Ugly as Sin: An Updated Top 10 of Ugly Covers
So here I am, peacefully minding my own business, listening to the best comics podcast *insert shameless plug here* and reading about people complaining about how awesome we are at my favorite G+ comic speculation page, Comic Book Speculation & Investing (CBSI) , when I ran across a post from everyone’s favorite UK comics buccaneer Simon “Imma” Payne that started with “this may be up there with one of the ugliest covers in a while…”. Needless to say, an intense primal urge reignited in me: who was I to lazily let the hours slip away when there could be some poor, naive comic soul out there thinking comics were all Adam Hughes and J. Scott Campbell pretty? To be honest, I had thought I had retired from my public service warnings but I was reminded that it was time to put on the tights again and fight the good fight. So without further ado, here are my most recent picks for the ugliest comic covers:
10) Champions Vol. 2 #1 Local Comic Shop Day Variant
What could be so hideous that it would tear me away from the deadly seduction of browsing CBSI and cause me to pathetically attempt to do some research? Herewith, witness the downfall of the once comic god Neal Adams!
Booba, what happened? While there have been complaints that Mr. Adams wasn’t on his A Game for the DC variant month based on his classic Silver/Bronze Age covers, that could be attributed to him having to draw 27 covers for that month. This one though? Porn ‘staches and hunchbacks aside, the composition and polish just aren’t there. Please Mr. Adams, don’t be a…
9) Deadpool & Cable Vol. 1 #25 Liefeld Variant
Featured here as possibly having one of the lowest print runs for a Deadpool & Cable variant, I can only say that I wish that the print run would wind down to ZERO one day. Touted as being a swipe of the iconic cover for Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 by the immortal George Perez, this cover has so much going for it, Rob Liefeld almost out-Liefelds himself. Proportions were never a strong point for Liefeld, so it’s good (bad?) to know some traditions continue. Though he’s progressed to the point he draws feet openly now, one has to wonder where did the hands go? Is there a reason Cable has that grimace on his face??? Could it have to do with where Deadpool’s hands are? Maybe from what looks like a pen stabbed into his right shoulder (ok, rumor has it it’s a sword handle)? Or the odd way his too-short tibias twist at the knees? Someone please put Cable out of his misery….
8) Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars Vol. 1 #1 Run the Jewels Nick Gazin Variant
Speaking of Deadpool (did you see that segue Mel?), here’s a cover that has me scratching my head. I know Marvel likes to use artists from other fields, but the idea seldom seems to work for me (I’m looking at you Illuminati #1 Hip Hop Variant!). Though I’m sure Mr. Gazin is pretty talented, that still doesn’t excuse the fact that this is a butt ugly Deadpool cover. What is going on here? I get this is a Run the Jewels theme and DP has the hands to prove it, but what’s with the tortquoise leopard/giraffe print thingamadoo outfit? Maybe he’s being meta because Deadpool is supposed to be the ugliest character in the Marvel Universe and that this is an expression of that ugliness? If I actually spent time to crack open the book, I might know I suppose, but that would mean I actually think Marvel has something worth reading. Hahaha I’m kidding all you Vision fans.
7) Namor the Sub-Mariner Vol. 1 #37
Lest we forget about that veritable minefield known as the 90s, here’s to remembering that Marvel has done nothing but injustice to the first and mightiest mutant time and time again. Featuring a holographic cover with superior art from Jae Lee, this really could be a contender for the epitome of the 90s comic era. The grunge look with the heavy inking and overwrought proportions really does scream “here I am, another example of why the comics bubble burst!”. Yea, the holographic cover seals the deal. Well, at least they didn’t bedazzle the codpiece.
6) New Invaders Vol. 1 #1
So I tried to find a synopsis for what this book is about but guess what? Marvel doesn’t provide one either through their website or the Marvel Wikia. Could it be because the art is pretty atrocious and they are trying to subtly distance themselves? That’s my crackpot theory. Whoever did the character designs needs to go work for Mylan so they can truly be reviled by everyone. I mean Blazing Skull* has oven mitts on for crying out loud. And let’s not get started about Namor’s nips….
5) Dark Knight III Master Race # 3 & 4 1:100 Frank Miller Variant
Pick your poison: “the precariously balanced sword” or the “Harambe” Wonder Woman. Not much to say about these really. But I do recall an article whereby the author proposed that Frank Miller’s work has been off lately due to not finding the right colorist. Ha! Nice try DC.
4) Peter Parker: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #55
Hey, remember that time Spider-Man turned into an eight-armed man-spider? Well let me tell you about the time he turned into a shark. Yes, a shark. Thanks to the courtesy of Francisco Herrera, everyone’s favorite web-slinger grew a dorsal fin and his feet turned into fins.
Unfortunately, there were so many ugly covers during this run that I could have picked virtually any of them to include in this list. I wonder what some of the legendary Spider-Man artists would think of this?
3) What If? Vol. 2 #93 “…Starring Wolverine”
Do you ever think Wolverine has any real regrets? Like “I shouldn’t have killed that man” or “If only I could have saved that mutant kid”? Probably. But I’m pretty certain that if he could jump off the pages and talk to you, he would be screaming and demanding to know who authorized this cover of him. Now we all know there are worst portrayals of him (one look at Wolverine: Revolver will confirm this) but you would be hard pressed to find one worse than this. I can’t tell what I like the least: the mangina patch hair, the out-of-whack proportioned body, the forearm pubes, or the honeycomb ribs…
2) Morbius: The Living Vampire Vol. 1 #2
I have this book hidden somewhere in my collection and unfortunately, John Brown reminded me of it. There are certain covers that you question whether it’s so grotesque because the artist is that skilled at rendering a truly horrific character or if it’s just plain bad because the artist sucks. Guess which one this is?
Who would have thought that 21 years later, someone would create the ugly twin to this book?
And who said vampires are all sexy? Looking at you Anne Rice!
1) Elemental Sex Special #1
Did you know that Comico is a defunct company that declared bankruptcy in 1997? Looking at this cover, is it any wonder why? There’s so much wrong with this cover, it makes me want to call Greenpeace to report them for violating cetacean wildlife. It’s like She-Hulk fell on hard times from hitting the pipe too much and had to resort to doing “that” kind of work to sustain the habit. There’s a lesson to be learned here, and I think it’s to never to eat before reading another one of my articles.
Courtesy of Wade Winnard.