ISSUE #71: Renaissance Covers

 

Well, well, well… here we are again, everyone, after a week of some exciting announcements from D23. Many (if not all) of the news was fairly expected (Kamala, She Hulk and Moon Knight, specifically did not come as much of a surprise to most). And with the new FOMO feeding frenzy that comes with those announcements, some of us may want to step back from the hype and enjoy a cheap-but-beautiful cover, instead. Hopefully, I can provide that, this week.

The barrage of new characters we get, weekly, from DC and Marvel is definitely real. Both seem to reaching for their next new idea and 99.999% of them don’t stick. They sometimes get white hot, fizzle quickly and get forgotten about. Thus, if you’re like me, it gets rather frustrating when you feel like you’re constantly chasing your tail. Instead, my advice is to chase covers/books you love, instead.

This week, I’ve focused on covers that could just as easily hang in an art gallery as they could grace a comic cover. I hope you like this little look into a few covers that are truly masterpieces. Here we go…

   

Alien Worlds #5 (1982 Series)

PUBLISHED: Pacific Comics – December, 1983

ARTIST: John Bolton

This cover reminds me very much of the Sci-Fi pulp mags of the 30’s and 40’s with its rich color and overdramatization. The depth of the environment even as far back as the moon and stars in the distance is outstanding and frames the composition beautifully. The figural work is sexy and classical and the intricacies of detail are superb. Overall, this is among my top 10 Copper Age covers.

 

Alien Encounters #1 (1985 Series)

PUBLISHED: Eclipse Comics – June, 1985

ARTIST: Joe Chiodo

 

Yes, I realize how similar in subject matter this is to the prior cover, but it is gorgeous in its own way. Most of what makes this cover so striking is the palette and perspective. Interspersing of the figures within their three-dimensional environment coupled with the various pinks and greens and purples make this an extraordinarily striking image.  The figural work is exquisite and there is a delicate nature to the entire cover, yet it also has a beautiful fluidity. I also like the little hip jets on the suits which are a cool way to “science up” the cover.

 

Vampirella Strikes #6 (1996 Series)

PUBLISHED: Harris Comics – August, 1996

ARTIST: Mark Texeira

 

It’s well-known by those who read this column how often I feature (and love) Vampi. However, I rarely choose covers like this one. I usually choose the smoother and less violent covers. However, Tex has often been an overlooked artist and I’ve always believed he deserved more attention. This cover proves why. His obvious popular work such as that which was done for Ghost Rider are clearly winners, but covers like this one are virtually unknown. It is moody, brutal and sexy all at the same time. While the violence may turn some people off, the dichotomy presented is outstanding as is the compositional appeal. An excellent unsung cover from an excellent and often unsung artist.

NOTE: Be aware that there is an ashcan of this issue with a tighter crop and muted colors. I actually like the ashcan better and it can be gotten cheap. There are two versions, a regular and a Dynamic Forces version signed by Small and limited to 500 copies..

 

Creepy #123 (1964 Series)

PUBLISHED: Warren Publishing – November, 1980

ARTIST: Ken Kelly

 

This is quite simply a stand-out cover amidst a series that is known for stand-out covers. Not only is it arguably the sexiest cover in the entire 146 issue run of the mag, but it is also one of the finest. The depth and realism, the deep color and the juxtaposition of the beautiful and horrific are fantastic. A simply beautiful cover.  

 

Heavy Metal #83 (1977 Series)

PUBLISHED: Heavy Metal Communications – February, 1984

ARTIST: Enric Torres-Prat (“Enrich”)

 

I mean… LOOK AT THIS THING! Seriously, the original for this actually better be hanging in an actual gallery, right now, or it’s a crime. Seriously, though, while he’s of course known more for his Vampirella covers, Enrich also is actually an accomplished gallery painter and is still painting today. Very few of his gallery-themed works ever make it to comic covers, but this one is an exception. Originally, this painting was done as a nude and was altered for publication on this cover of Heavy Metal. I think it is quite obvious from this cover that Enrich very well might be considered an actual master in future generations if he isn’t already considered as such (he certainly is by me for whatever that’s worth). His work far exceeds  most – if not all – others in technique, skill, detail, palette and subject. His understanding of the human figure and lighting are magnificent. I could go on for days, but rather than bore you, just go get one.  

 

Savage Sword of Conan #9 (1974 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – December, 1975

ARTIST: Boris Vallejo

 

An outstanding Boris cover that really needs no explanation. The classical painting techniques of Boris are well known (albeit often accused of being a Frazetta clone). With that said the richness of the color palette, the depth of the composition and the classic figural studies are the work of a true master. There are a variety of similar Boris covers one could choose. It is impossible to wrong with any of them. Pick your poison. This one’s mine.  

 

*****

 

And that’s all she wrote for this week. I really hope you enjoyed this one. I had plenty of other selections that didn’t quite make the cut, but they’ll eventually be featured. Next time, we shift gears a little bit and I hope you’ll like it. Until then, be well, thanks as always for reading and happy hunting.

 

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