By Clyde Hall, Brendan F. Hodgdon, Sara Mitchell and Jarrod Jones. Undercover is our opportunity to lovingly gaze upon gorgeous works from magnificent artists. From the symbolic nature of Nick Robles’ ‘Euthanauts’ to the prophetic twin covers of ‘The New World’, here’s what we’re loving this week.
Euthanauts #2 by Nick Robles. (Black Crown/IDW Publishing)
SM: Tether: n. the utmost length to which one can go in action; the utmost extent or limit of ability or resources. Tethered to the ground. To the ones you love. To life. To reality. A lifeline to the surface. A chain to hold you down. A harness. A tourniquet. A noose.
In Euthanauts, a tether is the person who remembers you when you’re dead. Without a tether, you’re not a euthanaut. Without a tether, you’re just dead.
The art within the pages if Euthanauts is dense, like mercury. I follow the words and images effortlessly, hypnotically, as if I were watching the mercury swirl in a wine glass right before my eyes. It comes as a shock, as you can imagine, to then be presented with this cover. The red haired man whose name I do not know but whose funeral practices I have become familiar with. The moth who dances around whenever death is near. Tethers tangling with him. And… nothing. White space. Negative space. It’s frustrating. Euthanauts, you’re supposed to be filling that void of death with the glowing moths and the colors that swirl in the wine glass. If I’ve got a tether, then death is supposed to be full of beauty. If death is not a process, but a place, then why have we gone here?
This cover makes me realize that I’m not just going to get beauty if I want to be a Euthanaut. Maybe there are consequences to traveling between life and death after all. Maybe we’re in danger.
Harley Quinn/Gossamer Special #1 by Joe Quinones. (DC)
CH: My stars! If an interesting monster can’t have an interesting variant cover by acclaimed artist Joe Quinones, then I don’t know what things are coming to. (Bobby pins, please.) This funtastic cover concept couldn’t be more realized than in his capable hands, casting Harley Quinn in the trickster/demi-goddess Bugs Bunny role. He makes her cap and bells surrogates for rabbit ears, her self-satisfied expression a match not only to Harley’s animation voice, but also Bugs’ in his Beautician ruse from the 1952 WB short Water, Water Every Hare.
The same source material attention to detail is prevalent in the table trappings, the castle wall background, and Gossamer’s parted coiffure. The only things missing are a box of bobby pins and dynamite stick curlers for a permanament. But with Harley, can either really be far out of reach?
The variations are sensible, with modern beauty shop props right down to the hand-held hair blower and accompanying power strip, and Harley using a step stool instead of perching on the back of Gossamer’s chair. Plus, the monster’s matching two-tone Harlequin coloration is a giggle-worthy addition.
The concept potential is fully realized with the artist’s signature liquid linework. The primary cover version is cute and funny, too, but Quinones has tapped the Merry Melodies painted cel vein, while mirroring the personalities of the corresponding cinematic primaries in consummate homage. For animation and comic book fans, that combination is as rewarding as a spider goulash.
The New World #2 by Tradd Moore, Heather Moore and Tom Muller. (Image Comics)
JJ: There’s something very intimate about leafing through a paramour’s family album. You leaf through the pages, scanning unfamiliar faces from their past who somehow contributed to the person they are today (for better or worse). For their twin covers to the second issue of The New World, Tradd Moore and Heather Moore dig deep into the respective family histories of the series’ core lovers, the differences as stark in execution as they are telling for the characters and their immediate futures.
The Moores depict Stella Maris and Kirby Miyazaki as they were. Kirby’s cover feels like a snapshot, likely some kind of neo-Polaroid, caught during a family outing. Stella’s cover is a stately portrait that represents the order—and the future—of post-nuclear New California. Kirby is smushed between his gorgeous parents, a toothy, daffy grin forging those rakish dimples he’ll have one day, happy as can be, loved as a beautiful son ought. His pain still years away. All he knows now is peace, and that’s all he’ll ever want to know. It’s sweet.
Stella’s tells another story. As her grandfather pours his grim magnificence directly into our eyes, Stella looks off-page towards anything else. To a tomorrow without him, maybe. There’s innocence left in her eyes, though Moore’s linework indicates that it’s quickly eroding—maybe she’s considering the outright havoc on the right panel of the Hieronymus Bosch behind them, The Garden of Earthly Delights. That panel famously depicts an erupting hell, a city on fire. Perhaps the flames in Bosch’s decimated Paradise are what glow in her widening eyes, along with the knowledge that her tomorrow will come at a high cost—one that sweet, pacifistic Kirby will have to pay, as well. Two star-crossed lovers from two different houses, now set against each other in a pitched battle for two people’s souls. Where did I hear that one before. And why do I suddenly feel this impending wave of doom?
Runaways #12 by Kris Anka. (Marvel)
BFH: We very often discuss how great Kris Anka is at drawing fashion, or at capturing superhero physiques with just the right degree of sexiness. But he also has an innate talent for composition overall, and the latest of his terrific series of Runaways covers is a great example of those skills.
Here, Anka is gifting us with what may be the new definitive study on Nico Minoru. In addition to his quality redesign of her whole look, the atmospheric touches that pepper this image illustrate the supernatural mystery at the heart of her character. The circle of candles floating around her speak to her powers, while the astrological symbols superimposed over her head add a hint of the arcane to the scene. The colors are also divine, the reddish-purples and the soft blues blending beautifully with the blacks of Nico’s costume and the dark background.
This cover is contemplative and serene, and yet the details of the image still hint at a power coursing underneath, a cosmic significance. The Nico we see here is not the uncertain teenager that we first met years ago; rather, she is a poised adult of boundless potential, with just as much (justified) confidence in her abilities as Kris Anka must surely have in his.
Don’t forget to share your favorite covers from this week in the comments section below. Best response wins a pack of DoomRocket stickers!