Funnybook Babylon

June 10, 2010

DC’s Cover Designs: Actively Antagonizing James Burke

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 4:08 pm

Sometimes the Internet sends you down a rabbit hole. This past weekend, after the latest round of Ridiculous DC Convention Panel Statements (from RDCPS stalwarts Ian Sattler and Bill Willingham) I began to wonder: what exactly does Ian Sattler do as DC’s “Senior Story Editor”, besides make bizarre statements on panels? I never found a job description or even what he did before he became Senior Story Editor — though it seems like he wrote for Comics Alliance under the name Ian DeLaurentis a few years back — but I did stumble upon a post Sattler made on the DCU Source Blog a year or so back.

It concerned Brian Stelfreeze’s covers for Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink. They were designed to form an interlocking portrait of the Tattooed Man, and frankly the design is pretty awesome:

Ink-Covers-No-Copy

I had no idea this was going on, and while I don’t know that it would’ve changed my mind about skipping the FCA minis, the extent of attention this received was part of a blog post on the DC site. If you missed that, you probably didn’t notice these covers were meant to connect. Certainly no one informed the DC production department:

inkmontage

Between the top banner, other cover clutter, and inconsistent color values and art cropping, it’s no wonder these interlocking covers didn’t get any attention. It’s a shame, because it was some creative work from Stelfreeze.

On the bright side, the Ink cover collage received better treatement than Mike Mayhew’s much-heralded set of covers for the recent trainwreck JLA: Rise and Fall:

Rise and Fall Covers

Not my favorite set of covers by a longshot, but Mayhew took the time (and DC presumably paid the money) for a bold four-cover tableau. So how does this look in printed form?

riseandfallmontage

Oh. Putting aside DC’s recent fetish for borders and banners, these aren’t even the standard covers: they’re 25:1 variant incentives. Variant covers are never going to be racked or purchased by a casual reader that might theoretically impulsively check out all of RISE AND FALL; they’re immediately put in sleeves behind the counter and sold to collectors at a premium; and while I don’t pretend to know what lurks in the heart of people who purchase variant covers, one imagines that exclusive cover art plays a significant role. Why not let those covers breathe, then?

I realize that none of this affects me directly, since I wasn’t planning on buying either of these storylines, nor do I purchase variants covers; I barely buy single issues, and when the collections of DC Comic I Actually Care About are released there will be an entirely different trade dress paradigm I can complain about. And trust me, I will. But so long as DC is commissioning these covers and trying to focus their energies towards single issues, why not do it right?

3 Comments »

  1. That Ink cover link actually doesn’t come out that bad, even with the terrible cover dresses.

    That Green Arrow gatefold is a piece of shit anyway you slice it though.

    Comment by Debaser — June 10, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

  2. I’m not afriad to let my covers overlap to see the combined image.

    but yeah, the rise and fall covers really don’t work that well as a coherent single image, it’s just that they seem to share a common background (and silly looking Ollie).
    Mayhew can do some terrific artwork, but he was hardly a good choice in this case.

    Comment by zodberg — June 10, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

  3. The image of Roy pumping his fist like that is incredibly hilarious, given what Krul’s actually putting him through.

    Comment by Dan Coyle — June 17, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

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