Undercover, or: Nine covers from this week that we won’t live without
By Molly Jane Kremer, Brandy Dykhuizen, Arpad Okay, and Jarrod Jones. Undercover is our opportunity to lovingly gaze upon gorgeous works from magnificent artists. Each week, we single out the most striking covers that grace comic book stands and gush all over them.
Doom Patrol #8, by Nick Derington. (DC Comics/Young Animal)
BD: Looks like Lotion’s story arc is finally out of the bag, though there’s no point in even guessing the how’s and why’s before Doom Patrol #8 rests firmly in our grubby little paws. Cats can be an ungrateful lot, and seeing the daggers of indignation shoot from the eyes of this petulant puss lets us know he’s prolly not really taking stock of what landed him against that wall.
It’s all affectation – an extended tantrum with boots too shiny and cardboard cut too symmetrically to reflect necessity. Even the graffiti is colored perfectly within the lines, save some carefully careless drips along the edges. This is one OCD punk. More importantly, is Nick Derington maybe taking the piss out of Gerard Way? I haven’t seen this much glowering behind black leather since the last My Chemical Romance publicity still.
Animosity: The Rise #3, by Juan Doe. (AfterShock Comics)
AOK: Dynamic. Iconic. Juan Doe’s cover for the third issue of Animosity: The Rise is as striking as they come. The colors are undeniably gorgeous and totally extreme. A seal, a shadow with only a few defining lines of brown to distinguish it from an obelisk, breaks the waves. The sea is a solid color. Red. Electric red. The spray is chaotic but without texture. The texture is laid behind the black blade and its bloody breach. Clouds of neon yellow turn to poison green and dingy moss. The whole thing has the vivacity of a blacklight poster, with a twisted humor to match.
The ball balanced on the seal’s nose is a human skull. Bleached. Complete with jaw. Impossible and perfect. This isn’t artful interpretation of an act. It’s iconography. A mad Alejandro Jodorowsky tarot card. The Tower. It captures the spirit of the series while traveling beyond, into dreams.
Motor Crush #6, by Babs Tarr, Kris Anka, Kevin Wada, and Jeff Wyatt. (Image Comics)
MJ: After a scheduled four-month hiatus, the Image Comics series Motor Crush is finally back! To celebrate its return (and maybe to reward our patience) Motor Crush #6 has four gorgeous covers to choose from. For variant cover artists, co-creator and series artist Babs Tarr recruited her frequent comic convention table-neighbors Kris Anka, Kevin Wada, and Jake Wyatt — a fearsome foursome oft-known as the “Super Best Friends Club.”
Babs Tarr takes the main, depicting a framed childhood snapshot of series star Domino Swift and her dear ol’ dad Sullivan. Cover B is illustrated by Kris Anka, and features Domino and her old flame Lola Del Carmen lounging on a bike together, looking hot as heck in all applicable ways. Jake Wyatt’s cover C sees Domino suspended in a capsule of Crush, the “machine narcotic” she depends on to race and to live. And Kevin Wada’s D cover, in his inimitable watercolor style, poses Domino and hunky fellow racer Calax front and center, both amazingly dressed (if mostly shirtless).
Seeing all four covers together, it’s apparent that Tarr, Wyatt, Wada and Anka have evolved very complementary styles. They all continue to inspire each other to greater artistic heights.
Star Wars Adventures #1, by Elsa Charretier. (IDW Publishing)
AOK: I remember a time when a single issue of a comic was all I could acquire. I would spend hours pouring over every page: story, letters, ads, fine print. I can close my eyes and still see some of their covers even if I couldn’t tell you a thing about their contents. This one, Elsa Charretier’s Star Wars Adventures debut, takes me right back there. You can feel the energy as Rey charges across the desert. The confidence, the sly satisfaction, on her face will make you grin, too. The details in the wreckage around her, the shadows they cast, the mystery they hold. It’s great.
Tamra Bonvillain’s colors enliven the scene. They make the badlands a beach. The whole thing sings with childlike wonder. It toes the line between youthful simplicity and hearty food for speculation. As it should be. The goal is to leap off the stands, into your hands, into your heart and imagination. This is a resounding success.
Shade, The Changing Girl #12, by Becky Cloonan and Matt Taylor. (DC Comics/Young Animal)
JJ: Shade, The Changing Girl is comics packaged with the boutique set in mind. For those whose lives are chipped fingernail polish, microdoses, and dog-eared copies of Artforum. And that’s disco. Because Shade is also comics for literally everyone else too. It’s a comic presented always with its best face forward, living its best life. Take Shade #12, for example. You’ll be glad you did.
In cover A, we set our eyes on a dream, courtesy of Becky Cloonan. Blotted orbs fizz up and around, catching the light of Megan/Loma’s shimmering Targaryen locks in some feverish eclipse, only to fade back into the darker blood-tinged hues behind the subject and beyond. Light from behind us catches in Loma’s eyes. Something is about to make Megan cry. Yet everything continues to swim in this deep red pool of being. All is.
Then there’s Matt Taylor’s cover B, IMAX poster-ready, a marvel. Here, Megan/Loma steps lightly, caught in the same mix of contentment, wonder, and sadness. Here is another dream, where creatures terrestrial and extra habitate together, as one, as none. The void behind and around them acquiesces to their neon-soaked energies, haloed around Shade, posed in some ultimate, idealized form. But that’s not them. It’s the eyes of Taylor’s piece, that’s where Shade lies. Twin covers. Mirror examples of ever stop, always go.
And that’s it! Don’t forget to share your favorite covers from this week in the comments section below.