Here are the “rules“.
And if you’d like to see the full December 2010 DC solicits head over to CBR.
After doing these December solicits I have one question and one question only for you DC…WHERE IS MY BATWOMAN #1 SOLICIT?!
Zatanna 8. Nice! Best Zatanna cover yet, by far. It doesn’t try too hard and has lots of nice luxurious white space – letting the character and the “bit” stand on its own. The posing and facial expression are also perfect for the bit. I also love that he managed a kind of wooden look to her face, very subtle but it’s there. Most importantly however, in looking at the solicit text…CLIFF CHIANG! Cliff Chiang is penciling this issue! AWESOME. I can’t think of anything better for Zatanna’s book. Here’s hoping it becomes a regular thing.
Batgirl 16. It’s shocking how much more interested I am in Batgirl with new cover (and interiors!) artist Dustin Nguyen on board. Nguyen is awesome and phenomenally talented. This cover completely rocks – especially the really stylized bat shadow Steph is creating…great stuff.
Action Comics #896. Professor X is that you? You can walk! Oh, no. I think it’s Lex Luthor. Too bad.
Adventure Comics #521. The expressions on these “heroes” faces make them look dumb as dog shit. I don’t think I want any of them saving my planet even if they could manage it.
American Vampire #10. Some nice textures and techniques here, but I know Albuquerque can do better.
Batman 705. I hate everything about this cover (except this is the old uniform…which is good…maybe that means it’s Dick? I’m not sure), but more importantly the first line of the solicit text is “As dangerous as she is beautiful” REALLY? REALLY DC? Are we that out of ideas that we have to keep mining ideas, phrases, concepts, etc. that were already dated and cliche about a bajillion years ago? Jeez.
Batman Annual 28. I still hate the costume, but this is one of the best it’s looked yet. Maybe because the little button crotch is barely noticeable? Also of note is that I think this the most I’ve liked one of Lau’s covers. But don’t get used to it! Although…wait…is that more cape on the upper left corner? What is that? What’s going on? I think I need to amend my earlier statement…
Batman Inc. 2. Man I hate this costume. I’m still kind of excited for this book though, idiot costumes be damned.
Batman: Orphans 1. I’ve been noticing this weird mini-trend of characters with REALLY wide stances…like our friend in the middle there. Shit looks like it hurts. Maybe I’m just old but…I stand that wide and I’m gonna pull something for sure.
Batman Streets Of Gotham 18. Nguyen brought this around nicely from earlier covers for this arc with a similar theme. Very nice.
Batman The Dark Knight 2. Wow. I hate everything about this. Especially Batman’s ugly ass gloves. Batman seems so pervy here. And that woman’s face is just weak…it’s like Finch ran out of time. Lame.
Birds of Prey 7. Woof. Okay, beyond the art, which all of you who read this feature regularly, know I’m not a fan of…there are a lot of problems with this. First…do we really need to see ANOTHER superhero with a headstone/in a graveyard being sad and pensive? See below if you have any doubts. Secondly…this is kind of what’s wrong with comics (and it’s certainly not the fault of Birds of Prey as it’s a much larger issue). Do any of us believe for one second that Oracle is dead? No. No, we most certainly don’t. And…while I could be horribly off, I’d bet good money (in Vegas!) that the storyline here is something along the lines of Babs faking her death in order to protect her loved ones, given what happened in the new volume of BoP thus far and how everyone that knew BoP was threatened by an outsider with all sorts of crappy things like exposure and…death. I have to say, I trust Gail to deliver a good story regardless, but I’m not a fan of this plot if that’s where we’re headed. Bah.
Booster Gold 39. Man, I could go my WHOLE life without seeing another superhero in a graveyard looking all sad and pensive (and it doesn’t help that we just had the same freaking cover on BoP this month…see above). However, do we really need to ADD a floaty happy partially transparent giant memory? Gag. Hey comics – ixnay on the aveyardgray…is that right? I’ve never been good at pig latin…
Brightest Day 16 (variant). Kinda cool. Nice use of composition and negative space and I like that it’s a bit sketchy, though I suppose it’s unlikely to remain that way by the time it hits stands. Extra points for a Supergirl with biker shorts.
DC Comics Presents: Brightest Day 2. Also cool. Really nice colors and use of space. Plus the graphic aspects – like the crazy flat outlined fish, the shapes created by the coral and tentacles, and the way that Aquaman’s lower half dissolves are all really nice. I’d like it better without floating Batman and Joker heads…but beggars can’t be choosers I suppose.
DCU Holiday 2010 1. Is this supposed to look fun and celebratory? It seems kind of horrifying. Giant superhero-like/big brother figures looming above me? Also, Jonah Hex looks like he’s pointing his guns at the crowd…and the look on his face/in his eyes? JEEZUS.
Detective Comics Annual 12. So I’ve talked before about how I just don’t like Mr. Lau’s art (formerly he was doing Batgirl covers) and I feel like it’s probably time I explain why. Now obviously tons of people don’t agree with me and that’s fine – it’s part of what makes the world go round – and obviously DC doesn’t agree with me (what’s new!?) – as he’s all over the Batman books this month – and that’s of course also fine – but FOR ME, here are the problems:
1. Super realistic art in comics rarely works for me – Alex Ross being one of a few exceptions – it’s simply not a style I love. I tend to prefer stylized looks, or looks that skew more cartoon-y or graphic. This is obviously super realistic, so that’s a stumbling block right out of the gate. In general I don’t love work that feels this digital and slick. I like things a little rougher and for lack of a better word, less soulless, with more energy and movement, less static. This imagery just doesn’t move me…at all. I feel like I am looking at something perfect and flat, something without any emotion or feeling. I tend to like things that have texture or technique obvious in them (watercolor effects, etc.). So this is just flat and soulless to me and it almost makes me sad, despite the obvious skill and technique Mr. Lau clearly possesses.
2. I don’t like the way he draws faces. Something about them seems super generic and devoid of personality, despite their hyper-realism. Facial expression in comics for me is critical and these faces usually do nothing. Even when the expression is extreme (as in the Batgirl Clayface cover) I often feel like it no longer looks like “the character” but rather an assemblage of things that are supposed to represent the character – in that case – blonde hair, blue eyes, white skin, “pretty”. I just can’t feel anything for it. Similarly, there is seemingly so much focus on execution (that everything looks perfect) I think the movement and character is lost during that execution. i.e. here Batman’s face is a mask I don’t really understand as thinking or feeling anything, and the movement of the drawing doesn’t make a lot of sense – it seems like he’s swinging through the air…but the line is not taught…maybe he’s falling or we’ve caught him in between motions…but it just doesn’t work for me – it’s somehow not dynamic even though the composition is solid.
3. Perhaps most importantly I don’t like Mr. Lau’s usual color palette. There’s rarely anything that pops bright white or goes to the deep dark blacks, which makes it all just seem grey to me.
All that said, art taste is ALWAYS highly subjective and just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean anyone has to agree with me. DC are clearly fans and so are a lot of readers, so congrats to Mr. Lau.
Detective Comics 872. Wow. This is cool. Something about those tiny little bat ears and the bat emblem on the side of this gas mask just makes this so freaking cool. Just what every kid wants – a batman gas mask! I also love the color range here from super blown out whites in the reflective eyes to the dark blacks. Nice.
DMZ 60. I love the color choices here and graphic shape (which is making AWESOME negative space) combined with the really interesting figures inside the star. The integration of text is nice too. As usual, a great DMZ cover.
Doom Patrol 17. Nice idea, nice execution. From the sepia colors and costuming to the wallpaper on the walls, it’s all very well considered…and the blood spatter and shadow figure brings it home powerfully.
Freedom Fighters 4. Honestly? Dave Johnson is a freaking god of comic covers. This is fantastic. The colored silhouettes, the cut out iconic symbols, the white space, the fantastic negative space, and best of all the red handcuffs that link them all. Johnson was the best possible thing to happen to Freedom Fighters (which had some terrible covers initially).
Gen 13 39. Nguyen strikes again. This looks fantastic. Too bad Wildstorm is closing shop.
Gotham City Sirens 18. Well, its nice to see so many ladies on a cover together. And for March it’s pretty toned down in the “hyper-sexualization” department (i.e. Catwoman’s suit is zipped up and I can’t really see anyone’s tits – although Talia looks like she’s trying pretty hard. The posing is also pretty reasonable) but I’m just not a big fan of floating figures…so this kind of seems like a mess. I am intrigued as to why Zatanna would be working with Talia though and what exactly is going on, so it wins in the “makes me want to know what this story is about” way.
Green Lantern Corps 55. I bet John Stewart is REALLY hoping that dude is wearing Supergirl style bike shorts underneath…
Green Lantern Emerald Warriors 5. JEEZUS! Ick. Points for realism in rendering fabric/clothing I guess?
I, Zombie 8. Compared to some of his other home runs on this series (#5 and #7 especially) this is not that crazy good…EXCEPT…lo0k at Gwen’s awesome skull pajamas. Hilariously cute.
JLA/The 99 3. I don’t know what Hawkman is seeing/feeling/thinking/smelling? (did he just fly into a superfart?) to cause that expression…but I definitely feel like I need to know.
John Constantine – Hellblazer: City of Demons Hellblazer 5. Another nice Sean Murphy offering. Great muted color palette, nice stylized and graphic imagery as well as some textures. Very nice.
Justice League Generation Lost 15. This is a nice idea (though we’ve obviously seen it before) but the execution isn’t quite working for me. The really limited color palette (which normally I like) is working against it – making all the images fight to be seen – the result is a bit muddy and not powerful.
Justice League Of America 52 (variant). WOW. Love the delicious water color goodness of this Mack variant as well as the great composition and negative space. Also, though I still think we could do better for Supergirl than a glorified cheerleading uniform – I love the colors on this costume for her. Makes it so much more refined and less loud and garish. Love it. I don’t see bike shorts but I can almost believe they’re there, so I’ll give it a pass.
Legion of Super-Heroes 8.
There are 17 characters on this cover. 6 are female, 11 are male.
Of the 11 men, 10 are wearing costumes that fully cover their bodies – in a few instances (4) they are sleeveless and exposing their manly arms. One man appears to be shirtless and wearing only pants.
Of the 6 women, one is wearing a bikini, one is wearing a bathing suit with a seriously plunging top, one has no pants, one has a ridiculous (and ugly) cut out exposing her breasts and stomach needlessly, and one has a silly little “belly button hole” which makes no freaking sense at all. Only ONE woman has a practical and appropriate costume.
When I bitch and moan about context and inequality in costume design…this is the kind of shit I’m talking about.
Legion of Super-Heroes Annual 1. It’s times like this when a girl really wishes she had some pants. That giant eye ball is just STARING at Lighting Lass. How embarrassing.
Northlanders 35. Wow, this is fucking gorgeous. I love everything about it. Also, BECKY CLOONAN! WOO!
Outsiders 35. More crazy wide uber-stance. Ouch.
Power Girl 19. Wait. What is going on here? Is that supposed to be a picture in the background? In which case…terrible posing guys, who is your photographer? And how are you all so bunched together so closely? It looks impossible if the lower halves of your bodies actually exist. But it makes more sense based on other clues in the room that it’s a giant monitor…maybe…in which case…am I supposed to believe that this is the split second when all our heroes are tightly bunched together (for some odd reason) before springing into action? Also, Ice has the worst most awkward fists raised for battle stance EVER. Yeah, I have no idea what’s going on here…this seems really poorly thought out…or not thought out at all…or maybe just poorly executed…one of those.
Secret Six 28. Bit gross for my tastes…that thing with the tongue. But pretty cool.
Spirit 9. Yikes…I usually love the Spirit covers, but this is a mess. Let’s dissect. We’re supposed to believe that this statue and/or grave (its unclear) is facing inside the cemetery…with its back to the outside…but is placed right in front of the entrance gates? In fact…I’m not even sure those gates can open (if they open in) considering where this statue is. Yeah, this wasn’t thought out. Bad cover. Too bad, cause as always, it’s pretty.
Superboy 2. Wow, a really nice Phil Noto cover for Superboy 2. Great saturated colors, figure work, and expressions, combined with excellent graphic shapes to break things up. This is not quite as awesome as that Superboy #1 by Albuquerque last month, but really close. Superboy keeps this up and he’s going to have a run of best covers ever.
Supergirl 59. This is the least successful Reeder Supergirl cover I’ve seen so far (but they’ve all been awesome, so that’s a hard act to follow…even when it’s your own act). That said, it’s still lovely and I’m definitely curious as to what this story is about – which is half the battle (or more) with covers, so still a success.
Superman 706. Only John Cassaday can find a way to make me not mind a “floating head”. This is brilliant because he anchors the head by making it take up most of the background (and creating some nice negative space in the process – thus making it seem less “floaty”) and by using the white space as an additional anchor by using a cut out silhouette of the crowd. Really, this is the definition of taking a cover that could have been crap and totally re-imagining it until it works.
Superman/Batman 79. I find this so intriguing! What is up with a robot Robin? Why are Bats and Supes costumes different (and especially in Superman’s case – extra awesome?) What is going on here? I must know! Also, if I needed further proof that I have certain artists that I really respond to and those that I don’t…I was thinking to myself as I added this to the list…”this is really great looking…I wonder who did it”…in checking the credits I find it’s Fiona Staples. And it’s well documented that I love Staples work (she of North 40 and the DV8 covers), so at least I’m consistent.
Teen Titans 90. I don’t read Teen Titans…so maybe I’m wrong, but this cover is the first time (in a while) that the book has ever seemed “teen” to me. Which seems good. I don’t love this cover, but it definitely caught my eye as something different than every other thing we usually see in superheroes, which is good. I think it’s Nicola Scott…?
Wonder Woman 604. Fantastic idea, shitty execution. It just looks really weird and awkward…especially around the pelvic area…and well…the arms too. Also, the face and hair just don’t look like Diana to me. And I still fucking hate this costume. Ugh…what a depressing way to end…