Cover ISSUE #34: Four is a Crowd

 

Hello again from Music City, fine folks! Last week, I streamlined the format of these articles and many of you seem to dig it. Thank you all for the constructive comments and feedback. I appreciate your time. Inasmuch, I am continuing to organize these in a “through the ages + one for the kids” type of fashion. Let me know if there is anything further I can do to make these more enjoyable/informational for you all.

Since we last spoke, we got treated to a new Captain Marvel Trailer AND the Avengers: Endgame teaser. Some awesome new nuggets in those and I’m curious what you all think about them. While everyone chases Ronin and Spidey 2099 spec, this week, I thought I’d look at some tangential books and a couple of fun ones rather than jam the same spec down your throats. No need to beat dead horses, right?

So without pomp and circumstance, here we go…

 

MODERN AGE

 

Annihilation: Super Skrull #4 (2006 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – September, 2006

ARTIST: Gabriele Dell’Otto

 

I’ve featured other Annihilation covers on here before and I’ve done so because, frankly, they are almost all spotless examples of the prowess of Dell’Otto. Almost all of them can be gotten cheaply and almost all of them are as good or better than his high-end variants which can sell for hundreds (or even thousands, in some cases). If great art is what you seek, why drop that kind of cash when you can snag these at bargain basement prices?

There are not many decent Skrull covers. Most of them are hokey Silver and Bronze Age jobs where the skrulls look more like green smurfs than they do villains. In this cover, Dell’Otto finally realizes the proper menace of the race and depicts it elegantly with great depth, emotion and action. Of course, Dell’Otto’s mastery of the media is unparalleled and it shown off in all of its splendor on this puppy. The attention to detail and palette are superb and make viewers actually care about a character they might have otherwise dismissed.   

With the Skrulls seemingly set to be the big baddies for the upcoming Captain Marvel Film, I expect this cover, specifically, to do well. There are three others in this mini-series, but this #4 blows them all away. It’s an easy get at cover price or just slightly more for a NM example. I don’t expect that to last long.  

 

BRONZE/COPPER AGE

 

 Silver Surfer #1 (1982 1-Shot)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – June, 1982

ARTIST: John Byrne

 

This book baffles me. I always expect that this one is going to blow up, eventually; not only for the cover but also for the content. I mean, we get a great Surfer Story that has Mephisto and Galactus. For what more could one ask?

Anyhow, the cover… This may be Byrne’s best work (and that is saying something). Like many of us, I latched onto Byrne during his epic X-Men run (and there is A LOT to like, there), but there is plenty else to be excited about, as well. This Surfer 1-Shot is at the upper echelon of them. When contrasted alongside other period covers, this one is so much more striking and “modern” than other contemporary covers. It is bold, dynamic, precise and powerful. The line work is on vivid display and there is a kind of majesty in it.

Pricing on this book is a bit strange as some people try to get $20 and $30 out of a NM raw. Slabs can reach the $200 mark, but nice raws can be gotten by the diligent for cover price or just above. Plenty of crisp copies currently listed at $4-$10 in a variety of locations throughout the interwebs.      

 

SILVER/GOLDEN AGE

 

The Phantom #11 (1962 Series)

PUBLISHED: Gold Key – April, 1965

ARTIST: George Wilson (Uncredited)

 

Up through #17, prior to the branding change to King Features, these painted covers are freaking amazing. Really, all of them are excellent. The Phantom, the ACTUAL first superhero in comics (sorry Superman, it’s not you) was first launched on February 17th, 1936 (more than 2 full years before Action Comics #1) and continued as a comic strip, radio program and reprinted strips by Frew Publications. When Gold Key picked it up, they began to have these beautiful covers which are worth picking up for the mere striking nature of them.  

This #11 stands out, but many of the others are just as dynamic. The color use and perspective on this cover is outstanding and just as masterful as many of today’s Modern Age cover “painters”… even better, perhaps.

Perhaps the silly nature of the Billy Zane/Kristy Swanson 1996 film tarnished the character for the modern audience, but it is a crime that this character has been largely forgotten. Almost all of these (aside from #1) can be gotten for $10 or less.

 

FOR THE KIDS

 

The Batman Adventures #13 (1992 Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – October, 1993

ARTIST: Mike Parobeck

 

I absolutely love this cover and hate that this entire series doesn’t get more attention as a result of people ignoring every issue other than #12 and #28. It is just pure, simple comic art. It is bold and iconic as was the cartoon which many consider to be the best cartoon ever to grace our TV screens. Along with the 90’s X-Men animated series, it is definitely up there towards the top for me, as well.

I could probably have chosen a dozen covers from this series, but this #13 stands out above the others. It is simple, impactful and framed beautifully. There is a clear attention to space and clean line which give this a timeless look. It feels modern and vintage all at the same time. Anyhow, an easy get out of your local dollar bin.    

 

*****

 

Again, we are at the sad end for yet another week. I look forward to your comments and hope there was a little something in here for everyone. Until next time, be good to each other, thanks for reading and happy hunting.

 

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