Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Judging (Marvel's February) Books By Their Covers

Marvel's February Solicitations are up, and folks have been asking me to do one of these for Marvel, so I figure I can give it a shot. So let's make some prejudgements based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgements, don't we?

Let's begin!
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Is Thing made out of popcorn or something?

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Weird cover.
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I wonder what the process is for Greg Land when he decides who is going to be redrawn as Thor.

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Where do you think he looks first? Muscle magazines?

Movie mags?

What do you think?

In addition, why is "President Thor" in Ultimate Fantastic Four?
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I have a great name for this story.

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"So It's Come To This...Ultimate Vulture."
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This is straddling the edge between "Okay" and "Awful."

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One wrong move, and it could go the bad way.
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This is a pretty decent cover...

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...but the REAL news is that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is taking over!

I am quite excited.
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A big change in Spider-Man's life leads to a new costume for Spidey!

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What is this, 1993?
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"Put the nine on the ten!!"

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Backseat Solitaire players are annoying.
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This passes the Ron Frenz Rule of Costume Design...

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...however, you still have to make the costume look GOOD.
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I enjoy this title...

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...but isn't it weird that, like the movie, this Mary Jane bears no resemblance to any other previous Mary Jane. It's weird.
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This cover looks good.

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But then I realize it is a comic about the Marvel version of Ares, God of War.

That is weird.
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Sean Phillips is a really talented artist.

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Proof of this is that he makes this dumb cover idea still look pretty darn good.
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Ah...the Greg Land School of Visual Design.

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I bet there's some dude who's thinking, "Hey, that's my bike!"
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Yes, ANOTHER Punisher/Painkiller Jane story.

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Well, look on the bright side, the art is by current Paul Gulacy, so at least the art will stink.
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This is a weird cover.

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Still, the inside comic will be good, because Robert Aguirre-Sacasa IS good.
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Wasn't there an old video game that involved popping balloons?

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I bet Bullseye was good at video games.
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Am I the only one who is surprised that this is a pretty good cover?

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Is Winter Soldier going to be the new Jessica Jones?

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Or remember back in the early 90s when everyone wanted to have Tim Drake guest star in their comic?
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Mmmm...kay.

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This is a crazy-ass cover.

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Also, what good timing to do a Scarlet Witch/Vision love story comic.
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Would it really be too much to spring for a wraparound cover?

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I mean, come on!

By the way, is this a "Everyone who hasn't already had a listing" thing? If so, that would suck.
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As Kevin Brennan says, you can tell she's serious. How?

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Look at her fingers.

That means "I am serious."
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How the hell did Sal Buscema IMPROVE?

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The dude's gotta be pretty old, but his art has gotten BETTER.

That's pretty cool.
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I'd like to see one comic book month pass withOUT an homage cover.

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Ever notice how there were almost NO homage covers until, like, 1990. Now you see one every month.
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Terry Dodson should sue for identity theft.

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What are they attacking?

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It looks like they're all centering on, like, a rat.

What an odd "attack" shot.
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My pal Stony should be happy, as this is a sign that Phil Hester is now with Marvel.

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Quite a loss by DC.
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Here's my thing.

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I liked Patrick Zircher's art.

Why does he have to draw like Mark Brooks now?
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This is a very appropriate cover.

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Because reading this comic is as exciting as watching some dude writing in a book.
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I think Tim Bradstreet might be pulling an interesting scam...

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Doing a Triple A ad and then adding the big Punisher skull and getting paid twice.
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Staz Johnson? Oooh...I like him!

Tom Palmer? Oooh...I like him a lot!

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Uh oh.
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Look what digital painting does to comics.

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DiVito is a fine artist, but if you compare this drawing to his NON digitally painted art in Young Avengers, it just pales.
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Jimmy Cheung MAKES this book.

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So if you don't like Jimmy Cheung's art, you will not like this comic book.
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I almost thought that I was going to have to actually buy some porn, but luckily, Marvel helped me out.

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Sweet cover.
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I LIKE the Lunas, but this is a pretty damn bland cover.

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Nice. Marvel should thank Morrison for Irving, Ferry, Sook and...oh...but that would be telling now, wouldn't it?

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OUCH.

This was originally an eight-issue series.

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I guess the market for "Superhero talks to his shrink" was not as big as Marvel expected.
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No offense to the artist in question, but that is one half-assed cover right here.

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Marvel got Marcos Martin?

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NIIIICE pick-up there, Marvel!

That partially makes up for Loeb.
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This is challenging the Luna cover for blandest cover.

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Due to popular demand, here is the cover of Nighthawk #4...

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which is an homage to THIS cover...

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What is it, are they running out of covers to homage now?

At least it DOES look cool. It's got THAT going for it.
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Oooooh...ominous.

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I like covers that use the logo in the action.

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It's a lost art form.
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Juggernaut.

Nocturne.

Now "Lionheart."

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It's like Claremont is on a mission to use New Excalibur to fix Austen.
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That's a pretty badass cover.

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Ahhh...two proud African-Americans.

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Does anyone know the difference between Billy and Phillip Tan?

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Zatanna to X-Factor.

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I haven't seen a downgrade this bad since....hmmmm...I can't think of a bigger one.
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I don't know what that sign means, but I am prepared to follow whatever it says.

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Damn...Brubaker is GOOD.

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He makes even a Silvestri cover look intriguing.
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That's a damn fine cover.
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Apocalypse is BACK!

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Marvel FINALLY got my letters!
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APOCALYPSE VERSUS DRACULA!

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Has someone at Marvel been reading my dream journal?!
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TOP FIVE COVERS

5. I don't like the looks of Monica Rambeau, but that is a sweet cover.

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4. Coolness.

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Classic Giffen coolness.
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3. Ladronn has improved a lot.

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And he was good to BEGIN with.
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2. Yu RULES!

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This reminds me of that cool Adam Hughes Catwoman cover, where Hughes let his dynamic side rule out his excessive side. The result was a cool Catwoman cover - same as this cover.
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1. This cover is perfect.

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Okay, that's it for me, folks!

Feel free to share YOUR prejudices!!

AND your top five choices!

Read More

31 Comments:

Blogger Bill Reed said...

That chick on the Panther cover is supposed to be effin' Photon or whatever the hell they're calling her?

I call shenanigans.

Ladronn is brilliant, and should be doing a huge fully-painted New Gods OGN with Morrison, dammit.

11/16/2005 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

I'm glad you finally did one of these with Marvel covers, since I don't really like much of anything DC puts out. The DC ones never inspire much of a response from me, but there was a lot of good stuff from Marvel, so here goes...

The Ultimate Extinction cover by Land is way ugly. Is it me or did he model Wolverine after a grown-up homeless version of the Harry Potter actor?

Ultimate Vulture definitely can't pass the Ron Frenz costume design test.

That guy on the Spider-Girl cover looks like the Ultimate version of Brown Hornet from the old Fat Albert cartoon.

That Black Widow cover isn't so much dumb as it is just boring.

The Bullseye/Punisher cover looks like some weird courtship ritual.

How did that "I (HEART) MARVEL" Spidey cover not make the top 5? Easily the best of the bunch, just for sheer psychotic-ness.

Daughters of the Dragon would be in my Top5 as well, if not #1. Killer graffiti/manga style cover.

Iron Man Inevitable is a killer cover too.

Hester at Marvel is definitely Marvel's loss. Hopefully they put him on a book with Loeb so I can avoid two birds with one stone.

I don't think the New Avengers are attacking anything. Just posing for a gansta rap album cover. It's what the kids do now.

Why does Silver Sable now look like a Staten Island guido mom?

Zircher's new style is better in my opinion. Never liked his old one.

Is Son of M just going to be about Quicksilver as the Charlie Brown of the Marvel Universe? It just seems to be issue after issue of him gettin dissed.

Why does Storm look like Rupaul in that cover?

Sorry, but I think X-Factor is a step up from Zatanna for Sook. I mean sure it was a Morrison book...but it was about Zatanna. Doesn't get much cornier.

Marc Silvesti does some sweet work. Very underrated.

There was also another homage cover you didn't post. The new Nighthawk is a tribute to a John Romita Spider-Man cover.

11/17/2005 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger Mr. Zero said...

RE: X-Men Deadly Genesis

When did Elongated Man join the X-Men?

11/17/2005 01:48:00 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

A big change in Spider-Man's life leads to a new costume for Spidey!

What is this, 1993?

I'm surprised it's taken you so long to work out. By the way, can I interest you in this Jim Lee WildCATS variant cover? :)

Wasn't there an old video game that involved popping balloons?
Yes. it was called Pang! I believe.

That I ♥ Spider-Man cover is a caption competition waiting to happen. What do YOU think Spider-Man would say upon finding a tiny Mary Jane gift-wrapped in a box?

Good call about Sal Buscema. I've never been a fan of his art, but his most recent stuff has been great, and it's criminal that Marvel aren't using him more often while he's still with us.

What gets me about that Not Avengers cover is how Daredevil/Ronin/Echo is twirling those nunchuks. In all my years of martial arts movie watching, I've never seen them used like that. I'm not even sure it's possible to do that.

And that She-Hulk cover is the most grotesque thing I've seen in years. Greg Horn has been soundly lambasted every time he's popped up to do some work, and when he disappeared after Emma Frost was cancelled, I thought we were finally rid of him, but here he is! Are the art editors at Marvel really that blind? Presumably this is supposed to be erotic in some way? I must vomit.

I'm not sure why Spider-Woman is blonde in that cover, but oh well. And while that hot pink cover is a bit weird, I can't wait to read Frazer Irving's Iron Man book. Why DC didn't snap him to an exclusive contract while they had him, I don't know. Although he's one of the few 2000ad-ers who still does work for the magazine, even after "graduating" to US work, so perhaps they did and he told them to shove off.

I'd forgotten that Sentry was supposed to be an eight-issue series. Doesn't bode well.

Apocalypse vs Dracula is either the worst or best idea Marvel have had in a good ten years.

That's Monica Rambeau on the Black Panther cover? Crikey! Presumably that doesn't fit with Ellis and Immonen's NextWave version, but BP seems to be wandering around in a weird continuity bubble, so no one will pay attention anyway.

Don't have a top five, but my top three are:
3. Black Panther
2. NextWave (also great to see Fin Fang Foom again. 2005/2006 is/are the year(s) of The Foom!)
1. Hulk, because Ladronn is a genius, and I'm with Bill Reed; they need to put Ladronn and Morrison together on something, like a proper OMAC story.

11/17/2005 02:11:00 AM  
Blogger Michileen Martin said...

Apologies if this seems nitpicky, but Black Panther is just African. Not African-American.

Nitpickiness over.

11/17/2005 02:16:00 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Michileen, I think he's joking about how Marvel have been shopping this around as a story about their African American heroes. Marvel's words, not Brian's.

I forgot:
4. Nighthawk. Not as good as the original (thanks T!), but pretty good.

And the creepy thing about "President Thor" is that it looks like he's been using the same model that he uses for his female characters. Doesn't he have any photos of a man with long hair?

11/17/2005 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Yeah, Michileen, I was just having fun with Marvel's recent press release where they (apparently) were too afraid to call Black Panther (whose name has the word Black IN the name) "Black."

So, instead, they referred to him by the misnomer "African-American."

Which is awfully silly (but funny).

11/17/2005 04:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Dizzy said...

So the list:
Ultimate Whatever: ugly cover, especially Wolverine and Cap.

I agree with everybody else on the Thor-cover.

Ah, Ultimate Vulture has claws...

Ultimate X-men: I skipped the last Wolverine/Storm story on Ultimate and this seems skippable as well. Wolverine/Sabretooth has been done often enough.

Ghost Rider: maybe the Greg Land school of visual design, but this one is actually good. Won't make me pick up the title though.

I heart Spidey: Great cover.. but I wonder what the market is for romance books these days.

Marvel Team-Up: Is that Mutant 2099?

Cable&Deadpool: I find it funny how Cable has these guns on every cover and he hasn't been using them for ages now.

I think the Thing-cover is just fine. Digital painting or not.

She-Hulk: still wondering about those Greg Horn-covers. They really have nothing to do with the story inside in theme and appearance. Same with Emma Frost, which was apparently about Emma as a schoolgirl.

Spider-Woman cover: ouch.. bad bad cover.

Iron Man: Nice cover, but I was already buying this for the writer.

When did Silver Sable turn into Tina Turner? I do like the fact that somebody remembered Dominic Fortune though.

Like the Exiles-cover, but damn.. is this the 4th Hyperion to appear in this title?

Excalibur: Ah well.. Claremont has odd ideas from time to time about the things he should and shouldn't use from other writers.

Tan-cover: Fugly, fugly cover. And Psylocke shows again why she is in these comics.

The 198: would have been in my top 5 covers of this month. Don't have much confidence in the story inside, but that cover looks great.

Dead Girl: Milligan is going through his Marvel Handbook of the Dead, isn't he?

X-men: I like that Apocalypse-cover. Simple and to the point. Apocalypse-Dracula looks good artwise, but writing... nyah.

Black Panther-cover: Like that costume for Monica, but what are those horns/cape that appear around them?

Cover no4 on the top 5: For what comic is this one?

Ladronn has always been great and I was amazed how different his art was between the Inhumans preview he did in his Kirby-style and the Inhumans series he did not so long ago.

Don't like that Yu cover very much. Probably because I have seen what Yu can do if he takes time for it in Silent Dragon.

And I agree that the Next Wave cover is the best. "I wear underpants"

11/17/2005 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Brian (not Cronin) said...

Since I'm one of the ones who requested the "judging books by their covers" treatment for Marvel, I just wanted to say "thanks."

I don't think X-Factor is too much of a step down. In fact, the book's concept is kind of similar -- second-string characters given a new lease on life by a clever writer. Yes, I know Morrison and David aren't exactly comparable, but neither of them are boring.

What's wrong with Claremont trying to "fix" Austen? Somebody's got to. Just so long as Nightcrawler's origin is next on the list.

Oh, and Bill -- the person on the Panther cover is Storm...who is also just African.

11/17/2005 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Kelvin, Jessica Drew is actually a dirty blonde. She died her hair black in Spider-Woman #1 and I don't think anyone remembered her natural hair color since. I've never seen it mentioned after the first time she dyed it.

Brian (Not Cronin): Storm was actually born in America and has an American father and was brought to Africa at a very young age. So calling her African-American can actually work, but not Panther.

11/17/2005 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

Since when does Storm have extremely pale skin and dark hair?

(Not talking about the Storm/Panther one. The other one. With the pseudo-Photon.)

11/17/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger joncormier said...

Aren't Storm and Panther just African and not African-American? Did I miss something about being born and raised solely in Africa that makes you an African-American or is the Marvel Marketing department a bit sketchy on details. I'll bet the answer will blow my mind.

11/17/2005 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger David C said...

I know it's the current trend, but it's amazing how many covers are basically just pinups that have no particular relation to the story. Seems like Marvel likes that much more than DC, too.

That said, I think my favorite is the cover with a picture of a pinup - Captain America.

11/17/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Brian (not Cronin) said...

Oh! Oh, oh, oh! Apologies, Bill. Yeah, that is Monica Rambeau (formerly Photon) on the other Panther cover. Darned if I know how you recognized her, because she actually is African-American, but she sure doesn't look it there.

So the Panther is hooking up with both Storm and Photon this month. Geez, T'Challa, I know there are only two black women superheroes in the Marvel U, but just pick one, OK?

And yeah, T, you're right. Storm was born in Brooklyn, promptly moved to Egypt, then spent most of her youth in Kenya. So Odin only knows what nationality she is legally, but I suspect she'd consider herself Kenyan. What's on your birth certificate is one thing, but you can never forget the land where they think you're a god.

11/17/2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Soar said...

So we have 20+ X titles and just over 200 mutants? A title for every 10 mutants?

Eeeeeek.

And Pietro gets to be a villain again (Son of M). Oh, ummm, boy. Let's just put out another Hank Pym mini where he gets mad and smacks Jan, shall we?

11/17/2005 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Ultimate Whatever: Mmmm. Caramel. Popcorn. Thing.

Sooooo Hungry.

Ultimate Woverine/Storm: Awww. Come now. This is a neat idea, decently well executed.

Spider-man: Siooohette: Not bad.

I'm reaaallllly damn curious who's laundry that is.
Spider-man: SOlitaire: Does anyone remember when covers were supposed to make you CARE About what happens inside? Anyone?

Black Widow: STILL no Bill Seinciwicz covers? That just sucks for everyone. People who buy the book for the cheesecake art on the outside are gonna hate the interiors, and us Bill S. fans don't get a cover. If Seinciwicz was doing the covers, I'd still be buying this book.

Spider-Girl: Whoah. Trippy. I like it.

Sal Buscema: Well, here's the thing. He had a lot of room to improve TOO.

New Avengers vs. Howard the Duck:

At least that's what I hope it is.

Dude Writing in A Book and His Cat ADVENTURES: Is that Michael Zulli? Working for Marvel? Cool.

Underworld: Screw you all. I like Frank Tierri. If this is a gangster story, I'm getting this.

Thing/Franklin/Lockjaw: Yeah, I totally agree with you RE: digital art. But it's still Lockjaw... licking ice cream off the Thing's HEAD! Totally in my top five of the week.

P.S. I just read the last Ultimate Fantastic Four trade. Jae Lee draws the best Lockjaw of anyone, ever. I get chills.

She-Hulk: Look at that fence bend! C'mon... This is FUN-NY! ...

Iron Man: Is this Fraiser Irving? What the hell is going on here? Terrible. Terrible.

Sentry: See above comments about covers making you WANT to buy the book. Poopy.

Runaways: That's some good sureptitious listing of the credits. Solid Cover.

Nighthawk: I see why they're homaging Spider-man 151. 'Cause it's only 14 issues away from the AWESOME 165, which had Stegron in it. Making it a vitally important part of comics lore.

X-men: That's some good designin', I tell you what. Love Emma up top.

Quicksilver: Damn. Crystal looks PISSED.

Black Panther: Beautiful. Probably my favorite from this list.

X-Factor: Dunno what Sook was going for here, but I don't think he pulled it off.

198: Wow. And that's a SINCERE wow. I don't think I've ever seen a block print motif used on a comic cover. My pick 'o the week.

Professor X: I'm sure Mark Silvestri has his good points. He's probably a really nice guy. Heck, I hear he can re-drywall your kitchen in an hour flat.

I just wish he'd stop drawing comics. This might just be my inherent bias against the early nineties or my inherent bias against pointless, excessive crosshatching of my inherent bias against REALLY REALLY BAD art, but... geez. This is awful.

Dead Girl: I really missed X-Force. Good cover.

Apocalypse: I honestly laughed out loud at "Dream Journal."

Photon/Wolverine: Really, really good. Reminds me of the dude who did Sandman: The Dream Hunters.

Orc Vs. Tentacles: What the heck comic IS this? Did Marvel buy the rights to Dungeons and Dragons?

11/17/2005 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Yoshitaka Amano did Sandman: The Dream Hunters (and Vampire Hunter D and lots of Final Fantasy stuff). This is Jae Lee, I think.

(That's not to say that I thought you were saying it was Amano, just for your information)

And Orc vs Tentacles is Hulk #92.

11/17/2005 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

That Amazing Spider-Man #151 cover makes me long for the days where Spidey was funny, but still a tough-guy bad-ass when he needed to be. That's the Spidey i wanna see in New Avengers. This anorexic Chandler Bing that Bendis is writing is more like an annoying little brother.

11/17/2005 06:14:00 PM  
Anonymous daniel apodaca said...

The Dead Girl cover gives me poopy-pants. And Nextwave looks to be mudbutt inducing as well.

11/17/2005 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

T, I don't think anyone's explained to Bendis that the Spider-Man he's writing in Not Avengers isn't the Ultimate version.

11/17/2005 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

"Yoshitaka Amano did Sandman: The Dream Hunters (and Vampire Hunter D and lots of Final Fantasy stuff). This is Jae Lee, I think."

Yeah! That guy! Thanks!

If Jae Lee did this, he's even awesomer than I thought. Awesomer than Jim Lee and Pat Lee PUT TOGETHER!

"And Orc vs Tentacles is Hulk #92."

... Weird. Doesn't look very Hulky t' me.

11/18/2005 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger Chad said...

Storm's father was American and she was born in America. They lived in Harlem until she was a year old or something. Then they went to Africa where she lived for the next 20-odd years. Since then she's been based out of upstate New York.

11/18/2005 05:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Dizzy D said...

Dude Writing in A Book and His Cat ADVENTURES

This is just waiting for a Groucho Marx-style joke.

Runaways: That's some good sureptitious listing of the credits. Solid Cover.

You know, I hadn't even seen that. Very cool!

Photon/Wolverine: Really, really good. Reminds me of the dude who did Sandman: The Dream Hunters.

I don't think that's Wolverine.

11/18/2005 10:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Technicly, Nocturne is a Winick character...though I guess Austin messed with her for a while.

11/18/2005 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Lex said...

Brian... you actually wanted Apocalypse back? I don't know you anymore.

11/18/2005 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sales on SENTRY #2 were down about a third on SENTRY #1, but it still moved fifty thousand copies.

Why lop off two issues?

11/18/2005 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

If Jae Lee did this, he's even awesomer than I thought. Awesomer than Jim Lee and Pat Lee PUT TOGETHER!
Wouldn't be hard. Jim's okay, but Pat's terrible, so the average doesn't come out well for them. :)

11/18/2005 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

"This is just waiting for a Groucho Marx-style joke."

That WAS my attempt at a Groucho Marx style joke.

*sniffle*

"I don't think that's Wolverine. "

Shoot. You're right. I saw the silohette with the claws and the pointy bits on his head, and figured that since Wolverine is on 99.2% of ALL comic covers...

But I was wrong. Who is it?

"Wouldn't be hard. Jim's okay, but Pat's terrible, so the average doesn't come out well for them. :)"

....

Yeah, that's what I think, too. I think Pat Lee did an issue of Superman/Batman and it was just about the worst comic ever. And I *like* Superman/Batman.

...

Geez. That Spider-man cover is still bothering me.

What IS that in the background.

It's laundry, but it's not EARTH laundry.

11/19/2005 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Nik said...

God, y'know, She-Hulk is actually a really good book, but I can't read it in public with that porntastic Horn cover. Geez, get that artist laid!

11/20/2005 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Nik said...

Hah, dirty words look funnier when you've got a baby as your icon!

11/20/2005 12:46:00 AM  
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