Issue #11: Marvelous Marvels

Well, hello there, CBSI! This past week in Music City has been slow and hot. After two weeks of looking at magazines, I thought it might be nice to break back into some moderns.

There’s no connecting strand to this week’s picks other than that they’re all Marvel. As such, here are a few rando covers I’ve been waiting to feature.

NOTE: Something I don’t discuss very much are beautiful covers that one can snag in the current week for cover price (mostly because I leave such things up to the “Wednesday One” and other articles).

However, there are a few really beautiful covers, this week, that some of you may want to hunt down, today. My loves of the week are Artgerm’s Batman #49 “B cover” and the Sienkiewicz Infinity Countdown: Black Widow #1 “B cover.” Both are knockouts.

Don’t crucify me for saying this, but I’m not a fan of the Aquaman #37 (Middleton). It just seems meh to me, but what do I know. It will probably be hot merely because of the Batgirl #23 that no one could get, but the Aquaman doesn’t deserve the same love, in my opinion.  

That is just one of my moderately bold opinions in this week’s list. There are a few more coming, below. Whether you agree with them or don’t, I hope you’ll chime in on the comments section and let me know your thoughts.

Anyhow, no more pomp and circumstance, this week. Let’s just get into the covers, shall we?

 

1. The New Avengers #35 (2005 Series)
PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – December, 2007
ARTIST: Leinil Francis Yu

 

After being reminded of his amazeballs variant cover for Thunderbolts #110, this past week, I thought Yu could use some love; a hugely under appreciated artist who has been quite prolific. Love him or hate him, he kind of blends into the woodwork… until he doesn’t.

Take this cover for instance. From 2005, this is Venomized before there was Venomized. You know all those Venomized covers that go for captain-insano prices like ASM #678, Uncanny X-Force #20, Iron Man #512, Avengers #21, Wolverine and the X-Men #212, etc.? Well, this one doesn’t.

Cover price or less and just as cool. Maybe better than some of them, to be honest. Just goes to show that the sheep of this hobby will jump on books and overpay for weird things that make no sense when they can get the same quality art of the same characters for $3. Rarity doesn’t make a great cover.

I don’t think a whole lot more needs to be said about this one other than if you like Venomized covers this is a do-not-miss (… and let’s face it, some of us are buying them, because they always sell out).

 

2. Wolverine: Savage 1-shot (2010)
PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – April, 2010
ARTIST: J. Scott Campbell (Jeffery Scott Campbell)

 

Nailed it!!! Yep, you are seeing that right, I put a Campbell cover on one of my lists. I admit, I give Campbell a hard time, but the dude can draw his buttox off when he tries to. His legendary status is a sealed deal. To ignore him would be ignorant on my part.

My problem, largely (and many others’ have said this, too) is that he has dialed in a lot of covers recently. When I say recently, I’m saying like a few years, now, regrettably. Same faces, same poses, 5 different versions, etc. etc… and all at $20-50 a pop! Hey, if his legion of fans keeps paying, all the power to him.

He has one heck of a business model going for him. Bravo, Jeffery. I will say, though, he is coming around a little, of late. That Domino #1 1:50 is pretty rad.

For my money, though,I tend to gravitate toward him when he isn’t drawing ridiculously elongated women. He’s actually better at drawing male characters, in my humble opinion.

I mean, check out those Deadpool Variant covers, that Lizard Variant on Spidey #688 or his newest Venom variant for Spidey #800!!! Awesome stuff.

This Wolverine: Savage cover stands right up to Campbell’s best. It has all the comic-booky-ness to it that people love. The exaggeration that Campbell fans love. It has all the movement and grit that a “Savage” Wolverine cover should have.

It just sums up the title. It’s brilliant work and can be had for $10 or less. I say again, more loudly than last time, RARITY DOESN’T MAKE GREAT COVERS! Buy what you like. I like this one = I buy this one. See, math isn’t hard.

 

3. Runaways #8 (2003 1st Series)
PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – January, 2004
ARTIST: Jo Chen

 

Jo Who? Exactly! Having done mostly Buffy covers and odd Marvel and DC issues, Chen is certainly not a household name. She hasn’t done anything, lately, but I wish she would because this cover is, for me, the standout amongst some superb covers in the various Runaways runs (she did most of them in the first 2 series).

I mean, check that thing out!  It is bold and beautiful, exquisitely rendered and functions with all of the stark beauty that a black and white photo would.

It is a study in contrast, layout and focal point. The juxtaposition of light and dark play off of each other with simplicity and grace. I mean, she takes so many modern artists to school with this cover.

It does have, albeit, a manga feel to it as do most of her covers in this run. That has been a recent criticism of Artgerm’s covers and I realize that many people do not dig it, but if you do, snag this beautiful baby for $5 or less.

 

3.5. *** Bonus ***
Runaways #11 (2003 1st Series)
PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – April, 2004
ARTIST: Josh Middleton

 

Can’t deny it, I’m jumping on the Middleton bandwagon because seats are quickly selling out. I cannot hope to say anything about Middleton that hasn’t been said since Batgirl #23 dropped, so I won’t.

Since this is a bonus and really just piggybacking off of the above Runaways #8, it’s really more of a reminder that he did work on Runaways.

It hasn’t popped up in the various posts, recently, but I feel it should. It is a perspective masterpiece and sums up everything that is great about earlier Middleton. It utilizes the technique of chiaroscuro nicely is spatially a pretty perfect layout and is simple and elegant.

I will say that I like other works of his better (see early New Mutants numbers 1-6 from the 2003 series as well as others I’ve already featured in other issues of Cover Tunes). This is a $5 book at the moment. Get it before it isn’t.

 

4. The Amazing Spider-Man #658 (1963 1st Series)
PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – June, 2011
ARTIST: Marko Djurdjevic

 

I’m convinced that Djurdjevic covers don’t sell because no one knows how to type in his name on ebay. I’m kidding… no, but really… maybe.

Okay, all jokes aside, much of Djurdjevic’s greatest works are high-ratio variants and, thus, can cost you a ton like Ultimate Fallout #4, X-23 #1, etc., etc.

With that said, this Spidey cover is just better than those two and many of his others where the ensemble takes away from the composition. This has all the earmarks of being a variant, but it isn’t.

And therein lies the most hilarious part. Do an ebay search for Spiderman #658. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

What do 90% of the listings say? “Variant,” right? They say it because people can’t believe it’s not. But guess what? IT’S NOT!!! Woot!!! It’s a $5-$10 cover and it has everything.

Djurdjevic’s covers can often feel quite static and a little too perfect. This cover does not suffer from such woes. It has Incredible rendering with a touch more “imperfection” than we’re used to from Djurdjevic, an amazing pose (no pun intended), a beautiful backdrop that provides great depth, and perfect balance and layout.

Every morsel of space is used to precision. It is quite frankly pretty darn perfect. I will say it for the last time, today. Rare doesn’t mean good. Good means good.

 

5. Elektra #26 (2001 Series)
PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – October, 2003
ARTIST: Rodolfo Migliari

 

Okay, broken record time… Rodolfo Who? With only a smattering of covers from 2001-2012 and nothing on the horizon, Migliari has fallen off the edge of comicdom’s planet. Luckily, he gave us this exquisite Elektra cover, first, before he did so.

Most of this Elektra series has Horn covers, but toward the end of the run, a few random artist had a shot at a cover or two. Migliari gives us this #26 and it is a standout in that it functions like a color splash black and white photo (that’s when a photo is black and white and one color and/or one item is enhanced). What a perfect effect to use for an Elektra cover; a character that is essentially known for her swaths of red.

The color splash is not the only stroke of genius at work here, though. The hair detail is ridiculous and the look Elektra gives us from behind it is mischievous, dark and sexy. Again, the perfect summation of the character.

Again, this is a cover-price-or-less snag. I’ve held off on this cover for a while, but it is one of the original reasons why I wanted to write these Cover Tunes columns. I’m thrilled to finally be able to feature it.

***

Well, that wraps up another week. Tell me what you think in the comments. Next week, we kick it a little old-school. Until then, happy hunting and thanks for reading.

Mike Morello

 

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