by Clyde Hall, Sara Mitchell and Jarrod Jones. Undercover is our opportunity to lovingly gaze upon gorgeous works from magnificent artists. From Lissa Treiman’s mythic variant for ‘Steeple’ #2 to Alexis Ziritt’s galactically good take on ‘Strayed’, here are the covers we love the most this week.
Strayed #3 by Alexis Ziritt. (Dark Horse Comics)
CH: In a month dedicated to covers of madness, Alexis Ziritt’s variant for Strayed #3 grounds us. Not in setting, because the tentacled horror he’s created roams the spaceways. But he grounds the ghoulish elements of this Thing from Beyond the Stars in 1960s nostalgic vivid colors, traces of old collector’s card monster sets, and a trippy style that seizes elements of the Marvel Monster Mashes during the Silver Age.
For all the Earthspawned daemons, Redcaps, and phantasms granted admission to our imaginations, it takes a Predator or a Xenomorph or a Body Snatcher to remind us that the final frontier may yet contain the most foul and sinister boogeymen yet. Lovecraft knew this, and Ziritt provides weight to his visions.
Ziritt celebrates it, embraces it. He provides a raven-crested rider playing fifth Horseman, one of Cosmic Destruction, astride an interstellar Cephalopod. Forget extinction-level asteroid. Death comes on swift and grotesque tentacles from above.
Something is Killing the Children #2 by Ian Bertram and Miquel Muerto. (BOOM! Studios)
JJ: Erica Slaughter has seen horrors you don’t want to know about. Faced monsters that would absolutely end you and survived. She’s an avenger of the children lost to an ancient, hateful anger, and the savage war she’s waged has taken its toll. It takes from her still.
Something is Killing the Children is an affecting horror comic that has me feeling for this marauding monster slayer. You can see the weight of her responsibilities pulling her shoulders to the ground, see the scars of each battle reflected in not just the fresh wounds on her wiry frame but the emotional wounds that will meet her again later in her dreams. I haven’t seen a depiction of Erica’s mental cost conveyed with such haunting power as I have on Ian Bertram & Miquel Muerto’s variant cover to Something is Killing the Children #2.
Bertram’s the architect, structuring a Slaughter that towers over the treeline of Archer’s Peak, its forests the home to untold horrors. Muerto is the alchemist, pulling out vials of nuclear radiation, monster’s blood, trauma-scorched hair. Together they’ve made a character study that speaks volumes about what Erica’s nightly war means to her, how the memories of her deeds will play in IMAX behind her startling green eyes for the rest of her days. That’s the essence of horror. Bertram & Muerto nailed it.
Steeple #2 by Lissa Treiman. (Dark Horse Comics)
JJ: Reverend Penrose isn’t your run-of-the-mill godly man. He’s God’s right arm, mighty, honor-bound by duty, ready to kick sea monster booty.
There are creatures rising with the tides to take the seaside village of Tredregyn… only they’ll have a bloody hard time doing it on Penrose’s watch. Armed with the righteousness of the Lord and a vicious right hook, this vicar is pissed and doesn’t suffer the damned.
Penrose’s battles with Satan’s goopy bottom-dwellers should be fodder for sea shanties, sung with bawdy reverence for the Reverend by countless grateful Tredregyn townies—only those ingrates scarcely understand (let alone appreciate) Penrose’s plight. So he fights alone, his only reward another sleepless night as the bruises settle into his flesh.
It’s an epic struggle, captured with a certain manic magnificence by Lissa Treiman. Consider the Reverend in his natural habitat, weary from war, ready to send these fell beasts back to the oblivion from whence they came. Treiman goes mythic with the composition. A torrent of rain obscures Penrose’s gaze but he remains steady in the face of his enemy. Lightning bursts as if on cue to maximize the sheer opera on display. Caught between two foes and a sure end, Reverend Penrose grits his teeth, raises the crucifix, and prepares for the next ten seconds of God’s good work.
Once and Future #2 (2nd printing) by Jae Lee and June Chung. (BOOM! Studios)
SM: Chasing monsters doesn’t necessarily equate to hunting them, and it especially doesn’t equate to catching them. “Be careful with people who chase monsters too hard,” Bridgette McGuire said as she loaded her gun, ready to chase the monster.
What Bridgette knows about these people, the ones who chase too hard, is that they’ll drag you down. Because they’re chasing something more than the monster. Something unattainable. Something that already is, and will always be, in the past. Jae Lee and June Chung shine a light on our monster here who doesn’t lurk. He doesn’t hunt or haunt. He tantalizes. He ensnares. Until you’re no longer chasing. You’re following.
Following him isn’t a horizontal path, it’s a downward spiral. That’s what King Arthur here knows. He knows that if you want him now, you’ll need him later. And when you finally get savvy to his trap and stab him through the heart, he’ll look down at you, amused by the sword in his chest. Unafraid, he dares you to try again. Chase him.
Don’t forget to share your favorite covers from this week in the comments section below!