It’s the time of the year when the mother of all comics, Jessica Boyd, takes a look at the best covers for the year of 2013… or in this case, the best cover artists! She’s chosen five artists… but we know this list can nowhere near cover them all (that’s right, we said it!). So take a look, enjoy the view, then let us know which covers were your favorite in the comments section down below.
SAGA/ RED SONJA
Art by Fiona Staples
Published by Image Comics/ Dynamite Comics
Fiona Staples could be commissioned to paint the world and instead of delivering the droll and mundane, make everything feel as if it were part of a sweeping epic.
That is what she has been doing inside and outside of the pages of Saga. While there is much to the book that is fanciful and science-fiction, there is also everyday experiences that we all endure that she captures wonderfully. The same is true for the covers, which capture seemingly meaningless moments within the pages of the story and make them so poignant and important as to bring a tear to your eye. Plus, instead of dolling Red Sonja up as some piece of eye candy, she makes it abundantly clear this is one warrior you never want to have to cross.
Art by David Aja
Published by Marvel Comics
They are the iconic and stylized covers that proved “less is more.” Despite their rather simplistic and clean look, the detailed required for each cover that Aja rendered is remarkable with a lot of planning involved. In the year before each cover found a way to point straight to the target of Earth’s Mightest Marksman.
He took that idea, begun with the launch of the comic the year before, and added on with even more details. Moving on from the layout ideas of blueprints and simple objects he moved onto other characters and ideas that pushed the stylized images even more. Each cover continues with sticking to just a few colors to play with: red, black, white and sometimes the signature purple. This high contrast, attention grabbing palette left a “house style” for the book that other artists such as Pulido and Francavilla have taken on in their own fashion, while remaining true to the feeling of the style.
AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE (and everything else ever published this year!)
Art by Francesco Francavilla
Published by Archie Comics
Speaking of Francavilla, he has taken over the comic cover world in a swift manner this year, appearing on covers from Dark Horse to Dynamite, Marvel and more. However, the best of the best has to be his take on the Afterlife with Archie series. Tackling both covers and interior art, his signature pulp style is pushed into the realm of creepy horror films.
While most of the covers feature his traditional red/orange/black color choice, his Jughead Afterlife with Archie cover featured a bright purple contrasted against the zombie green. It’s what you imagine a Romero film would look like if it wasn’t in black and white. While bright and unusual, it’s alluring and fascinating all at once. So fascinating that shirts were immediately made and the book immediately gained a core audience enjoying the series today.
PHANTOM STRANGER & BATMAN/SUPERMAN
Art by Jae Lee
Published by DC Comics
These are the covers that you could argue belong in the finest museums around the world. Jae Lee has taken superheroes and turned them into the subject of horror and dreams. Most of the covers have dealt with surreal feeling experiences and details. Phantom Stranger had qualities of the horrific, be it friend or foe that the Stranger was facing each issue, and place them in a metaphorical situation that sold the story.
Batman/Superman had more traditional representations, however with Lee’s touch created a dream-like quality to each issue that made you want to frame each one and hang it on your wall. It makes you look forward to what lies ahead for the cover of Earth 2 that Lee will have out in 2014!
Art by JH Williams III
Published by DC Comics
Saving the heartbreak for last, these are the style of covers we may never see again. With the departure of Williams from Batwoman these iconic covers of blood and shadow are going with him. While the book continues with great quality and thought, the covers are the kinds that felt like movie posters at a nearby art house. That feeling is not easy for a superhero book to capture. Each month had the same theme of red blood, black shadow and white starkness. However, despite their similarities each one felt unique and extraordinary. It makes you hold your breath for the next project we may see Williams produce next… just without one of our favorite crime fighters.
Now we know there are other covers out there that deserve a shout-out: Sean Murphy for The Wake, Mark Brooks hilarious takes for each Fearless Defenders, the amazing and metaphorical covers of X-Men Legacy by Mike Del Mundo. So what have been your favorites? Leave us comments below and let’s get this conversation going.
Tyler Jenkins – Peter Panzerfaust #9 (Hook) and #11 (wolf grafitti)
Jenny Frisson – Revival #1
And pretty much any cover of Lil Gotham!