By Molly Jane Kremer 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.
Archie #1, by Jerry Ordway. (Archie Comics)
JJ: Any chance I get to laud Jerry Ordway’s instantly recognizable work, I take. While Fiona Staples’ Archie is decidedly more, um, howyousay… “bro”, Ordway’s Archibald Andrews is far more down to earth, a regular-lookin’ kid who has vast reserves of palpable confidence. Look at this guy. This guy’s going places. (Though he should probably lay off the soda.)
Archie #1, by Fiona Staples. (Archie Comics)
MJ: Fiona Staples, ever-amazing on the sci-fi fantasy Saga, shines just as brightly drawing Archie, Betty and Jughead on this gorgeous SDCC-exclusive variant cover. Sunny and carefree, this cover feels like a memory of first love.
Archie #1, by Genevieve FT. (Archie Comics)
MJ: Genevieve FT has always had a cute, retro-animated flair to her work, and her interpretation of the all-new, all-different (but not really) Archie Andrews is stylistic perfection. It has a hint of the usual Sixties flair, while also keeping in line with the new issue’s more modern aesthetic. Classic, chic, and adorable. (Is that Ray Fawkes in the background? — Ed.)
Catwoman #1, by Kevin Wada. (DC Comics)
JJ: I don’t know if I’m predisposed to getting all squishy over deep blue and purple hues, a sucker for a stylish femme fatales, or if I just can’t get enough of Kevin Wada’s work, but this cover made me melt all over the floor. And it has Stephanie Brown all over a current DC book, which — outside of the odd cover to the since-ended Batman Eternal — ain’t even a thing that happens anymore. Plus points all around.
Batman/Superman #22, by Dan Hipp. (DC Comics)
MJ: A hilarious send-up of the trailer to the forthcoming (and SUPER SERIOUS. No, seriously. STOP SMILING) Batman v. Superman, this variant cover has a cute, animated version of Batman nestled in his Hulkbuste–I mean, Supes-buster armor, with the Man of Steel hovering above him disapprovingly. Extremely laugh-inducing. Extremely cute.
Constantine #2, by Erica Henderson. (DC Comics)
MJ: Mostly known for the top-notch, all-ages silliness that is Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Erica Henderson switches gears for this Constantine variant: the sexy, androgynous, hoof-heeled demon Blythe splays languidly across the cover, spindly curls of flame rising from her heavy-lidded eyes. Gorgeous and utterly compelling.
Justice League Of America #2, by Francis Manapul. (DC Comics)
JJ: Is Francis Manapul one of the most inspired artists working in mainstream comics today? Does he supply instantly iconic and utterly engaging imagery to the world’s most recognizable superheroes? Does he deserve his own creator-owned series? Don’t answer any of that: the answer is yes.
There’s what we like. What do YOU like? What artists do you want to see featured on Undercover? We won’t know until you tell us.