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:


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:


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?


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?


  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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