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.
September's covers include masterclass composition from Genndy Tarkakovsky and Noelle Stevenson, some beautiful uses of light, color, and contrast, and some very different portraits of gods, old and new.
Marvel launches the eighth of its nine solo titles with a female lead in November with Spider-Woman #1, and the book sadly already has a cloud over it. A variant cover by master erotic artist Milo Manara stirred enough controversy last week to garner mainstream attention. The cover featured Spider-Woman with her apple-shaped butt raised high in decidedly unheroic manner. It was exactly what one would expect from Manara, who has created a number of superheroine illustrations for Marvel, but the image suggested a particularly overt tone of sexual objectification that could alienate the sort of readers who attended the Women In Marvel panel at San Diego where the series was announced.
As far as I can recall, Marvel has more female solo titles now than ever before, with a ninth title, Angela: Asgard's Assassin, launching in December. On paper, that suggests a laudable effort to reach out to superhero comics' growing and under-served audience of female readers. Yet the Manara incident serves to remind us that books about women can very easily be targeted to a male audience.
There's currently an unspoken contest between Marvel and DC to see who can produce more comics aimed at a female audience. It's possible the contest only exists in my head, as I've been keeping a tally of solo titles with female leads for the past several months -- but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that editors at the two publishers have also been keeping track.
Following its successful gallery exhibition and sale of excellent Marvel Comics portraits by Mike MItchell, the Mondo crew is back with more Marvel artwork in the form of this gorgeous Elektra illustration by Craig Drake. Like most Mondo offerings, Drake's Elektra print will go on sale at a random time and be available only while extremely limited supplies last.
Constructing a comic to be a direct reference to something else is always a tricky proposition. When it's done sloppily, it can take the reader right out of the story, like one of my least favorite Batman comics, The Cult, which is trying so hard to be the next Dark Knight Returns that you can see it straining with effort on every page. Even in the best case, if you're attempting to echo one of the greats, you're still reminding people that they're not reading the comic you're spending all this time calling back to, and it goes from being distracting to being frustrating for the reader.
It's the exact problem that W. Haden Blackman and Michael Del Mundo are grappling with in Marvel's latest relaunch of Elektra, but with the incredible, engaging storytelling that comes from both story and art, they do a solid job of it. Well, until the last page, that is, when it goes from "this might be a worthy successor" to "this is going to be incredible."
Listeners of the ComicsAlliance Podcast will know that the other staffers and I have been particularly impressed with the variety of visuals currently offered by Marvel Comics. In the best way possible, it's become practically impossible to describe "Marvel house style," with the publisher staffing books with artists as talented and diverse as David Aja, Adrian Alphona, Michael Allred, Esad Ribic, Chris Samnee, Declan Shalvey, Phil Noto, Mitch Gerads and many more besides. Many of these fly far afield of what you might consider traditional superhero art, and that's a fact that's made so many "All-New" books so fun to read.
Given this recent history it was not surprising to learn that Mike Del Mundo was to draw a new Elektra series written by Haden Blackman, whose résumé includes Batwoman with JH Williams III, making this new series about the beautiful and deadly assassin one of the most appropriately staffed of Marvel's current line.
Marvel's final panel at New York Comic-Con this year was billed as “Superior Spider-Man & Friends," which does not mean Iceman and Firestar, but rather all the books coming out of the Spider-office led by line editor Steve Wacker – which include the last new "teased" titles to be unveiled at the show.
Wacker was on hand to lead the panel, joined by writers Dan Slott, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Nick Spencer, editors Sana Amanat, Ellie Pyle, Jake Thomas and Tom Brennan, and artist Humberto Ramos.
The ink is barely dry on all the reviews of the new Lego Marvel Super Heroesgame coming out of Comic-Con International in San Diego, but developer TT Games isn't letting that stop them from announcing a slew of new characters that will be appearing: Beast, Curt Connors, Doctor Doom, Elektra, Gambit, Green Goblin, Howard the Duck, the Invisible Woman, Juggernaut, Kingpin, Magneto, the Punisher, the Rhino, Sabretooth, Storm, The Blob, and the Vulture.
Check out images of the newly announced characters after the jump!
Artist Joe Madureira will return to the character that made him a Marvel Comics sensation in the 1990s, Wolverine, in an as-yet-unannounced title coming in June. Also the creator of the WildStorm/Cliffhanger! series Battle Chasers, Mad
Hasbro's 3.75" Marvel Universe line will welcome scads of new characters featuring numerous new sculpts this Spring. Rhino, Captain America, Mysterio, Elektra, Baron Zemo (now flying solo from last SDCC's Mast
The first thing you'll likely notice about the new Thunderbolts #1 from writer Daniel Way and artist Steve Dillon is that it is a violent comic. It's also not necessarily the comic you were expecting. It's fair to say that this ver
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