Judging (DC's December) Books By Their Covers

DC's December have been up for quite awhile, but now I'm finally going to make some prejudgments based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don't we?).

Let's begin! ___________________________________________________

The signature says Peter Vale, so I'm presuming it is him drawing it, even though the solicits say Brad Walker.

In any event, this is a pretty inoffensive Superman cover, but not really all that interesting, either.___________________________________________________

Pretty good Chris Batista Superman Confidential cover.

Very straightforward and clean lines. ___________________________________________________

Matt Banning is a fine inker, but I do not think he matches well with Shane Davis, so it is a bit disappointing to me to see that they appear to be an art team.

Ah well, very slick Superman/Batman cover by Davis. I can see him quickly becoming a star artist for DC.

Then again, not as quickly as DC thinks he is going, as they're already crediting him as "superstar artist Shane Davis" in the solicits, which seems a bit premature for a fellow who has drawn, what, eight issues for DC so far? ___________________________________________________

I think the coolness of this Drew Johnson Supergirl cover will be determined by how they fill in the black spaces on the finished cover.

If it is with an interesting logo/visual, I think it could work.

If it is just the logo of the book, I think it will have crowded the main image too much for too little of a pay off. ___________________________________________________

Nice twist on the classic Carmine Infantino/Murphy Anderson cover for this Andy Kubert Robin cover.

Coincidentally enough, that Infantino/Anderson cover graced the cover of this month's Showcase Presents: Robin the Boy Wonder!

What a cool drawing... ___________________________________________________

I like Adam Kubert's Nightwing cover here a lot - it reminds me a lot of the late, great Mike Wieringo's stuff.

And I don't think I would ever compare Adam Kubert to Mike Wieringo...

But just in case you think I have gone mad in making said comparison, check out the above cover in relation to this old Wieringo Robin cover...

The comparison - it exists, I tell you, it exists!!!! ___________________________________________________

Now come on, you have got to love the ballsiness of a trade collection that is quite literally "Here are two separate stories Brian K. Vaughan did on two COMPLETELY separate titles, but we're going to pretend it makes thematic sense."

Nice Scott McDaniel cover - very marketable cover. ___________________________________________________

Watch out, Batman! He's shooting pen marks out of his skin!!!


Decent enough Gotham Underground cover by Jim Calafiore.


I will apologize in advance to Tony Daniel, in that this Batman cover might actually be 100% accurate in the depiction of what it looks like when you see someone riding a motorcycle, due to issues of perspective, etc.

That being said, it looks to me like the bike is too small for Batman and he looks like he is a tall guy trying to ride a tiny bike, so it makes me laugh.

But I will freely admit that Daniel might be totally right, and this is just what it would look like if you saw someone riding a bike from this angle. ___________________________________________________

If Gary Frank would just loosen up with the rendering a bit, his covers would be killer.

Instead, though, he goes nuts with it, and as a result, his Action Comics covers, like this one, end up looking oddly stiff.

Sorta like painting work, sometimes, rendering an image too much will result in a loss of dynamism, and I think that is what we see on this cover. ___________________________________________________

I can see how some may be put off by Sanford Greene's art style a bit, as George Perez, he ain't, but I really dig the manic energy he brings to these Wonder Girl covers.

Nice to see the Female Furies, too!

If I misspelled their name by an R, do you think this blog post would be picked up by some blog search engine that I would want no part of? ___________________________________________________

Well, it IS a nice drawing of the Red Bee by Dave Johnson for this Uncle Sam cover.

But it's really not much more than a nice drawing of the Red Bee, and I'd like more for a cover. ___________________________________________________

Decent enough Eddy Barrows cover for Teen Titans.

I do have to question what is exactly going on on the bottom - Flash is, what, swinging at Ravager and MISSING? And she is, what, hacking away at him? Both scenarios seem odd to me. ___________________________________________________

Nicely drawn characters by Dan Jurgens Tom Grummett, I suppose, but this Tangent Comics cover doesn't seem to have a visual goal other than "here are a bunch of characters sorta together."

EDITED TO ADD: Aha! I didn't recognize the drawing without all the cover copy, but this was, in fact, a cover drawing Tom Grummett did back when Tangent Comics was first released. ___________________________________________________

I just love the fact that John Ostrander is one of, like, ten dudes (me included, of course) who was always thinking, "Uhmmm...wasn't Wade Eiling like, a pretty darn big player in the DC Universe circa the late 80s? So shouldn't some folks care that he is now stuck in the body of the Shaggy Man? This isn't just some nameless General here."

Nice John K. Snyder cover. ___________________________________________________

Strong Scott Hampton cover for Simon Dark.

Like previous Simon Dark solicitations, I like to read them as though they are meta-commentaries.

"Will Simon be embraced by the neighborhood once he rids the streets of a serial killer?or is he compelled to remain an outsider?"

Will Simon be embraced by a comic-buying public who have pretty clearly demonstrated that they will not support books like Simon Dark?

Will DC be compelled to make Simon Dark an Outsider? ___________________________________________________

Very nice Phil Winslade Shadowpact cover.

I especially love the attention to detail he gives in spots where no one would begrudge him much if he glossed over. ___________________________________________________

So wait - do the villains not have their powers on this prisoner planet in Salvation Run?

Because if he does have powers, why is Psimon so scared on this Sean Chen cover?

In any event, decent Chen cover. ___________________________________________________

Another great Kevin Nowlan drawing of Metamorpho, but like the Red Bee cover by Dave Johnson, I don't think there's enough past "good drawing" to work as a cover.


While I certainly have a higher opinion of Francis Manapul's work than Greg does, even I was thoroughly impressed by the high level he appears to have brought his work, based on this Legion of Superheroes cover.

It reminds me a bit of a mix between Adam Kubert and Joe Madureira - I like it. ___________________________________________________

Straightforward, but good Scott Kolins JSA Classified cover.

One of the few DC books to even acknowledge that it is wintertime.

Now the wintertime is coming,The windows are filled with frost.I went to tell everybody,But I could not get across.Well, I wanna be your lover, baby,I don't wanna be your boss.Don't say I never warned youWhen your train gets lost.

Sorry about that, I occasionally get the urge to just spout out Dylan lyrics. Just ask Mer. ___________________________________________________

Nice Jonah Hex cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli!!

This is a lot tighter than his art usually looks (and I am not saying I dislike his other style, just noting it looks different). ___________________________________________________

This JLA Classified cover by Paulo Siqueira is one of the stronger works by Siqueira that I have seen, at least from a drawing standpoint.

His high concept idea for the cover, though, I think is a bit too subtle for a casual cover glancer (the idea being that the loved ones of the League are seeing them perhaps die in front of their eyes).

I like it, though. ___________________________________________________

Julian Lopez has done a very nice job on his JLA Classified covers.

This cover really pops. ___________________________________________________

Not a bad cover design by Joe Benitez for this Justice League of America cover, but I am a bit iffier on the execution.

Also, seriously - Tangent comics crossing over? Who came up with this idea? ___________________________________________________

That is one twisted Infinity, Inc. cover by Max Fiumara!!!






Ivan Reis takes the first crack, with this Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Secret Files (by the by, what a success the Secret Files format has been, huh?), with Hal Jordan having his fist pumped in the air!!

You'd think maybe you'd see some Sinestro Corps people on a Sinestro Corps Secret Files cover, but whatever... ___________________________________________________

Pat Gleason answers back with HIS cover, spotlighting Kyle Rayner's new Green Lantern costume for this Green Lantern Corps cover!!

The little ball formation effect is neat. ___________________________________________________

Reis, though, tries to deliver the knockout blow by using the SAME cover motif TWICE in the SAME MONTH, with his Green Lantern cover here, with Hal Jordan's arm now bent, rather than fully extended.

And Hal's Green Lantern logo is now three dimensional!!!

The winner?!?


His cover also had Ice on it. Gotta give it to him. ___________________________________________________

Very interesting cover layout by Cliff Chiang for this Black Canary/Green Arrow cover.


Really sort of a lackadaisical Flash cover here by Daniel Acuña.

I just read that he's ALREADY off Flash, and he won't even be drawing this issue.

That was fast. ___________________________________________________

A bit of a stilted Jim Starlin cover for Death of the New Gods.

The idea is okay, I guess, but I don't get why Starlin chose this manner to demonstrate it. ___________________________________________________

Nice Killian Plunkett cover for this Search for Ray Palmer issue where they go to the Red Son universe.

Did Killian Plunkett finish that series for Dave Johnson? I forget.

Either way, nice job. ___________________________________________________

I loves me some Karl Kerschl, but this Countdown cover doesn't even look like he INTENDED it as a cover!


Based on this Liam Sharp Countdown (the one with the Extremists) cover, I think we'll be seeing a new Earth - "Earth where Superman is a little older and has a different shaped S."

I think there will be a series of Earths, probably Earth 30-39 that are just Earths where Superman's S is designed differently. ___________________________________________________

Ah...Countdown: Arena...

So much to say, so little of it good...

Nice attempt by Andy Kubert to really take the cover assignment seriously. He really gave it the old college try, and it looks nice.

I imagine "give it the old college try" is also what Keith Champagne will do with the story inside. I wish him luck. ___________________________________________________

I can't read the artist credit. Can someone help me out?

In any event, this is a decent Countdown to Adventure cover...

I love the freakiness of the arms! ___________________________________________________

I loved how, last month, when I tried to give Rucka a good turn by pointing out how cool the names in the Crime Bible sounded, folks had to point out that they were most likely coined by Grant Morrison.

Just let me compliment Rucka, people! :)

Anyhow, this cover is another awesome idea by John Van Fleet that I think comes off looking a bit confusing.

What action, exactly, is taking place on this cover?

They're ABOVE the buildings, so they can't be falling from them - they don't appear to be jumping from anything - if either of them could FLY, that would help things along... ___________________________________________________

Strong Scott Shaw! cover for Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew.


Decent Kalman Andrasofszky cover for Checkmate.

Using Mademoiselle Marie is a great idea by Rucka!

There! Another compliment!

I am on a roll!! ___________________________________________________

What a bizarre Birds of Prey cover to mark the first issue by new writer Sean McKeever.

You'd think Stephane Roux would have, like, a group shot or something - something to say "good jumping on point," instead of this cover, which says, more, "Here's Superman and...well, SOMEthing is going on...probably." ___________________________________________________

I like covers that try to use parts of the cover to split it into different stories. Good work by Eric Battle on this Batman and the Outsiders cover layout.

Execution of the layout is not as great as the layout, but at least the layout is there!! ___________________________________________________

Nice iconic Blue Beetle cover by Rafael Albuquerque.

This is a take-off on a Superman cover, right?

Or maybe Superboy, when he leaves the Legion? ___________________________________________________

Pretty good Ladronn cover for the Atom.




This 52 Aftermath book is due out in December, right?

Merry Christmas, Ethan Van Sciver!!! ___________________________________________________

Very nice Todd Nauck cover for the 50th issue of Teen Titans Go.

Is this the last issue? ___________________________________________________

Nice, iconic cover for Sanford Greene for this Legion cover (and yes, I know I just used that same exact phrase for Blue Beetle, but what can I say - they're both nice, iconic covers! Is there a good synonym for iconic I can use?)


Not as impressed with this Batman Strikes cover by Greene.

Seems almost half-way designed. ___________________________________________________

Another strong Zach Howard Justice League Unlimited cover.

When's the last issue of JLU?

I'd love for Howard to do a big group shot for it. ___________________________________________________

Good Stephanie Gladden Foster's cover for Cartoon Network Block Party.


Decent enough Scott Gross cover for Looney Tunes.

Not as original as his covers usually are, though. ___________________________________________________

Certainly a departure for Hellblazer with this Glenn Fabry cover following all those Lee Bermejo covers.


Another decent Sean Phillips Vinyl Underground cover, but I keep thinking they could be getting so much more out of him.


Well, this Celia Calle American Virgin cover is certainly...something, all right.

What that is...I'll get back to you. ___________________________________________________

I dunno, Tomer Hanuka. If the concept of Un-Men is that it is a book about freaks, don't you think the covers need something more than "Hey look, it's some freaks!" on them?


Decent Brian Bolland Jack of Fables cover.

I love the girl in the background. ___________________________________________________

Nice cover design by Stephen John Philips for this Incognegro graphic novel from Vertigo.


Fairly straightforward Jo Chen cover for the Fight for Tomorrow trade.

Good to see it collected, though! ___________________________________________________

Another good James Jean Fables cover.

I'd like for this arc to be finish some time soon, though, so Jean's color palette could be opened again! ___________________________________________________

Another bizarrely amusing Rick Veitch cover for Army@Love.

A little less biting than usual, though. ___________________________________________________

I like this World of Warcraft cover by Samwise Didier a lot more than his first issue cover.

The depth and character movement is quite impressive. ___________________________________________________

This Wildcats Armageddon story involves time travel, right?

So could we go back in time and avoid having Nemesis show up at all, please?

At least the original Nemesis is back at DC! ___________________________________________________

Both the Wildcats cover (save for the Nemesis part) and this Stormwatch Armageddon cover by Mike McKone were well done by McKone.


Leave it to C.P. Smith to do one of the slickest decapitated head covers ever for this Programme cover.

Take THAT, Wertham!

(That IS what the cover is showing, right?) ___________________________________________________

Chris Sprouse's pencils for this Midnighter cover are TIGHT.


Nice to see Carlo Barberi try some different cover designs for Gen 13.


Pretty straightforward Authority: Prime cover by Darick Robertson, but I think it works.


Wow - that is some amazingly faithful representations of the actors right there.

That is practically stunning. ___________________________________________________

So wait...they're afraid to give her her own series, but they'll give her her own STATUE?

I guess homophobes don't purchase statues... ___________________________________________________

For a statue made without any clear influence to base it on, designer/sculptor Jonathan Matthews did a sparkling job with this Batman versus the Joker statue.

It has more dynamism than a lot of drawings I have seen! ___________________________________________________

Nice Bizarro figure.

I love the little sign. I wonder what it is made out of.___________________________________________________

HONORABLE MENTIONS!! ___________________________________________________

Simone Bianchi, doing action, is awesome.

He should feature more action on his covers.

This Detective Comics cover is quite cool. ___________________________________________________

A bit of an off month for three cover artists who I absolutely adore, Ryan Sook, Jock and Frank Quitely.

All great enough to still make honorable mentions, but all also missing a bit of the same pizazz that makes them routine Top Five finishers...

The covers are for, respectively, Faker, All Star Superman and Countdown Search for Ray Palmer (the world where everyone is a woman) ___________________________________________________

Brian Wood could teach a course in how to use negative space beautifully. Here he shows us how on this DMZ cover


Speaking of using white to contrast against the backgrounds, check out this neat Massimo Carnevale cover for Wood's Northlanders...


I am totally digging Mario Alberti's cover work.

Here is a Countdown to Mystery cover by him...



First, Robert Pope shows us a cool Ben 10/thing Ben 10 transforms into cover for Cartoon Network Action Pack...

and then, Dave Johnson takes over Scalped cover duties with this look at the inner workings of Dashiell Bad Horse

Very cool on both covers. ___________________________________________________

Great John Severin Bat Lash cover..


Very strong work here by Dan Jurgens for Booster Gold.

Great cover idea and a good execution. ___________________________________________________

Nice classic layout by George Perez for Brave and the Bold.


Strong dynamic cover for Black Adam by Doug Mahnke.


I love how Philip Bond makes this cover for Exterminators so simple, yet so effective.


Strong JH Williams cover for Crossing Midnight.


I LOVE this Adam Hughes drawing for Catwoman, but it JUST misses out on top five because I think the image, as beautifully drawn by Hughes as it is, is probably a BIT too nuanced to catch a reader's eye.

Still, fabulous work by Hughes. ___________________________________________________

5. Alex Ross does this "weird perspective" shots every once in awhile, and sometimes they come out looking silly, and sometimes they work really well.

This JSA cover is one of the good ones. ___________________________________________________

4. Okay, I have a self-admitted bias in favor of Christmas covers.

This Scott Neely cover for Scooby Doo is still awesome! ___________________________________________________

3. When did the Dodsons get THIS good?

This Wonder Woman cover reminds me of some of Sook's better works!

That's heady praise! ___________________________________________________

2. Great, classic cover for Bat Lash #1 by Walt Simonson.

I need to see him drawing a monthly again!!! ___________________________________________________

1. Finally, Eric Powell uses all of his creative power, and the freedom that comes with the "Dreamscape" to come up with this striking Freddy/Jason/Ash cover.

Silly team-up concept, excellent cover drawing.

Eric Powell rules!! ___________________________________________________

Well, that's it for me this month! Feel free to share YOUR prejudices (and your Top Fives)!

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