By Molly Jane Kremer, Brandy Dykhuizen, Clyde Hall, Mickey Rivera, 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.
Keep reading all the way to the bottom of this piece to learn how to score free DoomRocket stickers!
Ice Cream Man #1, by Frazer Irving. (Image Comics)
MR: This cover illustrates the feeling you might get when the dollop of mint chocolate chip ice cream before you grows a face and begins curling its lips at you. Frazier Irving, despite getting his career started in the Aughts, has mastered that grimy, grungy horror-fantasy aesthetic that was formerly so prevalent in the 80s and 90s, and which has its root in the classic horror comics of the 50s. Having gotten his start in the pages of 2000AD, and moving from there to collaborations with the likes of Grant Morrison (Annihilator) and Kieron Gillen (The Mystic Hands of Dr. Strange), Irving has cultivated a sense of mystical nightmarishness that is perfectly typified by this here vortex of evil.
What this variant cover portends for this mysterious new series is anyone’s guess. As we peer into this pink-haired gentleman’s tortured scream we see malevolent beings staring back at us, nestled one inside the other. If Francis Bacon designed Russian nesting dolls I imagine they’d look a lot like this. This is an insane cover for what’s likely to be an insane comic.
Assassinistas #2, by Cara McGee. (Black Crown/IDW)
BD: Cara McGee’s variant cover of Assassinistas #2 has all the daydreamy doodles of a teenage notebook. Concentric circles intersect a splash of resplendent blooms above a cutely patterned mix of video game controllers and deadly weapons. A clumsy, tangled-up make-out sesh is just getting started on a dormitory-sized bed, guns, laptops and knives shoved aside to make room for limbs, now that the pretense is at an end. It’s Lisa Frank gone lethal, a glimpse into the somewhat pleasant reality that the best-laid plans can so quickly be put on hold when hormones take control. Live in the moment while you can, kids.
Star Wars Adventures #6, by Derek Charm. (IDW Publishing)
CH: This cover reminds me of what I told my wife after our first screening of The Last Jedi: “The Resistance has a face, and her name is Rose.” Now, the film has taken backlash from some Star Wars fans, Rose prominently lumped in with the rest of what they disliked. But artist Derek Charm gets her, and better, he translates the appeal into his cover for IDW’s Star Wars Adventures #6.
Simple lines and colors. No explosions, no acrobatics, nothing flashy here. Except for the fire of rebellion in her eyes. Yeah, there’s no doubt someone’s about to get zapped into a quivering, semi-conscious, Jell-O mold. But Charm goes beyond that. With her body language, he channels another famous Rosie, the riveting one. Small but determined, a parallel to the Resistance itself, she doesn’t need a word balloon to deliver their message to the First Order hierarchy. “We can do it! Starting with you!”
Trinity #17, by Bill Sienkiewicz. (DC Comics)
MJ: If your Trinity cover happens to feature Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman battling dinosaurs on it, you had best bring your A-game. Thankfully Mr. Bill Sienkiewicz only has A-games to offer, so we’re in good hands this week with his variant to Trinity #17.
Within a typically stunning composition, Sienkiewicz’s casually elegant anatomy highlights Diana’s graceful yet sharp mid-air kick—into the face of a T. Rex, natch—while the warm sienna-tinged tones make the red and blue of Wonder Woman and Superman’s uniforms jump out. The black of Batman’s cape and cowl stands out too, surrounded by brightly contesting flecks of dino-blood.
I’m not sure how anyone could relegate an image of Superman punching a Skartarian Tyrannosaur in the jaw to a variant, but this is definitely one of the most compelling covers so far this year.
Nightwing #37, by Jorge Jiménez and Alejandro Sánchez. (DC Comics)
JJ: Jorge Jiménez is the José Luis García-López of this generation. Like García-López, he takes the toys in DC’s toychest and brings them to a contemporary life. His linework is fluid and lively, his characterizations instantly iconic. Jiménez’s work should be considered the new company standard. Every innovation he brings to these legendary characters absolutely floors me, from the more aerodynamically lean Superman, to his spot-on perfect design of the new Superboy, to here, the teenage version of Dick Grayson.
Jiménez depicts Nightwing in a state of reflection. His reverie brings him to a happier time, when he was a scrappy Boy Wonder standing back-to-back with his mentor, the Dark Knight, in some long-forgotten battle. Batman is reliably grim, unshaven, driven to put his fist in some evil-doer’s face. But Robin? Cocky elven rogue that he is, with all sorts of danger lurking just off the cover — and in the periphery of memory — he has a grin on his face. The Dynamic Duo, doing what they do. A lifetime ago.
But it’s Alejandro Sánchez’s colors that bring home the point of this gorgeous piece. Bathed in a blast of white light that fades into an azure rain, Dick Grayson is right where he needs to be. As Nightwing, it’s Dick’s time to shine.
And that’s it! Don’t forget to share your favorite covers from this week in the comments section below — the best comment scores a free DoomRocket sticker!