ISSUE #72: Love for Linsner


(WARNING: Article contains some slightly mature content)

Welcome back to a fresh new Cover Tunes, everyone! I hope you all were able to have a nice long and restful weekend where you managed to do some quality hunting. I had a particularly nice week picking up a couple of books for the PC that have eluded me for years. I sincerely appreciate all of the kind and constructive comments from last week’s “Renaissance Covers” segment and hope you enjoy this week’s just as much.

This time around, I’d like to finally get around to one of my favorite people in comics: Joseph Michael Linsner. I had the pleasure of meeting him on back-to-back occasions two years ago and to say he was kind and generous would be an understatement. It is very obvious that he attends cons for the fans and genuinely loves meeting them and talking to them. I initially went to him for a commission and paid for a Red Sonja head shot. Even though his prices were reasonable, that was all I could afford at the time.

As the day wore on, I’d check in on my commission every hour or two. He kept getting distracted from his work for one reason or another and each time he’d profusely apologize for not having it completed and promise he’d get right to it. When it was finally done, many hours later, he had given me a bust rather than a head shot since I had waited all day for it and he’d felt so badly about it. Just a little move like that was all I needed for him to solidify himself as one of the “good ones.” The second time I met him (which was only 2 weeks after the first time), I had him do some color on the commission. See the finished piece, below.



Thus, this week, I’d like to give some love to an artist that not only deserves it based on being an excellent cover artists, but also for being a great guy. Rather than discuss each piece separately, I am instead going to have a running dialogue and intersperse some of my favorite covers along the way. All can be found cheap. (Be aware that many of these covers have virgin variants which are quite a bit rarer than their trade-dress counterparts.) I hope there’s a little something in here for everyone. Let’s dive in, shall we?




In the 1990’s, when Linsner was releasing Dawn books, he was wildly popular as his style stood out against the backdrop of very cookie-cutter comic cover art. Essentially, everyone was trying to emulate the same three or four artists and everything looked the same. Linsner’s work, however, did not look at all like everything else. It was sexy and suggestive and quite unique in both style and technique. There was more use of dimensional space and less line work. There was more use of shadow and light. It was clean work with a style that was very much Linsner’s and no one else’s. Here’s a look.


Dawn #4 (1995 Series)

PUBLISHED: Sirius Entertainment – January, 1996

ARTIST: Joseph Michael Linsner


There are many great Dawn covers, but I really like the color and layout of this particular example.


Cry for Dawn #9 (1989 Series)

PUBLISHED: Cry for Dawn Productions – 1992

ARTIST: Joseph Michael Linsner    


Obviously, this one is an homage to the Marilyn Monroe pinup from Playboy in 1953 and it is also a snarky joke with the censorship strip across the chest, however, it is still an unbelievably great cover. It does, of course, stretch the boundaries of mainstream acceptability.  

Linsner’s style is quite polarizing. I am very much in the camp that adores it as it is a perfect mixture of the nostalgia of 90’s comics combined with the technique and design aesthetic of today. Mostly known, of course, for his sexy depictions of women, Linsner has also done rather a large body work for Conan and other non-female centric titles.    


Warlord of Mars #100 (2014 Series)

PUBLISHED: Dynamite Entertainment – April, 2014

ARTIST: Joseph Michael Linsner


Definitely nothing to the imagination on this one, but it is incredible and a compositional favorite of mine. His women have a very particular look and build that, while exaggerated, is not wholly unrealistic. His girls are generally quite “hippy” and almost always have sloping breasts. Linsner has been criticized for this, but what I find amusing is that the stereotypical comic book bust shape has very much followed the body ideal of a “manufactured” look rather than a realistic one. Linsner is really just depicting the natural reality.


Independent Voices #2 (1998 Series)

PUBLISHED: Peregrine Entertainment – September, 1999

ARTIST: Joseph Michael Linsner

(Special thanks to our very own Topher for bringing this one to my attention in his True Firsts article for July 10, 2019). An early entry for JML, but a fun one having to do with censorship. Between this one and the Marilyn Monroe homage, above, it is clear where Linsner stands on such topics.

If his style is something you like, I highly suggest checking out Linsner’s Facebook and instagram for posts on his commission art and sketches. I actually find that I often times love that work more than a lot of his published stuff. However, I digress. His pin-up style very much borrows from Vargas’ and he, self-admittedly, has spoken to me about this influence. That style comes out most vividly in some of his more hyper-modern work for Dynamite which are the books that reignited my interest in his work.  


Bettie Page #8 (2017 Series)

PUBLISHED: Dynamite Entertainment – February, 2018

ARTIST: Joseph Michael Linsner

Barbarella #1C (2017 Series)

PUBLISHED: Dynamite Entertainment – December, 2017

ARTIST: Joseph Michael Linsner

Recently, I have been particularly impressed with his work on two of my favorite characters; Red Sonja and Vampirella. He had done work on both in the past, but artists change over time and I feel Linsner has become more well-suited to these two characters in the 30 years since his debut.


Vampirella: Roses for the Dead (2018 Series)

PUBLISHED: Dynamite Entertainment: October, 2018

ARTIST: Joseph Michael Linsner


Red Sonja #1B (2019 Series)

PUBLISHED: Dynamite Entertainment – February, 2019

ARTIST: Joseph Michael Linsner


Having just begun this year, this current Red Sonja run is a really great read and each issue has some amazing covers. Not only are Linsner’s fantastic, but so are many of the Conner covers and the incentives by the likes of Jusko, Tedesco and others.




Sadly, that brings us to a close of yet another issue. Please, take a moment and drop a quick comment and let me know what your thoughts are on Linsner. I hope you have a great week. Until next time, be well, thanks as always for reading and happy hunting.


The post ISSUE #72: Love for Linsner appeared first on CBSI Comics.

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