Redheads versus reptiles, long-legged ladies, and demons in both human and inhuman form grace the best comic book covers of February 2014. Check out great works of art from Jenny Frison and Kevin Wada - and double bills from Matteo Scalera and Andrew Robinson.
A stunning use of Red Sonja's famous flame-red hair is the centerpiece of the gorgeous color work for this cover, which also makes tremendous use of the weightlessness of water to create a striking composition. But weirdly this wasn't the only cover this month to feature a famous redhead imperilled by crocodiles, so we get a rare chance to play "Who Wore It Best"; Red Sonja or...
There must be something in the water. Widow's scaly friends look a little more engaged than Sonja's, and yet when it comes to conveying a sense of menace I think I'd just give the edge to Frison's Red Sonja cover. They're both great images, though -- and red and green make for such striking contrast that I can understand why both women ended up fighting lizards, even if it's strange that it should happen the same month.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1
Turok always fights lizards, but he's not going to be out-done by a few crocodiles in his big relaunch month. I love the storytelling in this variant cover. Calling yourself "Dinosaur Hunter" doesn't mean that hunting dinosaurs is suddenly easy.
Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #1
A pitch-perfect combination of Cold War pulp paperback design with Eisnerian comic art flourishes.
It's been a great pleasure to watch Kevin Wada transition from an illustrator whose fan-work I followed avidly on Tumblr to a guy who actually gets paid to bring that same stunning aesthetic to his heroes on comic covers. His high fashion approach makes She-Hulk as much supermodel as superhero.
The cropped composition creates a very different sense of the space and time than a centered figure would achieve. I think it also creates a more interesting shape and power for the figure, which draws the eye down to the bloodied mask.
Another great figure-based cover, and again, it comes down to the shape of the figure, the choices of where to add detail, what to abstract, what to say. I haven't read Ghosted, and I don't know who this woman is, but now I want to know, because damn, she looks cool.
I didn't realize I'd picked two Scalera covers this month until I went through to add the credits. This one is strikingly different to the Ghosted cover, and while I did find a version without the logo (and generally prefer to showcase the "naked" versions of a cover), the logo treatment on Dead Body Road is what makes it distinctive. There's a wonderful menace to that monolithic logo hanging in the air behind the butcher and the hook. (And the rubber duckie.)
IDW's continuation of Cartoon Network star Samurai Jack's adventures couldn't ask for a better endorsement than the variant covers provided by the series' creator, Genndy Tartakovsky. Each one of his covers has been better than the last, and this one is a perfect presentation of the character.
This Punisher variant cover feels like Opeña's tribute to Tim Bradstreet, who provided many of the covers for Garth Ennis's Punisher MAX run. Bradstreet always placed his shady-faced Frank against sombre backgrounds - graves, skulls, wanted posters -- but Opeña subverts expectations by placing Frank in sunnier climes -- with the stain of the city behind him and the sun still never falling on his face.