One of the beautiful things about the comic book medium is that it is one of the few art forms that allows readers to both literally and figuratively judge books by their covers. The work of a cover artist is not always to encapsulate the plot of the issue; in fact, most times the cover is completely unrelated to the content inside. The primary job of the artist is to make the book stand out – to grab readers by the throat and force them to take a look at the issue, even as it’s speckled in with dozens of other books on the shelf, Wednesday after Wednesday.
It is entirely possible to purchase a book based on its cover and find the content inside to be complete drivel, or worse yet, with art that pales in comparison to the work of the cover artist. Alternatively, a poor cover could potentially lead readers away from books that are otherwise goldmines. There’s a lot riding on that cover, so CraveOnline is taking it upon ourselves to take a look at the covers and artists that made us throw up in our mouths a little bit (in a good way!) in April 2010.
5. American Vampire #2
Cover by Rafael Albuquerque
Not only is Albuquerque’s interior work to die for (heh), his cover work thus far has been phenomenal. Continuing with the "split screen" composition that represents both Scott Snyder’s story of Pearl and Stephen King’s origin tale of Skinner Sweet, Albuquerque creates a brilliant cover that instantly lets you know you are in for a treat.
I absolutely love his color choices here, using a very muted blue as a background against plain black and white – and of course, red blood. The half smirk of Skinner plays greatly towards his character, as does the chaotic first person POV of Pearl’s half of the image. Albuquerque’s ability to perfectly encapsulate both sides of this tale still fascinates me, even months after I first laid eyes on this cover.
4. Vengeance of the Moon Knight #7
Iron Man by Design Variant Cover by Adi Granov
I’m not a fan of the idea of Marvel’s Iron Man by Design variant cover campaign. I think it shows a desperate desire to cash in on the Iron Man 2 hype train. That doesn’t mean the covers that were created are any less gorgeous. In fact, there’s two of them on this list.
Granov’s cover for Vengeance of the Moon Knight #7 has a beautiful composition to it and has a great sense of making Iron Man relevant to Khonshu and Moon Knight’s character. Set amidst the pyramids in Egypt, Granov does a wonderful job of adapting Iron Man’s costume to look "Egyptian", giving him a loin cloth and everything! But seriously, just like any other work of Granov, this image is so photo realistic that a certain epic quality is forged as Iron Man proudly holds the Khonshu statue amongst a flurry of dust and sand.
It has nothing to do with the issue, but hey. It’s a hell of a cover.
3. Power Girl #11
Cover by Amanda Conner
I think it’s reasonably obvious why this cover made the list. There’s an enormous appeal to the image, and it’s safe to say that it speaks for itself.
I’m talking about the talent of Amanda Conner, of course. Pervs.
2. The Flash #1
Cover by Francis Manapul
Not enough good things can be said of Manapul’s work on both the interiors and covers of the new Flash ongoing series. In many ways, the cover for The Flash #1 perfectly portrays everything that makes him such a stellar fit on the book.
Firstly, Barry’s intensity showcases Manapul’s uncanny ability to create emotion on the faces of his characters. More importantly, it shows his talent to be able to do that amidst an image that has so many other things going on within it. Especially with a character like The Flash, the ability to create an essence of rapid movement and kinetic excitement is key. In this image alone, Manapul is able to pull off both of those things.
And thankfully, every panel behind this awesome cover continues that trend.
1. Amazing Spider-Man #628
Iron Man by Design Variant Cover by Michael Del Mundo
As I said earlier, I think the Iron Man by Design concept is pretty cheesy and that still stands.
However, I have an oddly recurring hard-on for art deco. It’s all at once beautiful, creepy (thanks BioShock), and interesting. Though this cover has even less to do with Spider-Man than the previous entry did for Moon Knight, I can’t bring myself to put this image any lower on the list. In fact, I think this is one of the best and most iconic images of Iron Man in years, and that’s saying a lot considering how much his stock has risen lately.
The art deco style showcases Iron Man’s birth from the machine age, emphasizing his artificial creation, mechanical existence and roots in technology. Tony Stark doesn’t exist in this image; it’s the Iron Man that takes precedence here, as though it is its own living entity. Quite simply, I love it.
It’s a relative shame that it was relegated to being a variant, nevermind a variant for a Spidey book.