Censorship | At least one comic, alas unnamed, was among the thousands of books removed this week from a Turkish government restricted list. Most of the bans were widely ignored anyway, but Metin Celal Zeynioglu, the head of Turkey’s publishers’ union, pointed out one important effect of lifting them: “Many of the students arrested in demonstrations are kept in prison because they’re carrying banned books. From now on, we won’t be able to use that as an excuse.” [The Australian]
Publishing | Tom Spurgeon’s latest holiday interview is with Shannon Watters, the editor of BOOM! Studios’ children’s comics line, which includes Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors and Peanuts. [The Comics Reporter]
Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass points out that DC has changed the cover on Birds of Prey #13 from what was solicited. Ben Oliver created the artsy, solicited cover, while Trevor McCarthy drew the dynamic one that showed up with DC’s preview of the issue. Both can be seen in all their glory below.
They’re both attractive pieces of work, so this isn’t about one of them being bad. What I’m interested in are the different purposes the two covers serve. Oliver’s, as Sue points out, is eye-catching and “poster material.” Rob Staeger notes in the comments, however, that McCarthy’s cover, while busier, better communicates what’s in the story.
My question for you is: Which do you prefer? Not just for this particular issue, but in general. Are you more likely to try a new comic with an artful, but interchangeable depiction of the main characters? Or with a powerful representation of what’s going on in the story?
It’s not the first time an artist has drawn realistic depictions of The Simpsons characters, but I always think it’s interesting to see interpretations and it’s fun to figure out which Springfield residents are being represented. Dutch cartoonist Charles Guthrie redrew the cover of Simpsons Comics #30 (numbered #29 in the German edition, for some reason) for the Covered blog, and while most of the characters are immediately easy to figure out, one or two require a little more thought, especially if — like me — you haven’t visited Springfield in a while.
See the original cover to Simpsons Comics #30 below for comparison.
Even as Comic Book Resources exclusively premieres Bryan Hitch’s variant cover for The Walking Dead #100, Sean Phillips (Criminal, Fatale) unveils his own painted variant for the milestone issue of the horror series. Better still, the artist has pulled back the curtain on his process, from initial sketch to reference photos to finished work.
The Hitch and Phillips variant covers join those previously released from Frank Quitely, Todd McFarlane, Ryan Ottley and Marc Silvestri, as well as the wraparound cover by series artist Charlie Adlard. The 100th issue, by Robert Kirkman, Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, arrives July 11, just in time for Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Check out Phillips’ full cover below, and visit his blog to get a glimpse of his process.
Warren Ellis spotlights the gorgeous autumnal cover by Rafael Grampá and Dave Stewart for the third issue of The Massive, the upcoming environmental thriller from Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson, reminding me that I’ve meant to point out just how fantastic their variants for the series are. Seriously even if I weren’t a fan of Wood and Donaldson’s work on Supermarket or intrigued by the concept of The Massive, I’d still pick up the new series just for these covers. (Dark Horse, can we get some posters?)
Grampá, who made a splash in 2008 with Mesmo Delivery, is also working on his own post-apocalyptic saga called Furry Water and the Sons of the Insurrection.
The Massive debuts June 13. In the meantime, check out Grampá and Stewart’s variant covers for the first three issues below.
On his blog, J.H. Williams III unveils his stunning cover for August’s Batwoman #12, complete with the promise of an appearance by Wonder Woman, and walks us through his process.
“I felt it important for the image to work from a design idea properly, the logo had to become a part of the art directly, to play up the mirror effect as needed,” he writes, “so I embedded it into the final in a way that there is no other version. You’ll note I digitally did a mirror effect for Batwoman rather than draw that in by hand. I felt it best to handle it that way because of the Bloody Mary part is so bold. I think it would’ve been extremely problematic to have tried drawing Batwoman mixed with Blood Mary and then be able to have multiple effects in the final color. This allowed me to keep the style used for Bloody Mary independent from everything else. So the last digital additions, the use of a background setting, and the pop color of the inset stars and star panel against the surreal quality of the idea, helped to make this cover unique from previous Batwoman covers I’ve done. So that’s good, I’m always wanting the covers to do new things.”
All of Williams’ covers are beautiful, but with the one for Batwoman #12, he definitely raises the bar. Check out the full cover below, and visit Williams’ blog to see more of his process.
On his blog, J.H. Williams III breaks down his cover process for June’s Batwoman #10, the penultimate chapter of the “To Drown the World” story arc that finds Kate Kane ambushed by Killer Croc.
“The goal was to keep things almost monochrome, or a limited palette. Placing all of the focus on Batwoman through color use,” Williams writes. “And on the encircling villains I used only simple grey textures, just enough to darken the image, while retaining the graphic quality of that portion of the cover. And then by leaving the background white and digitally painting white fades over the edges of the villains gives this very nice tunnel effect, Batwoman emerging from the light into the threatening darkness …”
Visit Williams’ blog to see his ful process. Batwoman #10 goes on sale June 20.
Adam Hughes has revealed his cover for the third issue of Fairest, Vertigo’s upcoming Fables spinoff series that will spotlight such female characters as Thumbelina, Rapunzel, Snow White and Rose Red. While the six-issue initial arc, by Fables creator Bill Willingham and artists Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning, centers on Briar Rose, Hughes puts Lumi, the Snow Queen (previously seen in the background of his cover for Fairest #1) front and center.
Check out the full image below. Fairest debuts from Vertigo in March; the third issue arrives in May.
As DC Comics’ Before Watchmen announcement rolls out from multiple news and entertainment outlets, so too do our first looks at covers for all seven prequels to the groundbreaking 1986 miniseries.
Okay, almost seven, as USA Today has only offered a detail of one of Lee Bermejo’s covers for Rorschach (at right), his four-issue miniseries with Luthor and Joker collaborator Brian Azzarello. To make up for it, though, there’s a cover by original Watchmen colorist John Higgins for a Crimson Corsair story by he and original Watchmen editor Len Wein.
We also have a Dr. Manhattan cover by Adam Hughes (courtesy of CBR), Minutemen by Darwyn Cooke (Hero Complex), Nite Owl by Andy Kubert and Joe Kubert (Heat Vision), Ozymandias by Jae Lee (Underwire), and Silk Spectre by Amanda Conner (Entertainment Weekly). UPDATE: Now, thanks to The New York Times, we also have one of J.G. Jones’ Comedian covers.
Check out the covers below. We’ll update if more, and in some cases larger, images become available.
UPDATE: DC Comics has released hi-res versions of each of the covers, which we’ve added below.
On the Dark Horse blog, editor Dave Marshall shares the cover process for Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Promise Part 1, from writer Gene Luen Yang’s rough ideas to art duo Gurihiru’s cover sketches to Avatar co-creator Bryan Konietzko’s notes to the final product.
The 80-page graphic novel, the first in a series of digests continuing the adventures of Aang and his friends, arrives Jan. 25.
Returning creators like Jo Chen, Dave Johnson, Paolo Rivera and J.H. Williams III are joined on the list by such “newcomers” as Francesco Francavilla, Viktor Kalvachev, Tradd Moore and Steve Morris.
As with previous installments, I’ve attempted 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.
With that out of the way, I present, in alphabetical order, the 50 best covers of 2011:
Cornered, the blog where artists “recreate the spot character illustrations which appeared in the upper left-hand corners of so many classic comics,” is celebrating Halloween by featuring various horror-related comics. For instance, above Brendan Tobin redraws the corner box for Marvel’s classic horror comic Legion of Monsters, and today they’ve also featured Where Monsters Dwell and Storm and Dracula, from Uncanny X-Men #159, among others. Go check’em out.
My, but this has some oomph, doesn’t it? That clean block lettering (Helvetica? font geeks, help me out here), all that black…I know I’m excited. The latest installment in Huizenga’s oversized solo anthology series is due in August from Fantagraphics.
Dark Horse catches a tiger by the tail with a “special ultra-rare” variant cover by Paul Pope for the upcoming Dark Horse Presents reboot. Retailers will receive one copy with the variant cover for every 20 copies they order, which no doubt means they’ll be fetching a high price from your local retailer. Personally I’d love to see it released as a print.
Dean Haspiel posts his favorite DC Comics cover of all time, a crack-tastic Lois Lane comic from 1970 (with echoes not only of Black Like Me but also I Am Curious (Yellow)). Bonus: If the cover has you curious, you can read a detailed summary of the entire story arc, starting here, at Comic Books Revisited.