Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month): November 2014
A great comic book cover is an advertisement, a work of art, a statement, and an invitation. A great comic book cover is a glimpse of another world 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 past month
November's covers include some superb compositions, some new twists on familiar iconography, a Catwoman, a Batgirl, and an enormous killer whale. Check out some excellent comic covers from familiar names like Michael Del Mundo and David Nakayama, and some new names for this column, like Butch Guice and David Rapoza.
Cameron Stewart understands great layouts, whether it's a full page or a single image -- his layouts under Babs Tarr's pencils feed the energy of her awesome character work. Here, though, is some straight Stewart, with brilliantly chosen angles that deliver the sweep and flow of action in a frozen second. Even without the punch of that bright red background, this would be a killer cover.
I love covers that play with levels, and I love covers that play with scale, and this cover uses both effects to create a very palpable sense of impending danger, with the added bonus of some really lovely textures.
The imagery of Tiananmen Square is weighty iconography to riff on -- especially when it resonates with events right up to the present day. I think this is a restrained and tasteful take, and all the more powerful because of that.
On first glance this might seem an odd choice, because the color palette is classic DC 'house murk' -- and honestly, first glances are important when it comes to comic covers. But in this instance the muted colors feel like a choice rather than a default setting, emphasising the grim terror of an epic scene. Sook's line variation and choice of angle give the cover the edge that it needs to make it land. (I wish I could have found a clean version of this cover at a decent resolution; I think it would be even stronger without all that logo junk.)
Structurally this has echoes of a Robert McGinnis paperback cover, with the long-legged beauty in a fabulously elaborate chair. Art-wise, the style is an even earlier vintage, with the butler in particular looking like he walked in from an Evening Post cover. And then there are those 80s album art colors, clashing violently in the background. Somehow it all comes together, and I love it.
I haven't read the issue, so I don't know if this is a metaphor or if Catwoman actually does strangle Selina Kyle while straddling a giant logo -- it's a comic, these things happen -- but whether it's action or allusion, it's a bold approach, and I always appreciate a risk that pays off with this much panache.
The bleeding tree is a simple, perhaps even archetypal horror image, but Coelho has reframed it in a compelling way by drawing us back from the action, creating isolation and mania and framing it in a beautifully sinister world.
The framing, the color, and the focus on a single figure make this Ultimates cover very reminiscent of Fiona Staples' work on Saga -- and that's meant as high praise. Of course, David Nakayama's covers are always so striking and assured that he stands as one of the best in the business on his own terms as well!
It's kind of tough to gauge whether a guest cover on a first issue really embraces the feel and aesthetic of a creator-driven title, but there's no disputing Cliff Chiang's execution, especially the impact of those eye-popping colors.
I've been struggling a little bit with the Spider-Verse event -- even an artist as talented as Olivier Coipel can't quite cut through the clutter of so many similarly-dressed Spider-people on a page -- but I'm really taken by Rapoza's beefy, textured take. And that is a really great Spider-Ham.