ISSUE #16: Preying on the Longboxes

Welcome back CBSI. For those that got to attend SDCC, this past weekend, I am super-jealous and I hope you got yourselves some dope exclusives while you were there. There were some pretty sweet ones floating around and I wish I had been able to attend just to get a few of them. Oh well.

Additionally, some hefty new news was dealt out in the form of a variety of trailers and info; official Spider-Verse info in the form of SP//dr Peni Parker and Spider-Man Noir, Venom spec in the form of Riot, etc. For my money, though, that Nathan Fillion Uncharted Fan Film was the best thing I’ve seen this week.

Makes me want to go back and re-play all of the old PS3 games.

Anyhow, unless you’ve been living under a particularly heavy rock this past week, Margot Robbie let loose some juicy news for the upcoming Birds of Prey movie and the comic spec community has answered in-kind. All related books are selling like wildfire on the Bay. Specifically, books from the “No Man’s Land” story arc that were $5 books, last month, have launched into the stratosphere (see this week’s Hot10).

Regardless, Harley, Huntress, Renee Montoya as The Question, Cassandra Cain as Batgirl and Black Canary are the unofficial names that got dropped and there are a hefty dozen or so keys to go out and fetch, now.

While you’re out there digging, though, do yourselves the favor of looking for a few other related badass covers. Finding really sweet, cheap, non-key/non-variant covers from these characters is more challenging than one might think, but they are out there and we’ll look at a few of them, this week. Sorry Marvel-heads, only DC, this week. However, like I always say, a beautiful cover is a beautiful cover no matter who prints it.

By the way, I’m really excited to add in a bonus cover, this week, BECAUSE that will (believe it or not) be the 100th cover featured in Cover Tunes. Hard to believe. Thank you all for reading and commenting over the past few months to get us there. I really appreciate it!!!

Without further pomp and circumstance… here we go…

 

1. Birds of Prey #57 (1999 1st Series)
PUBLISHED: DC Comics – September, 2003
ARTIST: Ed Benes

 

This one has been mentioned here and there on the interwebs, lately, but it is not getting nearly the love it deserves. This may be the best Modern Age Huntress cover as it stands apart from pretty much the rest of the BoP run from 1999. Cheap copies are drying up a bit on ebay, but it can still be gotten for $10 or less and I’m still finding it in dollar bins.

It’s sexy and tough and just a damned great layout. This is virtually a perfect comic book-ish cover. Nothing too fancy and it gets all of the points across. The shattering glass gives the cover great depth as does the 3-D-ish pose of Huntress’ foreshortened kicking leg. This has the feel of a much more modern cover than it is. It just doesn’t feel 15 years old, does it?

With a 27,783 print run, these won’t pop up all over the place, but they’re definitely out there on the cheap. With the hype that’s starting to swirl around this one, I wouldn’t sleep on it for too long as I think it gets into the $25-$30 range and doesn’t come down much, if at all.

 

1 ½. Birds of Prey #69 (1999 1st Series)
PUBLISHED: DC Comics – September, 2004
ARTIST: Mark Texeira

 

Umm… DAMN! This one is hot. Yet another superb cover from the first BoP run and quite a different animal from the #57 I just spoke about. In my opinion, these are the two Birds of Prey issues to dig out once you have a #1 and a #8. The #70 is pretty sweet, too, albeit a bit creepy.

This is Tex at his best. The beautifully rendered composition obviously pits Huntress as the centerpiece, but it isn’t what I like best about it. I love the attention to the background details and perspective at work, here, most specifically the water rings on the street.

Huntress’ face is probably the best aspect of the figural work (although the body ain’t too bad either, am I right?). So many of the sexy-girl covers, these days, have a case of butter-face, but not this one. She looks hot and tough and downright formidable.

This is an easy get for a fiver. Do yourselves the favor of digging this one out as you grab a #57.

 

2. Final Crisis: Revelations #2 (2008 Series)
PUBLISHED: DC Comics – November, 2008
ARTIST: Philip Tan

 

Super-cool Renee Montoya as The Question covers are few and far between, but this one crushes. It is simple and dynamic and is probably the sweetest cover for the character out there. Also, it’s dirt-cheap! Bonus.

I’d love to see the pencils for this piece, but it’s really Jonathan Glapion’s inks that make this one shine. I’m not trying to take anything away from Tan, here, but the dynamics of this cover and the depth are all in the shadows and lighting.

The chiaroscuro effect is fantastically achieved specifically because the bright background is what is actually creating the light source in the composition. It is simple and masterful and really makes this whole cover pop. I could do without so much scattered trade dress (especially the huge barcode smack in the center, down at the bottom), but I’m willing to overlook it for such a cool composition.

Again, an easy find for cover price-ish and a damned great cover. With how few good Montoya Question covers there are, this one might see a pick-up, soon.

3. Batman: No Man’s Land – Ground Zero #0 (1999)
PUBLISHED: DC Comics – December, 1999
ARTIST: Glen Orbik

 

Everyone seems to be fixated on Shadow of the Bat #83 when it comes to Huntress as Batgirl and it is an awesome cover, to be sure, but not nearly as awesome as this one. The Cassandra Cain covers are going ape as well, but those, too, are really not nearly as good as this one.
Regardless, no matter who’s wearing this sweet costume, it’s pretty tough lookin’.

This beautifully painted cover is by far the stand-out for me in this series. It has an elevated mastery to it that exists nowhere else in the entire run.

Again, much like the Texeira Huntress cover mentioned above, it isn’t the main subject that intrigues me most, here. While the figural work is, again, astonishing, the lighting from the spotlight effect is what really makes this cover stand out.

By pushing the edges to pure black, a perspective is created that draws the figure forward and gives it dimension. Simultaneously, the trade dress falls into that black and washes out so that it isn’t a distraction, but rather a frame through which we peer into the scene.

Pushing Batgirl’s right side (our left) to black also brings us into the composition in that we are sure from which direction the light is coming. The unification of these effects creates an astounding work of art. I would love to see a virgin version of this piece.

These can still be had for a couple of bucks. This is one of those that I don’t care what it is or isn’t worth. I’m just proud to own one.

 

4. Green Arrow #43 (2011 Series)
PUBLISHED: DC Comics – October, 2015
ARTIST: Ant Lucia

 

Poor black Canary. Frankly, most of her covers are pretty sucky. That coupled with the fact that the character’s design is largely forgettable makes it hard to find stand-outs. THAT coupled with the fact that a ton of her covers have Green Arrow on them with her is yet another added distraction. Her best covers are probably her original Flash Comics #92 cover from 1948 and her Adam Hughes Justice League of American #6 1:10 Variant. Those are obviously worth too much to feature here, though. So…

This one is just a super-fun throwback cover in this line of Bombshell “B” covers. Technically a variant, but these were all cover price on release day and can still be snagged for that. This has that Golden Age “Good Girl Cover” feel to it and I really love it.

Given that the character is a Golden Age character, originally, I thought this one might be a nice choice for those of you who collect in that arena and can’t afford to snag such things as the Flash #98 mentioned, above. They are simple, cleanly rendered covers and have an old-time sensuality to them while remaining demure and classy. High marks for that.

Ant Lucia has some great pin-up style covers and this one may be my favorite. I’m glad Black Canary got a little of that love. If you dig this style, I’d also check out the Wonder Woman #32 or the Harley Quinn #7 “B” covers from the same run. Both are equally as fantastic. They all will only set you back $5-ish.

 

5. Harley Quinn: Our Worlds at War #1 (2001)
PUBLISHED: DC Comics – October, 2001
ARTIST: Jae Lee

 

My 100th featured cover! Woohoo!!!

In a virtual ocean of Harley covers, it’s easy to get Harley fatigue. For the most part, much like the Venomization of the Marvel world, her stuff has just become white noise for me. I find, more and more, that I’m going back to early stuff to get my fix. To be sure, there are some classic Harley covers, but they all cost too much, especially for what they are. Harley fans definitely speak with their wallets, that’s for sure.

This cover used to get more love, but the price has fallen from it’s once-lofty $30-$35 price tag. Now, this is an easy snag for $10 or less. I think the reason is simply the Harley Fatigue I just spoke of, above; there are just too many awesome choices and it’s so difficult to be a completionist, that folks are only ponying up for their faves.

For my money, I prefer Harley this way, as the old-school harlequin version and Jae Lee (as he usually does) crushes this one. It’s gritty, shows the crazed character that Harley is and has superb depth and rendering. It’s as if Harley’s carved out of stone, here. I love it. It is a stand-out amongst earlier Harley covers and I feel it should be in every Harley collection.

***

That’ll do it for another week. I hope you enjoyed and that there was a little something in there for everyone. Until next week, don’t be shy, and leave a comment. Thanks for reading, as always, and happy hunting.

 

4 comments

  • Awesome article! Fun read!
    Benes did so much excellent work on the bop series.
    I love that tex huntress…so much attitude captured in that cover. One of my all time favorite covers
    Ant Lucia is a beast and killed it on those bombshell variants…each one is a keeper.

  • Great covers! If you are a fan of the BoP 57 Huntress Cover, what do you think of the Black Canary cover on BoP 56?

    • Mike Morello

      That’s a pretty good one, too. I think, for me, there is too much clutter on that cover for me, but it has a definite J. Scott Campbell feel to it that I’m sure people really dig. Thanks for the comment!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.