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.
Outcast #6, by Paul Azaceta. (Image Comics)
JJ: Exorcism doesn’t pay. And in the world of Outcast, exorcism makes that point clear by making sure you lose a pint by even fucking around with it. I’m not sure how to contextualize this striking image to one of Image Comics’ most riveting series — though I’m positive the cookies right behind that cabinet door would help with all that blood loss — but Paul Azaceta’s iconic/foreboding cover makes me want to know more. And that’s the inherent function of a cover, class.
Conan the Avenger #14, by Eric Powell. (Dark Horse Comics)
MJ: Smoky and mysterious, Eric Powell’s cover is an impeccable example of sword and sorcery art, and a departure from much of his work on The Goon. The serpentine design unfurls from a skull, revealing Conan mid-strike. Further up, the seductive gaze of Thalis pulls you in, while next to her, Natala’s frightened eyes warn you from such folly. Dark Horse always ensures Conan has the most flawless art possible, and this cover continues that time-honored practice.
Black Widow #18, by Phil Noto. (Marvel Comics)
JJ: Stare too long into the eyes of Natasha Romanoff and you might just find something you don’t like. Odds are, if you’re looking into the dazzling green eyes of Marvel’s #1 super-spy for that long, you’re probably about to die anyway. Phil Noto’s take on the Black Widow is one for the history books; through his diligent craft, we’re given a secret agent that’s more than just a pretty thing to gawk at. Through Noto, we’re given a spy who’s more than capable of severing our brain stem if you keep staring at her, buster.
Sandman: Overture #5, by J.H. Williams, III. (Vertigo Comics)
MJ: This has to be one of the most eye-grabbingly hypnotic covers released in a while, by anyone. The ever-phenomenal J.H. Williams paints with such fluidity, color, and texture, you can’t help but stop and study all the details nestled within the depths: cats, planets, branching roots, vesicles and veins, all intertwined and enwoven. The effect is nothing short of visual mastery, but let’s be honest: do we expect anything less from Williams at this point? (My sentiments exactly.)
All-New Hawkeye #3, by Annie Wu. (Marvel Comics)
JJ: I have a confession to make: I really want a hot dog. More specifically, I really want a hot dog after I just saved the day from triflin’-ass fools with my killer archery skills. And I want to have that hot dog and a refreshing soda with the coolest woman on the face of the earth. And wouldn’t you know it, Annie Wu had the exact same thing on her mind, and went ahead and rendered one of the most serene, wonderful, and downright relaxing covers on stands this week. Thanks, Annie. High fives all around.
Secret Wars Journal #1, by Kevin Wada (Marvel Comics)
MJ: Kevin Wada needs to be a household name, and is thankfully already well on his way. His eye for fashion is truly ideal, but his gifts for expression, pose, and dynamic layouts are just as apparent. Kate Bishop draws her bow past the viewer, expertly foreshortened, and is dressed in pseudo-renaissance garb, flowers adorning her gorgeous updo (fitting, as this is the Kate of 1602). Behind her, fellow Young Avengers Wiccan (dressed just as immaculately) and Hulkling prepare for battle as well. A cover like this, with some of my favorite characters depicted so wondrously, is one of the things that makes these massive crossovers actually worthwhile.
Which covers are you loving on this week? We want to know! Tell us in the comments below.