The Best Comic Book Cover Artists of 2013: Part Three
With hundreds of comics released to stores every month, a great cover can make a big difference. That tiny rectangle needs to grab the eye, set a mood, convey an idea, and entice a reader to pick the book up and look inside. It takes a great cover artist to get all of that right.
ComicsAlliance continues its look back at some of the best cover work in 2013 from some of the most talented cover artists in the industry. This week we pick highlights from the work of Nathan Fox (Collider/FBP), Francesco Francavilla (Black Beetle), Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) and John Paul Leon (The Massive).
NATHAN FOX on COLLIDER/FBP: FEDERAL BUREAU OF PHYSICS (DC Vertigo)
It’s all about color with Nathan Fox. His covers to FBP (originally named Collider) are all beautifully drawn as well, of course, but throughout his career as a cover artist it’s been his color choices that set him apart. The cover to FBP #4 is maybe the most typical example of Fox’s provocative clashing palettes, but the more subdued and no-less captivating cover to FBP #6 shows his range.
FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA on BLACK BEETLE (Dark Horse), LONE RANGER (Dynamite) and AVENGERS ARENA (Marvel)
Francavilla is a pulp hero, and like the pulp artists of old he’s extraordinarily prolific. This was the year Francavilla launched his creator-owned Black Beetle mini-series, while continuing to produce covers for titles at Dark Horse, Dynamite and Marvel. Every single one of them is a beautiful masterpiece.
CHIP ZDARSKY on SEX CRIMINALS (Image)
Maybe Matt Fraction is a cover artist’s muse? Last year David Aja gave us the masterclass in creating a cover brand with his work on Hawkeye, written by Fraction. This year it’s Chip Zdarsky’s turn to show us how it’s done, on a book co-created with Fraction. The covers for Sex Criminals are gorgeous character pieces, with design that looks like nothing else on the shelves. The cover artist on Fraction’s next book has a lot to live up to.
JOHN PAUL LEON on THE MASSIVE (Dark Horse)
Leon’s cover to The Massive #9 is another example of a spot color making a cover pop, but Leon’s greatest strength as a cover artist is his layering. With a fine line and a great eye for detail, he designs exquisite collages of density and space. One cover isn’t always enough to get his vision across, which is why his covers for The Massive often fit together to create extraordinary murals. The covers to The Massive #10, #11 and #12 may be the best example of this.