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Judging (Marvel’s October) Books By Their Covers

by  in Comic News Comment
Judging (Marvel’s October) Books By Their Covers

Marvel’s October Solicitations are up, so now is as good a time as any for us to make prejudgments based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don’t we?).

Let’s begin!
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I’m on the fence regarding covers that require you to have a working knowledge of the comic history featured in the comic to understand what is going on on the cover (especially in a first issue cover like this).

I think it’s probably lame.

But does this Billy Tan cover look cool enough to catch the reader’s eye even if they DIDN’T know what Vulcan was doing on the cover?

I mean, is zapping a crystal inherently cool?

I say…..no.
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I have absolutely no idea why Marc Silvestri decided to go this particular route with this cover.

That has to be the oddest cover collage yet.

Can anyone think of an odder looking cover collage?
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I love the idea that this Exiles/Excalibur crossover is titled “X-Men: Die by the Sword.”

Love that false advertising!!

I can’t wait until we see:

X-Men: Runaways!!

X-Men: She-Hulk!

X-Men: Criminal!!

Very nice Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic cover, though. She creates a nice atmosphere here.
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Am I the only one sorta disturbed, on a creative standpoint at least, with the Top Cow/Marvel deal?

I get why Marvel would do it, as they get to use top Top Cow artists for their books, artists that they would not be able to use otherwise, such as Mike Choi, who drew this X-Men cover (and the very well-received X-23 mini-series).

It allows Marvel to remove Chris Bachalo from X-Men without having to worry about finding a top artist to replace Bachalo.

I also get how the deal works, from a business standpoint, for Top Cow. Similar to Michael Turner’s deal, where Aspen Comics, Turner’s company, is helped out financially by Turner doing work for Marvel and DC.

What is disturbing to me is that essentially, Top Cow is telling its readers, “Yeah, you won’t get out top artists on actual Top Cow books, because they’re busy drawing Marvel comics. Enjoy this replacement we found!”

Now I am sure Top Cow’s position is, “We find replacements who do just as good of a job as the artists who are working for Marvel, so the fans aren’t missing out on anything at all.” And perhaps that is true, but I think it’s a weird message to send to Top Cow fans.

It’s like the Minnesota Twins renting the services of Justin Morneau to the New York Yankees. “Don’t worry, fans, Jeff Cirillo is a good first-baseman, too! And this deal helps us out financially, so it’s a good thing!”

Weird.

Anyhow, the cover by Choi is decent, except the background of the cover is a lot more interesting than the rather bland foreground images!
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I dig this Pablo Raimondi cover.

It’s striking, and has just the right touch of mystery to it.
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I think this is a decent exception from the standard “don’t give away what will happen in the issue on the cover” rule, in the sense that there really is nothing surprising on the cover here.

Hulk has beaten up the Avengers, I don’t think anyone actually expects the Gamma Corps to do anything against him.

So with that in mind, nicely drawn by Francis Tsai, especially the look on the guy’s face as he is flying through the air from the punch.
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The execution is a little weird, but in general, I dig the idea of this John Watson cover a lot.

If I’m reading the cover right, the Hulk is protecting them from the fireball (or whatever it is), but at the same time, they’re freaked out by the Hulk, as well.

Being freaked out by the person there to save you – that’s old fashioned Marvel goodness!!
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I’ll give this David Finch cover this much credit – that does look like a pretty good looking punch.

There actually appears to be some force and movement behind that punch – that’s a nice thing to see – it is hard to make punches look good.
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Bringing Marcelo Frusin over from DC is a great idea by Marvel.

This cover does not do justice to how cool his interiors will probably look.

Especially matched with crime novelist Gregg Hurwitz’ work, who makes his Marvel debut this month.
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I am really glad Suydam isn’t giving us zombie parodies anymore…

but it looks like he’s slowly weening himself off of it…

In a couple of months, he’ll actually draw a person without any flesh missing!!
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This is actually a pretty strong Salvador Larocca cover…

But come on, that ass shot is hilarious!
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A lot of Yanick Paquette’s Ultimate X-Men covers strike me as a “panel” shots.

They’re not poorly drawn, but like most “panel” covers, they are not all that dynamic, either.

Here, it’s practically like this is the first page of the comic instead of the actual cover.
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I know it’s a repetitive criticism of Greg Land, but consarnit, when he keeps repeating the same problems, why SHOULDN’T we just repeat the same criticisms?

In any event, when I see covers like this, I can only imagine the surprise this cover would get if shown to a modeling agency. “Oh hey! That’s ___ there! And look, there’s ____!”
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Mark Brooks does a pretty good job on this cover.

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I really like the way Olivier Coipel shows the shadows of Thor’s helmet as he kneels. That is a clever effect.

Thor’s FACE, though, just looks really strange.

Nice cover design, though – the face is really the only thing that throws me.
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Pretty cool Lee Bermejo cover.

His take on Thor’s hair is pretty weird, though, no?
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I think Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic does a better job on the third Terror, Inc. cover of affecting a sort of atmosphere for the cover.

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Marko Djurdjevic takes an interesting approach to this confrontation between Penance and Doc Samson.

Ultimately, I don’t think it works, but I appreciate the fact that Djurdjevic is trying out different angles/approachs.
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While on this Super-Villain Team-Up cover, Djurdjevic plays it a bit safe with the montage.

He’s a very good artist, so he makes the standard montage look really cool, but it’s a bit bland for someone of his skills.
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I don’t believe I’ve ever made a fart joke in one of these things before.

And I won’t now.

It was tempting, though!!!
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I appreciate the idea behind Michael Turner’s cover here, but the execution of the idea seems way off.

I do like it when he draws covers with no women on them, though!!
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Very nice drawing of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange by Takeshi Miyazawa.

I don’t think it’s strong enough to carry a cover by itself, but it is a very nice drawing.
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Interesting idea by Mike Deodato.

He and JH Williams should have an A-Ha-off!!
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When I see the following Khari Evans cover…

this is what I think of…

Is it just me?
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YIKES!

What the heck is wrong with Spidey’s head on this Quesada cover?!?!

Is that secretly the Mind Worm in Spidey’s costume? Is THAT the secret of “One More Day”!?!?!?!
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I will give Ariel Olivetti this much – I totally admire the sheer brashness of this cover.

Pretty darn funny.

By the way, speaking of World War Hulk, I found it odd that they had a whole issue where Hulk beats up all the superheroes, then the next issue, he faces {GASP} the ARMY!!

Isn’t that kinda silly?

If he kicks the Avengers’ behinds, how is the Army supposed to register as a threat to him OR the reader?
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Nicely done, Mr. Gulacy! Avoiding drawing a human face. Very clever! I like it!

People kept asking me about it, so here, I will give a shout out to Fabian Nicieza and Dan Slott for their parody of Penance, where they show what has become of Niels, Speedball’s bouncing cat.

He is now….

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Very nice cover by Farel Dalrymple.

How funny is it that both Jonathan Lethem’s long-awaited Marvel series AND Gregg Hurwitz’s long-awaited Marvel series are coming out the SAME MONTH!?!
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Speaking of Hurwitz, here is the cover to his series, with art by Lan Medina.

Pretty good cover by Medina.
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How many other autopsy covers can you think of?

They’re surprisingly common, I think.
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I’m not digging this Nic Klein cover at all.

What is supposed to be a touching moment just looks hokey to me – the body looks all sorts of weird.
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Decent enough Adi Granov Nova cover.

I like the way it is plot-driven without relying on the reader knowing the plot to appreciate the cover.
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How many New Excalibur covers are posing covers of the group?

It feels like it’s every other issue!!

That being said, Billy Tan at least does a nice job of it.
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Nice Tom Raney cover for New Avengers/Transformers.

Really, the sheer size of the Transformers has always been a turn-off to me for team-ups, whether they be G.I. Joe or Avengers.

It’s like children trying to fight adults, and unless Vincent Kartheiser is the child, that fight is never going to go the children’s way, so it saps the situation out of a lot of drama.
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It’s almost endearing when Turner does a bad cover that is not bad because of his depiction of women.

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Paolo Rivera does a great job making the Fantastic Four look photo-realistic while still appearing like he drew them himself.

A fine example of photo-referencing artwork.
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Now an example the other way…

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Very cool Frank Cho cover.

Way to use the background to give, well, background upon what is going on with the foreground.
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Yawn.

Seriously, just yawn.
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Nice standard cover by Tom Grummett.

Have they announced his next assignment?

It seems like a waste to have him just bouncing around.
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Greg Hildebrandt lowered the brightness a tad here, and I think it works quite well.

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The man in the iron mask looks totally badass on this Marko Djurdjevic cover.

By the by, Marko Djurdjevic now has officially done enough covers that I do not even hesitate for a second when I type Djurdjevic.

Djurdjevic.

Djurdjevic.

See? It’s simple now (I better be spelling it right, or that would be soooo embarrassing ;)).
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Nice movie poster style cover by Gerald Parel.

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Another fun Scherberger cover for Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man.

Are we ever going to see Scherberger on something OTHER than Spider-Man?
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Skottie Young wrings as much coolness out of this Iron Man cover concept as is possible.

Not a lot there, though.
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Nice, old-fashioned cover by Leonard Kirk.

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I’m totally digging this Eric Canete cover.

It’s dripping with personality and verve.

Very cool.
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You folks know I dig me some Gerald Parel artwork, but this Iron Man cover seems a bit off.

I think the problem is that Iron Man’s mask is SO big that is basically just looks like a background for the soldier – and if so, that is distracting to us, because it’s like, “Why do we care about this soldier?”

I think it would be more effective if Iron Man was a bigger part of the cover.

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Fun Juan Bobillo cover.

I’m loving seeing Ty Templeton on this book. If it can’t be Gerber, then Templeton is no slouch.
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Is this an homage to something?

If not, I don’t get why Mark Texeira went with this particular cover design. It’s well drawn, but it is not really that interesting of a cover, except in the sense that it is interesting in how odd it is.
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Cute Fantastic Four/Power Pack cover by Gurihiru.

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Nice Marko Djurdjevic cover.

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It’s not exactly that Sean Phillips’ cover designs are the same as Sleeper, I think it’s just that the lead character looks sooo much like Holden Carver that is just throws me.

Nice cover design, by the way!
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Decent Gerald Parel cover.

Three Parel covers this month, and none of them struck me as particularly inspiring.

Ah well, can’t win every month!!
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Nice Captain America cover by Steve Epting.

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Fun Skottie Young cover.

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This Billy Tan cover looks like it could have been photo-statted from any random 90s Marvel comic.

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I was pleasantly surprised to see how well Stefano Caselli adapted to doing covers for this book.

I thought it would have been a bit too difficult to follow-up Jimmy Cheung.

Pretty good cover.
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Aaron Lopresti draws a big group of people as well as he can!!

Not much for him to work with here, I’m afraid.
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Clint Langley, though, has no such excuse for going to this standard “dude standing there” cover for Wraith.

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Is that supposed to be a moon dragon on this cover by Matt Wilson?

If so, I will totally move this cover up to the honorable mentions!!
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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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VERY cool Iron Fist cover by Jelena Jevic-Djurdjevic.

All the personality and atmosphere and design flair I was asking for in those Terror, Inc. covers is present here.

Reminds me a lot of Brereton.
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Tomm Coker doing nice covers like these on Exiles just seems so WRONG.

That much design effort shouldn’t be wasted upon an alternate reality Sabretooth!

It’s like having Gene Ha draw a Sonic the Hedgehog cover!
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Smart looking Stuart Immonen Marvel Comics Presents cover.

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I love how Ron Frenz comes through with these classic style covers for Spider-Girl.

True, most of them have been done before, but darnit, they are cliches sometimes because they WORK!
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Can’t really go wrong with Cap, Wolverine, Bucky and Nick Fury kicking ass, can you?

Marko Djurdjevic doesn’t seem to think so – and he’s right!!
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Very cool Stuart Immonen cover.

I love the energy he brings to his work.
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Clever idea executed well by Francis Tsai.

Well done.
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Yeah, it’s just a team pose cover, but darnit, Skottie Young does it with STYLE, baby!!!

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This is a really nice Carlo Pagulayan cover.

It’s impressive to see an artist try a new art technique and do so well with it right off the bat.
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TOP FIVE!!
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Tough month this time around! I doubt most of these would make top five in other months…

5. Very technically sound Art Adams piece, couple with the fact that, well, it’s Art freakin’ Adams drawing it, makes this Avengers Classic piece really pop for me.

And I love that he actually used an inset!!!
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4. Tim Bradstreet is really on a roll with his Punisher covers.

How freakin’ terrifying does Barracuda look on this cover, simply holding a baby?

That’s a really nice job of getting emotions out of his characters.

And I just love the fact that Barracuda is missing most of his fingers!
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3.

I really like the energy in this Eric Nguyen cover.

It’s like the Hulk is in 3-D.

Impressive work.
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2. Nic Klein appears to be doing a Djurdjevic riff with this cover, as it is highly reminiscent of some of Djurdjevic’s Blade covers, but Djurdjevic’s Blade covers were usually awesomely fun, so I will accept Klein doing the same with this Star Lord cover.

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1. Leinil Francis Yu occasionally comes up with striking cover designs out of nowhere.

I’d say this one would count as such.

Great job by Yu.
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Well, that’s it for me this month! Feel free to share YOUR prejudices (and your Top Fives)!

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