ISSUE 28: Wife Knows Best

Welcome back to Cover Tunes for another wonderful week, fine folks. Thank you all so much for so many great comments on last week’s Joker feature. It’s been a relatively quiet week for comics, overall, but I was pleasantly surprised at the Cursed Comics Cavalcade from DC. It was a great read even though the stories were too short. I like this new horror direction DC seems to be taking as they were the masters of it during the Bronze Age.

It’s nice to see them honoring that talent, yet again. It seems you all largely enjoyed last week’s format, so I will soon write another character-specific issue of Cover Tunes. However, while I prepare that, I’m trying something a little different, this week. I hope you like it. Please, leave comments telling me what you think.

This week’s concept may be amusing for some of you, vindicating for others and yet, for some others, may make you a bit jealous. Obviously, my poor wife has to hear about comic books WAY too often from me. It’s a wonder she doesn’t divorce me. She’s a trooper when it comes to this hobby, some days.

We talk about hot covers we both like and don’t like and she’s generally pretty hip to the trends. She often doesn’t agree with my weekly choices for this column, but I almost always agree with hers. Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken note of covers she’s especially liked and I thought it might provide some fantastic insight into which covers folks outside of the hobby think are worth taking a second look at.

She and I thought it would be a fun change of pace, this week, to let her choose the featured covers. My Wife’s favorites are shown, below. They happen to be a few of my favorites, as well.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

I’m bending a few of my own rules, this week. There is a low-ratio variant on the list as well as a couple of hyper-moderns (which I usually do not feature as they are generally fresh on folks’ minds). However, given that these are all still cover-price-or-less buy-ins, they still fit into most of the prescribed constructs of Cover Tunes.

Thus, away we go…

 

1. Invincible Iron Man #6 (2016 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – April, 2016

ARTIST: Michael Cho

 

Nope, not that Cho, the other Cho. The one that doesn’t get the love, but DEFINITELY should. This is the low-ratio variant I mentioned, earlier. These Cho variants were 1:20 incentives and for the larger print run titles like Iron Man, they are not rare and can be gotten for cover price. Others, like the Vision example, are much rarer and are a tough get under $50.

The entire run is a beautifully stark (ha… see what I did there) representation of each character from Spider-Man and Iron Man to Captain Marvel and Vision to Squirrel Girl and Howard the Duck. This particular example utilizes the space brilliantly and says everything about the character one needs. No frills, just perfectly chosen shape, color and line. Boom. In my opinion, a timeless classic.

 

2. Moon Knight #195 (2017 Series – Legacy Numbering)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – July, 2018

ARTIST: Becky Cloonan

 

The recent run of Cloonan covers on Moon Knight has garnered a lot of attention and praise, of late, and rightly so. A completely fresh take on the character, these covers really relay the mood of Moon Knight rather well. Possibly not since Sienkiewicz’s work on the character have the covers conveyed such grace and abstract feeling.

Again, we are treated to simple use of color and shape with a brilliant layout that utilizes the entire canvass. Not a lot else to say about this one other than it is a hyper-modern and a series people are really enjoying. It probably still lingers on the current rack at your respective LCS for cover price.

 

3. Carnage #11 (2016 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – October, 2016

ARTIST: Mike del Mundo

 

Man, do I love this cover. It just screams evil and the title dress being integrated into the composition is a masterful touch. It gives the cover a beautiful virgin-esque look which suits the art quite well (which is decidedly not always the case). It is close-up, in your face, all Carnage that pops with brilliant use of negative space, line and layout.

As readers have no-doubt already noticed, my wife, Aly, has very specific stylistic tastes. Inasmuch, this week’s choices have that very particular “Mondo” look. A difficult style to classify, Mondo is often loosely associated with postmodernism (although, only stylistically, not ideologically) in the “real” art world.

Artists such as Andy Warhol may come to mind. Art aficionados may argue that no single style can be attributed to the “Mondo” style other than calling it, simply, Mondo. Whatever one calls it, the style is quite striking.

It is a simple 2-dimensional layering style first employed for printmaking, advertising and film posters from the 1940’s into the 1970’s.

The rudimentary designs were often necessary given the methods of printing in those decades. Mondo itself (an Austin, Texas based company), and the festival associated with it, has taken a modern approach to the style and it has become popular with alternate film posters, propaganda poster-style advertising and, well… comic book covers.

As a result, modern artists who employ this style are able to break the old boundaries and limitations of antiquated printing and provide the print world with fresh and exciting design like this amazing Carnage cover.

 

4. Batgirl #26b (2016 Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – October, 2018

ARTIST: Josh Middleton

 

Modern methods have given way to a wide variety of takes on the Mondo style.  It is a way to use simplistic designs to give the most shocking and vividly striking images in order to convey a specific tone or thematic element.

It is efficient and effective and it takes high talent to pull off well. Middleton has been heralded as one such talent. His style seemingly changes from week to week and he continues to flex his multi-style muscles as each cover is as brilliant (or more so) than the last.

This Batgirl cover is a masterpiece in the aforementioned style though it was largely overlooked in favor of Batgirl #23 and a couple of his Mera covers on Aquaman. Those are all great covers, too, but this one deserves more love. In the years to come, I feel folks will come back to this one as it is a timeless design that pulls the space together brilliantly with impeccable use of line and sense of motion.

Obviously, this is another hyper-modern, but it deserves its place on the list, this week, regardless. This one may also still be on the current racks for cover price at your respective LCSs, but it did sell out in most stores. It was “B” cover variant, but was cover price on release day.

 

5. Scarlet Witch #14 (2016 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – March, 2017

ARTIST: David Aja

 

Alfred Hitchcock, anyone? Talk about a cover that portrays tone in exquisite fashion! This just looks and feels like a horror movie poster from the 1960’s. The blood from the eye being integrated into the negative red space is awesome and, yet again, melding the title dress into the composition gives this a cohesive feel.

This one is probably my favorite this week and it is a cover price or less snag. Most of the covers from this series are also great and one may do well to give them all a gander.

 

7. Black Panther #8 (2016 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – January, 2017

ARTIST: Brian Stelfreeze

 

The design of this cover is astonishing and when I spoke to Stelfreeze a few months ago, he was incredibly excited to be working on these Black Panther covers. Clearly, he was able to employ his self-professed attention to detail, here, as well as being able to color outside the lines a bit.

There is an impressionistic feel to this much like a Georges Seurat pointillism painting or a Monet. From afar, the image is clean and crisp, but when one examines closer, it is merely a pattern of lights and darks. Obviously, it is a brilliant example of the use of color and line (one singular line, actually).  

This is my favorite Stelfreeze composition. I hope you agree.

 

*** BONUS ***

Star Trek #7 (1967 Series)

PUBLISHED: Gold Key – March, 1970

ARTIST: Unknown (Photographic Elements Utilized)

 

My Wife, Aly, is a huge Star Trek Fan (a Trekie, not a Treker… big difference). Not only is this cover a perfect choice for her nerdy side, but it is also a prime example of the mid-century printing style we’ve been discussing and produced during its actual time frame.

Utilizing photographic elements and color splash technique, the unknown artist (editor/layout draughtsman) created a startlingly impactful cover just by choosing layout and color.

It is a brilliant example of how simple this style can be while still creating pop. This one may cost a bit more in higher grade, but never more than $10-$15. Other covers from this series are worth checking out as many of them employ similar techniques.

 

***

That about does it for another week. I hope you enjoyed this one as much as Aly and I did. Until next week, as always, thanks for reading and happy hunting.

 

 

 

 

 

11 comments

  • CountZeroInterrupt

    Man, the Venn diagram of our taste in cover art is looking more and more like a total eclipse Mike.

    That Stelfreeze! I was fortunate enough to snag a t-shirt with this cover on it from We Love Fine when they had that cover art promotion with Marvel a couple of years ago (before they went under). I wore it to a convention that Brian attended and he flipped when he saw it. According to him, the image on the shirt isn’t cropped like it is on the cover so you can see the whole image and the edges of what he says is a maze! That’s right: this cover is a maze that you can enter from the edges of, and find your way to the center! Even the print that he made from this art is cropped so the shirt is the only way to see the whole image. I’ve tried to solve it but I only break the shirt out once or twice a year to wear to conventions and I’ve not been able to do it 🙁 Anyways, it’s a terrific cover.

    Also, any cover that Aja does is a lesson in graphic design. These Scarlet Witch covers as well as his Hawkeye and a some of the Brubaker/Fraction run on Immortal Iron Fist have a very graphic feel to them and are some of the best modern covers in the game.

    Awesome article once again Mike- keep ’em coming!

    • Mike Morello

      Thanks so much! That’s REALLY cool about the Black Panther t-shirt. I need one of those. Thanks for the heads up, the comment and for reading, as always!

  • Dan Piercy

    Great selection of books this week. Thanks.

  • Topher

    That Scarlet Witch cover is a must own. Nice job Mike.

  • Ben C

    LOVE that Carnage cover. On the fence about the Batgirl, the more I look though, the more I coming around to it.

    Excellent job Mike!

    • Mike Morello

      Thanks! Yeah, I’ve wanted to use that Carnage for a while now, but was waiting for the right grouping. It seemed to fit, this week.

      I’m giddy for the Batgirl, but I realize I’m in the minority on that one (at least compared to Middleton’s other covers from the series).

  • Great cover selection. That Batgirl cover made me want to go out and buy a Vespa scooter. Very reminiscent of a vintage ad. That Black Panther cover is off the charts amazing. Thanks for bringing attention to these and giving me something else to hunt for. 🙂

  • newt72

    Great job! Thanks for reminding me of that Carnage cover. It is excellent. I always remember the early issues of this series. I think I should put together the whole run. All the Mike del Mundo covers deserve recognition.

  • funny that the carnage cover is the only one that doesn’t grab me, love all the rest though. Great picks.

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