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Sunday, September 24, 2017

My Favorite Comic Book Covers Part 1!


This was suggested by good ole JW, and I fully admit I was hesitant to do any of these top "favorite" covers lists that are pretty much biased and subjective. Okay, so lets' review the title in which it clearly states that these are "my favorite" covers.

Why are these my favorites I'm about to reveal? Well, there can be a plethora of reasons, but usually, it basically boils down to something that wowed me as a youngin' or straight out baffled me.

I'm pretty sure a lot of collectors have or maybe still do buy comics based on covers. As superficial as that sounds, it's pretty natural to be completely seduced by a comic cover enough to buy it since comics are a visual medium after all.

I admit, I was highly guilty of it. If I saw a cover that caught my attention, I was all over it like stink on doo doo.

Didn't really mean that the story inside was great. Sometimes it was and sometimes not so much.

This in no way has a hierarchy in terms of which cover I present before the other. I'm just rattling this off as I go along, and I do have a quite a bit of favorite covers that I've somewhat categorized in a way that makes sense to me but maybe not everyone . 

There will be more than 1 part to this, and this is just for fun.





CATWOMAN #51


Okay, when it comes to Adam Hughes and Catwoman covers, I really like a lot of them and they are my favorite from his body of work. I've already mentioned that I like the Audrey Hepburn looking ones, but I don't think this one is one of them.

Catwoman #51 is without a doubt my favorite and probably the favorite out of all them. It's an awesome cover and I mean that in terms of concept and execution.

A mug shot for a criminal? How basic is that, right?

We see this all the time on the news, in movies, in TV shows, but in comics? It's odd to think that no comic artist before ever thought to incorporate a cover of an iconic comic book villain taking a mug shot.

I mean, how do the villains of Gotham not constantly get caught with Batman crusading around?

I do suppose a police line up would be kinda useless, but it would be a funny image. Not like you wouldn't be able to tell the Joker between the Ridder, Penguin or Two-Face.

I also love how Catwoman's masquera is smeared and her hair is tussled. It's just a grungy looking picture that Adam Hughes somehow made sexy as hell.

Don't know if any cosplayer or cosplay photographer has tried to recreate a photo of this cover, but it would be pretty badass. Dayna Baby Lou or Mel-Meow?







DETECTIVE COMICS #576


Before McFarlane did his famous run on Amazing Spider-Man and even before the Incredible Hulk, Todd McFarlane did draw some Batman. The story was Year Two, the follow up to Frank Miller's Year One.

Oh, no, I'm not saying that this is the first McFarlane cover I laid eyes on. No, no, no! Amazing Spider-Man was where I discovered McFarlane and then worked back to Incredible Hulk and then learned that he did some Batman.

Pretty much a no-brainer: I like Batman and I like McFarlane. I will say that this is the first McFarlane Batman cover that blew me away.

Aside from being McFarlane, there's two other reasons why I loved this cover and still like gawking at it to this day. Todd really spent time in detailing Spidey's webs back in the day, and I really loved how he drew the torn piece of Bat's costume draped over the sickle.  

I loved the jagged detail he gave to that shredded part of Batman's costume, and I liked how he did the same with the Dark Knight's cape. I never saw that kind of detail put in those kind of mundane items in comics before and was wowed.

The 2nd thing that blew me away about this cover was the fact that Batman was using a gun. What the...?

Okay, I was a Batman fan prior to discovering that McFarlane did some Batman so I had read enough issues to know that guns were not a regular part of his weaponry. Seeing Bats use a gun or even pointing one was pretty new to me or I didn't remember seeing it before on a cover or in a story.

To me, there was this sense of urgency to the cover and a bit of mystery. I did not start off with the beginning of the story arc so I had no clue who was holding that sickle and presenting such a danger to Batman. I did want to find out though.

After this one, I read Detective Comics #575 and realized there was Bats holding a gun on the cover also. That issue's cover didn't wow me quite so much but I have loved the Reaper since. 

I guess, I could get into all the mamby-pamby, artsy-fartsy talk about composition but isn't that a given. I like how the scene is framed, and I'm pretty sure others do as well.








AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #238

 
Okay, I am making a conscious effort to get away from Batman-related books and veer off from Todd McFarlane. Most readers know I'm a Todd McFarlane fan, and I don't want to make Part 1 of this just about Batman or McFarlane.

Let's talk about a favorite cover I have yet to divulge, and that surely is Amazing Spider-Man #238. Now, I love me some Green Goblin, and that villain is still one of my favorites when it comes to the ole Web-Head.

However, while I thought Gobby was more creepy, I thought Hobgoblin looked a bit more menacing. I am not saying he was. I'm just saying appearance-wise.

When it comes to this cover, my first thought (ever) was that Hobgoblin looked pretty menacing. Actually, at first, I thought he was actually tearing Spidey apart but then I quickly realized it was just his costume.

I love how his hood puts his mask in shadow and you can only see those glowing red eyes. It's a foreboding-type of cover, one that definitely makes you wonder who the character is that's committing such a threatening act towards our favorite web spinning hero. 

Once again, you can tell the difference between how a torn costume is rendered by John Romita Jr. and Todd McFarlane. This is another foreboding or threatening cover that has remained one of my favorites for years.






G.I. COMBAT #114



For those who have read this site for a long time by now will know that there's an amount of absurdity that I'm attracted to if it's done right. I mean, I have talked about The Punisher #1 cover from the 1st on-going series a few times and how I was so bedazzled by it that I had to get that comic.

Yes, we will get to that cover in another part. I just didn't want to get to it so soon since I've mentioned Punisher plenty of times on here prior.

Well, here's another example of how I love the absurd from time to time. I mean, hell, let's face it now: People in costumes running around with super powers in itself is already absurd. 

Maybe absurd isn't exactly the best word to describe it, and, perhaps, fantastical is a better alternative. Maybe the "absurd fantastical", perhaps?

But this cover is just another beautiful example of how comic books exaggerate the fantastical nearly seamlessly - The Haunted Tank smashing into a German Ju 87 mid-air! Sure, the concept would most likely impress most kids or maybe most pre-teens, but there is more going on in the actual piece itself for me

Despite the clear bravado of the main action to this cover, the colors and composition of this artwork is just as amazing. I love how the tank is blacked-out and contrasts with the yellow color of the plane.

The fuschia also makes the yellow color of the Ju 87 stand out, while seemingly screaming out the impact depicted in this scene at the same time. No sound effect text but merely design and color, and you get a more visceral sense of how these two instruments of death collide.

I am not big on war comics at all, but I do love the Haunted Tank covers in G.I. Combat. Issue #114 has the origin of the Haunted Tank, but it's also my favorite Haunted Tank comic cover, maybe even my all-time favorite war comic cover.

It is done by comic legend Russ Heath. He lives in So. Cal the last I heard so if he is ever at a comic con, I'd definitely find his booth to say hi and get some comics signed as he is 90 years old now.

His comic artwork was used by Roy Lichtenstein. A while back, I did mention some war comic covers/panels that Roy Lichtenstein used in his famous "adaptations" and was not very kind in my view of the "Fine Artist". 

Here is how Russ Heath voiced his opinion on the matter in this short comic strip he drew and exactly why I still don't care for Lichtenstein's famous "pop art" works.


That story and art was created by Russ Heath himself a few years ago, and, yes, I did want to shed light on the Hero Initiative. There is a reason why Russ Heath is considered a legend.










FAUST #4

When it came to gory comics that pushed the envelope of taste during the Copper Age of comics, Faust was the first comic series that introduced me to the genre. My brother got more into the "mature" or "explicit" comics like Cry for Dawn and this one here.

When it came to Faust, I was pretty much a fan of Tim Vigil's art. Being a Wolverine fan, what I liked about Faust was the violence went where most Wolvie fans hoped his claws would hack 'n slash their way to but never did. I mean, once Wolvie cut loose on a fool, it would always wind up being some robot or cyborg or something.

With Faust? His claws clearly slashed through flesh. This cover? Wow, did I geek out on this sucker for a good spell and even drew it once.

I had followed the series since issue #1 because my brother grabbed them whenever I bugged him to take me to the local. Yes, I did geek out on the cover to issue #1 back in the day, but this one was just rendered beautifully. 

The main character looks sadistic as all hell and frightening, definitely someone you would not want to cross paths with anytime of day. Actually, his sinister shit-eating grin there always gave me the impression that the viewer glanced at him just right before he was about to take a bite out of Sloppy Joe there.

Mind you that during this time slasher flicks like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th were immensely popular. Still a fan of Tim Vigil and think he's still a hugely under-rated comic artist.

Next time I see him, I may inquire about some Faust original art. Hell, if he still has this cover and I have the dough, I may sacrifice a whole year of collecting comics for that.

Beautifully done with just the right amount of sickness, this cover has remained my favorite cover concerning horror/gore comics.





CAPTAIN AMERICA #332


When it comes to the whole "Cap No More" plot, this is definitely not the first time Steve Rogers has walked away from the uniform and shield in comics. Yes, like Jean Grey returning from a Phoenix tragedy, these type of plots just keep getting recycled and regurgitated for a new audience or generation.

For me, this was the "Cap No More" story during my generation, and it was this cover that introduced me to Captain America and got me into the character for a spell. No joke and the initial cover of the design appealed to me.

Besides Captain America looking pretty much defeated, having the red stripes bleed down the wall like that does make a statement. On top of that, put a saddened face of President Lincoln on the cover to emphasize the concern, and you know this cover is brimming with some sort of dissent.

At least, that's what I got from it and the cover immediately grabbed my attention as a young lad. I got the issue and became a fan of this Mark Gruenwald story arc.

I'm still confused by Steve Roger's reason of quitting. So, in the story, the Reagan administration call upon Captain America to directly work for the U.S. government.

Well, to be more specific, answer directly to it like Freedom Force. After thinking about the commission's proposal and talking to a few friends, Rodger's comes to the conclusion that he represents the American dream or ideal, not solely the government. 

He steps down and John Walker accepts the position of being Captain America. The drama is off for this favorite Cap story of mine, which explains that the man behind the symbol is every bit as important, if not more important, than the symbol itself.

I loved this story arc, and I do hope they somehow work it into a Cap flick someday. Cover is done by Mick Zeck and Klaus Janson so no surprise as to why this is one of my favorite comic covers.






ALIENS #1

Okay, I'm an Alien and Aliens fan. Anything past that I could care less about. 

I'm not a huge fan, but I am a fan. Fan enough to when I first saw this comic at my local, I had to have it.

There are a lot of really beautiful Alien covers afterward, but this has remained my favorite. Why? Well, it's not so in your face like the other covers that followed.

Not that they aren't beautiful like what Den Beauvais did. Those are amazing and still wow me.

It's that this cover actually captured what made the Xenomorphs great to begin with - They weren't front and center and so visible. They actually blended into the environment, and on screen, seemed to come out of nowhere.

"They're coming outta the walls! They're coming outta the goddamn walls!"

In short, there is that tension in this cover that both Alien and Aliens captured on silver screen so well. You mainly saw bits and pieces of them or in dark shadow.

This cover greatly reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in Aliens where they all make that last stand in front of medical and Hudson is reading his tracker as a horde of Xenomorphs are closing in on them.

"8 meters. 7, 6..."

"They can't be. That's inside the room."

"It's reading right, man! Look!"

"Well then you're not reading it right!"

"5 meters, man! What the hell?!"

So many great scenes in Aliens and I loved that particular scene. Mostly black cover makes sense to conceal most of the Alien.

No surprise that I would love this cover. Once again, another foreboding cover and we can all imagine that impending doom is inevitable for those Colonel Marines. 

However, deep down, I do hope for a better outcome when I still gawk at this cover by Mark Nelson.


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Once again, there's a lot of comic covers that are my favorites. This is just a taste and most of these in Part 1 are covers from comics that I did grow up with, except for the Adam Hughes' Catwoman #51 and Russ Heath's G.I. Combat #114.

Before, it was suggested that I do my Top 10 favorite comic covers, but I don't like doing Top lists of anything based on biased subjectivity. Usually, peeps just like them when the list agrees with their sensibilities but like to slam them when they're absent of it.

I mean, I can hear you thinking after reading Part 1: Whoa, no Kirby or Steve Ditko Spider-Man? X-Men, Wolverine, Punisher, Green Lantern? I thought those were your favorites?

Didn't want to go with the obvious just yet. Trust me, those will be in there sooner or later. 

Part 2 is in the works, but until then, what are some of your favorite comic covers?



4 comments:

  1. I tell you want Mayhem. There is no possible way I could narrow down my favorite covers and do a post without separating them by era. Kudos to you if your able to do that. There are just way too many covers that I really like. Can't wait to see the others you decide to include here.

    Nate

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  2. True, many covers but the ones that pop in my head are the following:

    Suspense Comics #3
    Army War Heroes #25
    The Unknown Soldier #245
    Beware #10
    Batman #296
    Hangman Comics #3
    Crime Suspense Stories #22
    Fantastic Comics #3
    Spiderwoman #6

    Just to name a few...in no particular order of course.

    D

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    Replies
    1. In an era of the slab book buying I think cover art has a lot to do with what some are buying. Like cap 109 is one of my favorite covers. Not an over expensive book but something about it I love. Always have also covers can hurt a key book in my option also like ST 110. JW

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  3. Hey Mastermind Mayhem,

    great feature!!! Agree on Catwoman & Spiderman, allthough
    I would prefer the Hughes cover were the classic Wonderwoman
    meets the new Wonderwoman. I think the first appearance cover
    of Sabretooth is also nice to look at (nice mix of colours).
    Plus, one of my favourites is the famous close up of Wolvie and
    Sabretooth goin' at it in the pages of the X-Men. Very intense
    cover and true to the nature of these two. Man, I sound like an
    artschool student, sorry about that...

    Speculation Jones

    ReplyDelete