In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
What comic book cover are you especially fond of?
I have three I’d like to share. The first that sprang to mind is Ultimate X-Men #61 as Polaris does not get very many good covers and that one is exceptional. Then I thought of Young Justice #4 because Now with Added Girl Power?!?! is an adorably memorable tagline (and I love the little story that cover tells). But the cover that wins is from manga: Kodomo No Omacha (“Child’s Toy”). This cover not only sums up the heroine but it sums up why I love her and her story. Also, it is adorable to the nth degree.
I could pick a cover that I think is particularly stylish (David Aja’s nifty color blocks for Immortal Iron Fist #16), or sexy (Wolverine feeling Domino up on #9 of the most recent X-Force series — it’s hanging up above my computer right now), or ridiculous (I don’t know if you’ve heard but Ollie Queen’s ward is a junkie.)
But if there’s a cover artist I have a soft spot for, because of when I got into comics, it’s Marko Djurdjevic. Daredevil and X-Men: First Class were two of the first titles I started buying, and his painted work just made everything look so elegant. Like this #1 issue of the original X-Men: First Class miniseries:
I love the way the characters are flowing over each other; they’re almost unfolding, like a deck of cards. I admit, I don’t really understand the physics of it; it’s a premade poster, rather than a grounded scene. But it’s become an iconic image of the original X-Men team to me. I smile and get a little surge of peace whenever I see it.
And really, with all the props in the world to Jack Kirby, who thought anybody could make those original yellow costumes look so good?
For me, the most amazing and memorable covers are the ones that show the characters in scenarios (and costumes) that are well out of the norm. Consequently, the first cover that came to mind was this one, from Uncanny X-Men #497:
Introducing Mike Choi’s Hippie X-Men! I can’t even begin to figure out my favorite thing about this cover. Emma’s fur vest, something I can’t imagine her ever wearing voluntarily? Warren’s self-satisfied expression, bare chest, and fringe? Or possibly EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT SCOTT’S outfit? It’s so ridiculous, it’s amazing. And though the story inside didn’t quite live up to expectations, I still bought two copies so I could take off the cover of the second and put it on my wall.
Still, I don’t think it’s my favorite comic book cover. That honor goes to Wolverine/Power Pack #3:
Marvel’s marketing strategy seems to be “put Wolverine on the cover, and it’ll sell.” Personally, after viewing this cover, I’d like to add a corollary: “put a character with a monocle on the cover, and it’ll sell EVEN BETTER.” And if it’s Wolverine in a monocle, you’ve reached the very pinnacle of brilliance. Hats off to you, Mr. Gurihiru.
Okay, especially fond? Really? Seriously, people, which one? New Mutants #18, or #25? Excalibur #3? House of M #1? Astonishing X-Men #2? Uncanny X-Men #175, 179, 188, 199, or 200? All that without stepping out of the X-titles. Then there’s Strangers in Paradise, with its stunning, stunning covers. Or Arkham Asylum. Or Powers #20, or #36. Catwoman #43. Batgirl #23.
But, I digress.
I really ought to say that my favorite cover is that for Astonishing X-Men #6
But I can’t. I can’t despite the fact that I had this cover as my desktop wallpaper for nearly two years, unchanged. Despite the fact that I love Astonishing, love these stories. Despite the fact that I love madly like a mad loving thing the visual element of Kitty, half in and half out of Peter’s body, the way it makes real the metaphor of wearing your love, of how love makes you vulnerable, of how when you love someone you feel their hurts as if you were hurt, of how a love can get inside you, how you wrap yourself in another’s love — Or how love can smother, how it can trap, how it can eat away at you from the inside. All those metaphors, all those thoughts and words, in that powerful image.
Yeah. That really ought to be my favorite.
But it’s not.
This is. This. Kitty lying unconscious, being seemingly-threatened by a masked assailant who is in turn threatened by Wolverine. Also, the tag in the upper corner advertising Secret Wars II, the title and logo banner, the colors, oh yes, those glorious colors. I love this cover with all my 80s-child X-Men-fan heart. And I know, because this particular issue of Uncanny is one of my most re-read, that the masked “assailant” is Rachel Summers, trying to rescue or avenge her best friend / temporal link / possible mother-figure. And that in the story, it’s not Logan who comes to stop Rachel from murdering Kitty’s attackers, but Magnus. And that the appeal of one Holocaust survivor to another is barely enough to keep Rachel from multiple murders. And I know that, in eleven issues, Logan stabs Rachel through the heart to prevent her from committing murder again. So I love this cover for what it is — a classic 80s Marvel vaguely plot-related fakeout. I love it for what it represents — my favorite era of X-Men storytelling. And I love it for the three characters represented in tableaux with all the past and future story that they bear.
So what about you? What comic book cover are you especially fond of?