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Judging by the Cover – 12/23/20 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 12/23/20 new releases

Chris shares his favorite covers from this week’s new comics.

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.

King in Black #2

Cover by Ryan Stegman

Judging by the Cover – 12/23/20 new releases

Events are cool and all, but sometimes they got lost in the hype. Say what you will about King in Black, though, but it’s mission is pretty straightforward: let Knull come to Earth and straight obliterate the planet and all our lovely heroes. It’s a simple but effective goal, one made all the more effective with covers like this from Ryan Stegman. It’s got fallen heroes, some kind of symbiote acid rain, and Knull himself look both terrifying and utterly delighted in his actions. All hail the king, baby.

Detective Comics #1033

Cover by Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy

Judging by the Cover – 12/23/20 new releases

After 1,000-plus issues, it would likely be hard to keep the interest going in a comic book, even one as integral as Detective Comics. But the interest is just as strong as ever, especially as writer Peter J. Tomasi continues his storyline with “anti-vigilante mayoral candidate Christopher Nakano.” Not only would his election be big trouble for the entire Bats family, but its given us some great artwork, like this cover to issue #1,033. It’s all high drama here, as all the big players coalesce as the election draws nears. The tension is almost palpable, but there’s also a kind of glamour and intrigue within the cover, which just heightens everything that much more. Who knew politics could be so thrilling?

Spawn #313

Cover by Bjorn Barends

Judging by the Cover – 12/23/20 new releases

As a rule, I don’t really get behind Christmas-themed media. Unlike, say, Halloween comics or TV shows, Xmas-centric editions of your favorite titles often feel overly forced and cheesy. But even I have to take off my Scrooge hat and give it up for this sweet cover to Spawn #313. Violator makes a sweet Santa Claus/Krampus hybrid, complete with a bag of body parts and fake beard (despite being, like, a shapeshifter or whatever). It’s sort of like if Bad Santa were also a horror film — but possibly with better laughs (zing!) I’d say Merry Christmas, but I’m afraid the cover will hear me and eat my mortal soul.

Ice Cream Man #22

Cover by Martin Morazzo

Judging by the Cover – 12/23/20 new releases

OK, maybe I lied about my aversion to Christmas stuff, ’cause here’s another comic that’s got me more excited than drinking a fifth of “special” eggnog. On the one hand, most covers from this series are pretty great, as they both serve to scare people but also lampoon something else from pop culture. But this one really takes the holiday fruitcake as it turns its attention toward advent calendars, which are a pointless lesson in forced patience and thus an abomination on almost every level. I wish more people found giant centipedes in their calendars so we can all celebrate this season as was intended: cramming all the food and sweets in our faces ASAP without waiting. Thanks, Ice Cream Man!

Department of Truth #4

Variant Cover by Tradd Moore

Judging by the Cover – 12/23/20 new releases

Sometimes I have to include a cover just because a colleague was super hyped about it. In the cast of issue #4 of this mostly great series, our own Dave Brooke spoke for several minutes about this amazing variant by Tradd Moore, and how it really enhances the core storyline and motifs of the story thus far. But even if you’re not up to date yet (guilty as charged!), Moore’s work has always been like mainlining mescaline directly into your brain stem. This cover somehow both lampoons and romanticizes the early colonization of the Americas — or if you’re not a history buff, it just looks like the weirdest rave you’ve ever seen in your life. Either way, it’s a beauty worth sharing with your friends/coworkers.

Killadelphia #11

Cover by Jason Shawn Alexander

Judging by the Cover – 12/23/20 new releases

I’ll admit something: after loving the first several issue of Killadelphia, life got away from me and I’ve missed the last few issues or so. But if there’s anything that’s going to hook me back in, it’s the cover to #11 from series artist Jason Shawn Alexander. It’s clear we’re delving further into the story’s history — namely perhaps a little more insight into the early days of John Adams (either pre-vampirism or his first days as an undead monster of the night). Regardless of all that, this is just a perfect encapsulation of what lies at the core of this series: an exploration of the intersection between monstrous evils and basic humanity. This holiday may require some speed reading to finally catch up.

The Picture of Everything Else #1

Cover by Kishore Mohan

Judging by the Cover – 12/23/20 new releases

A few weeks back, I got to interview Dan Watters on yet another project he had in the works, The Picture of Everything Else. This series, which set in turn-of-the-century Paris, basically follows a person who can murder via painting and how two art thieves accidentally stumble into the case (Dorian Gray is also involved somehow, but I won’t spoil too much more). Really, all you should need to be sold is the cover to issue #1, which picks up on just how delightfully weird and macabre this title promises to be. Is it terrifying and also hugely existential? You bet. But it’s also deeply beautiful, and you can’t help but stare no matter how you feel. Now that is art.

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Masquerade #1

Cover by Jenny Frison

Judging by the Cover – 12/23/20 new releases

Since I already picked one cover to appease a coworker, how about one to appease a loved one? My fiancée is the greatest David Bowie fan on planet Earth, and that means she’s seen Labyrinth at least a dozen times. (She was away so I couldn’t confirm but I think it’s OK.) This one-shot, from writer Lara Elena Donnelly and artists French Carlomagno and Samantha Dodge, follows an as-yet-unknown guest at “Jareth’s famous Masquerade.” Some weirdness is likely to go down, packed with plenty of heart and whimsy, but let’s just people the cover for a second. Jenny Frison has nailed Bowie — and not just as he is depicted in the film but some kind of ethereal, almost magical quality that defined Bowie his entire life/career. If that ain’t some kind of feat of a wizard-y type person, than I don’t know what is.

Firefly: Blue Sun Rising #1

Cover by Nimit Malavia

Judging by the Cover

I may prefer Angel over Buffy, but even I can recognize how important that series is. And that’s especially true of the resulting comics, which expanded on the series in some really brilliant ways. Maybe the same can ring true for another Joss Whedon property, Firefly. I know very little about this series as it’s continued on in the realm of comics, but based solely on this cover, everything seems to be extra shiny. There’s a more elegant spin on Firefly‘s usual space-faring aesthetic, which does wonders for amping up the drama and emotional energy. Plus, they did a spot on job of capturing and depicting Malcolm Reynolds, and that’s a huge thing for this series regardless of the medium. He’s like the ship’s heart and soul, but also the cool uncle and degenerate stepbrother.

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