Comics covers are strange beasts. While comics themselves are sequential art --- pictures arranged in just the right order to tell a story or convey an emotion --- covers freeze that process into a single static image. But Mike Del Mundo's work at Marvel shows that they can be much more than pretty pictures.
You don't need me to tell you that Del Mundo's covers are gorgeous. He's an incredible draftsman with an even stronger sense of design. Covers let him push the latter talent to the fore, dancing through various styles, from stark two-color minimalism to detailed paintings, via pastiches of Escher and Art Deco posters, all depending on what suits this issue best.
Marvel is releasing "Hip-Hop Variant” covers for its books in October, paying tribute to classic rap album covers using the heroes of the Marvel Universe. Mark Brooks takes on Notorious B.I.G.’s classic Ready to Die for his Ant-Man cover, while Mike Del Mundo pays tribute to both Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers for Squadron Supreme #1, and A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders for Amazing Spider-Man #1.
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.
2015 got off to an impressive start with stunning compositions from Riley Rossmo, James Harren, and Ken Niimura; wonderful character portraits from Marko Djurdjevic, Becky Cloonan, and Kaare Andrews; amazing colors from Darwyn Cooke and Artyom Trakhanov; and a really fun He-Man piece from Stjepan Sejic.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
“The best moments in reading,” Alan Bennett writes in The History Boys, “are when you come across something -- a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things -- which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”
These “hands” can be found in any form of literature, from novels to poetry to journalism to, yes, comic books. One such hand reaches forth from the pages of X-Men Legacy, published by Marvel and written by Simon Spurrier. Instead of being an action-packed affair, this book was a character study; a very literal glimpse into the mind of a young man searching for his place in both the mutant world and the world at large.
Tea parties. Spaceways. Rooftops. The best comic book covers of March 2014 take us to some strange and familiar places, and introduce us to new Fables cover artist Nimit Malavia, upcoming cover talents Pascal Campion and Emily Hu, and the latest striking creations by Francesco Francavilla, Mike Del Mundo and more.
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.
Back in January, Marvel announced that writer/artist Kaare Andrews would be returning to comics for a new Iron Fist ongoing series. Now, with Iron Fist: The Living Weaponset to debut in April, we're getting closer look at what we can expect to see from the new book.
Last month, ComicsAlliance launched its first ever Reader Choice Awards. We spend all year telling you what we like (and don't like), but we wanted to hear from you. We had seven different polls, asking voters to make their choices for best editor, colorist, writer/artist, cover artist, design, artist and writer for the previous year in comics.
Voting concluded this morning, and the results are in. Thanks to all of you who voted, and otherwise spread the word. You can check out a list of the winners below.
2013 was a great year for comics. It feels like a similar statement is made after every year concludes, but 2013 unquestionably saw exceptional work from several creators, across multiple publishers and genres within the medium. To close out the year, we offered what we felt to be the best comics of the year, highlighting dozens of writers and artists whose creative output we felt deserved to be celebrated.
But now we want to hear from you. Readers often offer us their opinions, via the comment section or social media, as to what they’re enjoying, or what they think we missed. Now we’d like you to let us know with your vote, as this week we’re launching the first annual ComicsAlliance Reader Choice Awards. We’ll have two categories per day throughout the week, and you can vote more than once if you like, though you’ll have to wait an hour at least before coming back to vote again. Voting will be open until February 11 at 10 a.m. EST, and we’ll announce the winners shortly after.
You can cast your vote after the cut for the best cover artist of the year.
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