Like the majority of my articles, this one was sparked during a debate over alcohol. A minor debate over favorite beers transcended into a conversation over coolest beer labels. Naturally, after I got home, the conversation about beer labels left me thinking about my favorite comic cover art of all-time.
Any time you do an “All-Time” list, it is open for debate along with the fact there’s always someone/something you forget or leave off your list, but for the most part. some of my favorite comic cover art also happens to be from my favorite comics (yes, I’d say there is a direct correlation between the two). So, without any further delay I give you a Top Ten list of my favorite cover artworks of all time.
10) Aquaman #1 (1993) – Honestly, this wasn’t a fantastic comic (or series really), I always felt Aquaman was always lacking something with its writing to draw in more fans, but this particular cover always stood out. It screams to me. Lets every reader know Aquaman is back, he’s pissed, and you better stay the heck out of his way.
9) Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage #1 (1994) – I know this particular cover is actually the cover of the collective comics that make up the Maximum Carnage story, but I still have to give it credit as one of my favorite covers. Despite Maximum Carnage being such an extremely creative, sinister, and raw story, this cover was just so simple. The three masks of Venom, Spider-Man, and Carnage aligned across the middle of the cover appeared so mundane one would never have guessed this would be the start of such a violent tale. Perhaps, it’s the irony of the art that landed it on my last.
8) Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe (1995) – What more can be said. The title and the depiction of The Punisher standing over nearly every Marvel character you could think of just makes this cover art one of the best to me. It was the classic ‘shoot first-ask questions never’ Punisher and an awesome “What-If” story-line that Marvel was very keen on exploring at the time.
7) X-Men #18 (1993) – I’ve always loved the intricacy of this cover. There is so much going on this cover, but it so perfectly captures the power of Omega Red. His tentacles wrapping up some of our favorite X-Men: Wolverine, Psylocke, Cyclops, and Iceman –with just the perfect amount of intensity in Omega Red’s eyes and the subtle panic in each of our heroes eyes as they face one of their biggest (and newest) threats in the beginning stages of re-vamped line-up for the Uncanny X-Men.
6) The Joker #6 (1976) – Very few people are aware that the Joker did have his own series for a short while before coming a full-blown staple in Batman’s series. However, I’ve always liked this cover because you have the Joker trapping Sherlock Holmes, or is it Sherlock Holmes that is trapping the Joker.? It embodies the sociopathic intelligence of the Joker, he’s always one step ahead, or so he makes it seem.
5) Iron Man #150 (1968) – Iron vs. Dr. Doom plain and simple. Nothing fancy on this cover, but looking at the two arch-nemesis’s about to collide it immediately makes any fan want to tear through the pages of this classic.
4) Gambit #2 (1993) – A definite cult classic in my opinion. Not a well-known character outside of X-Men and Marvel fans, but Gambit’s second issue in this premiere series was always the most captivating. I remember seeing it on the news-rack and thinking, “Who is that girl in Gambit’s arms? Is it Bella Donna? Is she dead? What’s Gambit going to do?” It’s those same questions that I originally asked myself that makes me put this cover in the Top Five; the cover was absolutely stunning.
3) Marvel VS. DC #1 (1996) – I don’t know how a fan could walk away from this one. I remember staring at this cover for a good hour before I even opened the comic. I remember just going left to right looking at the heroes and villains staring eye to eye preparing to battle each other and already playing out the fights (and picking winners/losers) in my head before I even opened the darn comic. The greatest heroes and notorious villains from both DC and Marvel dueling it out makes this cover unmistakable.
2) Batman: A Death In The Family (1988) – In the same realm as Gambit #2, whenever you see a character holding another character’s presumably dead body you’re immediately stunned and intrigued. Death is a powerful trigger in art, especially when the person who has been visited by death is Robin. This cover is truly unforgettable for any Batman fan. The story itself, with all the Cold War/Middle East political ties in at the time (late eighties), I was not a huge fan of, but still there is no mistaking that when you saw Batman hunched over, broken, and holding a battered, lifeless Jason Todd you couldn’t help but feel something tug at you just from the cover alone.
1) Wolverine: Weapon X (1993) – The pure savagery of this cover is why I have to put it at number one. The raw brutality that is Wolverine, that was Weapon X, is on display. Standing over a pile of military personnel bodies and impaling the last survivor, Weapon X is alive and dangerous. Till this day, when someone asks me to explain to them who Wolverine is and why he’s always viewed as a “bad-ass,” I still refer to this cover as a staple of my explanation. It perfectly defines the inner beast that is Wolverine.
Well, that sums it up for my favorite comic covers of all time. I’ll admit I do have a few honorable mentions I feel obligated to acknowledge: Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, Action Comics #1, Captain America Volume 5 #25 (Civil War Epilogue), and Green Lantern Volume 2 #42.
As always comments are always welcome, till next time guys.
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