ISSUE #31 – OOOH! Piece of Candy

Regards from Music City, CBSI. From a new release perspective, last week was light, but yielded 3 or 4 clear winners. Hopefully, you were able to snag them, cheaply. One or two of them are definitely ‘Cover Tunes’ material for a future issue.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself to keep this hobby in perspective. This past week, I’ve seen two things that completely baffle me. The first, was a bickering war amongst people about the first appearance of a character. Not even a good character, at that. It wasn’t healthy debate, either; it was all out warfare that got really personal.

So, I did what any red-blooded American would do, of course… I popped some popcorn, poured a scotch and watched the battle unfold just barely restraining myself from yelling, “FIGHT, FIGHT!!!” Guys and gals, these are comic books; little booklets of multi-colored paper with staples. Inasmuch, most of them are barely even good enough for kindling.

Let’s not take these things THAT seriously. No funny book is worth having a heart attack over. Well, maybe Action #1 or Amazing Fantasy #15, but I digress.

Oh, speaking of scotch, that leads me to the other thing that baffled me last week. $600, $800, $1000 for Ghost Spider 1:100 variant? What the actual what?!?! Do you know how much Scotch $1000 could buy you? Like, really good Scotch? Like freaking excellent, top-notch, make you want to move to Scotland Scotch!

Do we really think a renamed character with a shiny cover on an issue that is in exactly zero ways a key should be worth that? Don’t worry, it’s rhetorical. You don’t have to answer. Well, here we are in the world of, “Ooh! Piece of candy.”

 

 

Speaking of candy, I trust this Halloween was a fun one for everyone and that you were able to utilize the many tools from last weeks’ various CBSI articles pertaining to Halloween-related loot. Here is some print candy for your funny book sweet tooth that might, at the very worst, set you back 1000 cents. No common thread, this week, just five awesome covers. This week, we’re back to my old school format.

Anyhow, without further delay… Enjoy…

 

1. The Beauty #1B (2015 Series)

PUBLISHED: Image Comics – August, 2015

ARTIST: Jenny Frison

 

The overall aftermarket seems to be quite taken by Frison’s “Witchmarked” Wonder Woman, these days (and for good reason). Her Hex Wives #1B from last week was also superb. However, there are a few other Frison covers that give off the same vibe (It’s the dark streaming mascara, I think). Her Vampirella #6B does it, her Hack/Slash: My First Maniac #1 does it, but I think this The Beauty cover does it best. It is an exquisite cover, perhaps her best.

The contrasting color work is done to perfection and the utilization of the entire canvass is also expertly achieved. The light emanating from her mouth, nostrils and eyes is so captivatingly striking against the grey-tone skin, that I can’t stop staring at it. The juxtaposition of that light and dark helps set each one off with startlingly strong feeling.  

Furthermore, each line has grace and there is nothing superfluous in the composition. There is a flow and movement in it that speaks volumes about Frison’s talent and the tonal emotion is nuanced which make this cover a future classic, in my opinion. As Frison continues to heat up, covers like this one (and the aforementioned) will be more highly sought after. At the moment, this cover is a cover price snag.

If you like Frison’s work, you may want to check out CBSI’s interview with her. It can be found by clicking, here. In it, Jenny describes her influences, method and many other really entertaining facts in an extremely approachable way. It is well worth a read if you haven’t already done so.

 

2. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #3 (2014 Series)

PUBLISHED: Archie Publications (“Archie Horror”) – July, 2015

ARTIST: Robert Hack

 

It is a crying shame that this comic couldn’t come out on a regularized schedule. As a matter of fact, the best cover of all is probably the one they’ve solicited at one time, but never released for #9. Hack’s covers on the whole series are incredible and many of them are used in the opening sequence of the Netflix show (a rare nod to an artist that is a really classy touch).

One would normally gravitate toward the Francavilla covers for this series and for the Afterlife with Archie series. I adore those covers, too, but I’ve already featured them and I don’t think these Hack covers get enough love.

The entire series of Hack covers have that Bronze Age DC horror look to them which has been played up in the trade dress which is another excellent design feature as it ties in a look that we subconsciously love and look for in a horror cover.  

This particular #3 cover has great cohesion in it’s layout and the multi-layered motifs are expertly combined. It is amazing to me that such emotion can be conveyed in just the eyes without the rest of the face. It gives an “Eye’s of T.J. Eckleburg” feel to the cover; the idea that Sabrina is almost a god-like presence, presiding over the graveyard. Oh, and, speaking of eyes, the little skulls as eyes on the foreground figure are an awesome, macabre touch, as well.

This one may be more like an $8-$10 snag since the print run was low (13,138 split up over 2 covers) and the Netflix series has picked up steam, but it is well worth it at that price.    

 

3. Fables #18 (2002 Series)

PUBLISHED – DC Comics (“Vertigo”) – December, 2003

ARTIST: James Jean

 

This cover is just gorgeous. It employs all of the elements of the Art Nouveau style in an incredibly modern manner. It is also a masterful display of color. As a matter of fact, almost every Jean cover on Fables is a work of beauty, but this one stands out from the crowd.

This one is every bit a study in fluidity of line where one elements seems to flow effortlessly into the next. There are also a ton of little details and hidden surprises amidst the flora (which provide great depth and perspective), but this cover is more about what one cannot see rather than what one can.

The elegance of the outstretched line of the arm, splayed hand, seductively demure posture and even little touches like a toe stretching from one foot to touch the other, help us feel we are eavesdropping on a private moment of splendorous leisure. In short, I want to be in this cover with her.

An additional touch that I love is the slightly more highly-rendered nature of the face and hair. This subtlety draws our attention to the face and, thereby, the main subject of the composition. Overall, a brilliant cover that can be had for $5 or less.

 

4. The Books of Magic #3 (1990 Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – February, 1991

ARTIST: Charles Vess

 

I’ve had this one in the hopper since I was about 15 or 16 years old. I have always adored (and been slightly haunted) by this cover. With the new Books of Magic having been re-launched, last week, it got me thinking about this amazing cover, again.

This one does have an albeit late-80’s-early-90’s feel to the style, but when the compositional detail is done with such force and mastery, I could care less. It is at once dark and haunting and yet also commanding and graceful. Small details such as the stars and each individual strand of hair show a careful and meticulous artist paying attention to the intricacies. There is nothing phoned in about a cover like this.

I have always been surprised that none of these Gaiman prestige-bound mini series from the 90’s (such as this and Black Orchid, for instance) got more attention as they are wonderfully inventive stories from a master storyteller. Perhaps now, with the Vertigo relaunch, they will begin to. So many of them have fantastic covers AND interior art. This one can be found, tragically, in a dollar bin near you.   

 

5. The Flash #202 (1959 Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – December, 1970

ARTIST: Dick Giordano

 

I fully admit that this is an odd choice for me, but this just popped up in a stack of Goodwill $1 bin buys from my Dad, this week. I had never seen this cover until the stack arrived and I fell in love with the macabre perspective of a drowned woman depicted from beneath the water.

This stands out amongst Flash covers of the time as being a little more edgy than most. The perspective and focus are all done really well by an artist who is often overshadowed by his contemporaries like Neal Adams and others. The more I see of Giordano’s work, the more talented I realize he was.

The extra trade dress and text is, frankly, a little distracting, but that’s DC in the 70’s for ya. Finding this one in decent shape could be challenging, but lower mid-grades can be easily snagged for $10 or less.

 

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And here we are again, at the end of our weekly journey. Today’s lesson, be nice to each other, all, and love a good cover. Please, do drop a comment as I love to read and respond to what you are all thinking. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy hunting.

 

 

 

 

 

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