ISSUE #67: The Girls of Phase 4 (Part 2)

 

Welcome back to part 2 of Cover Tunes: The Girls of Phase 4. Thank you all so much for your overwhelming support for last week’s part 1 of this feature. Clearly, this is a topic on top of many readers’ minds, me included. While Jane-Thor seems to be the spec winner in this category, there are others who deserve their place in the sun. Scarlet Witch was the other I chose to look at closely in last week’s Cover Tunes #66 along with Jane Foster as Thor. If you missed it, I encourage you to check it out. However, Black Widow and Valkyrie are the other two top contenders and they are the focus in this week’s part 2.

Now… caveat, I already recently did a feature on my favorite inexpensive Black Widow covers in Cover Tunes #41. Please, click on over to that if you’d like write-ups on those. Also, Jason Shaw’s “Connecting The Dots: Black Widow” Part 1 and Part 2 are also awesome resources. Don’t miss those if the character particularly intrigues you.    

This week, rather than bombard you all with a lengthy intro, I have a lot of covers to get to. Because, as mentioned, I already did a feature solely on Black Widow when the announcement was first mentioned, I’m only going to feature her covers as “Quick Hits.” The focus this week will fall more on Valkyrie. She has some amazing covers. I think you’ll agree. Check ‘em out…

 

*****

VALKYRIE

*****

 

[Women of Marvel] Valkyrie #1 (2010 One-Shot)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – November, 2010

ARTIST: Jay Anacleto   

 

A strong and valiant looking Valkyrie graces this cover. She is beautiful and powerful and expertly rendered here by Anacleto. This nicely uncluttered cover is a real lost gem and deserves some love. It is a $5 get, but it certainly doesn’t pop up all that often. I particularly love the achievement of the satin cape that almost appears photographically accurate. Moreover, the backdrop is not a distraction from the central statuesque figure who pops out of the composition quite nicely. Overall, an outstanding work.

 

Secret Avengers [Fear Itself] #14 (2010 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – August, 2011

ARTIST: Adi Granov

 

If you can’t tell, I’m all about Adi Granov, these days. He deserves it. This astounding cover is full of emotion and drama. The movement is intense and the layout and perspective are brilliant. There exists a stoicism in Granov’s work that works incredibly well on this cover. That factor is actually what many don’t like about Granov in that they feel his work is feels static. I think you’ll agree that this cover does not suffer from that ailment. Like I always say, I could do without the extra ‘paned’ trade dress which creates a severe limitation to the canvas and unnecessarily crops the beautiful image. I’d have loved to have seen this as a virgin cover.

NOTE TO VARIANT HUNTERS: While this is a cover price or less grab and a rather easy find, do note that there was a Dynamic Forces version signed by author Scot Eaton and limited to 100 copies.  

 

[Women of Marvel] Secret Avengers #6B (2010 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – December, 2010

ARTIST: Jelena Kevik-Djurdjevic

 

Yet another “Women of Marvel” cover, this one (unlike the one above which only had the single cover) was a “B” cover. However, it was not incentivized. Thus, it is applicable to a Cover Tunes article. Also, it can still be snagged for around $10. I am a huge fan of Djurdjevic’s work in that it is clean and bold in its simplicity. As such, we get a crisp representation of the gracefully grand character against a stark backdrop. The result has strong and singular focus. Since this series of covers are character-centric, it is rightly accomplished, here. Not to be confused with the “other” Djurdjevic (Marko), their styles are similar enough to be mistaken for one another. The “Est. 1970” is a reference to Valkyrie’s first appearance in Avengers #83 in December of that year.

 

[The New] Defenders #130 (1972 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – April, 1984

ARTIST: Frank Cirocco

 

Well, Cirocco is DEFINITELY not a household name, but this Sienkiewicz-esque cover certainly drew my attention. This dollar bin book is a gorgeously painted rendition of the character not only in portrait, but also gallantly astride her Pegasus. Neither image steals from the other and, in fact, they compliment each other nicely in that one works as the background while the other is the focal character through the masterful choices of palette. Also, perhaps it was an excellent crop or an intentional artistic move by Cirocco to crop the left wing off of the Pegasus. Whomever chose to do it, I love crops of this manner as they force perspective and provide extra depth. This is a near-perfect Copper Age cover. I hope you agree. I can’t wait to find one for myself.

 

The Defenders #4 (1972 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – February, 1973

ARTIST: John Buscema

 

Oh, man! What a classic cover for this character and done up by none other than John Buscema who, while providing so much of my favorite art, seems to always have been overshadowed by others during this era. Granted, they all deserve love as they all were (and still are) the backbone of the comics industry during the Bronze and Copper ages. However, this cover shows the character in all of her splendor with Buscema’s strong linework. The bold Bronze Age color is unmistakable and gives a wondrous nostalgia to the overall presentation. This one, like any Bronze Age book will run you a premium in high grades. However, in mid grades, this is a cheap book at $20 or less… as a matter of fact, it can be easily found in person in bins for $10-ish.

 

*****

BLACK WIDOW

 

*****

 

QUICK HITS

 

Black Widow #9 (2014 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – October, 2014

ARTIST: Phil Noto

 

Quite simply, one of Noto’s best. Simple. Bold. Elegant. Never a fan of that damned red “Ad Strip” on the bottom, but the art overcomes it in this instance. 

 

Black Widow: Deadly Origin #3 (2010 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – March, 2010

ARTIST: Adi Granov

 

Broken record though I may be, can anyone deny the beauty of this thing?! Another amazeballs Granov. Sexy, sexy, SEXY! The entire series is outstanding and cheap.

 

Black Widow: Pale Little Spider (2002 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – June, 2002

ARTIST: Greg Horn

 

While all of the Jones covers seem to be getting the love from two series prior, this one has a few excellent covers, as well. All accomplished by Horn, this one is by far my favorite.

 

Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #1 (2005 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – November, 2005

ARTIST: Bill Sienkiewicz

 

Now, c’mon… I’ve gone like two full months without featuring a Sink cover. I was starting to go through withdrawal. Thus, here is one for me so that I don’t go into convulsions. Ha! Anyhow, all jokes aside, weird though it may be and although the body seems to make zero anatomical sense, I still love this cover. I guess I just love butts (no, not Daredevil’s). Abstract Sienkiewicz at its best.

 

*****

 

Again, another shameless reminder to check out my Cover Tunes #41 for more Black Widow cheap cover favorites. However, I still hope there was a little something in this one for everyone. Until next week, be well. Thanks as always for reading and happy hunting.

 

7 comments

  • Avatar

    Love the covers. The women of marvel variants are great, I’ve started picking them up whenever I see them. There are some great Valkyrie covers in the Fearless Defenders series and I love the Cho from Fear Itself Fearless.

    • Mike Morello

      Yes! That Cho is fantastic, but it unfortunately isn’t cheap. Too bad as I’d like one. I considered it for this week until I saw prices.

  • Dell18

    Cirocco!!! Nobody even knows who he is but I’ve loved his stuff forever. What little material he has out there. I always grab it and it’s usually cheap. I’m also surprised Greg Horn doesn’t get more love. I’m not a massive fan but I usually like his stuff and it just seems like he’d be a bigger hit with the boys.

    • Mike Morello

      Dell, so true about Horn. He has some excellent Black widow covers (one of which I featured last week) and that great run of Ms. Marvels. He used to be hot a long time ago, but for some reason gets no love, anymore. I’m with you, though… I still dig his stuff. Thanks, as always, for the comment, bud.

  • Ben Steiniger

    Great stuff as always Mike. Love your choices of covers.

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