Q & A 35: What comic book cover are you especially fond of?

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?



Anika

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.



Caroline

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?



Jennifer

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.



Sigrid

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.


What comic book cover are you especially fond of?

  • sigrid

    I don’t see a bad cover here. Yay! Though, Caroline, how could you RESIST putting the “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” as your favorite? THAT IS HILARIOUS.

  • Caroline

    @sigrid I thought long and hard, and the main reason that I didn’t is that I didn’t encounter that cover as part of the issue. I saw the cover ages ago — before I even read comics — and then I read the story much later as part of a trade. I decided I wanted my ‘winner’ to be a book I’d actually encountered and bought as a single issue. BTW, I love your dissection of that Uncanny cover. It’s definitely different than the newer ones we’re talking about by being so intrinsically story related. And it IS a fakeout, but not a cheap one, because the story is complex and in some ways (like Wolverine being a threat to Rachel) the fakeout is true.

    @Anika Great examples and, also, you should write about manga more, here!

    @Jennifer I had totally forgotten that hippie cover was a Mike Choi/Sonia Oback piece. So is the Wolvie/Domino I love; they’re definitely near the top of the Marvel cover pool to me right now. (I enjoy their interiors, too, but it’s those covers that really shine — literally, a bit, too.)

  • I really love this one: http://tinyurl.com/kj3cxb. There’s something about him kneeling over Jason’s empty grave that’s really haunting.

  • Fyreball13

    I am a big fan of Mike Choi’s Dark Avengers variant. Even though he doesn’t like it because of a coincidence, I think it’s one of my favourite covers of all time.

    http://mikechoi.deviantart.com/art/Unfortunate-111262954

  • @Fyreball Oh, man, that is unfortunate for Choi — especially because there’s, ahem, no comparison between his skills and Greg Horn’s. (Horn may be my LEAST favorite cover artist in the biz; he makes people look so plasticky, whereas Choi’s Moonstone has all this life. Ahh well.)

  • sigrid

    @Claire Some of those “Hush” covers are among my favorites, too. I mean, Jim Lee just BRINGS the art on those.

    @Caroline @Fyreball13 Oh, sheesh, yeah. Choi’s covers are amazing. I also love reading, on that deviantart link, his thinking — what made him go for those images. I always love knowing what the creative process is.

  • sigrid

    And, today Wired magazine runs an article on Marko Djurdjevic!

    http://www.wired.com/underwire/2009/07/marvels-marko-djurdjevic-injects-soul-into-comics-art/

  • I thought about it for a while, and then decided not to choose one of the cracktastic silver age teen titans covers, or the beautiful image of Dick Grayson in sunlight after a really dark run on his title.

    Instead I’m choosing something near and dear to my shipper heart. Birds of Prey #8. I just. All is right with the universe right there. *millions of hearts*

    (Although I do love the hippie X-Men. Everyone needs a hippie AU.) Great choices!

  • Menshevik

    Also like Young Justice #4 and many of those mentioned by Sigrid in her post. Now speaking of covers of which I am especially fond (which obviously is not the same as especially good), I’d mention, in no particular order:

    – Uncanny X-Men #168 (Paul Smith): Kitty Pryde cornered, her back against a wall, apparently unable to phase through it. Her uniform is torn by claws in several places, but that look on her face shows she’s still fighting! Plus of course, when you open the issue, you get to one of my all-time fave splash pages and titles for a story – “Professor Xavier Is A Jerk!”

    – UXM #173 (Paul Smith): Wolverine running towards you against a black background, and who’s that behind him, Rogue? I remember this very well, it intrigued me at the time because I had not yet seen the preceding issues and didn’t know Rogue no longer was a villain. I also liked the new cover for the X-Men Classic reprint of that issue with the positions reversed, Rogue in the foreground and Logan in the back.

    Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (John Romita, Sr.): The Wedding issue (civilian suit and wedding-guests variant). A nice, static, wedding photograph-style picture with a big Spider-heart in the background. And MJ is wearing what I still consider the Best Wedding-Dress Ever in a superhero comic.

    The Blue Lotus (Hergé): There are obviously a number of memorable Tintin covers, but this is probably my fave. The black dragon against the all-red cover, Tintin and Snowy peeking out of a big porcelain vase. A cover to savour.

    And perhaps the one of which I am most irrationally fond: ASM Annual #19 (Mary Wilshire): “This Is A Job For…” As someone shoots at her, Mary Jane Watson is standing before a brick wall pulling open her dress, revealing a Spider-costume underneath. I know, it is a shameless Superman rip-off and somewhat misleading, as no such scene occurs in ths story (the first time I saw it I think I thought: “I hope they’re not being serious!” And they weren’t, it’s a light-hearted story where through a combination of ridiculous coincidences a bad guy becomes convinced that MJ is Spider-Man). But dammit, it just looks so hot and somehow fits MJ like a glove. (I’ve always had a feeling that if MJ had been bitten by that radioactive spider, she’d totally enjoy being Spider-Woman).

  • I love Marko Djurdjevic as well. And I know it’s frowned upon to actually like Alex Ross, but I love his stuff, and I think his covers are to die for. My favorite is for Justice.

  • There’s not a single cover that’s been mentioned here that isn’t absolutely lovely.

    @Fyreball13 Love that Choi cover. I’m not always a big fan of his interiors (his work on a recent X-23 miniseries made everyone, including Wolverine, Captain America, and Daredevil, look like a 15-year-old girl), but his covers are always gorgeous.

    @Caroline, et. al. LOVE Djurdjevic’s covers, always. Such gorgeous stuff. Scott and Jean on one of his XMFC covers were my cell phone wallpaper for months.

    @Margot Oh, wow, I really love that one of Dick in sunlight. (Love your OTP one, too, but the one in the sunlight made me gasp.)

    @sigrid That Kitty/Colossus cover is definitely my brother’s favorite, and it really is brilliant.

    @Menshevik I agree about MJ’s wedding dress! Some comic dresses are absolutely awful, but I’ve always liked hers.

  • Also, the Hellcat covers were all good, but i like this one, with the Wolf and tbe Bunnies:

    http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/pwhcat003_cov.jpg

  • sigrid

    @Menshevik Those ASM covers are both great! And Uncanny #168! ALWAYS a favorite!

  • @Jen I love that cover both because of how gorgeous it is and also what it represents – Dick is leaving the dark times and going back into the light where he belongs. *hearts* It’s such a striking cover.

  • Anika

    I knew I loved this topic. I am enjoying all the responses, these are all lovely!

  • I’m obvious, but I’ve been in love with the cover of Secret Invasion Fantastic Four 3 since it was solicited.

    I love this one of Gert and Old Lace too.

  • Cash

    I know part of my reason for loving this is the story inside, but I love the combination of Gibbons’ images with Higgins’ colors here:

    http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/watchmen/5-1.jpg

    And of course, there’s this old favorite:

    http://www.palomar.edu/english/versaci/images/swamp%20thing%20painted.jpg

    I love John Totleben.

    Oh, and I love the negative space Christopher Moeller creates here–and it’s even better without the logo:

    http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/lucifer/27-1.jpg

  • Marshall

    Uncanny X-Men 199 is probably my favorite. I’m such a Rachel Summers mark it’s just silly.