So last week DC released previews of their September releases. The main line-up will consist of #0 issues of all the main “New 52″ comics, with stories focusing on what happened before issue #1, presumably.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.
I’m here to talk about the covers. The general motif of all the covers is “character bursting from a greyed out #1 issue of the title”. While it’s been done, sometimes well, sometimes not-so-well, we get to see what the artists can do, freed from the shackles of backgrounds and context.
The results are… not always… good.
Take- for example- Catwoman #0:
You’ve all seen it. It pretty much is an all-encompassing example of how a person does NOT look. This image has been examined and skewered all over the web in the last week. It’s ridiculous. I know that DC editorial looked at this and got horny. How can you not- it’s got tits and ass right in the same shot! That’s pure sex right there. Guys will drop their Spider-Mans for this, I’m telling you! What? Girls? Girls will get it out of obligation because it’s a woman in the title. They’ll roll their eyes and just put it in the bag and read it because what else are they gonna read?
I’m not saying that the above is a direct quote or anything, but I can’t imagine anyone thinking anything but that. But back to the art: holy crap is this bad.
Deadpool I mean, Deathstroke #0:
Ah, Rob. Still the master of detail. Needless shoulderpads? Check. Gun with strange glowing bit at the end instead of a muzzle (and no visible trigger)? Check. Legs positioned so the feet are just out of view? Check. Barrel chest and acorn sized head? Check and double check.
Some people grow in 25 years doing the same thing over and over again. Some people learn and expand their talent and actually show some deviation from the original style they started with. Not Rob. He sticks with what works and somehow, people pay him for it. It’s not his worst work, though. I’ll give him some credit there.
Let’s look at a title that’s near to my heart, Green Lantern: New Guardians #0:
Now, I will say, that it IS refreshing to see that the guys are being given equal treatment with the lady in regards to their excruciating cases of scoliosis. Each of them seems to have back problems so severe that they’re hopped up on enough pain meds to make a clydesdale sleepy. However- it is the woman who gets both front and back bumpers in the shot. Is it too much to ask for some Atrocitus booty? We all know that Larfleeze has some junk in the trunk- let’s see it!
Meanwhile, over at Justice League #0:
Here we have the new Shazam! Despite looking all menacy and creep-tastic, the former Captain Marvel has the CUTIEST, TINYEST HANDS OF ALL. Seriously, they should have called him Princess Tiny Fists. Why are they so small? Is it a birth defect? Some sort of curse? Oh, wait- I know! They’re the only part of Billy Batson that doesn’t get transformed! Mystical Super-dude with the hands of a 10-year-old!
Now, I’m not calling for him to have gorilla mitts or anything like that, but how about at least normal hands for the guy? So he can buy regular gloves at Penneys like a big boy?
More from the Color Brigades: Green Lantern #0:
Okay, while this is not exactly bad art, I do take some issue with HOW this character is presented. It’s not enough that we know he’s not white- we have to give him bare arms and FINGERLESS GLOVES so we can see he’s a dark skinned dude. And oh- how about some Lantern-powered Arabic tattoos on his arm? (did we mention he’s ethnic?) Oh, but he’s a mystery man- so cover his face with a ski mask! /facepalm.
And for the love of Pete- can someone PLEASE tell me what a person carrying the most powerful weapon in the universe is doing brandishing a pistol? A goddamn gun? Really? Unless he’s REALLLLLLLYY bad at his job, he shouldn’t need this. In fact, the only thing it is good for is making him look like a guy in a Halloween costume who’s going to knock over a convenience store. What the hell?
And if this guy is the same guy we saw from the Justice League story from FCBD, why is he in an issue set in the past? Tell me that, smart guys!
So, remember when I said that Deathstroke #0 wasn’t Liefeld’s worst work? Yeah, feast your eyes on Grifter #0:
Seriously? How am I supposed to look at this and NOT laugh my ass off while I light a match to burn it? What IS this? What is he kneeling on? Is he kneeling? Is he running cartoon-style? Where is his left thumb- is it hiding in the completely unsourced shadow? And what the FUCK is up with his “lucky fin” looking right arm? Is it permanently fixed to hold things completely wrong? Is that a weapon in his hand, or a spackle gun? Whatever it is, it sure lights up pretty! And speaking of lighting up pretty- why does his hair have it’s own lens flare? What kind of industrial shampoo does he use to get that kind of sheen? Show dogs have less shiny coats. And let’s not forget the pouches or the STICK poking out of his shoulder.
Seriously, DC. STOP LETTING THIS MAN DRAW THINGS FOR YOU. No good can come of it.
Okay, maybe I’m getting carried away. Not all of the covers for September are atrocious. A few I even enjoy looking at.
This is an image I like. A strong character putting her boot in your face. This book is about kicking ass. Except, it’s not. It’s a story driven book, too. But the image sells it without being provocative in the least. Batwoman doesn’t need sex on the cover to sell the comic. Take heed, Catwoman.
Captain Atom #0:
I’m not a regular Captain Atom reader, but the art on this cover is cool. It’s fairly reminiscent of Jim Lee’s 90′s work, back when I thought he was the bees knees. Captain Atom is powerful in this image, but in a way that makes you wonder if there’s another side to that power- a mystery waiting to unravel, and not necessarily in a good or safe way.
I may pick this up, actually.
Finally, a look at a new title for September, Sword of Sorcery #0:
This is fantastic. I love this art. Amethyst is presented beautifully, and as heroic as any of the big boys and girls. This cover is what the others above should aspire to be, once they work out their inner and outer demons. Graceful and sleek, the image is well proportioned and not overly sexualized. The image is used effectively to drag the viewer in and present a first look at what can be expected within. Chances are, with me anyways, if I like the cover, I will like the interior, too.
So, what the hell, DC? Make up your mind as to what you want to push on me. Mediocre to just plain bad art which will more than likely turn me off to what you’re selling? Or present comics that show me that someone still cares about the product the put out, that it’s not just about sex, or a half-assed job to earn a paycheck.
Give me good, enjoyable comics and I’ll come back for more. But plaster them with crap and I’ll skip it for something else.
- Talk Hard