ISSUE #66: The Girls of Phase 4

 

Welcome back to a freshly minted issue of Cover Tunes, my fellow hunters. It has been an insane week of scrambling through collections, making trips to the LCS bins and bottom-feeding off of ebay to get our collective hands on some of the Marvel Phase 4 spec that dropped like a bomb on all of us from Hall H at SDCC this past weekend. For those that already had some of these books (and you should have if you’ve been on top of CBSI articles this past year… hint, hint), I hope you’re cashing in, nicely, and sitting pretty. For those on the hunt, I hope you’ve managed to snipe a few decent books in your searches. Either way, we are amidst another fun time in speculation where we had been in a bit of a lull.

With a title like “The Girls of Phase 4,” I bet you were expecting a calendar. I half-thought about doing that, but I thought 12 covers might have been overkill. Thus, this week, I’ve chosen to take a look at a few cheap and beautiful covers for two leading ladies of the Phase 4 announcements: Scarlet Witch and Jane Foster as Thor. Sure, there are others like Valkyrie and Black Widow, but I have to have something to write about next week, right? Thus stay tuned for part 2 of this, next time.

So, this week, we’ll do three covers apiece for each lady. Hope you like them. Here we go…

 

*****

JANE FOSTER THOR

*****

 

The Jane-Thor news of Thor 4 (Thor: Love and Thunder)  was a bit of a shock and has clearly been a polarizing subject this past week on all of the chats. Mostly, controversy seems to surround the return of Portman as Jane Foster. She had sworn off superhero movies (there are various reports as to why; some say it was for lack of female directors, others say it was because she thought such films were beneath her). Either way, while some think that Star Wars was the demise of the actress, others like me say that she is talented and that she will figure out a way to pull it off.  

 

Thor #6c (2014 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – May, 2015

ARTIST: Stephanie Hans

The design of the character itself (which was partly introduced as far back as the cover of What-If #10 in 1978) lends itself nicely to beautiful covers. Simultaneously strong and sexy, it just works for me. Hans is always a winner, as well, and she does a fantastic job with this cover. It is a clean design with a great layout (especially the perpendicular trade dress) that is expertly rendered with a beautiful palette. Technically an alternate cover price cover on release day, this “Women of Marvel” variant can still be had for a fiver.

 

Thor #705d (2017 Series – Legacy Numbering)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – May, 2018

ARTIST: Stanley “Artgerm” Lau

 

So, the Virgin 1:100 is doing extremely well, right now, but this alternate cover trade dress version seems to be languishing. This proves that people are buying with only profits in mind rather than for the art, which is a crying shame because this may be Artgerm’s best work. The perspective is amazing and the cover is breathtaking. We also get to see Jane’s face which is a nice change from 99% of her Thor covers. I normally don’t choose hyper-modern covers, but it would be a crime to overlook this one. It can still be had for cover price.

 

[All-New, All-Different] Avengers #15 (2016 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – December, 2016

ARTIST: Alex Ross

 

I could not ignore this incredible Ross cover. Ross is STILL criminally overlooked even now amidst his Immortal Hulk success. I could do without the Civil War II trade mess, but the cover is a compositional masterpiece as is almost every Ross cover. Just the shine off of the armor alone is amazing. Little expert characterization touches like the strand of hair across Jane’s mouth are what give covers personality and what set Ross apart from other artists. This is also a cover price grab and may even be in dollar bins.  

 

*****

SCARLET WITCH

 

*****

 

WandaVision… okay, weird, but I’m intrigued. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany have definitely shown that these two “B” list characters can, in fact, be “A” level. Can they carry their own show? We shall see. Supposedly tying in with “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” which was also announced at SDCC, this takes place after “Avengers: Endgame.” How Vision will return is a mystery. White Vision, anybody? Wanda is an interesting character and her kick-ass moment in Endgame definitely moved her up a notch in my book. She has a ton of covers dating all the way back to her debut in X-Men #4 in 1963, but I’ll just give you three of my faves. I like the headdress for comics, but I’m glad they’ve avoided it for the films.

 

Avengers #104 (1963 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – October, 1972

ARTIST: Rich Buckler

 

Silver age covers for Scarlet Witch are generally pretty bad and come in the form of either her in the depths of an ensemble shot or, worse, a weird floaty head somewhere on the cover. In the Bronze age, however, she has a few really cool covers and this is one of them. Albeit another team shot, she still stands out on this one as the central focus. The perspective and depth of this cover are fantastic and even though we’re dealing with the palette limitations of the Bronze Age, here, Scarlet still pops. Like any Bronze Age book, there’s a premium for high grade copies, but in mid-grade, this one should never be more than $5-$10.

 

Deadpool #13b (2018 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – August, 2019 (we know it really wasn’t)

ARTIST: Adi Granov

 

Well, I gave you a hyper-modern for Jane, so now I’ll give you one for Wanda. This cover saw a little heat a month ago, but has died back down and you should still be able to find this floating around shops, probably for cover price, now. It is one of the most beautiful covers of the year and while it pays loose homage to Ross’ Joker and Harley cover, it is definitely a stand-out cover in its own right. Possibly Granov’s best work, ever, this is a PC keeper for me. Granov is almost as criminally underrated as the aforementioned Ross and this cover shows us why we should pay more attention to him.

 

Scarlet Witch #7 (2016 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – August, 2016

ARTIST: David Aja

 

Love this entire series of Aja covers and I’ve featured #14 in a past Cover Tunes article (issue #28 “Wife Knows Best). This one is dramatic and uses that “Mondo” style to convey emotion  extremely well within the extremes of limited color and line. However, details exist in the most unlikely places such as the lace in her headdress while minimalism is employed in parallel in such things as her face. I love the balance. One cannot go wrong with any of the Aja covers in this run and I could feature almost every one of them if I had the space. This entire series can be found for cover price or less.  

 

*****

 

With that, I leave you for now. I hope there was a little something in here for everyone, this week. Next week, part 2 of this feature with more ladies of Phase 4. I hope you’ll join me again, then. Until then, be well, thanks as always for reading and happy hunting.

 

15 comments

  • Avatar

    Agree 100% with your opinion of Ross and Granov being underrated; although I do feel that Ross gets a little more credit than Granov (not that it’s undeserved).

    • Mike Morello

      You’re absolutely right, Ross definitely has FINALLY gotten a little love, but still not enough in my opinion. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated!

  • Avatar

    Ross has been criminally underrated. It seems like his work on Immortal Hulk has been appreciated at least. I agree too that Granov does a lot of fantastic work as well. Sadly, I agree that people are buying for profits rather than art. My favorite cover artist is Artgerm. Most of his regular covers don’t get much heat but some of his ratio variants do. Maybe years down the road the regular covers will heat up.

  • Ben C

    Man there was some heat this week!! Love that bronze Avengers pick!!

    I also really do dig that Aja cover. Thanks for hipping me to more cool stuff!!

    • Mike Morello

      Always a pleasure, my friend. Wanda has some really cool Bronze covers. There’s one or two Byrne covers that are dope, too. Thanks, as always.

  • Clint Joslin

    Mike awesome piece as always! That Avengers 104 has been a fav of mine for quite some time! There’s a lot going on within that shot and the color choices are top notch. I must admit perhaps now it’s time to search out some Jane Foster covers. You gave me a good starting point thanks!

    • Mike Morello

      I know that Jane-Thor had been kind of a joke before last weekend, but something about the idea always resonated with me for some reason and I was bullish on her… still am. Lots of great covers to be had. Thanks for the read and the comment, my friend. Always appreciated.

  • Avatar

    Avengers West Coast #56 for cool Wanda covers?

  • Avatar

    I gotta agree with you on the Artgem Jane Foster cover Mike! A truly amazing cover. And I’d forgotten about that Stephanie Hans one. Great too!

    What do you think of the Jee Hyung 1:50 of Thor #705. Another beautiful cover, but the only thing is that the costume is totally innacurate haha. Feels like a missed opportunity at a classic cover

    On the Adi Granov Scarlet Witch cover, I think his Uncanny Avengers 1 1:75 takes some beating! 🙂

    • Mike Morello

      Now, you just mentioned my true love… That Jee Hyung 1:50 is one of the all time most beautiful covers. In my opinion, it is the prettiest thing from the last 5 years. I could care less about the costume. Great call. It’s an incentive, though, so I can’t cover that in these articles.

      … and I absolutely agree about the granov… it is gorgeous, but as I mentioned, no incentive covers in this column. Therefore, I went with what I felt was the next best thing.

      Thanks so much for the great comment. Both incredible covers.

  • Avatar

    Many artist are extremely talented these days. (remember the days when Mcfarlane stood alone). Some of my favs are all mentioned here as well as a Mcfarlane understudy named Francesco Mattina, some of us may have heard of him.

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