Jun 30 2013

Cover Story: Best Comic Book Covers of June 2013

Wolverine #4 (Marvel)  - Artist: Pascal Campion

Each month, hundreds of comics are released to stores for the hungry masses of fans around the world. To stand out on the shelves, you have to put the great art up front. You can judge a book by its cover.

Welcome back to our continuing monthly column, where the covers tell a story of their own. From Akaneiro to X-Men: Legacy, it was another bumper crop of covers this month. The 19 covers were so good, we almost didn’t want to look inside. Which would have made time management considerably easier, but reviews so much harder. Enjoy!

Click images to enlarge

Akaneiro # (Dark Horse) - Artist: Shu Yan

Akaneiro #2 (Dark Horse) – Artist: Shu Yan

Based on the American McGee online game of the same name, this stunning take on the Red Riding Hood story – set in feudal Japan, no less – is once again a thing of beauty. Yan also designed much of the armour worn in the game, which makes us want to play it even more.

Amala's Blade #3 (Dark Horse) - Artist: Michael Dialynas

Amala’s Blade #1 (Dark Horse) – Artist: Michael Dialynas

Amala’s Blade is one of our favourite books every month, and the art of Michael Dialynas accounts for at least 50% of the reason why. This cover is much darker than what we’ve been used to, the classic image of a cyberpunk dragon guarding the gateway forward.

Astro City #1 (DC/Vertigo) - Artist: Alex Ross

Astro City #1 (DC/Vertigo) – Artist: Alex Ross

The return of Astro City to DC/Vertigo was cause for celebration, reteaming Kurt Busiek with Brent Anderson. Alex Ross, of course, returned for the iconic painted covers. Here the heroes are opening the gates to Astro City, almost inviting the reader in, or letting the characters out.

Batman/Superman #1 (DC Comics) - Artist: Jae Lee

Batman/Superman #1 (DC Comics) – Artist: Jae Lee

The first issue of the returning Batman/Superman team-up, in the grand tradition of World’s Finest Comics, is worth picking up simply for Jae Lee’s idiosyncratic art. We have quite literally never seen Batman or Superman like this before, and it just gets weirder inside. Full review for issue here.

Fables #130 (DC/Vertigo) - Artist: Joao Ruas

Fables #130 (DC/Vertigo) – Artist: Joao Ruas

It’s no wonder that little girl with the bear looks scared: those mice are huge. The ones in the back kind of look like ancient Greek art. Doesn’t make them any less terrifying.

Fairest #16 (DC/Vertigo) - Artist: Adam Hughes

Fairest #16 (DC/Vertigo) – Artist: Adam Hughes

When artist Adam Hughes tweeted this image out a few months ago, he simply said “Horses, whee!” We couldn’t agree more. Another beautiful piece from Cover Story staple Hughes.

Haf Past Danger #2 (IDW) - Artist: Stephen Mooney

Half Past Danger #2 (IDW) – Artist: Stephen Mooney

Proving that Sean Phillips doesn’t have the monopoly on raven-haired femme fatales, this terrific cover requires a second look. It’s the first time we’ve wanted to look inside a woman’s dress and see an angry man.

Hawkeye #11 (Marvel) - Artist: David Aja

Hawkeye #11 (Marvel) – Artist: David Aja

A mainstream comic that has broken all the rules. This month, the story was told from the perspective of a dog. Yes,  it went where others have only dared dream about. The minimalist cover shows the dog walking away from the scene of a crime. Matt Fraction and David Aja are the mad geniuses of the Marvel Universe. Beware their might.

Iron Man #11 (Marvel) - Artist: Greg Land

Iron Man #11 (Marvel) – Artist: Greg Land

Another cover in the “Secret Origin of Tony Stark” arc, the imagery could very much sum up Stark’s innate need to be integrated with his technology. It just looks cool, dammit.

It Girl and the Atomics #11 (Image Comics) - Artist: Mike Allred

It Girl and the Atomics #11 (Image Comics) – Artist: Mike Allred

Any month with a Mike Allred cover is a good month, especially when it is one in which an attractive woman in spandex is surrounded by butterflies. Just us, then?

Miniature Jesus #3 (Image Comics) - Artist: Ted McKeever

Miniature Jesus #3 (Image Comics) – Artist: Ted McKeever

Ted McKeever unleashes the hounds, quite literally, cracking open recovering alcoholic Chomsky’s head in one of the most original mini-series of the year.

Secret Avengers #5 (Marvel) - Francesco Francavilla

Secret Avengers #5 (Marvel) – Francesco Francavilla

Having already given us Batman ’72 and set zombies loose in Riverdale, Francavilla unleashes his retro charms on Secret Avengers. Presenting something that wouldn’t be out of place as a 1970s spy thriller, or the kinds of pulp fiction you’d find on airport paperback racks of the era, Fury and his S.H.I.E.L.D operatives have never looked so cool.

Swamp Thing #21 (DC Comics) - Artist: Jock

Swamp Thing #21 (DC Comics) – Artist: Jock

Soon to make his writing debut on Savage Wolverine in September, we hope Scottish artist doesn’t get too much of a taste for it and stops producing glorious covers like this one. Bringing his unique style to the Swamp Thing, using the stark whitish background to emphasise the lush greenery of the titular character.

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #1 (Dark Horse) - Artist: Becky Cloonan

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #1 (Dark Horse) – Artist: Becky Cloonan

One of the most anticipated series of the year by fans of writer Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance and award-winning comics writer in his own right. Cloonan is going from strength to strength right now, with her own set of Eisner nominations for her self-published The Mire and as Best Penciller/Inker for that and Conan the Barbarian. It also has a cat on it, so wins for everyone.

The Unwritten #50 (DC/Vertigo) - Artist: Yuko Shimizu

The Unwritten #50 (DC/Vertigo) – Artist: Yuko Shimizu

Not Hello Kitty creator Yuko Shimizu is one of the finest artists working in comics today, and a fitting start to the massive “The Unwritten Fables” crossover with two of Vertigo’s top titles. It gives Shimzu a chance to stretch her wings and show us her take on the Fables characters for a change, here showing us Snow and Bigby in Wolf form.

Wolverine #4 (Marvel) - Artist: Pascal Campion

Wolverine #4 (Marvel) – Artist: Pascal Campion

Showing that a creature of great savagery is also capable of great beauty, this Japanese inspired cover might just be our pick of the month. Campion says that in his process, the colours are “essential to the piece as the composition itself because they ARE the drawing. A lot of artist do a drawing AND then color it. My colors drive the piece. I very often paint in things that are not there in the sketch, or weren’t planned in the sketch”.

Young Avengers #6 (Marvel) - Artist: Mike Del Mundo

Young Avengers #6 (Marvel) – Artist: Mike Del Mundo

Keeping with the same theme, Mike “Deadly” Del Mundo depicts a rustic romantic pastoral scene here. The trickle of blood down one hand is all that can be seen indicating a dark future ahead. Beautiful.

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