The Land of Frost
When James, the beloved webmeister and owner of Stl Comics offered to me a
gallery of my favorite comic book covers, he lit a fire beneath my feet.
When I read comics I do so as a fan first. This gallery contains covers
from three types of books. Comic talents I enjoy the work of, covers that
made me buy the title, and covers of comics that were on titles that I love.
Miller was the writer/artist who utilized two important features from
film to add to the comic medium. He choreographed all his action scenes,
and used realistic dialogue to make the action have more contexts.
Later in his career he chose to illustrate a number of noir tales, told
under the title of SIN CITY, and even an adaptation of the military history
event of the battle of Thermopylae, 300. He embraced the many influences
upon his work, Goseki Kojima, Moebius, Will Eisner and more. But the end
result is such good work.
His covers were powerful, exaggerated, and convincing. His scenes
were filled with imagination, vitality and never relied upon shock
value to make the point. That is not to say that his covers were
tame, or even politically correct. What he did was create a great
number of covers that could well have been used by the US government
as recruiting posters. As a historian, I appreciate the value of
these covers, and do not at all apologize for their inappropriate
content for the perspective and sensitivities of present popular
Without a question, Tim Truman is my favorite artist in comics, and
favorite person in the industry. He is a friend and a kind soul.
His covers are brilliant, and his stories are tales where hard bitten
heroes overcome great obstacles to find a morality and goodness that
would belie their origins.
Truman's work is excellent overall, and while I like his cover work, I
am more impressed by the whole package story, storytelling, art and cover.
To me, when I look at Jack Kirby's work, I return to being a 10 year old
boy, amazed by the stories, excited by the action, and thrilling to the
covers that jumped out at the viewer. I can say that I understand why
people in the present might see a strange art style, but the 10 year old
boy in me looks at these covers and remembers how great they were. I
am unabashedly a fan of Kirby, totally unable to view his work with
anything like a critical eye.
When I found out that so many of my favorite talents in the comic industry
had viewed Kirby's work similarly I understood the power Kirby possessed.
His was an ability to take a concept, and place it on paper in such a way
as to capture the imagination of children. What a great gift he possessed.
I am unable to altogether explain my love for the covers of the DOOM
PATROL as illustrated by Simon Bisley. The covers are wonderful to
look at, and stood as a touch point for a certain kind of madness that
filled the interior pages of the DOOM PATROL. I am not a fan of a lot
of Bisley's sequential work, but that is about content far more than
quality. Along with a cover from the Doom Patrol's first run,
here are some wonderful covers by Simon Bisley.
I encountered the work of Jae Lee first upon Namor and his Image title
Hellshock. I was impressed by his talent, but really was never able to
anchor it to a story or idea worthy of that talent. That changed when I
read INHUMANS by Lee and Paul Jenkins. It was a great series, worthy of
both talents and one that absolutely announced to me Jae Lee was a special
talent. His work on an equally good series, Fantastic Four 1234 with Grant
Morrison through his covers and interiors, made these comics I had to have.
I know Tim Bradstreet and I think his enormous talent for creating
memorable covers is second only to his enormous sense of cool. His
work is photo real, is exquisitely accurate, and has a flavor about
it that makes you want to buy the book, regardless of the content
within. To some extent, there are reasons why that could be very bad,
as a great cover could disguise a horrible interior. Fortunately, I
have found that to not be a real issue, as most of the Bradstreet
covers are around very good titles.
Detailed, smooth, powerful. Weston is a talent who takes a lot of time
finishing his work, but the results on the page are so impressive you
end up saying however long it takes, just let me have that book. I
think that his work is so smooth that it appears easily done, which is
not true. That it appears to be seamless and that is a good thing but
that people assume that it must be a fast process, but that too, is not
true. His comic work has included super heroes, but it is his work
utilizing historical events and war machines that shows his talents best.
I have a great respect for the work of Chris Weston, and I endlessly hope
to see his work on any title I am enjoying.
The true iconic character of vigilantism, Batman is a revenge fantasy
illustrated. Whether on screen or in comics, Batman has a certain
resonance, and works for me. He is too much of an icon for me to be
my favorite, as I wish revenge upon no person, but, it can be said that
it is directly due to his status as an icon that so many excellent
stories have been written using him as a central figure.
Since being a child, the Shadow was a character I found myself drawn towards.
His stories could be told from a perspective of history, the 1930s pulp era
of America, or the modern era. Being that his mystic powers included being
able to see inside the heart of a person, and see the evil therein, his
revenge was clear cut, and pure. Whereas Batman was an icon, the Shadow
was the force of good, causing evil to flee.
Darkly told stories have a power behind them that I find interesting,
especially if well done. Vertigo titles were a wonderful addition to the
comics market. At one time I bought all of the Vertigo books, and for the
most part, I enjoyed them all. I no longer buy the whole output of the
line, but I do enjoy the books still.
Just about all team books from the 1960s to the 1980s were read and
followed by me. And, while I like the JSA and Legion of Super Heroes,
from DC, the two covers here are examples of the reasons why Marvel
teams were so attractive to me. Whether full of action or emotionally
intense, Marvel's sense of drama and intrigue can be incredible.
COVERS I LIKE FOR WHATEVER REASON,
whether story, art or how it struck my eye.
Silver Surfer: Parable
I am a great fan of Silver Surfer, and an even greater fan of Jean
Giraud, or Moebius. This title brought the mercurial and amazing
style of Moebius to the attention of the American comics market, and
before it, and since its arrival, Moebius's work stands as art I cannot
stop looking at.
I would not normally choose a Howard Chaykin cover, as his is not a
favorite style for me. His work is idiosyncratic and looks odd to me.
But VIGILANTE at this time was a title I liked, and the cover perfectly
captured a sense of action, and was eye catching.
Not a title I loved, still, this cover made me take notice, as it is
both modern in sensibilities and beautiful.
J.O. Ladronn is a limitlessly talented artist.
Knights of the Pendragon #1
A title that was better at interpreting a UK group of heroes than any
other I have read.
What kid would not love the thought of having a rocket on your back
and fighting bad dudes?
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"Inside you there's an artist you don't know about. He's not interested
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-- Auguste Rodin
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