Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cover to Cover to Cover

We've already seen a sampling of the many wrap-around and fold-out covers offered by Marvel and its talented artists--yet there's a wealth of such material that's occasionally been tucked away on the sales rack, gems waiting to be discovered by readers who weren't expecting such a dividend in their comic book purchase. The real treat on these oversize covers, just as with many of their single-page counterparts, lies in the creative way that the artist chooses to convey the representation of characters--symbolic portrayals/collages of the content within, and perhaps one of the last few places to be found where word balloons are, thankfully, verboten.

Today, buyers of music lament the absence of the vinyl jacket with its oversized cover photography and/or artwork; and with the comic book, we've come to realize that when it comes to cover artwork which goes well beyond the cover, in no medium but print can you realize the instant gratification of extending a comics cover in your hands to find much more than first met your eye.

So in that spirit, let's take a look at a few more of these dazzling covers--digitally presented, but still a feast for the eyes.

Art by Kerry Gammill and Bob Layton

There was a generous sampling of artist Ron Lim's covers for The Infinity War series in that prior post, so we might as well complete the splendid looking set with these fold-outs for issues 2-4.

Artist Kerry Gammill's work can be found on a number of these covers, such as the FF Appendix cover above (which remarkably mimics the style of John Byrne). Here he is again with an Appendix cover to Amazing Spider-Man, followed by one by the master himself, John Romita (with Ron Frenz reportedly on layouts).

As a bookend to the earlier post's inclusion of the "Fatal Attractions" storyline in Uncanny X-Men, here's its companion from X-Factor (and, like its sister issue, pulling out all the stops with the inclusion of a hologram), with art by Joe Quesada and Al Milgrom.

X-Men was well-represented in wrap-around covers, though they often couldn't make up for the chaos of art and story within the issues. Three such examples follow--the first from Whilce Portacio and Art Thibert, and the Phalanx Covenant (even sounds confusing, doesn't it?) issues depicted by Joe Madureira and Dan Green.

Not to be left out is Rob Liefeld's head-on pose of the X-Force team from the book's first issue.

The following two covers of Invincible Iron Man offer a contrast in approaches from artist Salvador Larroca, with the first cover from issue #22 giving the appearance of a normal panel from the story, as opposed to the collage of imagery from issue #25.

The same might be said for this cover from the JLA/Avengers crossover from artist George Perez, rendering an image which would fit in nicely at a key point within the issue--and where the absence of narrative or word balloons is almost conspicuous.

The Appendix issues truly stand out in their abundance of wrap-around covers--some more noteworthy than others, in both artistry as well as the choice(s) made for the image.

Art above by Walt Simonson / Tom Grindberg and Tom Palmer

Bill Sienkiewicz / Paul Ryan and Al Williamson

Jordan Raskin / Jim Valentino and Bob Layton

John Romita Jr. and Al Williamson

On a closing note, even Marvel has to give it up for the 1998 Crisis on Infinite Earths hardcover fold-out by artists Alex Ross and George Perez.

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