Great cover art requires a special set of talents; a gift for composition, an eye for striking color or attention-grabbing contrast, and a knack for conveying story or mood in a single image.

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 shine the spotlight on Rafael Albuquerque (Animal Man), Jenny Frison (Revival), Ibrahim Moustafa (High Crimes), and Jock (Wolverine).

RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE on AMERICAN VAMPIRE (Vertigo), ANIMAL MAN (DC) and B.P.R.D (Dark Horse)

Bold art is a hallmark of any Rafael Albuquerque cover, and warm tones come up pretty often, as you can see from the three covers chosen here. Yet the mood of these three pieces couldn't be more different. From a melancholy vampire sunset to a portent of horror via a striking moment of superhero rage, Albuquerque can deliver it all.

 

American Vampire #34, cover by Rafael Albuquerque
Animal Man #25, cover by Rafael Albuquerque
B.P.R.D #110, cover by Rafael Albuquerque

JENNY FRISON on RED SONJA (Dynamite) HACK/SLASH and REVIVAL (Image)

I will always raise an eyebrow at a cover featuring an almost-naked woman in a mail bikini walking through snow. Jenny Frison faces the absurdity head on, wrapping Red Sonja in a wispy cloak and showing us every full curve of the heroine. There's soul and strength in Frison's women that sets her covers apart, and it's evident in her work on Hack/Slash and Revival, but just as true of the wonderful cheesecake she's doing for Red Sonja.

Red Sonja #3, cover by Jenny Frison
Hack/Slash #25, cover by Jenny Frison
Revival #16, cover by Jenny Frison

IBRAHIM MOUSTAFA on HIGH CRIMES (Monkeybrain)

The first issue of High Crimes, by Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa, is a great example of laying out the pitch with a striking image that doesn't overcrowd the canvas. We know this is a mountain story (set in Nepal, if you know your flags), and even without the title we'd know it was a crime story from the way the body and its belongings are laid out. That's your high concept right there. The subsequent covers have less work to do, and can provide more iconic imagery. The cover to issue #3, with the blood of a hand print revealing a mountain through the mist, stands out as one of my absolute favorites of the year.

High Crimes #1, cover by Ibrahim Moustafa
High Crimes #3, cover by Ibrahim Moustafa
High Crimes #5, cover by Ibrahim Moustafa

JOCK on NEW AVENGERS and WOLVERINE (Marvel)

Jock secured his place as one of the best cover artists in the industry with his 2011 cover for Detective Comics #880. He hasn't slacked off since. His New Avengers covers were consistently some of the most compelling images on the shelves this year, but it's on Wolverine MAX that he's really shown his range, from the wit of Wolverine MAX #4 to the elegance of issue #5.

New Avengers #4, cover by Jock
Wolverine MAX #4, cover by Jock
Wolverine MAX #5, cover by Jock