They say you can’t judge a book by its 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. This month, I mark the start of my second year doing this column and I want to revisit a theme from last year. This month, in honor of being a brand new year, we’re going to look at shiny number ones.
Black Bolt #1 by Christian Ward
Christian Ward is an incredibly talented artist who’s work in “Ody-C” is intricate and mind bending. His work in “Black Bolt” has been more of that but this cover for the first issue is quiet and intense. It perfectly captures the character while teasing a bit of what the story is. It’s a cover that’s so different from so many other Marvel covers that unfortunately rest on generic action shot.
Strangers In Paradise #1 by Terry Moore
It’s so weird looking at a creator’s work in their earliest days because it’s often so different. This is still a quintessential Terry Moore cover but there’s a little more attitude in this. I have to know about these women and what their story is.
The Umbrella Academy #1 by James Jean
Teenage Jess was super into My Chemical Romance and the whole scene around it. The trade covers, especially the first one, have been really beautiful on their own but this first issue enticed me and I bought it. Jean’s paintings are so beautiful and I needed to know about these people.
Sandman #1 by Dave McKean
At the time “Sandman” started, dark, gritty art was in fashion. However, McKean did something vastly different than everyone else. This cover macabre incarnate. It’s dark and mysterious yet surreal at the same time. It’s above and beyond simply being dark and even in 2018 you want to find out what’s happening inside.
Revival #1 by Jenny Frison
Jenny Frison is so good at covers. If you can get her on your book, you’re golden. She will absolutely sell me on a book. She sold me on “Revival” and I didn’t even know the premise at the time.
Shutter #1 by Leila del Duca
“Shutter” is a magical book. A first issue cover has to tease a story and entice a potential buyer and this cover feels all the more perfect knowing what happens inside. Del Duca is a wonderful artist who really puts in a nice amount of whimsy in a relatively realistic world. This cover is fun and asks you to go on an adventure. You’d be crazy to say no.
Pretty Deadly #1 by Emma Rios
I cannot tell you what I remember about “Pretty Deadly” but I can tell you what this cover looks like from memory. That’s how memorable it is to me and it’s a cover I go to immediately when anyone talks about Emma Rios. It’s gorgeous and memorable. That’s what all art should strive for.
The Incredible Hulk #1 by Jack Kirby
Eventually I’d like to do a column about major first appearances because I always find it fun to look back on, especially with characters that have a long history. Hulk has strayed away from being strange and gray but the duality in this cover still holds up really well.
Elektra #1 by Mike del Mundo
“Elektra” was a short lived series but del Mundo’s art was so good. I like this cover because I tend to like the complicated construction of it. Making an image of images is my thing so I’m into it. It’s memorable and it actually works to characterize Elektra a bit.Continued below
The Vision #1 by Mike del Mundo
This is another del Mundo cover but I felt compelled to include it because it’s so bizarre. The weird Leave It To Beaver vibe with this family of androids is confusing and disorienting but once I saw it in the solicits, I knew I was interested in the series. It’s so different than anything else done artistically with The Vision and it works as a great hook.