They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. While that might be true for prose, it’s not entirely true for comic books. Comic books are a visual medium and more times than not, it’s the art that draws you in. With so many comic books coming out these days, a cover that stands out from everything else on a wall of new releases can determine how well it sells. I know that I’ve picked up new titles solely based on the cover.
It is with that in mind that we bring you Face Value, a column where we will be looking at the best covers in comics, both new and old, every two weeks. In this month’s special edition the theme should be very obvious. It’s February so that means yes, I’m looking at comic book covers featuring some of my favorite comic book couples. With this, I tried to think outside of the same few couples everyone talks about. Like great art, love comes in all forms and hopefully this month’s column reflects that.
Sunstone Volume 5 by Stjepan Sejic
Lisa and Ally’s ending was told to us in the first few pages of “Sunstone” but that didn’t keep their journey of falling in love any less exciting. “Sunstone” is probably the most modern couple of this list. They met on the internet and became friends first, bonding over their mutual interests in BDSM which led to them becoming sexual partners which led to true love. Over five volumes, these two went through a lot of doubt but it all came together and in this cover they’re closer and happier than they’ve been in any previous volume.
Love and Rockets #31 by Jaime Hernandez
Jaime Hernandez is an actual living legend thanks in large part to “Love and Rockets”. Maggie and Hopey have an extremely complicated relationship and between being friends and sometimes lovers, they always held on this deep care for each other. As main characters, they were on plenty of covers but I like this one cause it is like we are interrupting some quality time between the two. The coloring is pure Hernandez and shows these two at an earlier point in time before things really go off the rails.
New Avengers Annual #1 by Oliver Coipel, Mark Morales and Jose Villarrubia
When I set out to do this, I didn’t want to load up this list with a bunch of superhero pairings but I could not forget my beloved Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Like a lot of other superhero couples, they don’t make things easy but unlike a lot of other superhero couples, their problems felt a lot more authentic. There wasn’t a big villain trying to pull them apart but instead it was their own doubts, fears and the struggle of raising a baby. That’s why I had to go with their wedding as a cover to represent them. This was the culmination of everything they’d been through and you can feel the love pouring out of this.
Strangers In Paradise Volume 2 #12 by Terry Moore
I could write a book about Francine and Katchoo. Throughout the series, Francine struggles to see Katchoo as more than just her closest friend and Katchoo in turn struggles to move on from her and her past. Their bond is pretty much unbreakable no matter how messed up things got for them; and it got pretty messed up. It was a true romantic saga that is still the only comic book to actually make cry. I could honestly do an entire special edition on just Moore’s covers but I chose this one because it of how these two are looking at each other. It’s kind of a literal cover with them being tangled up in something while they figure out their feelings but it really does represent the series.
The Wicked + The Divine #12 by Kate Brown
This is probably the most downer cover of the bunch but Kate Brown’s work here is so good that I couldn’t leave it off. Baal and Inanna were a couple we didn’t get to see together very much but we know that it’s a relationship that deeply impacted Baal. This cover really captures Baal’s despair but the way he holds Inanna illustrates so much love.Continued below
Lumberjanes #11 by Carolyn Nowak
Mal and Molly are the premiere couple of “Lumberjanes” and their age makes them so special because so rarely do you see young, first love depicted in a comic book that’s gotten this big. Mal and Molly are adorable and so pure. This cover puts the focus on them in a kind of magical way. The majesty of this forest is designed just for them but they don’t care because they are in the middle of their first love so nothing else matters.
The Wicked + The Divine #4 by Kevin Wada
Unlike Baal and Inanna, Baphomet and The Morrigan are a couple we’ve seen plenty of. Often times they are completely combustible but it cannot be said that there isn’t some level of love between the two of them. They came into the Pantheon together and now rule the Underground all while wearing lots of black. Kevin Wada perfectly captures their looks here and there’s a certain level of trashy sex appeal about these two that comes through Baphomet’s expression.
Jem and the Holograms #5 by Sophie Campbell
Kimber and Stormer, like many of the other couples in this article, have a storied history. Often assumed as a couple, it wasn’t until the comic adventures of Jem and the Holograms got started that it was explicitly confirmed. While not quite Romeo & Juliet, they’ve had to overcome some hurdles being from rival bands. This cover is great because you get that note of conflict but in the way their eyes connect, you get some of that love and the resistance to fighting.
Harley Quinn #3 by Amanda Conner
Like all foolish teens, I was into the Harley Quinn/Joker pairing but then I grew up and realized that Harley Quinn deserved a lot better than that garbage. Harley and Poison Ivy is just iconic even if a segment of the Harley fanbase won’t accept it. Harley and Ivy bring out the best (and most mischievous) sides of each other. There’s a lot of love here and it is one of the few actually open relationships that I can think of in comic books. Weirdly, there aren’t a ton of covers featuring the two of them alone but I think this one does a great job kind of showing the playful nature of this pairing.
Aquaman #37 by Darwyn Cooke
If you asked me to think of the first image that comes to my mind when I think of romance, it is this. When DC revealed these covers a lot was made out of how happy all these characters were but I was instantly drawn to this. Cooke (RIP) creates a sweeping scene that puts the beach scene in From Here To Eternity to shame. Aquaman and Mera are a couple for all times and everything from the position of the hands to the color of the sky makes me feel all the warm fuzzies.
Show me covers of your favorite comic book couples in the comments!