Cover of the Week: (Almost) Everything's Archie

Each Monday, staff writers Kevin Melrose and Steve Sunu discuss their five favorite covers from the previous Wednesday's new comic releases, selecting from among them CBR's Cover of the Week.

Keep reading for Kevin and Steve's favorites from the week of July 16, and then discuss your choices in the CBR forums.

Nobody draws Harley Quinn quite like Amanda Conner, and the she really stretches her artistic muscles in the wraparound cover for "Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego" #1. Conner brings DC Comics cosplay into the image, with fans dressing up as everyone from Batman and Superman to Krypto and John Constantine, with all of the characters -- besides Harley, naturally -- recognizable as cosplayers rather than the "real" DC characters. She even manages to sneak in a Power Girl, whose solo title she once worked on with her "Harley Quinn" partner Jimmy Palmiotti. The cover is frenetic, crowded fun. -- Steve Sunu

"Life With Archie" #36 had a plethora of covers, and for good reason. While some covers celebrated the actual life of Archie, Fiona Staples poignantly highlights the void left by his death. Staples -- in the musical tradition of another one of her other "Life With Archie" covers -- chose to draw The Archies, but without their frontman, using blacks and blues with a single spotlight on Archie's bright red guitar without its player. The noise and excitement normally present in a scene starring the Archies is gone, and Staples creates an image where the silence and sadness is palpable, perfectly encapsulating the empty space and sadness left by the death of an icon. -- Steve Sunu

Francesco Francavilla, who's best known in Archie Comics circles for his work on the acclaimed horror series "Afterlife With Archie," delivers a beautiful and appropriately somber memorial bathed in purple and steel gray -- except of course for the two splashes of yellow-orange, reminiscent of Archie's hair. Note the ivy growing up the gravestone, and the patches of tall grass surrounding it, suggesting that this image is set a while after Archie's death. It's easy, and maybe a little heartbreaking, to imagine Jughead, Betty and Veronica gathering annually to stand vigil. -- Kevin Melrose

Gabriel Hardman cleverly signals the Harry Houdini element of the story with an image of The Shadow that immediately evokes the magician's famed chain escape trick. It's funny, yet entirely fitting, that the pulp vigilante still grasps his signature twin pistols, even when bound. -- Kevin Melrose

Although his cover is clearly a nod to the classic "Life" magazine covers, I can't help but think Ramon Perez is channeling Norman Rockwell in this illustration that both captures a long-gone piece of Americana (the soda shop) and pays fitting tribute to the passing of Archie Andrews. Here, the Riverdale gang gathers at Pop's Chok'lit Shoppe to laugh and share memories, and pizza, in what could be a scene from countless comics -- except for the empty chair and the reflection of Archie in the mirror opposite of it. Perez offers his own take on decades-old characters, making them seem both familiar and fresh, while also making room for wonderful details like the hearts written or carved into the arch ("AA+VL" and "AA+BC"), the framed newspaper clipping of the Pussycats, and the photo of Archie in Jughead depicted in a more traditional Archie Comics style. -- Kevin Melrose

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