man” drawings!


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I can only imagine Terry Dodson’s reaction upon seeing a reference sheet for Magma when she is in her molten form.

“Wait, so you’re saying I don’t have to worry about her shirt, pants, shoes, etc? I can just draw her breasts?!?! This Marvel exclusive is panning out already!!”


Look for the former herald of Galactus, Nova, to make an appearance in Young X-Men soon – at least on the cover.
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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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I’m putting this Djurdjevic cover here strictly because it feels wrong to leave such a striking cover out of honorable mentions.


That it is basically the same as Mark Texeira’s classic 90s cover keeps it from going any higher, as the cool part of this cover is not Djurdjevic’s take on the flaming skull, but that the flaming skull takes up the whole cover.
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I gave Leonard Kirk some grief for not having interesting Avengers covers, so you know I have to give him credit for this clever Avengers cover.


Nicely done, Mr. Kirk!
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Nice cover design by Farel Dalrymple.


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I dig how Paolo Rivera manages to homage a STYLE of cover, without actually just copying an old cover.


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It is so awesome that Marcos Martin is doing a Spider-Man arc.

This cover is pretty good, but I think it may be hurt a bit by the same idea being used in Morrison’s Batman.


It would have been awesome if it had been Martin who drew that Morrison Batman story!!
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Nice farewell to Art Adams’ Avengers Classics covers!


They have been a lot of fun!
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Claire Wendling’s cover here MAY be a cover homage – but either way, that’s some impressive characterization work, isn’t it?


Striking work for such a simple cover.
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I love the energy in this Quesada cover.


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Meanwhile, Ron Lim and Bob Layton takes a more old-fashioned look at Iron Man, but just as good as Quesada’s more modern-looking cover.


Actually, this Lim/Layton cover is probably better.
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Very nice group shot by Yu, and it is even story-related, as Nighthawk is forced to form a team of mercenaries in this issue.


Really clever idea by Casey, by the by.

Teams of mercenaries have been done before, but I don’t recall them ever being done in this way – “I need a team quickly – I know, I’ll hire a bunch of guys!”
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3rd Wing – that’s clever.


Well done, Steve Epting!!
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Clever cover design by John Cassaday, but I think it might be a bit too busy.


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I love that this Secret Invasion cover is an original concept, and not an homage.


Even if the originality of this Dell’Otto cover is hurt a bit (perception-wise) by Yu coming up with a similar cover for the variant of Secret Invasion #1. But we know who was first!
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Nice cover idea by Djurdjevic.


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TOP FIVE
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5. A very strong cover design by Patrick Scherberger.


You get the point of the cover right away, and it’s a eye-catching concept.

And THEN you get to the nice little touches, like Mr. Fantastic’s hand under the door.
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4. How cute is this Gurihiru cover?


Not just cute, but well laid out, as well. You gotta love the attention to detail, too.
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3. Another winning cover by Chris Eliopoulos!


He has such great design sense. It’s a shame that this cover came out in the same month as the Gurihiru cover, as they are awfully similar, and I think it takes a bit of the specialness away seeing them back to back.
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2. This cover was just your standard group shot, but then Clint Langley infused it with a striking level of dynamic style.


It went from being a good group cover to an eye-popping group cover.

Well done by Langley – probably my favorite cover I’ve seen from him.
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1. This is the best Ultimate Spider-Man cover I’ve seen from Stuart Immonen so far, and when the phrase “best ____ I’ve seen from Stuart Immonen” is used, you know it’s gotta be good, because Immonen is an amazing artist!


A striking cover with excellent use of negative space, AND it tells a story!

An awesome piece of work by Immonen.
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That’s it! Feel free to share your prejudices (and YOUR top five!)!