A great comic book cover has a lot of work to do. It’s both an advertisement and a work of art; both a statement and an invitation. Sometimes they convey character, sometimes mood, sometimes moment. Sometimes they pastiche the classics or pay tribute to the past; sometimes they strive to show us something entirely new. Always they show us a glimpse of somewhere else through a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back over some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the month that was.

Bloodbaths, glowing hands, and sinister animal silhouettes; these are a few of comics' favorite things, judging by the comic book covers from June 2014. Read on for great covers from Riley Rossmo, Christian Ward, Russell Dauterman, Jerome Opeña, and more.

  • DAREDEVIL #4

    Cover by Chris Samnee (artist website)

    Published by Marvel

    Available: Comics shops (print) / Marvel (digital)

    We have our weirdest "who wore it best" this month; sinister animal silhouettes. Here's Daredevil's entry, with our hero's grimacing face framed by the shape of an owl. It's an inventive way to tease the return of an old villain, and an efficient juxtaposition of elements. I'm not sure if Samnee was being deliberate, but the composition evokes another San Francisco crime tale; the Maltese Falcon.

  • DRUMHELLAR #6

    Cover by Riley Rossmo (artist website)

    Published by Image

    Available: Comics shops (print) / ComiXology (digital)  / Image (DRM-free digital)

    Samnee's Daredevil made a good bid, but I think I have to give the "who wore it best" award this month to Rossmo's Drumhellar cover, which presents a creepy Cheshire cat as mirror and voyeur on a moonlight assignation -- and layers in a second sinister animal silhouette behind them for an extra shiver-inducing touch.

  • TOSHIRO TP

    Cover by Janusz Pawlak

    Published by Dark Horse

    Available: Comics shops (print) / Dark Horse (digital)

    Janusz Pawlak must have really spent some time on that carpet of decapitated heads. That's the love of detail that can make or break a great cover! This image makes a very enticing promise; all this stylishly bloody carnage could be yours if you pick up this book.

  • THE WOODS #2

    Cover by Ramón Pérez (artist website)

    Published by Boom! Studios

    Available: Comics shops (print)  / ComiXology (digital)

    Speaking of blood; note that both the Toshiro cover and this cover use a flat red for added impact. The color scheme for the rest of this Pérez cover gives that river of blood the right level of shocking discordance, helping to sell the horror of the scene unfolding. Masterfully done.

  • SHADOWMAN: END TIMES #3

    Variant cover by Russell Dauterman (artist website)

    Published by Valiant

    Available: Comics shops (print)  / ComiXology (digital)

    Dauterman's Shadow Man cover makes the bold and unusual choice to "bury" the lead character in the image -- and the result is tremendously effective. Shadowman recedes into darkness against a backdrop of Dia de las Muertas skulls, and the void he creates is all too conspicuous. It's a risky approach that I think pays off beautifully.

  • SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #12

    Cover by Ronald Wimberly (artist site)

    Published by Marvel

    Available: Comics shops (print)  / Marvel (digital)

    This Wimberly cover looks great on a computer screen, but it really stood out to me on the comic shop shelf. Beautiful design, gorgeous colors, and it really sells the idea that someone needs to travel back in time and make a Superior Foes heist movie in the 1970s.

  • FATALE #23

    Cover by Sean Phillips (artist site)

    Published by Image

    Available: Comics shops (print) / ComiXology (digital)  / Image (DRM-free digital)

    There has never been a bad Fatale cover, but this one really stands out to me. Lovecraftian horror is a major reference point for Fatale. Here we see the cosmic nihilism of Lovecraft beautifully captured in a single striking image. Superb composition.

  • DETECTIVE COMICS #32

    Cover by Francis Manapul (artist site)

    Published by DC

    Available: Comics shops (print)  / DC Entertainment (digital)

    I love how this Manapul cover uses its logo to image-defining effect. The logo doesn't just establish the surface of the water; it also provides an eye-popping color contrast that enhances the tension of the moment.

  • IRON MAN #27

    Cover by Christian Ward (artist site)

    Published by Marvel

    Available: Comics shops (print)  / Marvel (digital)

    Batman's Manapul and Iron Man's Ward employ similar color palettes on these covers -- and show similar scenes of heroes enclosed by peril -- but the compositions couldn't be more different, and that's wonderful to see. Ward's liquid-digital Mandarin hand makes this cover a real stand-out piece.

  • IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #3

    Variant cover by Jerome Opeña

    Published by Marvel

    Available: Comics shops (print)  / Marvel (digital)

    I'm tempted to call this the most conventional cover of my choices this month -- it's your basic hero shot, after all. But Opeña made great choices here, from the letterboxing that creates a bursting-from-a-movie feeling, to the visceral muscularity of the pose. This is how you sell a hero shot.