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.

  • Sex Criminals #5


    Cover by Chip Zdarsky
    Published by Image
    Available: Comics shops / Image (DRM-free download) / ComiXology (Apple + Android + Web)

    The the first four covers for Sex Criminals showcased the traditional CMYK printing ink colors -- cyan, magenta, yellow and black (thus neatly anticipating Vertigo's forthcoming CMYK anthology gimmick. Bad luck, Vertigo.) The final cover for the first arc brings the colors together in an orgiastic climax. Each Sex Criminals cover has been a wonderful composition in its own right; what's wonderful about the fifth issue cover is that it reveals a grand design.

  • Silver Surfer #1


    Variant cover by Francesco Francavilla
    Published by Marvel
    Available: Comics shops / Marvel (Apple + Android + Web)

    A strong, simple presentation of Surfer-as-icon. This is the sentinel of the spaceways, captured in a single dramatic image.

  • Zero #6


    Variant cover by Nick Dragotta and Tom Muller
    Published by Image
    Available: Comics shops / Image (DRM-free download) / ComiXology (Apple + Android + Web)

    Great interplay of layered elements here between Dragotta's fine, detailed, toned pencils and Muller's abstracted design elements. The four variant covers for this book all play with this relationship; this one stood out to me as the strongest.

  • All-New Invaders #3


    Variant cover by Pascal Campion
    Published by Marvel
    Available: Comics shops (print) / Marvel (Apple + Android + Web)

    Pascal Campion is a new name to me, but his numerous appearances in Andy Khouri's Best Art Ever (This Week) lists and Campion's DeviantArt page reveals an artist with a fantastic eye for composition and color, and there's some great superhero-inspired art in the mix. It's great to see artists like Campion and Kevin Wada bringing their unique style to Marvel's books.

    (It would be great too if we could see these compositions without barcodes and logos slapped all over them. Publishers, it's the age of Pinterest and Tumblr. Think about putting these covers out there in a format that respects the work and encourages fan to share it.)

  • Adventure Time #26


    Variant cover by Emily Hu
    Published by Boom! Studios
    Available: Comics shops (print) / ComiXology (Apple + Android + Web)

    Like Marvel, Boom! is in the business of tapping some impressive emerging talents for its cover work, especially on its KaBOOM all-ages line. Boom! could easily stick to the Adventure Time style for all its covers. Instead it lets great discoveries like Emily Hu bring their own style to a fresh audience.

  • Deadly Class #3


    Cover by Wes Craig
    Published by Image
    Available: Comics shops (print) / Image (DRM-free download) / ComiXology (Apple + Android + Web)

    Rooftops seem to be the native territory of comic books. Every comic loves a good rooftop cover. This one plays with angles, abstraction and color to give the moment its energy. Also, nice use of a dropped shoe.

  • Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight #6


    Cover by Dan Panosian
    Published by Dark Horse
    Available: Comics shops (print) / Dark Horse (Apple + Android + Web)

    On first glimpse this feels like a Klimt pastiche from Panosian. On second glimpse there are strong shades of Waterhouse. I'm not sure if it's meant to evoke either, but it certainly combines the ense of Pre-Raphaelite and Art Nouveau. Not the obvious choice for a grindhouse "poster" image, but it looks wonderful all the same!

  • Fables #139


    Cover by Nimit Malavia
    Published by Vertigo
    Available: Comics shops (print) / Vertigo (Apple + Android + Web)

    James Jean set a high standard as the original Fables cover artist. Joao Ruas rose to meet the challenge as his successor, while Adam Hughes did some of his career-best cover work on sister title Fairest. Nimit Malavia has a lot to live up to as the final Fables cover artist, but the warm tones and musical curves of his debut contribution suggest he's up to the task.

  • Hinterkind #6


    Cover by Francesco Trifoglio
    Published by Vertigo
    Available: Comics shops (print) / Vertigo (Apple + Android + Web)

    The wonderful gestural lines (evocative of fashion illustration) and a great use of watercolor (or a watercolor effect) are just part of what make this cover stand out. The stylized violence - blood that looks like rose petals - is just as striking.

  • Iron Man #23


    Cover by Mike Del Mundo
    Published by Marvel
    Available: Comics shops (print) / Marvel (Apple + Android + Web)

    The use of reflection to place the villain's sinister fanged smile inside the fragment of Iron Man's armor is a nice effect, but what I really love about this cover is the negative space, the decision to suspend this moment in white. The cover becomes a monument to Iron Man's supposed defeat.

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