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Comic Book Album Covers: Sequential Artists’ Greatest Hits

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There are quite a few comic book creators who have illustrated very good original album art for bands over the years, which is why i find it particularly painful to see the sub-par art coming out of Bluewater for their new series, “Rock N Roll Comics.”

It’s bad enough that The Flaming Lips had to release their something-of-a-let-down cover of “The Dark Side of the Moon,” but now we have to suffer through cover art like this:

There is absolutely no reason for this. None. And while it’s pretty obvious that Bluewater will make a comic for, literally, anything or anyone. But, I really wish they would leave things like Led Zeppelin alone. Is nothing sacred?!?!

Apparently not.

So while Bluewater prepares to make us suffer through 70 biographies in 10 volumes of this stuff — and since Topless Robot has already written a good run-down of 10 worst album covers by comic artists — we’d like to highlight some of the best, to help wash the taste out of our mouth.1. Richard Corben – Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell

Because really, how can you top it?

2. R. Crumb – Big Brother and the Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills

Jam-packed with telling-cultured clues, this is probably the most famous comic-inspired album cover.

3. Raymond Pettibon – Sonic Youth’s Goo

It’s sort of cheating as Pettibon isn’t a really a graphic-novelist. Still, much of his work is very comic-like, single-panel political pieces. So, I’m including it because I set the rules. Mmmwwwhahaha!

4. Bill Sieniewicz – RZA’s Bobby Digital in Stereo

Fellow member of the Wu Tang Clan, GZA, hired Deny Cowan for his album cover on Liquid Swords, but Sieniewicz’s cover is the clear winner. Not to downplay Cowan though, whose work on D.C.’s The Question is quite good.

5. Dave McKean – Stabbing Westward’s Darkest Days

Extremely creepy, and a perfect set-up for the concept album that led to the band’s commercial failure and subsequent drop from Columbia records. Yes, a hard rain’s gonna fall, Stabbing Westward, and that umbrella isn’t going to help.

6. Alex Ross – Anthrax’s Music of Mass Destruction

So. #$(*ING. Metal. Ross also did the album art for the band’s album We’ve Come For You , unfortunately it isn’t so much metal as it is homo-erotic in a creepy Star Trek kind of way.

7. Craig Thompson – Menomena’s Friend and Foe

An homage, or perhaps just a connection only I see, Thompson’s cover reminds me of Gary Patner’s (Jimbo) work on The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s debut.

8. Greg Capullo – Korn’s Follow the Leader

Stop. This isn’t about the music on the album, it’s about the art on the album, and Capullo’s image, while McFarlane as it is, sums up the doomed anger of the early 1990′s that plagued the airwaves.

9. John Byrne – Joe Satriani’s Surfing with the Alien

Come on, just look how cool that is! Plus, apparently, Satriani just went ahead and lifted the image of Silver Surfer and Galactus (hand featured on the back) without permission in true Rock N Roll fashion. Also, there’s a song about Ice 9 from Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle on the album, and the title track is like, one of the hardest songs on Guitar Hero. Nerd cred +10.

10. Dave Gibbons – Kula Shaker’s K

A strange cover for a strange band. Can you name all the historical faces?

11. Dan Clowes – Thee Headcoasts’s Heavens to Murgatroyd, Even! It’s Thee Headcoats (Already)!

Weird. Wonderful. I wouldn’t mind if more band used ridiculously long album titles as long as Dan Clowes did the covers.

12. Paul Pope – Heavy Trash Self Titled

The cover art itself isn’t that amazing, but once you open the album, you’ll find that the face is simple a poster on the wall of the recording studio behind great renditions of musicians Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray.

13. Richie Bucher – Green Day’s Dookie

Bucher wasn’t an artist so much as musician, but Billy Armstrong enjoyed the comic-like work he did for other East Bay bands and commissioned him for the band’s debut album. So, like Goo, maybe this one doesn’t count either.

14. Mike Allred – Ingredient’s Bears Driving Trains

A friend tipped me off to this delightful oddity. A band from Eugene, OR somehow has connections to the Madman creator, and got him to draw this cover that appears to be band members on flying guitars racing a train driven by bears . . .

15. Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley – Grateful Dead’s From The Mars Hotel

Okay, this one definitely doesn’t count. I only include this because of its obvious influence on the teaser image for The Umbrella Academy’s Hotel Oblivion.

Possible connection? Probably not plot-wise, as I don’t see writer Gerard Way being much of a Deadhead. But if Way and Gabriel Bá can somehow work in references to “Scarlet Begonias” in the upcoming series, I’ll be impressed.

Please post your links to other great albums covers by comic creators!

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