ISSUE #21: Strength in Beauty

Welcome back, CBSI! I hope you all had a fantastic week and that you’re gearing up for some hunting, this week. Last week’s issue on Mike’s and Dave’s seemed to hit home for a few folks. I hope this week will be equally as entertaining to you all. Please, sound off in the comments and when you do, for this week, tell me the Bronze Age book you own that you’d never part with. Last week’s answers to your Copper Age/Modern Age prizes were very interesting and thank you to those who shared your thoughts with us.  

Three interesting notes before we kick this week off…

The first is that I teamed up with a fellow CBSI member, this weekend, and we sold at a small local show. We both brought a variety of pretty hot books, but the only thing anyone seemed to want was ANYTHING to do with Venom, Carnage and symbiotes. No matter what that movie does in October, the hype is real, folks. Everything to do with symbiotes has blown up with new hits every day. Don’t sleep on ‘em. You’ll might be sorry you did.

The second thing is, there was an article I was forwarded that spoke about some comic shop, somewhere, where they interviewed the people shopping in the store. When asked, each of them said they were happy they were probably the most normal, well-adjusted person in the shop, unlike the rest of their fellow shoppers who were weird nerds. I thought it was hilarious.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: If you think you’re the only normal one in a comic shop, you are definitely not. With that in mind, we had a contest in our local LCS on which regular customer was the most normal. While I didn’t win (shocker) I realized that I’m not the MOST abnormal, at least. I can have a well-adjusted non-comic related conversation, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Lastly, you all know I’m a Sienkiewicz freak by now. If you’re like me, I encourage you to check out the awesome cover being offered in the contest that dropped on Monday for the New Mutants: Dead Souls #6 Sienkiewicz Variant from Starbase 1552 Comics in Tennessee. To win one, just head over to the contest post and tell us your favorite Sienkiewicz cover. If you can’t wait (like me), you can buy one right now from the Starbase website or on the bay.

There’s no specific connecting thread for my choices, this week, other than that they are all beautiful and strong women featured on inexpensive covers by artists who deserve more love. Here we go…

 

1. Batwoman #9 (2011 Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – July, 2012

ARTIST: Ben Oliver

 

So, Ben Oliver has become a silent favorite among many, these days. His covers are simply jaw-dropping in almost every instance. Every time I feel I’ve found my favorite Oliver cover, a new one (like this one) pops up to take its place. Perhaps it’s that I love the design of Batwoman. Perhaps it’s that I love Ben Oliver’s style. Perhaps it’s both, but I have no idea why this cover isn’t getting the love that so many others are getting like the Jock, Jones and Hughes covers from the Detective Comics #850’s run, for instance. Those are beautiful, too, but this one needs to be counted among them.

I doubt I need to remind readers how all things Batwoman are blowing up at the moment with the show announcement. If you hadn’t heard, now you have and I for one want to hunt down all of my favorites before the show hits. I think Batwoman has the potential to be counted among DC’s most popular superheroes, eventually, and I do not want to be left holding nothing when the smoke clears.

This cover is crisp and clean and strong and layed out perfectly. It is simple where it needs to be and complex, too. It has depth and stunning contrast with a color palette that blends the composition together, beautifully. This is another I wish I could own in a virgin version. Either way, we can all currently own it as-is for cover price or less.

 

2. Ms. Marvel #13 (2016 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – January, 2017

ARTIST: Joelle Jones

 

Joelle Jones has struck big chord with her recent Catwoman covers as well as many others, but this Kamala Khan cover is perhaps the single best non-variant cover of the character. I normally wouldn’t choose such a hyper-modern cover, but I couldn’t resist this one as it seems to have fallen under the radar. I certainly can’t figure out why. It is a layout masterpiece and feels a lot like it should be an incentive variant.

Let’s face facts, most Kamala Khan covers are downright silly or very poorly rendered. With the explosion of this character amidst many rumors, even terrible covers are seeing a lot of love that don’t deserve it whereas this one clearly does.

This one has fantastic strength and movement and depicts Kamala with all of the high notes of her character design nicely accentuated. Simple and powerful linework within great perspective make this one pop. This one is also, as one might expect, a cover-price-or-less grab.

 

3. Thunderbolts #11 (2013 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel  Comics – September, 2013

ARTIST: Julian Totino Tedesco

 

Tedesco’s covers often have a very static feel and, unfortunately, they are also often cluttered with far too many characters. The ones that don’t are usually incentive variants, but this incredibly striking Elektra cover is hardly static and hardly cluttered. It is gritty and filled with emotion and tension. The color palette is bold and brilliant and there is an immediate sense of violence to it. In general, when we see Elektra, she is depicted as a sex pot. In this case, we acutely see the ruthless assassin she is. I love the treatment of the character and the composition. While the cover focuses on the dark tone, I love little touches of femininity like Elektra’s hoop earrings. It shows the stark dichotomy of the character.

Normally, I hate the color strip at the bottom of this era of Marvel books, but because the cover is predominantly red and the strip is also red, it doesn’t distract me, here. This is a clear win, in my opinion, and can be gotten for less than cover.

 

4. Lady Mechanika: #2 (2010 Series)

PUBLISHED: Aspen Comics – July, 2011

ARTIST: Joe Benitez

 

I have to come clean. This week, I’m cheating on my regular crush, Bill Sienkiewicz, and I’m cheating on him with Joe Benitez and his amaze-balls covers to every Lady Mechanika cover, ever. His “A” covers, his web store exclusives, his incentives, his con variants, his “B” covers, his sketch covers. ALL OF IT! It is breathtaking stuff!

I feel very few get the “steampunk thing” like Benitez does. The Victorian grace and intricacy of each cover is unbelievable and the interior art is just as nice (or nicer) than the covers. The color palette is industrial with flashes of steel greys and golds to accentuate the hardware while the figural work is clean and sleek and beautiful with the appropriate vintage hues for skin and clothing.

DC did its run of “steampunk” covers and so many of those go for hundreds, but most of them look downright silly compared to these Lady M covers. There is not only an authenticity to them, but also a lovely balance between delicate florals and gritty, tough hardware that juxtapose perfectly. Honestly, choose your favorite. I don’t think there’s a single poor cover on any of the many issues through the five different mini series.

With his recent social media update (whether it be fact or fiction) that Lady M has been optioned with a script writer and a possible star actress to play her, the first appearance in #0 of this 2010 mini series has seen huge gains (upward of $100 or more). The #1 is following quickly behind, but this #2 and those afterward are still easily obtainable for $10 or less.

However, do note that the print runs on these were tiny in some cases. Later issues were only printed in the 20,000’s and that is split over at least two, sometimes three covers. In many cases, specific covers were printed in numbers of 5000 or even less (like the 1st printing of #0, for instance). That’s Walking Dead type numbers, people (and we all know what that one did). If this series gets made into something successful, we could see huge gains across the whole series.

I could go on forever with this one… I’ll stop, now.  

 

 

5. Ms. Marvel #41 & Ms. Marvel #48 (2006 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – September, 2009 & February, 2010, respectively

ARTIST: Sana Takeda

 

Okay, so we all know Takeda won the Eisner for best freaking everything for Monstress. The Monstress covers are all absolutely breathtaking, but I wanted to feature some other relevant work just to show how versatile and far-reaching Takeda can be. Both of these covers hit me hard and for similar reasons.

They are both absolutely stunning pieces of art. Strong, sexy and masterfully composed. The phenomenal figural work is a sight to behold and the lighting on both is impeccable (from the skyline in #41 and the fire in #48). Those secondary aspects not only provide the light sources, but they provide perfect grounding and context. The attitude in #41 and the rage in #48 are keenly felt.  

I struggled so much between them that I absolutely had to just choose both and call it a day. There’s not a lot to be said about these covers that they can’t say for themselves. In fact, all of Takeda’s covers in this run are beautiful. I encourage you to check them all out and choose your favorites. They are all cheap snags.

 

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And that, dear readers, brings us, yet again, to our conclusion. I hope there was a little something in this week’s for everyone. Please, please, please comment and let me know your thoughts and don’t forget to tell me about your favorite Bronze Age prize when you do. Until next time, thanks so much for reading and happy hunting.

 

 

 

 

 

8 comments

  • Dan Piercy

    Nice. Wasn’t aware of Sana Takeda’s work for Marvel. Thanks. 👍

  • Mike Morello

    I was also surprised by those when I went down the Takeda rabbit hole. I think they’re incredible. Thanks, Dan.

    By the way, the bronze book I own that I would never part with is House of Secrets #92. Obvious big 1st app, Great story and one of the most iconic and beautiful covers, ever.

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    I absolutely love the Joelle Jones Ms Marvel cover and I couldn’t agree more that it has the feel of a much more iconic standing like it should have been an incentive or better. Anytime I see a cover end up on the trade or become a true believers reprint I take a second to see if I have a copy stashed in my boxes. Nice write up! You do good work sir! Thank you! PS I’m gonna tell Bill your cheating on him… He’ll probably like it though…

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    Ms Marvel #48 is a pretty sweet cover! As far as the one bronze age book I own that I will never part with? That would have to be my Hulk 181. Graded higher than I though after I sent it in to CGC so that was an extra bonus. That book, with its awesomeness never disappoints!

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    I kind of want to read that research article you cited. Is that published somewhere I can check out? Thanks for article, I also like the Batwoman cover (that would make a rad short box design) yours remains one of my favorites on this site.

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