As Lonmonster said below, we’ve been told a million times not to judge a book by its cover. Well, I disagree too; how else are you supposed to be introduced to books with mainly illustrations? The cover art of a print novel doesn’t always matter, because what’s inside is all writing; you’re not directed through the story by images. The cover art of a comic, however, is essentially its central image. The first impression, if you will. The cover is what first draws you in, and it all depends on who you are and what you like. It’s up to the inside to entice you to stay awhile, but that’s another article entirely. Compiled below are some of the most badass covers of 2011.
Whether they were gory, classic, funny, eccentric, or all of the above, there have been some great comics released this year. All of the titles presented above did have cool covers, but in the end, the comics inside are what won our hearts. Don’t judge a book by its cover – judge the cover and the book.
The hero comics have really been pulling out all the stops this year with some epic new arcs (cough, Snyder, cough) and equally brilliant artwork. The cover of Green Lantern #1 particularly jumped out at me, as it plays into the oath perfectly by contrasting the intense green light with the dark, stormy background. The tightly clutched fist splattered in blood shows Green Lantern’s struggles to achieve victory, making it a strong expression of the true meaning of heroism.
There are so many things going on in this cover, which may lead some readers to believe it to be too busy. Lies! “Busy,” in art, implies an overwhelming feeling – a feeling of chaos. All of the elements in this cover link seamlessly with the gears around the edges, creating the effect of unlocking the gate.
I have never seen Superman in an “Oh, shit” moment as awesome as this one. Usually, Clark’s either exuding a planet of confidence, or he’s entirely dark and brooding. Action Comics #3’s cover captures Superman in a new light. With his tense neck and awkward hand positioning, he looks more down-to-earth, which would also explain the protestors.
I’m a bit of a sucker for body parts. That sounded less dirty in my head, but I’m keeping it. Seriously, though, the Ferals cover really did some justice to the art of dismemberment. I was especially drawn to the way that all of the half-naked bodies seem connected. Combined with the fantastic shade of red (just a slight dullness to it…tasteful vibrance), it’s like a blood orgy below this huge, prehistoric-looking canine with a look of ominous satisfaction plastered across its mug.
So, I’ve been obsessed with Witch Doctor since day 1. Dr. Morrow is the Dr. House of comics, and the artwork keeps up with the story tremendously. He’s definitely got the most expressive eyes, which is why I had to put a Witch Doctor cover on the list. They’re all consistently bizarre and awesome, but Morrow’s best feature is displayed perfectly here. For real, next time you pick up an issue, take a look at those peepers.
Every week, I find that one cover that makes me stop and go, “Waaait… did I really just see that?” Pretty much every Butcher Baker cover holds that theme, but Issue #3 just screamed “WTF?” The blinding white light blended into various shades of turquoise (not to mention the purples… the purple boobies are a nice touch) brings out the loud, fantastic adventure that Butcher Baker is.
Braaaaaaains… with a side of eyes and tongue, if you please. Night of the Living Dead’s cover captured the soul of the original film perfectly. The line work here is stunning, capturing every gory detail. The gore is probably too much for some, but the extreme is what makes it perfect, in this case. This proves that the concepts of traditional gore still grip at our hearts and stir our consciences.
Has Hellraiser busted through the chains this year, or what? Issue #5’s cover immediately brought me back to the first time I saw the original Hellraiser film, and how it was so perfectly portrayed. The new comic series has allowed Hellraiser to evolve into what it was meant to be, and a cover showing the hellbound hearts at their starting positions could not have been more perfect for the start of the new arc.
I first saw this cover in the door of a comic book store in my area. I jumped, but then I proceeded with giddy female excitement. This cover is the most brilliant use of a predominately black palette that I’ve ever seen. There’s just enough shading near the middle to capture the absolute perfection of Venom as a character. It makes all the difference when the image actually projects out of the background without the alienating 3D glasses.
When I first saw this issue in person, I had to meticulously inspect it to make sure it was actually drawn. It looks like someone snapped a picture of Doug Bradley attempting to watch Revelations. The precision of the lines here is perfect; the image of the Head Cenobite pops off the page, out of the issue, and into your mind. Every emotion is captured perfectly, the contrasting shadows (light on the top, dark on the bottom) are well-illustrated, and the pins poking through Pinhead’s (sigh… alas, he remains nameless) hand act as a fantastic small detail. I am definitely looking forward to what Hellraiser has in store for 2012; Clive Barker is sure to deliver more incredible tales of the Cenobites, and hopefully a name for our dear leader.