Judging (DC's May) Books By Their Covers

DC's May solicits have been up so long that June's are right around the corner, so let's make some prejudgments based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don't we?).

Let's begin! ___________________________________________________

A really nice drawing by Andrew Robinson (boy is he good) for Action Comics, but it's not all that dramatic of a piece, especially for a cover.


It's interesting, Guillem March draws all his women with prodigious breasts, yet Nightwing apparently is a eunuch.

Seriously, though, this Azrael cover is pretty strong overall. March IS more fun to see when he doesn't have any women to draw (well, that depends on what you want to see from the women he draws - the man does have a fine reputation at drawing erotica, so if that's what you like, I guess it WOULD be more fun for you if he drew women).

While off on a bit of a tangent, what strikes me most about March is the fact that he's a very good storyteller. Very good. Not only that, but I've seen advertisement work from him, and it's also very good - including very nice drawings of ladies. So why, then, when he draws women on superhero covers, they all look like they've stepped out of the pages of Eros Comix? ___________________________________________________

Jason Todd looks kinda cool on this Battle for the Cowl cover.

Is Penguin, like, two feet tall on this cover? ___________________________________________________

Perhaps I should give this Dustin Nguyen Gotham Gazette cover higher marks, but I dunno, while it is good, it also looks basically the same as his previous cover with a similar motif, only scratchier.


Okay, yeah, I missed it the first time around, but holy jeebus, Ladrönn has decided to go an extremely odd way with Batgirl's breasts.

They seriously appear to take up her entire stomach and chest.

Weird decision on Ladrönn's part for this Battle for the Cowl tie-in cover. ___________________________________________________

Interesting Stephane Roux cover for Batman Confidential.

I can't believe they're actually revisiting the silly Joker storyline from a few issues ago. ___________________________________________________

At least on this Guillem March cover of Oracle, she has a good reason for her shirt looking so disheveled!


See, now this is when an ass-shot really is not an ass-shot. This Joshua Middleton Supergirl cover has Superwoman's ass on the cover, but it seems quite natural and not exploitative.

It's a strong cover overall ___________________________________________________

Stronger Andrew Robinson cover for Superman.

It's another great drawing, but it's also unique enough to stand out as a cover, too.


I'm constantly amazed at just how dynamic Francis Manapul is.

This Superman/Batman cover is not even some brilliant design or anything like that, and yet he infuses it with a great deal of "life."


Interesting cover for Superman: World of New Krypton.

Who is this by?

Why not just let the great Pete Woods do the covers? ___________________________________________________

Fair enough Brave and the Bold cover by Dan Jurgens, although it seems like Jurgens only recently used this very same cover motif on a Booster Gold cover (only there it was someone else being reflected in Booster's arm).

But really - Magog and Booster Gold? There are few team-ups that the phrase "Because YOU demanded it!" applies to LESS than this one. ___________________________________________________

Good Jurgens cover for Booster Gold's comic, proper.

With a minimum of drawing, Jurgens tells the reader TONS about the issue. ___________________________________________________

A very appropriate cover by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau for the Final Crisis Aftermath mini-series dealing with the Super Young Team.

And man, Joe Casey is a perfect choice for the gig (after Morrison himself, of course). ___________________________________________________

Imposing Brian Stelfreeze cover for this Final Crisis spin-off mini starring the Tattooed Man.


Kako really put a ton of personality into the Human Flame's face (heck, his whole BODY) on this Final Crisis spin-off mini starring the Human Flame being on the run following the Martian Manhunter's murder.


Very cute cover homage by Ethan Van Sciver for Flash: Rebirth.


I really dig the computer effects on this Ladrönn Green Arrow/Black Canary cover.


Patrick Gleason always fills his covers with such awesome manic energy. I really enjoy his Green Lantern Corps covers.


Decent looking Justice League cover by Ed Benes.

His last few covers have been quite good, so it'll be interesting if it keeps up. ___________________________________________________

Strong cover design for Jonah Hex by Paul Gulacy.


Cool Justice Society cover by Jerry Ordway. Ordway seems to be vibing Carlos Pacheco a bit on this cover.

It's an interesting look.


Interesting, if a bit straightforward, cover by the great Dave Johnson for The Mighty.


Lee Garbett is doing some very engaging member spotlight covers for this series of Outsider covers.


Cute Power Girl cover by Amanda Conner.

Conner does a strong job of making Power Girl's chest seem almost natural. ___________________________________________________

Cool Ed Benes cover for R.E.B.E.L.S.

Benes has been coming up with some cool-looking cover layouts recently. ___________________________________________________

Intriguing Ryan Benjamin cover for Dead Romeo.

When given time, it's interesting to see what Benjamin can come up with, design-wise. ___________________________________________________

Suitably eerie looking Solomon Grundy cover by Scott Kolins.


Nicola Scott uses a slightly different style on this Secret Six cover - it almost feels painted.


Wow, it looks like Starlin's own characters are getting irked at the stories in Strange Adventures.


I continue to dig the Deathtrap trade-dress for this Titans/Teen Titans/Viglante crossover that Andrew Robinson has been doing.

How random is this whole, "Hey, Andrew Robinson, want to do a gazillion covers for us?" deal out of seemingly nowhere? Andrew Robinson has been awesome for years, then all of a sudden, he's doing every other DC cover. ___________________________________________________

Nice bit having Bagley finish out the triptych for Trinity.

I wonder where Bagley will go next?

JLA would be a nice fit. ___________________________________________________

The reflections are way off on Ravager's swords!!

Seriously, fine Teen Titans cover by Joe Bennett. ___________________________________________________

The golden lasso compels us to note how ridiculous Genocide looks.

Besides the terrible design job on Genocide, fine work by Aaron Lopresti! And if he did not design Genocide, then he's absolved! ___________________________________________________

Decent Brave and the Bold cover, but to be honest, Scott Jeralds can (and HAS) done a lot better, cover design wise.


Nice straightforward Ben 10 cover by Min S. Ku for Cartoon Network Action Pack.

I am LOVING the idea to go to spotlighted covers for these books. Ben 10 is so popular, why NOT spotlight the character? ___________________________________________________

Cute Cartoon Network Block Party cover by Stephanie Gladden.

You can (like me) know nothing about the characters featured on the cover and still get the basic gist of the cover.

Good work by Gladden. ___________________________________________________

Eric Jones does a good job introducing Comet the Super-Horse into the Supergirl comic book.


I am shocked by this, but I must admit, while it's certainly not a BAD cover, I don't particularly dig this J. Bone cover for Super Friends.

Super Friends are usually marked by one of three types of covers by Bone...

1. Clever cover designs (the League dressed as Batman, the League as finger puppets on Faust's fingers, the League about to be hit by a giant pie, the League as apes)

2. Colorful, bright scenes (the birthday party one, the Christmas/Hanukkah one, the circus one, the skateboarding one, the Halloween one)


3. Engaging action scenes (the pirate one, the locked in a cage one, the first issue group shot, the dinosaur one)

This is not a clever cover design - a bunch of question marks and face shots of the League? This is not a colorful, bright scene. And this is not an engaging action scene.

I think J. Bone has mostly been doing those three styles of covers because, well, those are all really good ideas for covers (especially for kids covers). This cover, meanwhile, is drab colors with a fairly mundane cover idea.

Ah well, I'm sure next month will be awesome as usual! ___________________________________________________

Dynamic Alex Ross Astro City cover, and another good demonstration of the wonders Ross can do with adjusted angles.


That's a shadow on ApolloEidolon's head there, right? Not a headband or something like that, right?

Fine cover by Simon Coleby. ___________________________________________________

Lots of interesting elements in this Tony Harris Ex Machina cover.

I wonder what percentage of Ex Machina covers have The Great Machine on them? ___________________________________________________

What is there really to say about the covers of Fringe?


Woah! Out of nowhere, Shane Pierce delivers a striking Gears of War cover!

Good stuff.

Especially when compared to the monstrosities they kept making Brendan Badeaux draw. ___________________________________________________

The name Killapalooza is a great. The concept behind Killapalooza is neat (a rock band secretly working as assassins, using the access afforded to them as a popular rock band to target highly secure people).

Heck, the basic idea behind Trevor Hairsine's cover for Killapalooza #1 is even good.

So why such a generic-looking outfit for the character on the cover?

It really detracts from the overall vibe of the comic. ___________________________________________________

I'm not quite sure what is going on on this Mysterius cover, but Tom Fowler makes whatever it is seem quite compelling.


In the alternative, this Prototype cover by Darick Robertson really does not make the material seem all that compelling, but of course, Robertson is not exactly given a brilliant premise to work with here.

Then again, part of that comes from the sheer ubiquity of characters/designs like Witchblade and the Darkness, who make seeing a "normal" looking person with a big ol' claw-like monstrosity on their arm seem almost common place.

So that raises the question - is it Robertson's responsibility to convey the fact that the design given to him by the video game company is a bit of a retread? If the design was unique, then this cover likely would come off better, so is it really Robertson's "fault" that he designed a cover based upon the uniqueness of a design handed to him from a video game company? I mean, his duty here is really to the video game company, right? So he probably SHOULD treat their design like it is really cool looking. ___________________________________________________

Fair enough Resident Evil cover by Kevin Sharpe.

Is that seriously what the guy looks like in the game?

Pretty funny. ___________________________________________________

Decent cover design by Federico Dallocchio for the new Starcraft tie-in comic.

When it comes to details, though, I love how Dallocchio had to go with the classic "tear the woman's shirt just enough to show SOME of the breasts" bit. That's a timeless gag. ___________________________________________________

Straightforward, but not bad Stormwatch PHD cover by Leandro Fernandez.

I love the abbreviation PHD for Post-Human Defense.

They should do more stuff like that - Wildacts NASA (National Attack Squad Alpha) or Gen 13 JD (Judo Doctorate). ___________________________________________________

Fine design by Neil Googe for this Wildcats NCAA cover.

By the way, I especially like the bit from the solicit about the back-up story - "Also, it’s the start of a backup story explaining why Deathblow isn't dead." I think all Christos Gage comics should involve stories explaining why various characters aren't dead. ___________________________________________________

So Pete Woods isn't doing Superman covers, but they'll have him do World of Warcraft covers?

Seems like an odd arrangement.

So does the interior artist of World of Warcraft get to do covers for even lesser books, then?___________________________________________________

Interesting design by David Lapham for Young Liars.


Funny Seaguy cover by Cam Stewart.


Good to see Michael Wm. Kaluta doing more covers.

This Madame Xanadu cover is a strong cover. ___________________________________________________

The Great Fables Crossover is a bit of an interesting time to bring on Joao Ruas as the new Fables cover artist, because the trade dress for this crossover dwarfs the cover content SO much so that it is pretty negligible what the cover content is, so Ruas, Brian Bolland and Mark Buckingham don't have much room to work with.

Now, is it a GOOD idea to bring him in like this (less pressure) or a bad idea (less chance to make his mark)?

I lean towards the former. ___________________________________________________

Some nice, nuanced work on this Hellblazer cover by Lee Bermejo.

From an artistic standpoint, I think the barely noticeable tear is brilliant. From a cover standpoint, maybe it is a bit TOO nuanced. ___________________________________________________

I love how prototypically Chaykin these Bang Tango covers are.


HONORABLE MENTIONS___________________________________________________

Very striking Air cover by M.K. Perker.

It's a very clever cover design. ___________________________________________________

Esao Andrews has been doing a wonderful job as the cover artist on House of Mystery.

It's a delightful idea to work the issue's number into the cover in this manner. ___________________________________________________

Not one of Jock's better Scalped covers, but still a strong work.

That's how awesome Jock is - weak Jock is still a very good cover. ___________________________________________________

Jeff Lemire manages to convey a style and mood for his new graphic novel, The Nobody, very quickly and very subtly.

I admire his ability to get the THEME of the work across so seemingly effortlessly. ___________________________________________________

Is this a new cover by Dave McKean for the Absolute Death Hardcover?

New or old, it's a beautiful cover.___________________________________________________

The solicits say cover by Jim Lee, so I guess this Diego Olmos artwork is interiors, which is a shame, as I think it works very well as a cover.

It has a real timeless quality to it and really captures the wonder of Batman (the whole "guy swooping in from the darkness seemingly out of nowhere to save day" jazz) nicely.


Speaking of conveying a particular mood (I just was, honest!), Scott Hampton does so quite strongly on this Final Crisis tie-in mini featuring Nemesis being taken prisoner.


Art Baltazer's Tiny Titans covers are usually quite cute, but this one is a little more clever than usual.

A VERY cute homage by Baltazar. ___________________________________________________

Classic Paul Rivoche drawing.

It is almost Top Five material, but I think it is just slightly too subdued.

Still, it's a really great drawing and a good cover. ___________________________________________________

Not much to this Warlord cover besides it being just a Warlord pin-up by Mike Grell.

But damn, that's one fine Mike Grell Warlord pin-up!! ___________________________________________________

I really like the way that Vincent Deporter does not allow the reader to miss the eyes in the middle of the gold course. It's a clever idea to have the eyes there, but you run the risk of the viewer missing it on a quick glance - he solves this problem by making Shaggy and Scooby have over-the-top (for a normal person - typical for Scooby and Shaggy) reactions to the eyes to make sure the reader sees it.

I appreciate the approach, especially for a kid-oriented book, where subtly is not exactly a major virtue.


I think this Scott Gross Looney Tunes cover is excellent.

It pops off the page and draws the reader's eye with a clever/unique cover idea.

It ALMOST made the Top Five. VERY close between it and the #5 pick below... ___________________________________________________

TOP FIVE___________________________________________________

5. I typically love Massimo Carnevale's Northlanders covers, and this one is no exception.

I don't think that the clever idea behind the cover really translates as well as Carnevale probably wanted it to, but still, it's a very strong cover. ___________________________________________________

4. This Dave Johnson cover would be a great cover withOUt the twist of having the gunmen mixed with the photographers.

What's amazing to me is how Johnson manages to make the man hidden while also clearly drawing the reader's eye to him.

Johnson's practically a cover virtuoso. ___________________________________________________

3. It's hard to decide which Bolland cover is better.

I guess I'm going to go with this Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow cover as #3.

It's a great representation of the original, only with the added coolness of Julie Schartz being there.___________________________________________________

2. This Death of Animal Man cover, though, is a more powerful image as an homage.

It plays with the original better, and it also really works well even if you are unfamiliar with the original cover.


1. Yuko Shimizu, though, takes the cake with this tremendously clever and striking cover for the first issue of Mike Carey and Peter Gross' new series, The Unwritten.

It is really amazing how much it stands out, how well it matches the theme of the comic, how well it uses negative space.

Just a fabulous cover. ___________________________________________________

That's it for this month! Feel free to share YOUR prejudices and YOUR top five!

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