DC Comics Cover Art by Nick Jones (book review).

March 6, 2022 | By | Reply More

In the introduction, former DC Comics editor/librarian Steve Korté points out the power of the comicbook cover in selling to the public, although More Fun Comics # 1, as shown here just had a comicstrip. In many respects, UK comics stayed to this format and, if memory serves, either to TV21, which adopted a newspaper headline covers in the 1960s and the truly single picture covers with the Power Comics reprinting Marvel Comics in the mid-1960s.

It was in the early 1970s, that we truly had covers comparable to American comics, although we were largely had comics in cheap newsprint because they were seen as throwaway than collected. I’m giving that little bit of history to say we British don’t have as much relevance to covers as Americans, although we do like good art at any age. Oddly, my first introduction to American comics was on rainy afternoons at schools and access to a small supply of them at breaktimes and many of them lacked covers, mostly because they are worn off their staples by the time they got there and many hands reading them.

The main attraction was the fact that they were in full colour, something lacking in British comics back in the 1960s.

Nick Jones’ book, ‘DC Comics Cover Art’ looks at 350 DC’s covers from the earliest to 2020. Not all of them are chosen for their art but also their significance, like introducing characters and so forth. I didn’t know the first Superboy cover art was More Fun Comics # 104 for instance where he is selling war bonds.

If you’ve got a geek disposition and a knowledge of comicbooks, you will be reminded of various bits of information. Take Starro, as seen in the recent ‘The Suicide Squad’ film. Its first appearance was against the Justice League but they didn’t have their own title but in The Brave And The Bold # 28 in 1960.

Oddly, there are some absences like that of the original Doom Patrol, although there are a couple from the 1980s, and Metal Men and even the original Teen Titans and LSH only spotted a couple covers in the early period. Bear in mind that many of the Adventure Comics LSH were drawn by Neal Adams, who has a massive coverage in the 1970-1986 period here was surprising. Interestingly, no Suicide Squad, but this book does pre-date both films. Picking out covers over 70 years must have been tough, let alone limit it to 350. Don’t expect to find everything in a page flick.

It’s interesting seeing who are the key artists in each stage of the book, merely from which of them gets the most covers. Certainly for the 1980s, Brian Bolland and Alex Ross become the most prominent and, with the latter, I’ve now seen his first cover at DC Comics. I do tend to agree with the assessment that with the rise of comicbook shops, the comic companies could become a lot more experimental with cover design and not always have the title at the top and there are plenty of examples here taking lessons from Will Eisner when he did this with ‘The Spirit’, although that isn’t noted.

I should point out not to expect the covers to be full page. Some are but generally there are 3 to a page with text. Logistically, I think I could have put in more than 350 covers and at least made it a round 400.

Don’t treat this book as a history of DC Comics. It points out some of the highlights of a long history and could certainly have done with an index for quick reference, if only to work out which artists didn’t get any or not enough coverage, like José Luis García-López and Joe Staton.

If the appeal of comicbooks is the covers then you are certainly covered here and will find some that you will undoubtedly want to track the originals, if you can afford them. If not, then a sharp picture is the next best thing.

GF Willmetts

March 2022

(pub: Dorling Kindersley/Penguin/Random House, 2020. 239 page very large illustrated hardback. Price: I pulled my copy for about £18.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-24143-834-3)

check out website: www.dk.com

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Category: Books, Superheroes


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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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