52 Favorite Comic Covers Of The Year

And when I say “the year” I mean since last year’s comic-con in San Diego.  That’s right, in honor of SDCC 2010, which I am, again, not able to attend I thought I’d do a list of my 52 favorite covers since last year’s comic-con, so essentially July 2009 – July 2010.*

I’m not going bore you with lengthy descriptions about what I respond to in each image, but if you frequent this blog with any regularity, the choices will not surprise you.  My tastes skew to specific things like anyone, and I reward covers that cater to those personal tastes.  For example, as a woman, I tend to be interested in covers with female characters and at the same time you’re unlikely to see many covers with a lot of objectification and hyper sexualization.  As an artist (but only sorta, and a crappy one at that) I tend to be a bit of a snob about what I think is a good or bad cover – good often involves highly graphic images, lots of great negative space, interesting/solid composition, single figures, white space, and good integration of text into the image.

I’m sure I missed a bunch of great covers anyway and, as always, I never feel great about the order, but I tried my best!

If after this list you only desire to see MORE comic covers, then check out my 100 Best Comic Covers list of last year here, here, here, and here.  As well as my “already second guessing myself” modified list here.

Next year SDCC, next year!

52.  Wonder Woman #40.  Aaron Loprestri.

51.  Batman Confidential #40.  Sam Kieth

50.  Red Robin #3.  Francis Manapul.

49.  Heralds #1.  Jelena Djurdjevic.

48.  Punisher Max: Butterfly #1.  Laurence Campbell.

47.  Batgirl #1.  Phil Noto.

46. Beasts Of Burden #3. Jill Thompson.

45.  Joe The Barbarian #5.  Sean Murphy.

44.  American Vampire #1.  Rafael Albuquerque.

43.  Fables #88.  Joao Ruas.

42.  Spider-Woman #4.  Alex Maleev.

41.  Marvelous Land Of Oz #6.  Skottie Young.

40. Greek Street #4. Jock.

39. Human Target #3.  Sean Phillips.

38. Girl Comics #2.  Jill Thompson.

37.  X-Men Legacy #234. Clay Mann.

36. Marvelous Land Of Oz #3. Skottie Young.

35. X-Men Legacy #225. Daniel Acuna.

34. Supergirl #43.  Joshua Middleton.

33. Birds of Prey #3. Cliff Chiang.

32.  New Mutants #13.  Adi Granov.

31. X-Babies #3.  Skottie Young.

30. Sense & Sensibility #2.  Sonny Liew.

29. Unknown Soldier #13.  Dave Johnson.

28. Detective Comics #854.  J.H. Williams III.

27.  Unwritten #1. Yuko Shimizu

26. Batman: Streets of Gotham #7.  Dustin Nyugen.

25.  DMZ #52.  John Paul Leon.

24. Invincible Iron Man #21.  Salvador Larocca.

23.  Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love #3.  Chrissie Zullo.

22. Stumptown #1.  Matthew Southworth.

21.  Madame Xanadu #24.  Mark Buckingham.

20. Northlanders #29.  Massimo Carnevale.

19.  Black Widow #4.  Daniel Acuna.

18. SIF #1. Travel Foreman.

17. Secret Six #21.  Danny Luvisi

16.  The Last Unicorn #2.  Renae De Liz.

15.  Batman & Robin #1.  Frank Quitely.

14.  Firestar #1.  Stephanie Hans.

13.  DV8: Gods & Monsters #1. Fiona Staples.

12. DMZ #46. John Paul Leon.

11. Girl Comics #1.  Amanda Conner.

10. World’s Finest #3.  Phil Noto.

9.  Demo #4.  Becky Cloonan.

8. Nomad Girl Without A World #3.  Rafael Albuquerque.

7.  Daytripper #6.  Gabriel Ba.

6.  Madame Xanadu #17.  Amy Reeder.

5. Fables #96.  Joao Ruas.

4.  I, Zombie #1.  Darwyn Cooke.

3.  Demo #3.  Becky Cloonan.

2. Detective Comics #857.  J.H. Williams III.

1.  DV8: Gods & Monsters #2.  Fiona Staples.

Graphic Novels weren’t eligible for this list, per the guidelines, but there were a few really fantastic original graphic novel covers that I loved and wanted to single out, so here are my top five from the last year.

5.  Wet Moon 5: Where All Stars Fail To Burn. Ross Campbell.

4.  Revolver. Matt Kindt.

3.  Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story.  Simone Gane.

2.  Greendale.  Cliff Chiang.

1.  Shadoweyes. Ross Campbell.

And that’s it.  What about you guys…favorites for the past year?

*Because comics are generally dated a month or two after they are actually released, there’s a bit of a fudging of the numbers/eligibility.  For example, I included Madame Xanadu #24 , which has an “official date” of August 1, 2010 and as such wouldn’t be eligible, but since that issue actually released 6/30/10 I considered it eligible.  It makes for a bit of grey area around the dates, but I did the best I could.

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  1. dcwomenkickingass’s avatar

    I like this list. I would have made your number 2 my top cover. And I was so pleased to see you pick 26, the cover of Streets of Gotham by Dustin Nguyen featuring Kate Spencer. I recently wrote about how it may be one of my favorite covers of all time.

  2. Puckett’s avatar

    1. Carissa loves Kieth – I stopped getting Batman Confidential with issue 39 – thinking I might need to order 40.

    2. Even with your dislike of non-Cassandra Cain Batgirls, you put the cover on your list?

    3. Also love Jill Thompson’s Beasts Of Burden covers – all of them, IMO 😉

    4. Skottie Young is pretty much guaranteed win. Especially with baby Wolvie 😀

    5. Also love that Middleton Supergirl cover – kinda reminds me of Waid and Yu’s Superman: Birthright book in the sheer joy of the big red S.

    6. Wouldn’t BOP be awesome if Chiang did the pencils as well as the cover? 😉

    7. How did you not just have a list of J.H. Williams covers?

    8. And Larocca Iron Man covers? Some of the best graphic design ever seen on a comic, PERIOD.

    9 No Cassaday? Seriously?!?!?!? And so little Amanda Conner?!?!? 😉

  3. Ben Cohen’s avatar

    Hay Kelly,

    In answering your question I once again rip you off.




  4. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    @DCWomen: Thanks! And thanks for stopping by. I’ve been enjoying your CCI tweets!

    @Puckett: I really struggled with whether to put that cover in (The Batgirl #1 cover)…and at the end of the day decided I liked it even if it is supposed to be Stephanie inside the suit. I’m not sure I made the right call though. It’s the cover I’m most conflicted about when I look at the list.

    That Middleton Supergirl cover is wonderful, even though when I see it all I can think is that those birds are totally getting a show with that stupid skirt, but that’s not the artists fault and the image still plays beautifully so I kept it.

    Unfortunately, most of Amanda Conner’s covers this year, thanks to boob windows were extra heavy on the cheesecake. I didn’t think anything eligible was significant enough to warrant the list, except GC#1.

    I think maybe Cassaday wasn’t doing many covers over the last year, because I am really drawn to his work, but I didn’t even have much to judge…care to point me in the right direction?

    The JH Williams stuff was all good, but I thought these two were the best by far and could stand the best on their own without having read the material.

    I agree that Larocca’s stuff was brilliant, but I did feel the idea/concept got played out rather quickly…he shouldn’t have done so many so similar as it blunted the impact of how striking they were. Of the handful he did like this, this was by far my favorite. Originally I had my two favorites on the list, but it looked wrong…they seemed derivative of one another. I’m convinced only one was the right way to go :)

    @Ben I commented on your post.

  5. kfugrip’s avatar

    Great stuff. That Human Target cover is BADASS! I like this as a new feature on the Semi-Finalist!

  6. ross’s avatar

    WHOA i got two on the graphic novel list!!! thank you, Kelly!!!! :)

    i met Cliff Chiang at the con but i completely missed Matt Southworth, d’oh.

    on that Girl Comics 3 cover, what is Jean doing to Ms. Marvel??? O_o i’m guessing the cover is an homage to something but i don’t know what, but man it sure does look like Jean is giving it to Ms. Marvel, heh.. maybe that’s the point?

  7. Puckett’s avatar

    RE: Cassaday – I think his covers this year were largely for Dynamite series … Lone Ranger, Buck Rogers, Green Hornet … maybe Zorro? I think there’s more, but I can’t remember them at the moment. He also did Sherlock Holmes mini-series covers. However, IMO, his Lone Ranger stuff? INSTANTLY iconic. Here’s more info:


    Also, since I know you like Rogue, here’s a pinup Cassaday did of her:


    What about his S.W.O.R.D. covers? His another link to a gallery of Cassaday covers, apparently in at least somewhat reverse chronological order:


  8. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    @Adam: Yeah, only a year until it appears again! :)

    @Ross: You earned it man, I love those covers, considering what’s going on inside Wet Moon 5 (and what’s to come in 6…TRILBY?!) I find the Trilby cover particularly excellent. How was SDCC? You alive? Anything happen with Shelly? Dying to know, email me when you get settled.

    @Puckett: Hmm. That Cassaday stuff doesn’t move me as much as I’d like, maybe because I’m just not that attached to Green Hornet, Buck Rodgers, Lone Ranger, Zorro, etc. I mean it’s all excellent stuff, he’s amazing, one of the best, but not much of it sings. I did like his SWORD stuff and had two covers in contention for the list, but they got booted near the end. Maybe next year for me and Cassaday. That Superman (703?) cover is already definitely a contender for next year.

  9. Puckett’s avatar

    I guess I’m a bit different because Lone Ranger – the original episodes – were still on syndicated TV when I was a kid. The book is great, but Cassaday’s covers for it take one of the most well-known characters in the American mythology of the Old West and transform him into an absolute icon for the ages.

    And honestly, as much as I love his work, I’d almost like to see him stick to covers and only take on books that are truly exceptional and limited in duration. Look what he did with the Captain America relaunch a few years ago. Look at Planetary. Astonishing X-Men. And then look at the covers he does – the nervous Wolverine cover? OMFG. SO epic.

    I’d absolutely – with very few exceptions – rather see Cassaday doing Superman covers than another Captain America relaunch.

  10. Renae De Liz’s avatar

    Wow! Someone sent me a link to this! I’m so glad you liked my cover enough to put it on your list!! 😀 And here I thought no one would like it, thank you, made my day! :)

  11. Telematic Dan!’s avatar

    Amazing images, thanks for the good work! I was in a comic shop this weekend and there was a Spider Man cover with Spidey in a tux and Mary Jane in a wedding dress. A guy walked by and said “Spider Man getting married?! What’s THAT all about?”

    Okay, you kinda had to be there. But for the old-schoolers like me who rarely get into a comic shop these days, it’s great to see posts like this,so thanks. :-)

  12. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    @Renae De Liz: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Your work on The Last Unicorn has been mindblowingly good – you absolutely deserve to be on this list.

    @Telematic Dan!: Thanks for commenting. It’s amazing what the average person doesn’t know about comics. Someone recently commented on something I was writing about and they were all “Superman comics…do they still MAKE those?” It kind of blew my mind, but despite the emergence of popular movies, tv shows, and animation based from comics and the popularity of Comic-Con, it really is still a niche industry I guess.

  13. Skye Kilaen’s avatar

    This is a fabulous list, so much to linger over. Thanks for putting it together!

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