Variant Covers: Part One: DC/ Monsters

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After the success of the movie-inspired covers, DC Comics hopes to again entice comics readers to buy single issues with variant covers aplenty.  In October, the second (annual?) Monsters collection will launch.  25 variants will launch in all,  but I’m going to pick best 5 and worst 5.  I’m not into horror art for horror art’s sake, so my opinions aren’t objective.

Overall, 2014 offered a better group as far as strong, scary, iconic images.

(Editorial Note: Yes, some of these images are watermarked as belonging to other sites.  DC utilized these sites to announce these covers, and some of the sites watermarked the images.  I’d prefer to leave them whole with the watermark than pretend I have any right to them.)

 

Best:

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Action Comics #45
This is a beauty that brings to mind an old pulp fiction book or B-movie, and its artistic style really, really sets it apart from the pack.  This is also the most plausible of the lot, if Superman was not seen as entirely “good.”

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Flash #45
Strong, weird art style that sets it apart from the gory quasi-realistic thing most of the covers go for.  It’s very weird, but I really like it.

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Harley Quinn #21
The Mummy is an interesting choice for Harley, and a fun one.  Points for the mallet/ pistol sarcophagus and the mummified pigtails.

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Starfire #5
Again, a weird choice of monster, but strong, eye-catching art that highlights a lesser-known heroine in a great way.  The white background will also set it apart from the largely darker covers.  I’m also a big fan of the fact that this isn’t sexualized in any way, and is really just a cool battle cover for her.  This would be my favorite, except the next one is just so good.

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Superman/ Wonder Woman #22
Come on.  This one is just so damn cool.  Wonder Woman is a harpy, and Superman as a Minotaur- classical monsters for classical heroes.  It’s a strong, iconic cover that really cements these two as the heroes through the ages, while there are clearly a lot of nods to Greek mythology all over Wonder Woman’s mythos and history.  Strong, beautiful cover that will certainly make you look twice.

 

THE WORST

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Black Canary #5
You guys, I am so over zombies.  This brings nothing to the table.  It’s a pretty girl zombie!  Eating a brain!  We should have really gone Siren for this one, since her sonic scream is her trademark.  The style is nothing to write home about, either, which is a shame.

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Green Lantern #45
No, really guys.  SO OVER zombies.  I like the use of white space and the lantern logo in blood, but the art itself is just not attractive.  It’s also just unimaginative.  “What should we do with Green Lantern?”  “Oh, I don’t know.  Make him a zombie.  People still like zombies, right?”

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Grayson #13
On the other hand, this is too attractive.  If I didn’t know this were a monster variant series, I wouldn’t have realized it.  It’s not a strong enough image, and it’s not visually interesting.  No effort in this at all.  He looks like Prince Eric wearing a wetsuit.

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Justice League of America #5
Actually, most of this cover is pretty cool, drawing inspiration from the Universal Monsters of Yore.  However, why is Cyborg a horse?  There is no reason at all, when either Frankenstein’s monster or the Phantom of the Opera would have been logical choices (the Phantom’s half mask could be evocative of Cyborg’s, well, cyborg-ness.)  Good cover felled by one very weird artistic choice.

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Aquaman #45
I couldn’t figure out that this was Aquaman initially.  This cover feels incoherent and weird, with a complete lack of menace or humor.  A monster cover should have at least one of those things.   The concept of Aquaman-as-sea-monster is good and the art style could have worked, but the botched execution killed this one.  I would have preferred something comparing Aquaman to Nessie.

 

 

TOSS-UP

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Sinestro
This feels like a joke that got passed around some artists got submitted for a cover.  It’s really doesn’t fit into the theme, unlike Mephistopheles-Sinestro from 2014.  However, it’s a good execution of a Grumpy Cat Sinestro.  Maybe DC will do a meme variant series next year.

 

See all of the covers here!