Ugly as Sin: An Updated Top 10 of Ugly Covers

not10So 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!

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Ms Marvel, out of 10, how would you rank this cover?

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…

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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….

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Deadpool getting fresh with Cable as the whole MCU looks on in shame..

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.

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Somewhere, someone has this framed.

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.

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Namor Reborn! Now just go die tucked away in a quarter bin please!

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….

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The nipples, the nipples! Quick, someone get the pasties!

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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.

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Simon says “Ass like a ten year old boy! AHAHAHAHA!”

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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.

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Why are you looking at me all funny?

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?

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Is that a funny laugh or the kind before the tears come?

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…

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More like What the F….

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?

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Talk about having a face only a mother could love…

Who would have thought that 21 years later, someone would create the ugly twin to this book?

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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.

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There’s supposedly a nude version to this – YIKES!

Honorable Mention

#neverforget

The Immortal Grandpa Iron Fist had an accident while wearing rainboots!

The Immortal Grandpa Iron Fist had an accident while wearing rainboots!

Courtesy of Wade Winnard.

18 comments

  • AZBarbarian

    Great article. These are truly horrendous.

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    My goodness! How did these pass quality control?! lol

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    If memory serves, there are a lot of nuggets of ugly that came out of the 90’s with each publisher pushing to get the max amount of titles to print. Ah, the memories.

    One of my favourite signs outside a strip clubs reads: ‘Come daily to see our 10 hot ladies and 1 ugly one.’

  • Jason S

    OMG! Khoi…..you are a genius……this was a great way to start a work week! Thanks!

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    I crack up so hard every time I see that Iron fist sketch! so funny!
    Thanks for the list, sadly I own a couple of these.

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    I thought the Wolverine & The Black Cat Claws Cover by Linsner would have made it

  • Khoi Cakes

    That’s legendary John Romita Sr just in case you didn’t know 😉

  • Paul

    This is so great Khoi, thank you for posting this on a Monday to lift spirits across the globe.

    That Deadpool is bad, he doesn’t even cup his hands on the other side of Cables body, so I can only believe that after this fictional picture was taken Cable simply slid off Deadpools arms….unless secured elsewhere. And those Tibias LOL

    Secret Wars is my favorite cover here, because much like our favorite Hawkeye cover I tried to mimic the pose and nearly broke my wrist.

    I doubt Cap could stop much with that paper mache shield he has, but should see if there’s a doctors number in the newspapers to have that chest shape looked at. Did you catch that fleshlight on his belt too?

    Harambe WW makes my eyes bleed. The poor baby looks like it was kidnapped from Lone Wolf and Cub, her back scapula is rippling…? And to go along with my wrist cast I tried to mimic her leg and dislocated my knee trying to get my calf to the outside of my thigh.

    Wolvie stole all my hair gel and are those claws are coming out in a downward angle? The ribs are rippling like WW and I don’t know an orthodontist on the face of this earth that could fix those long teeth, no wonder he’s drooling!

    #happydolphin

  • merlin

    Back before high speed internet there was another “DSL” which described a facial feature, which Adams has mastered. Maybe they told him to cool it, because they aren’t present on the cover shown and it appears he suffered from the restriction (although I still think Batman odyssey is ugly af). I am biased regarding that particular Liefeld cover, because he made a career out of swiping Perez and it’s soooo transparent. And I bought one (shame!) assuming everything I know about comics is wrong.
    I think you could consider Batman 488 for an upcoming list, that dude sucks. It does have nice interiors by Aparo but hard on the eyes up front.

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    New Invaders cover – that’s Blazing Skull, not Ghost Rider.

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    If i could only post my Jay leisten Wolverine Sketch on a blank cover lol

  • tiredguy

    Well done sir, well done. Tho I don’t think the Morbius is THAT bad.

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    Good article. It would be awesome to have a top ten of these from each era.

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    Or top ten overrated covers.

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