Most comic book fans have a pretty good idea what they’re going to buy every week when they visit their local comic shop. With that said, there’s still a lot of fun to be had just glancing at the week’s new releases and taking a chance on a book that looks promising. That’s where covers come in. A fantastic image can make the difference between trying something new or saying, “Nah, not this week.”
In that spirit, here are the covers that captured our attention this week, with entries from comics editor Chris Coplan.
Hawkeye: Freefall #6
Cover by Kim Jacinto
Even if you haven’t been paying attention to the Matthew Rosenberg-Otto Schmidt series (but you should have), there’s little denying the cover to issue #6. Here, Clint Barton and Bullseye are locked in deadly mortal combat, slugging it out like two badasses (and perhaps amid some sort of storm). But it’s more than “dudes straight brawling lol”; Kim Jacinto’s depiction lands amid that sweet spot between cartoonish and all-too real, resulting in something that feels jarring on a truly intimate level. There’s a humanity here, and yet a supreme disconnect with reality, and all the right emotions just wash over as you reel from the influences and aesthetics that abound. It’s art that grabs you by the face and shakes you around in the very best possible way.
King of Nowhere #3
Variant Cover by Martin Morazzo
If you haven’t kept up with this BOOM! Studios series, it’s basically among the most surreal and effective explorations of mental illness in modern comics. Which is to say, that even as the series delivers some intense visual magic (bordering on outright trickery), the emotional core and larger message remain steadfast. Case in point: the cover to issue #3, which is utterly striking and totally trippy, a blast of psychedelia straight to the frontal cortex. Yet as you stare in awe and/or confusion, you’re forced to think about how such an ungodly beautiful image relates to the larger story, and that’s where the motifs of reality and mental health come to the forefront. If nothing else, it’s a sweet pic you could hang on an accent wall in your apartment.
Nailbiter Returns #2
Cover by Mike Henderson
Back in May, after a multi-year wait, Nailbiter Returns hit shelves. From the very start, the duo of writer Joshua Williamson and artist Mike Henderson delivered the same sort of bloody chaos that made the original series such a hit. Based solely on the cover to issue #2, it looks like the action continues as the Nailbiter’s daughter, Alice, lands in the thick of madness surrounding Buckaroo, Oregon. What’s so appealing about the cover isn’t that it blends something so awful with such a wonderfully delightful image (like a body-horror version of Kill Bill). It’s that even as your stomach may churn and your heart swoons in equal parts, everything is so balanced as to truly add to the larger motifs and narrative without the cover distracting from anything. That kind of creative mastery is worth any duration of waiting.
Cover by Carmine Di Giandomenico
In this ongoing, writer Jody Houser and artist Rachael Stott are putting Supergirl in a fairly foreign position: a bad guy at odds with the U.S. military. (Foreign if only in our perception, as Kara’s gone into some weird things over the years.) Whether or not people like the process of “mucking up” such an paragon of virtue, there’s been some interesting things done artistically to perpetuate the whole storyline. Like this cover to issue #42, which not only has Kara looking like a straight badass, but maintains her place as a hero of the people (no matter how complicated that’s become). Plus, check out the Super symbol in the crosshairs, like they’re literally coming for the world’s hope. Got to love a proper mix of overt comic awesomeness with a little subtlety to boot.
Negan Lives #1
Cover by Cliff Rathburn
Image Comics described Negan Lives #1 as “the greatest f*@king comic book villain of ALL-TIME returns. ‘Nuff said.” And in keeping in line with that rather simple but effective premise, the cover art is simply Negan with an indiscernible look smeared across his nasty little face. (Seriously, it could be that he wants to murder a barrel of puppies or he has a funny joke to tell). But, then, that’s always been Negan’s greatest weapon: he pretty much can do anything at the drop of a hat, and his penchant for pure chaos is what makes him a truly effective protagonist (that, and the barbwire baseball bat). This cover expertly depicts Negan’s greatest strength: you won’t know what he’s done till you actually turn the page.
Cover by Vlad Legostaev
Despite having a lot of things in its favor (a cool premise, the support of Image Comics, and a dynamic cast of writers and artists), Protector has found itself stymied by the coronavirus pandemic. While such a fate has befallen other titles, this specific series deserves so much more. This genre-spanning, cross-cultural dystopian tale (which feels a little like Mad Max meets Avatar with a dash of Akira) has been entertaining and inventive, especially when it comes to the art. For instance, peep this cover of issue #4, which encapsulates the unique emotional vibe and larger aesthetic that the series has cultivated in just four issues. It’s a timeless feeling and energy that speaks volumes about humanity’s most intimate and endearing tendencies regardless of how the world unfolds. Also, don’t even tell me this wouldn’t make for a dope movie poster.
The Boys: Dear Becky #2
Cover by Darick Robertson
Last month, The Boys, everyone’s favorite comic about evil superheroes hunted by gruff normal dudes, returned with a new chapter. Dear Becky follows Hughie Campbell just as he’s to marry Annie when he comes face-to-face with some nightmarish blast from the past that wants to undo this happy ending. If nothing else, the cover for #1 worked because of the sheer nostalgia, striking readers right in that delicate retro-gland to hint at something beloved about this kooky series. The cover for #2, though, feels less like a cheap ploy and more an organic reflection of what makes The Boys such a deeply fulfilling title. Namely, managing to take a serious and emotional storyline and still slap in some totally ridiculous visuals without impacting the story. If anything, this MAD-esque cover is a nice warm-up before the book delivers the heavy blows. Totally glad to have y’all back, gents.