Most comic book fans have a solid idea about what they’re going to buy every week as they descend upon 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, funny, scary, etc. 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. This is Judging by the Cover.
Variant Cover by John Giang
It’s not every day — although it’s also not exactly in “once in a blue moon” territory — that we get a “new era” of Batman. But this one feels like a special moment nonetheless, as writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jorge Jimenez pick up the mantle of the Bat starting with issue #25. What better way to kick off a mystery involving slain local billionaires then with a veritable cornucopia of cover options. There’s, of course, Jimenez’s own standard cover, which captures something essential if not at all indefinable about the Dark Knight. Or, this extra dramatic piece from Gabriele Dell’Otto (or the equally theatrical piece from Francesco Mattina). There’s even a little surreal magic from Simone Di Meo and some great tag team action from In-Hyuk Lee. But for this writer’s money, you can’t go wrong with this John Giang cover, which covers all the basis with something weird, futuristic, and slightly animalistic all at once. It’s the sort of cover that screams, “Welcome to a new start,” and what a start it could be.
Cover by Kendrick “Kunkka” Lim
There’s lots of debates that happen in comics — sometimes too many, if you’re asking me. But one that doesn’t really need to happen any more is the age-old question of who’s the better symbiote, Venom or Carnage. Because, as the solicitation for issue #4 promises, we’ll finally get proof that Carnage is “stronger, more violent and more bloodthirsty than its brain-consuming progenitor.” And we may not have the issue itself yet to verify, but this cover seems more than enough to back up such lofty claims. Sure, almost anyone could beat up The Spot, but the way in which Carnage is inflicting damage on Marvel’s most silly teleporter feels extra intense and visceral. It makes you wonder what horrors he could perhaps show his foe that are somehow worse than his own snarling visage. Whatever hell that might be, it just further demonstrates why Carnage is a peach of purveying unbridled violence and terror. All hail the king, folks.
The Closet #2
Cover by Gavin Fullerton
It would be one thing to say The Closet is just about a young boy dealing with that all too familiar trope of a haunted closet. But it’s written by James Tynion IV, and so you know that there’s going to be a twist and/or something more substantial beyond “Let’s scare the crap out of a 9-year-old.” (Although there is still that, for sure.) Which is why I really like this cover from series artist Gavin Fullerton: it all seems innocuous, and yet you know something more complex and sinister has to be happening, and that resulting “struggle” just means the story’s working to worm its way into your brain. It’s the best existential kind of horror, and the visual identity really plays with that as to fully manipulate your thoughts and senses in ways that only the best horror ever could. Plus, it sort of looks like the Image Comics cover, and that dash of meta just chills the bones that much more.
Starhenge, Book One: The Dragon & The Boar #1
Cover by Liam Sharp
Last week I mentioned that if you’ve been on Twitter as of late, Chip Zdarsky’s Public Domain has been getting a lot of love. The very same goes for Starhenge, Book One: The Dragon & The Boar, a brand-new series from writer-artist Liam Sharp about “future Merlin [traveling] to 5th-century Britain to prevent monstrous time-traveling killer robots.” That premise alone should rip open your wallets, but then Sharp further proves the magic with this debut cover. What makes it so good is he takes all sorts of ideas and references — from Prometheus and Warhammer 40,000 to StarCraft and The Elder Scrolls — and forges them into something new and exciting. It’s the best of weird, Heavy Metal-esque alt fantasy, and the techno-mage aesthetic feels like something that only Sharp should be handling from here on out. However this series actually shakes out, it’s going to be both visually compelling and confrontational in the very best ways.
There’s Something Wrong with Patrick Todd #1
Cover by Gavin Guidry
Even if you haven’t heard as much Twitter buzz about this one (but it’s certainly been there), you should be stoked for There’s Something Wrong with Patrick Todd. Here, Ed Brisson and Gavin Guidry have created a crime thriller in which a young man with telepathy cares for his ailing mom by making folks rob banks (and then having them arrested by the cops). The debut cover from Guidry really hones in on what makes this book feel special already. It’s the weird strands of psychedelia and a dash or two of cyberpunk; the focus on Mr. Todd as both deeply human and something all together different; and this visual metaphor that is both on the nose and yet still deeply effective. All together it lets you know what to expect, which is likely a really intriguing character study that delves into questions of power, morality, and one’s own personal limits. At least we know what few things are right with Patrick Todd.
Mind MGMT: Bootleg #1
Cover by Farel Dalrymple
When we interviewed Matt Kindt recently, we admittedly focused a lot on Flux House, his upcoming imprint with Dark Horse Comics. And rightfully so, as the uber creative artist-writer has plans to do some truly weird and wonderful releases. But lest we all forget, Flux House kicks off with MIND MGMT: BOOTLEG, a brand-new chapter of the beloved series that focuses on efforts to “rebuild the organization, bend reality, and go to war with a competing agency.” More than that, it’s the first time Kindt’s brought other artists into the fold, as evidenced by this cover from artist-penciller Farel Dalrymple. I love how Dalrymple has fostered the same kind of vibe, but in a way that feels a bit more gritty and intense while still managing to maintain some brightness and an overall sense of playfulness. It’s a great new visual extension of this series, honoring that sense of identity while doing just enough to make it feel new and special. Mind yourself and manage to get this one.
Beyond the Beyond #2
Cover by Gian Fernando
When Beyond the Beyond launched back in March, it felt like I had a better handle on where this new Scout Comics would land on the giant spectrum o’genres. And that was firmly on sci-fi epic — a fact that was backed up by the whole storyline about a girl named Nova and her struggle to escape a life as a member of mining colony run by a greedy super-corporation. But as I peer at the excellence that is the cover of issue #2, I don’t get the same kind of majestic, 2001-esque vibes as I did with the cover for #1. No, #2’s cover feels a bit more playful, which better aligns with the story’s whole “space-age teen rebellion.” There’s also maybe some weird cosmic horror vibes, and perhaps a dash or two of Metroid. (Giant space octopus/squid always make me think of Metroid for reasons.) Overall, it feels like a more well-rounded preview, and more evidence why this might be a new pull list entry before the series wraps up.
Cover by Ashley Warwick
There’s a formula that works really well that I call the Tank Girl Theorem. (Is theorem the right word? I don’t know or care all that much.) And basically it says, “Interesting series = plucky burn-out hero + ample sci-fi and/or fantasy X DIY vibes/aesthetic.” (Again, no math major here.) That “formula” is for sure at the core of Space-Lady, in which the titular heroine uses her space armor and qualified immunity not to police the galaxy but get ridiculously high. And it’s as if the debut cover says as much without ever uttering a single word, from the bag of space snacks (Astro Cola and Moon Pies, yeah?!) and the not at all space-safe armor to even the sheer look of faded mischief on Space-Lady’s face — it’s all amazing. Maybe it’s not Tank Girl per say, but all the parts are there, and there’s something about elevating the slacker story from dystopian flick to sci-fi epic that just feels like this is already a winner. In space, no one one can hear you giggle about Funyuns.
Mezo: Battle at Coban Rock #3
Cover by Val Rodrigues
I’ll admit, I’ve had a flirtatious affair with Mezo: Battle at Coban Rock since issue #1 dropped back in early May. The story, about a young warrior uniting the tribes of Mezo to battle the so-called Tzalekuhl Empire, had a pretty solid debut cover. But those space-meets-Aztec vibes soon gave way to something a little more stoic with the cover for issue #2, with a more subdued emphasis on further the aesthetic without wailing warriors. But now, as issue #3 is set to hit shelves, the whole visual thing pivots once more, with a kind of Horizon Zero Dawn meets a sinister version of a Miyazaki film. (Like My Neighbor Totoro if it were influenced by a black metal album.) They’re obviously all referencing the same story and general aesthetic, one that clearly is doing interesting things. But I love the cover to #3 because it turned my interest up all the way to 11, as all good covers hopefully should. That, and this scene gets more badass the longer I stare away.
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