Monday 9 May 2016

Comic Consciousness: My 10 favourite comic covers

A second post this month! I truly am spoiling you this year! As I said before I hit the ground running working on Slaughterhouse Farm #4 and currently working on the cover, to be asked to produce the cover image, the image that will hopefully entice people to buy the book is an honour and quite a responsibility. With this in mind I thought I would (just for the sheer ‘fun’ of it) take some time out and pick out some random favourite comic book covers from my own collection and highlight some covers that I personally hold in high regard. I must stress though that these are quite random and I am in no way comparing my work to these books and their respective artists (I can only aspire to achieving their level of talent!). I do not claim ownership and have nothing to do with them I am simply acknowledging their existence and if you haven’t already read these comics I suggest you do so.  So, without further ado and in no particular order…

1) Secret Origins Special#1
This post will probably end up reading like a Brian Bolland fan post, but there is no getting away from it I love Brain Bolland’s work and Secret Origins Special#1 was the first time I discovered it. I was incredibly impressed with his attention to detail and the expressions used in capturing the likeness of the Penguin, Riddler and Two-Face. I thoroughly enjoyed the comic too, reading it several times over but it was this cover that drew me in having spotted in a London Editions, Batman Monthly issue devoted to the Penguin, this prompted me to seek out original edition.

2) The Savage She-Hulk#1
When I was younger I was constantly justifying comic purchases to my parents, assuring them that they were future investments. Not a week went by without the word ‘collectable’ being uttered and my teenage self did get it right 99% of the time with many investments paying off in later years. One time I decided to invest in a first issue, the guideline was simple, a first issue of a comic that was released the same month/year as my birth (January 1979). Despite my best efforts scouring the Comic Price Guide I couldn’t find one (somehow managed to miss The Micronauts) But I did discover that The Savage She-Hulk was released a month after. I thought February 1979 was close enough and bought it and it still remains one of my favourite comic covers to this day. Everything about it ticks the right boxes for me, from John Buscema’s brilliant art which seems to be paying a loving nod Jack Kirby’s Incredible Hulk #1 cover to Stan Lee ‘proudly’ presenting it. Indeed even the cover itself declares that it’s a  “#1 collectors item issue” to help justify it to parents! 

3)Batman: The Killing Joke
When I first saw this cover I knew exactly who was responsible, recognising the style right away. 
Having impressed me with Secret Origins Special#1 I had to have this one too, Bolland also illustrated the story, each panel is a delight to look over and had this post been “My 10 favourite Comics” this book would be on that list too. It’s all about the detail with me. I might read it again as I patiently await the animated adaptation coming out later this year.

4) Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight#50
Interestingly, I first bought this issue along with The Killing Joke so not only did I have two beautifully illustrated Bolland covers but they also served as a Joker’s origin double bill. I can only say “the detail” so many times before it becomes monotonous … 

5) Ka-Zar the Savage #22
Right, let me (attempt) to defend my decision to include this cover and set aside any sexism concerns as I discuss this story, which was edited by Louise Jones and regards Shanna grieving over the death of Ka-Zar. Admittedly, these factors didn’t matter to my 11-year-old self when I bought the comic… But never the less Armando Gil’s cover is brilliant! Credit where credit is due there is power, movement, emotion and structure in this cover!

6) Mayhem #1
When The Mask movie was released back in 1994, I was already a fan of the comics and it was all down to Doug Mahnke’s superb artwork. His cover for Mayhem #1 is no exception, its seems a simple enough image but there is a style at work here and it intrigued me to read the comic and look over the cover several times over. Doug Mahnke illustrated several covers for the Mask over the years and all of them had their own energy about them, although they might have more detail in them this one ranks the highest with me. Doug Mahnke is brilliant.

7) The Monster of Frankenstein #2
As far as I am concerned any cover that Mike Ploog has turned his hand to is gold (and that itself could also be a future top 10) However if I had to pick one of the covers he created for the monster’s own series for Marvel this would be the one (I’m also a big fan of his Man-Thing comics). The figures, the structures, the colour and the details such as the footprint in the snow and the way their hair moves in the wind… sublime! Side note: I preferred the title font this way (they changed it 3 times to my knowledge)

8) Catwoman #1
Now, I know what you are thinking… (did I mention that I was in my early teens when I bought most of these comics…?) But saying that Jim Balent’s Catwoman was epic, she was a tough character and dangerous and he conveyed it through this cover. Yeah, I liked the outfit but as I’ve mentioned before I am also a fan of the Golden-Age Catwoman look and at the time of this I thought it was a nice update. I will add that when I saw her new black leather cat suit/goggle look (in which she seems to show more of her ‘attributes’) although it seemed more practical for a cat burglar I was underwhelmed with the design.  Although most of the covers showed off her figure the covers had fluidity to them and check out the museum background! The dinosaurs and a saber-toothed cat skeleton are a nice touch, which bringing me on to the other ‘bonus point’ for Jim Balent he would hide a cat in each of his Catwoman covers, providing a little game each month! 

9) Howard the Duck #33
Bolland… detail… 

10) Detective Comics #520
It’s funny, I’ve always been rather fond of the Detective Comic covers of this era (they also featured one of my favourite Batman title fonts) but this one just happens to appeal to me the most and I can’t fully explain why... I love Jim Aparo’s style (if I had to pick another Batman cover, possibly Batman #291) I’ve always liked Hugo Strange so perhaps seeing him in this context “Back from the grave!” in what seems more like an EC horror comic than a Batman comic (of that time) just sparked my interest and made me want to read the story. In essence the cover image’s purpose.  

So there you go some completely random covers. I set myself the rule of only featuring comics that I have in my collection, some of which I bought on the strength of the cover art. Agree with my choices? Comment on the bottom of the page and tell me your favourite covers! 

© Arfon Jones 2016. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


  1. That Monster of Frankenstein cover is EXCELLENT. But then, I love some old-school monsters.

    1. Curling up with original editions of Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf by Night, Monster of Frankenstein or Supernatural Thrillers with a nice hot mug of tea on a cold wet night it bliss to me Mim. Keeping it Old-school! ;)



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