Robot 6

The 50 best covers of 2010

Chew #12 (Comic-Con exclusive cover), by Rob Guillory

The third annual rundown of the best covers of the year features 50 images — oh, okay, 51 — representing the work of some 46 different artists (plus inkers, colorists and designers) from nine publishers.

Returning artists like Chris Bachalo, Dave Johnson, Sean Phillips and Yuko Shimizu are joined on this year’s list by “new” names like Kody Chamberlain, Camilla D’Errico, Amy Reeder and Drew Weing. (You can peruse the previous years’ lists here and here.)

As in the past, I’ve tried to explain the appeal of each entry; some covers get just a sentence, while others receive entire paragraphs. That doesn’t reflect the quality of the image, but merely what I have to say about it.

Note:  While last year’s list included five manga covers, this year features none. I’m not sure whether that’s a byproduct of the contraction of the manga market, a sign of a shift in cover quality — among manga or Western comics — or a shortcoming on my part (if it’s the latter, I’ll own up to it; however, after several excursions in search of manga candidates, I found none that I felt qualified as among the 50 best.)

With that out of the way, I present, in alphabetical order, the 50 best covers of 2010:

Absolute All-Star Superman, by Frank Quitely

Frank Quitely already created one iconic cover for this acclaimed series — the image of Superman sitting on a cloud was parodied just last year — and now he’s done it again for the oversized hardcover collection. Some have asserted the halo effect overplays the Superman-as-Christ-figure card, but I think Quitely pulls it off masterfully.

Afrodisiac, by Jim Rugg

Everything about this tightly cropped image says “attitude,” perfect for the collected adventures of Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca’s blaxploitation-styled hero.

American Vampire #2, by Rafael Albuquerque

Rafael Albuquerque came up with a great design solution for the covers for the first arc of the Vertigo vampire series, which told two stories set in different eras: the Old West and 1920s Hollywood. Here both eras are represented by the outlaw Skinner Sweet and a blood-smeared door to a dressing room.

The Amazing Spider-Man #618, by Marcos Martin

One of the industry’s underrated talents, Marcos Martin somehow balances a Silver Age flair and a very modern sensibility in his work. For this image he takes a quintessential 1960s supervillain — Mysterio’s essentially a guy in a cape with a fishbowl on his head — and transforms him into a truly menacing figure.

The Amazing Spider-Man #633, by Chris Bachalo

I love all of Chris Bachalo’s covers for the four-part “Shed” arc, but this one, which essentially puts the reader inside the Lizard’s mouth, is the strongest. I always like it when artists can convey emotion with the eyes of Spider-Man’s costume; here the wall-crawler’s panic seems real as he struggles in the grip of the reptilian tail.

The Amazing Spider-Man #641, by Paolo Rivera

Let’s ignore the controversies surrounding the “One More Day” and “One Moment in Time” storylines and just focus on the beauty of Paolo Rivera’s painting, in which Mary Jane and Spider-Man hold on to each other even as they bleed into the background.

Astro City: The Dark Age Book 4 #4, by Alex Ross

There’s no denying the grandeur of this Alex Ross image, even as it evokes sad memories of the 1986 Challenger disaster.

Avengers Academy #7, by Ed McGuinness

The severe angle and tight crop combine to make it appear as if Giant-Man is growing before our eyes, becoming too large for the cover. Note the sidewalk cracking beneath his weight.

Baltimore: The Plague Ships #1, by Mike Mignola

Mike Mignola shares much of the credit with colorist Dave Stewart for this arresting image of the Captain Ahab-esque Lord Henry Baltimore, who finds Europe infested with vampires in the wake of a plague that ended World War I.

Batwoman #0, by J.H. Williams III

J.H. Williams III continues some of the Art Deco elements from his Detective Comics run, providing Kate Kane with her own graphic identity.

Batman Beyond #2, by Dustin Nguyen

The dramatic angle, the color palette and the title — “Death at Three Million Feet” — combine for a stunning image.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #31, by Jo Chen

Willow Rosenberg faces a Tibetan goddess of war who’s both fantastic and terrifying in this Jo Chen image.

Chew #12 (Comic-Con exclusive cover), by Rob Guillory

I have no idea where Rob Guillory drew his inspiration for this vibrant, five-color image of Poyo, the cockfighting champion, but I’m reminded of a Renaissance portrait. Only, y’know, in Technicolor. This may be my favorite cover of 2010.

Chew #16, by Rob Guillory

Two Chew covers, both featuring chickens? Who’d have guessed. This one is a stained and worn menu for Mother Clucker’s, the former fried-chicken chain whose hilarious and demented mascot is a bespectacled hen serving her own leg. The use of Brush Script for the restaurant’s logo is a nice touch.

Criminal: The Sinners #4, by Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips has established himself as a master at capturing the visual style of film noir, with its silhouetted figures, low-key light and dark alleyways. Here Tracy Lawless is bathed in shadow and the surreal red glow of the rain-soaked streets of Chinatown, the perfect noir setting.

Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story, by Nessim Higson

Designer Nessim Higson uses mixed media to depict a submerged New Orleans — literally, as a city map serves as the background — for a thriller set during the days following Hurricane Katrina.

Daytripper #2, by Gabriel Ba

Gabriel Bá’s cover for the second issue of Daytripper, his Vertigo collaboration with brother Fábio Moon, is beautifully surreal, blurring the boundaries between reality and fantasy.

Demo 2 #5, by Becky Cloonan

There’s something beautiful and understated about the play of light and shadow across the girl’s face. Plus there are the minor details, like the bandage on her arm, and the shoes hanging from the power lines.

Detective Comics #864, by Cliff Chiang

Cliff Chiang transforms the Dark Knight into a monstrous creature of the night — note the obscured face and claw-like fingers — beneath a full moon that sports the Black Mask’s unsettling image.

DMZ #54, by J.P. Leon

There’s a solemn beauty in the repetition of the flag-draped coffins.

Elephantmen #29, by Camilla D'Errico

I won’t deny that the adorable baby hippo is a big selling point here, but I particularly like the pink hue cast by the umbrella over part of the crowd. And don’t overlook the incorporation of the Image “I” into the comic’s title.

Feeding Ground #2, by Michael Lapinski

For this horror series set on the Mexico-Arizona border, Michael Lapinski takes the familiar religious symbol of a flaming heart to another, more visceral level by using the actual organ rather than the stylized icon.

iZombie #5, by Michael Allred

Michael Allred makes terrific use of space, burying a terrified Gwen beneath two-thirds of the cover image. The pink lining provides a nice balance to the massive field of black, too.

King City #9, by Brandon Graham

Although I doubt many readers followed Brandon Graham’s instructions to cut up the cover, I love the playfulness and ingenuity behind the King City game pieces. That the entire image looks like a package you’d find in the toy aisle at the corner market — complete with price sticker — makes it that much better.

Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom #1, by Gabriel Rodriguez

The fourth Locke & Key series debuts with a bloody yet strangely beautiful cover that hints at some of the savagery to be found inside. It’s a little disturbing that I’m drawn by the way the blood pools in the animal track.

The Marvelous Land of Oz #3, by Skottie Young

Skottie Young turns to Soviet propaganda imagery for this issue, in which General Jinjur and her army of amazonian milkmaids storm the gates of Emerald City in an effort to end the reign of the Scarecrow.

The Mice Templar: Destiny #6, by Michael Avon Oeming

In a bit of a departure for the series, Michael Avon Oeming uses just two colors — grays and red — for this ghostly watercolor image of the cryptic Bats of Meave.

Morning Glories #4, by Rodin Esquejo

With a handful of covers for Morning Glories — I’m thinking of the second, fourth and fifth issues — Rodin Esquejo hit upon an approach that near-perfectly conveys the sense of paranoia that runs through the series. Here, as with those other two issues, he transforms the cover into an enclosed, claustrophobic space, an effect aided by the limited lighting and heavy shadows. I also appreciate the subtle morning glory pattern on the walls.

The New Avengers: Luke Cage #2, by Eric Canete

Eric Canete’s illustration is just rippling with tension and energy — I mean, it’s Luke Cage fighting three tigers! Plus, the colors are lovely.

Northlanders #35, by Massimo Carnevale

Massimo Carnevale and Brian Wood are an incredible pairing, delivering gorgeously painted and smartly designed covers for issue after issue of the celebrated Viking drama. Their collaboration has produced distinctive looks, and logo treatments, for each arc. Such is the case with the cover for Northlanders #35, the first issue of the two-part “Girl in the Ice” story, with its subdued, even washed-out colors — in stark contrast to the intense hues of the previous “Metal” arc — and the haunting image of the woman beneath the ice.

Parker: The Outfit, by Darwyn Cooke

Darwyn Cooke’s stylish cover for his adaptation of the third novel in Donald Westlake’s Parker series conveys both a sense of menace and, appropriately enough, ’60s-era flair.

Popgun, Vol. 4, by Ben Templesmith

Ben Templesmith works so often in bloody horror, with titles like 30 Days of Night and Welcome to Hoxford, and gritty crime, with Fell and Choker, that it’s easy to overlook his occasional foray into the … well, sensual. Sure, it’s outlandishly sensual — it’s a robot with a glowing heart in its breast! — but still. The best part of the image, though, is the dragon tattoo that snakes up her leg and arm before winding its way off her body.

Punisher MAX #6, by Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson demonstrated why he’s a perennial favorite with the covers for the six-issue “Bullseye” arc, which sported a unifying graphic element — the bullseye, naturally — that never felt repetitious. The cover for the first part of the storyline, which imaginatively positions a minuscule, and seemingly unsuspecting, Frank Castle between the target and Bullseye’s oversized blade, is easily my favorite.

Scalped #38, by Jock

Jock pays homage to Philip Castle’s poster for the 1987 war film Full Metal Jacket for this one-off issue centering on a Vietnam War veteran turned heroin smuggler.

Secret Six #21, by Daniel Luvisi

For such a dark story, that’s an awfully adorable Catman “Voodoo doll.” Plus, just look at that little tree frog!

Sense & Sensibility #4, by Skottie Young

Skottie Young has had a dynamite couple of years with covers for the Marvel Adventures line, several Oz books and now this one, for the fourth issue of Marvel’s adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. The entire image is gorgeous — the composition, the color — but I could stare endlessly at the wheat field.

Set to Sea, by Drew Weing

The limited palette and gold highlights on the waves help to lend the cover to Drew Weing’s debut graphic novel a gorgeous dream-like quality.

The Spirit #1, by Ladronn

José Ladrönn channels the spirit (pardon the pun) of Will Eisner without resorting to mimicry. Additionally, the water and drainpipe are beautifully rendered.

Strange Tales II #1, by Rafael Grampa

Rafael Grampa’s superheroes are as savage and full of fury as the brutal truckers of his celebrated Mesmo Delivery. And how incredible is it that Wolverine wears shorts and elbow pads while Thor sports Spandex shorts and high-top sneakers?

Superboy #1, by Rafael Albuquerque

Rafael Albuquerque captures a mischievous (even devilish) and confident side of Conner Kent in this unusual, and unusually colored, cover for the first issue of Superboy’s new series.

Supergirl #55, by Amy Reeder and Richard Friend

I love the depiction of Bizzarogirl as the fractured-mirror image of Supergirl. (Or is it the other way around?) It’s wonderfully conceived and executed.

Sweet Tooth #12, by Jeff Lemire

I confess that I haven’t been following Jeff Lemire’s Vertigo series, so I have no idea how the paint-by-number effect relates to this issue. But it’s a pretty ingenious idea that evokes a sense of nostalgia — paint-by-number kits were wildly popular for several decades — while opening up the image to a range of interpretations.

Sweets #2, by Kody Chamberlain

Kody Chamberlain’s logo for this crime miniseries is among my recent favorites — too many books rely on standard, if slightly tweaked, fonts — but here it takes a backseat to coloring and composition. The blood-soaked hand in the foreground leads the eye to the approaching detectives and draws the reader into the story. It makes me want to pick up the comic, to find out what happens — exactly what a cover should do.

S.W.O.R.D. #3, by John Cassaday

John Cassaday produced covers in 2010 for such titles as DC’s Superman, Marvel’s Shadowland and Dynamite Entertainment’s Green Hornet, but this one for the late, lamented S.W.O.R.D. stands out the most. The image of Lockheed, Marvel’s purple-skinned alien dragon and Kitty Pryde’s frequent companion, menacingly brandishing a pair of guns is as unexpected as it is delightfully absurd.

Syndrome, by Michael Dahan

Michael Dahan crafts a suitably disturbing image for this dark graphic novel about a rogue neuropathologist who isolates the root of evil in the recesses of the human brain.

Toy Story #5, by Nate Watson

Nate Watson cleverly references classic Western cinematography, simulating the pan of the camera from Woody’s face to the glistening badge and then back again.

Unknown Soldier #22, by Dave Johnson

The majority of Dave Johnson’s covers for the Unknown Soldier were bloody and violent, but Issue 22 stands out for its beauty — even with the skulls in the center of the flowers.

The Unwritten #13, by Yuko Shimizu

Yuko Shimizu’s covers for the acclaimed Vertigo series are among the most consistent, and consistently good, being published today. For this issue, involving the launch of the new Tommy Taylor book in London, Shimizu toys with scale to create an appropriately unreal cityscape with an enormous Tom Taylor at its center.

Viking: The Long Cold Fire (hardcover), by Nic Klein and Tom Muller

Viking: The Long Cold Fire (softcover), by Nic Klein and Tom Muller

I “cheated” two years ago by including two issues in one entry, and now I’m doing it again with the stunning hardcover and softcover collections for Viking: The Long Cold Fire. It’s to their credit that artist Nic Klein and design Tom Muller opted for an extremely modern look for what’s essentially a ninth-century crime story. It’s an unconventional approach that grabs even those readers with an aversion to period drama.

We Will Bury You #2, by Nate Powell

For a miniseries about a zombie outbreak in the late 1920s, Nate Powell creates a dynamic cover that captures both the horror elements of the situation and the energy of the Golden Age of Radio.

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Comments

60 Comments

I absolutely adore that unknown soldier cover. Made its way into my all time top ten favorite covers. I was talking about it from the moment that I saw the preview until it showed up in the stores. Glad to see people are still giving it love. One cover that I find particularly striking and made no lists that I know of is Detective Comics #872 (maybe because it came out in the last week of the year and has a feb cover date). I find it second only to Detective #745.

I will have to say this is a great list. Covers are a huge part of enjoying comics. Just an observation about the Demo 2 #5. Is it me or is the shadow on the face in the wrong place. It has bothered me for some time. Just sayin’.

Rafael Grampa’s cover is the best!

Dave Johnson and Jock are probably the best two cover artists in the biz right now

I’m pretty partial to that Secret Six Catman doll cover myself. I had quit reading SS regularly but had to revisit them this summer solely because of that great cover.

All of Marcos Martin’s art is great, but the ASM cover to #319 beats #318 by a country mile. Some nice pics there, some I may not agree with, but overall a pretty good list.

Wow, this is comprehensive. I agree with pretty much everything.

Ha! Thanks for including our book (SYNDROME, Archaia Black Label).

Michael Dahan developed that photo concept about a year ago and shot the elements in February 2010 in Hollywood. The brain used, no joke, is the prop brain they use on the TV series “House,” which is why it might look familiar. Michael is a spectacular photographer/artist and a good friend. Visit his website http://www.studioDAHAN.com

Some great art there. My favorite of the year was Irving’s alternate cover for B&R #15.

Nice list. I definitely agree with a lot of them. I love the Afrodisiac cover! It’s hard to see the special effects in the scans but it’s a great book to hold and examine.

No Marko Djurdjevic?

That Chew #12 Comic-con cover looks a lot like the Seymour Chwast illustration that was used as the cover for the Pushpin retrospective book a few years back. See for yrself: http://rechercher.tumblr.com/post/577482191/rooster-on-the-cover-of-the-push-pin-graphic-via

They’re both roosters, but I don’t see much similarity beyond that.

Great list.

That Spirit cover is decent, but as far as not resorting to mimicry, I have an Eisner Sprit lithograph which is almost IDENTICAL to that.

Hey Robot 6, you forgot Joao Ruas’ covers for Fables.
http://blog.feral-kid.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/final2_www.jpg

Have to mention Bachalo’s variant cover for the Gambit and Storm one-shot, the guy’s a great artist. http://www.uncannyxmen.net/covers/oneshots/gambit-stormv.jpg

Thanks for including Ben Templesmith’s POPGUN 4 cover! It’s an honor to have his art for the book, and I’m glad it’s getting kudos here! I’m so excited I’m using exclamation points!

Every single “The Unwritten” cover is amazing. want them all blown up and hung on my wall

Rafael Grampa should draw a whole issue of the Avengers.

These are not the best covers but covers to the most popular books

More scalped covers!!!

None of the SHIELD covers? Those were some of the best of the year easily.

Love and Rockets # 29 for your CHEW reference: http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/love-rockets/29-1.jpg but I am not sure if it’s an allusion to something that goes even further back.

knockyourselfout

January 8, 2011 at 4:36 am

Great choices, but my favorite of the year was Stanley Lau’s cover for Batgirl #12. It captures the character just as well as I feel Superboy #1 does (definitely one of the best this year) and looks fantastic to boot.

Also, Lee Bermejo’s Superman #703 variant means business. Too bad for what was inside the book.

Cool list (bro), though some of these choices are definitely more other people’s cup of tea than mine (those Chew covers, for instance, or the Batman Beyond one, which is pretty damn generic if you ask me). Still, my big gripe would be the choice of Sean Phillips cover – they’re all great of course, but I thought the one for Incognito: Bad Influences #2 was by far the most striking of his 2010 output.

Check it out here: http://surebeatsworking.blogspot.com/2010/06/incognito-bad-influences-2-cover.html

Cool list and i agree with almost every point you made. Especially like the fact that you put “The Outfit” on there. Cookes work on “Parker” is truly amazing!

These are great covers. I would have like to have seen some of the X-Men:Second Coming covers on the list. X-Men Legacy #235 is one of my favorites as well as New Mutants #13….. Adi Granov is super talented and produces amazing art

Actually, my true inspiration for the Poyo cover: http://tinyurl.com/q2a8ek

Great list, I also would have added;

Batgirl #12 (#13 was also very cool)
Batman and Robin #13
Detective Comics #865

Grampa should be setting the Marvel House Style. I will keep on saying that until it becomes a reality.

Also: Nate Powell has a new miniseries out? About zombies!? And I only found this out now!?

Your forgot about Luthor HC.

Some interesting stuff. Not all good or original in my opion. my faverites were: Amazing Spider-Man # 641, Chew # 16 ( reminded me of an old Gary Larson gag ) and Bat Woman # 0, great peice of work, the only comic of the ’50’ i’d buy for the cover alone.

Some great covers here, especially Rivera’s Spider-Man, Carnevale’s Northlanders, and Dave Johnson’s Punisher Max and Unknown Soldier covers. Obviously any list like this is going to be very subjective, here are some of my personal favorite covers of the year:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/prev_img.php?pid=7008&cover=1 – JH William’s Batman Inc cover

http://www.comicbookresources.com/prev_img.php?disp=img&pid=1287000555 – Marcos Martin’s Amazing Spider-man #648 cover

http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/preview2.php?image=solicits/imagecomics/201007/turf4_cover_b.jpg – John Paul Leon’s Turf #4 cover

http://duss005.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=72#/d2hia4z – Dustin Nguyen’s Streets of Gotham #8 cover

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?id=29998&page=article – David Aja’s 5 Ronin covers don’t come out until March, but they were revealed in ’10 and they’re pretty amazing.

would have loved to see a Jordi Bernet, Amanda Conner or a Phil Noto cover in there somewhere.

Really proud to be included on this list – thanks!

The work of Rivera, Martin, Williams III, and Grampa continue to inspire me as I get my first book off the ground.

More to come in 2011:
http://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt268/hamgravy_photos/PAWS%20AS%20HANDS/FG_COVER_05_FLAT.jpg

you should mention colorists where appropriate

Am I the only one who finds Rob Guillory’s work ugly and uninformed?

Unimpressed Viewer

January 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I’m not really impressed with any of covers. None give you a clue about what is inside the comic. Most are static poses.I see several with hands 4reaching out, but why should I care enough to buy any of these comics? What happened to action covers where the characters were doing something and it gave you an idea of what you were going to buy. These covers are s#!t! Seriously.

Legends like Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Gil Kane, Dave Stevens, Alex Schomburg, Frank Frazetta and many other greats must be spinning in their graves that these are considered the “greatest comic covers of 2010″. Comic covers have been cheapened to nothing more than pieces of Photoshopped works with mid level talent. A mere chicken head “may” be your absolute favorite of the year??? 2 chickens made the list. Quite a few are head or facing forward shots. Hardly any give any idea of what drama is to be expected inside. I would consider a few decent, I would consider the majority crap. I consider none “great”. You’re doing nothing more than peddling propaganda to the sheep.

A child of the 80s, my taste in cover art/ design straddles the line between the narrative and iconic. To my mind, the best evidence of this is the Marvel work of Ed Hannigan.

http://mlapinski.blogspot.com/2010/01/comic-influences-01-ed-hannigan.html

He was schooled by the greats but rather than lift a full scene from an issue (Spider-Man fights the Hobgoblin) he would choose the key moment that would make for the most iconic cover design (Spider-Man’s fist raising Hobgoblin’s mask out of the East River).

Speaking for myself, I arrived at a design scheme for the FEEDING GROUND mini-series that intentionally employs symmetry, bold color fields, and an isolated element to help distinguish the cover from the overall noise of the comic wall.

Additionally, each cover is both a perversion of familiar Mexican iconography and a poetic counterpoint to the content of the issue. For Issue #2, the image is a visceral version of the Sacred Heart but also a comment on both the virus/ curse coursing through Flaca’s veins and the act of her mother, Bea, burning down their home.

Whether or not I was successful is up to the reader, but, I at least wanted to give a sense of the thought process that goes into making these things.

“mr. pants
Am I the only one who finds Rob Guillory’s work ugly and uninformed?”

Probably.

Rob’s stuff is energetic, dynamic, and highly innovative. Everyone has their own tastes, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there that thinks Rob can’t draw.

Yeah, I’d second Mr. Chamberlain’s assessment of Guillory’s work.

I don’t know him but I see it as more risky than ugly and more considered than uninformed. He’s not working from reality or from-the-box templates and I admire his own internal aesthetic logic.

He’s definitely working from reality. How else can you explain his choices? Too me, it seems he has too little understanding of human anatomy and volume to even begin to caricturize it properly. His proportions, shading, and consistency are very cumbersome to look at.

I liked McCarthy’s cover on Peter Parker issue 3 I think. I believe they’re making a shirt of it.

You should read Sweet Tooth. Fantastic book!!

No love for Orc Stain covers? The cover for the TPB is especially great.

Great list and article. Thanks. Post about this post today on Lines and Colors: http://www.linesandcolors.com/2011/01/10/the-50-best-comic-covers-of-2010-on-robot-6/

Amy Reeder’s Supergirl cover is the best of the bunch! Every cover of the Daytripper series was genius. The American Vampire covers were right up there as well. That girl and those Brazilians are tops in my (comic) book!

great list! thanks for the comments and posting both thumbnails and fullsize…I am sure a lot of hard work went into this posting. Love the unknown soldier.

To the ones complaining that these covers don’t convey what’s inside the book:

Look at them again. The covers to Buffy, New Avengers, iZombie, Sweets, Baltimore and Amazing Spider-man all instantly give you an idea about what you can find within the book’s pages.

The other covers capture the essence, the spirit of the story that is being told withing its pages. They may not directly depict an event within the comic, but they show what the comic is about. Tell me, which of these books have you read and found that they don’t relate to the covers in any way?

No disrespect to the old masters, but comics have evolved, and artists have evolved with them. I look at this list and I see some very mature works.

Robot 6 really likes covers w/ red and or warm tones desaturated in them. Is this true for most readers subliminal or not?

Nice list — Thanks for including the VIKING book covers!
For the people interested, here’s a blog entry on the process behind the cover:
http://www.hellomuller.com/blog/2010/04/09/anatomy-of-a-cover-viking-volume-1-the-long-cold-fire/

I want to eat Tom Muller’s babies.

Saber Tooth Tiger Mike

January 11, 2011 at 9:14 am

“No disrespect to the old masters, but comics have evolved, and artists have evolved with them. I look at this list and I see some very mature works.”
At the same time, I don’t think the skill level of the average cover artist has improved by much. If by evolved, you mean a good composition has taken a back seat in order to get a product out on time, then yes, I’d agree that comics have evolved. Yes, yes, it’s nice to see hipsters coddling up to comics, with their graphic-designy covers, Art Brut sensibilities and all that,( Dark Rain, Daytripper,Strange Tale) but I think in many respects comics covers have stagnated quality wise since the 80s. The goal among these covers selected to highlight the best of 2010 doesn’t seem to be to lure in casual or new readers, (with exceptions of the Jo Chen cover, the Dave Johnson cover and the Ben Templesmith cover) , but to entertain the faithful. I think it’s a trend.

“Yes, yes, it’s nice to see hipsters coddling up to comics, with their graphic-designy covers, Art Brut sensibilities and all that,( Dark Rain, Daytripper,Strange Tale) but I think in many respects comics covers have stagnated quality wise since the 80s”

In other words: “Back in my day….”

Why wouldn’t these covers attract new readers? They are all visually striking and and raise curiosity. And why do you think they’re pandering to the faithful? Which cover made you think that? The only one I can see that matches that description is the Dave Johnson cover (because new readers probably wouldn’t know Bullseye) and you liked that one.

Jason Arellano, 24

January 11, 2011 at 10:48 pm

I think one of the best covers for the year is
Image’s Twenty-seven series
http://www.comixology.com/previews/SEP100435/Twenty-Seven-1-of-4-

and

Alan Aldridge’s AVENGERS #2

http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/05/aldridge-and-tartakovsky-reinterpret-iron-man-for-marvel-variant-covers/

best covers of 2010 for me :)

Saber Tooth Tiger Mike

January 13, 2011 at 10:02 am

“And why do you think they’re pandering to the faithful? ”

Beacuse they’ don’t seem to be trying very hard to get my attention. I suspect most publishers don’t exist to expand readership but to cater to the readership already there. Given how static Frank Quitley’s Absolute All-Star Superman is, I think DC is betting on only hardcore comic book fans to purchase the thing.

“Which cover made you think that?”
Almost all of them. 80 percent.

” The only one I can see that matches that description is the Dave Johnson cover (because new readers probably wouldn’t know Bullseye) and you liked that one.”
A viewer doesn’t need to know who Bullseye is to understand the Punisher cover.
A giant bullet hovering over a gun totting man is pretty straightforward. He’s being targeted but I don’t care.

To clarify what I typed earlier, I didn’t type say “Dave Johnson covers”, I typed “Dave Johnson cover” and that was intentional. I was only approving of one cover,the cover for Unknown Soldier #22, by Dave Johnson.

“In other words: ‘Back in my day….'”
My raction is not a ” back in my” one at at all. My issue is the selction of covers highlighted as being 2010′ best has reminded how unimportant covers seem to have become. The inclusion of the Supergirl cover is bizzare. Bizzaro Supergirl is presented in the most undramatic way possible. While typing this, I realized that Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth cover was been included. Is this list a joke? Is this list suppose to be “ironic”? I don’t get it.

But to give credit to your suggestion that I am somehow being nostalgic, , it does seem that the industry veterans have a better handle on making pictures. The selected Batwoman cover by J.H. Williams, while not perfect, was probably the best looking thing released by DC the week it came out. Alex Ross( at least in the cover shown in this list), Chris Bachalo, Ed McGuinnes seem to know what a cover is suppose to do. Those guys aren’t exactly old timers.

“These are not the best covers but covers to the most popular books”
I’d like to agree but none of the Ultimate Comics covers are included here. That line is notorious for the “we’re too cool to draw attention to ourselves” type of covers.

Before anyone thinks I dislike all hipster-ish art and “alternative” creators, I found DC’s Bizzaro Comics anthology to be better than DC’s regular output. I can’t comment on Strange Tales because I haven’t all the stories from it. I just haven’t liked some of the cover artwork I’ve seen.

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