There were so many good covers this year. For those who feel compelled to read everything with a fierce cover—like yours truly—is definitely puts a strain on the wallet from time to time. But who doesn’t love a good cover? They’re what start so many of fans on the path. And there are so many different types of covers.
However, it takes more than just sick artistic skills to make a Top-10 list. Allow me to explain as we roll through my Top-10 Comic Book Covers of 2018 (along with honorable mentions and a few covers that I wouldn’t mind un-seeing):
- X-Men Red #2 (Cover by Travis Charest)
Number one with a bullet. When I first thought about putting together this list, X-Men: Red #2 was the first cover to come to mind. X-Men: Red had some impressive covers (#3 standing out, as well) but Travis Charest’s work on Nightcrawler is outstanding.
Kurt Wagner has always been one of the more understanding, kind-hearted heroes, contrary to he demonic appearance. But I’m always looking for that issue where Nightcrawler inches outside of his comfort zone and loses it. Not a ton, just a little bit—because that’d be enough to catch everyone’s attention.
Charest’s cover gives us that with his X-Men: Red #2 cover. Combine that with the detail and this was the easiest pick on this list.
2. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #30 (Cover by Jamal Campbell)
Boom! Studios put the entire comic book world on its head with Drakkon’s reign of terror. And even though his unrelenting ruthlessness needs to be stopped, Drakkon is an easy character to fall in love with. (Well, maybe not fall in love with, but like and appreciate very quickly.) He is Tommy, after all.
Anyways, this cover is the perfect embodiment of that unrelenting ruthlessness he’s got going for him. And nothing says “I’ve got all the power in the world,” (or in every reality in his case) like a ruler at his or her throne. Throw in a bunch of dead bodies—or in this case, the helmets of approximately 47 dead Power Rangers—and you’ve got yourself a terrifying monster. Jamal Campbell shows a perfect understanding for a character that may have been 2018’s biggest addition to the comic book world.
3. What If? Punisher #1 (by Chris Stevens)
I like The Punisher. I like Spider-Man. I’ve read some of their stuff, but not much of their current work. (They’re just other characters I prefer right now.) However, the second I laid eyes on this cover I had to buy What If? Punisher #1.
Never in a million years would I think of an idea like this, yet when I saw Chris Stevens’ work it made perfect sense.
4. Nightwing #54 (Variant Cover by Yasmine Putri)
Yasmine Putri had a damn good year. Most notable were her three amazing Red Hood variant covers. That is, most notable after her Nightwing #54 variant cover.
Now, there’s a lot going on with this cover—more than I usually care for. However, every bit is necessary. Whether it’s the blue dissolving of his outfit or him dropping his Escrima Sticks, it’s clear what’s going on here: Dick Grayson is casting aside his Nightwing persona.
This series was one of the more controversial ones of 2018, but I think everyone can agree Putri did not disappoint with her contribution.
5. Batman: White Knight #8 (Cover by Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth)
Also my choice of Top Comic Book of 2018, Batman: White Knight #8’s Jack Napier and Batman cover is the face of this miraculous series. In fact, I originally missed the boat on this series. I hadn’t looked into it when it first came out and knew nothing about it when I first saw Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth final cover. But the second I saw the cover for Batman: White Knight #8, I thought to myself, “Is that the Joker? Is he the White Knight?” I was all in after that.
Now, I’m a sucker for Sean Murphy’s artwork—almost as much as Dexter Soy’s—particularly Murphy’s work on Hellblazer City of Demons. But that’s not all that’s awesome about this cover. We see Jack Napier, and who obviously looks like the joker (because he is), but there’s still a small shred of doubt for those who haven’t read the series. Sometimes that’s all it takes to hook a potential reader.
6. Darth Vader #23 (Cover by Elia Bonetti and Guiseppe Camuncoli)
Imagine being such a significant figure that a building is named after you while you’re still alive. That doesn’t happen often. Now, imagine an entire fortress is named after you because of the fear you instill in everyone across the galaxy. Pretty impressive, right? Fortress Vader and the collaboration by Elia Bonetti and Guiseppe Camuncoli capture what Darth Vader means to the entire galaxy. But the cover also illustrates his isolation and how he’s doing everything he can to separate himself from the rest of the universe.
If the Darth Vader #23 doesn’t at least warrant a double-take as you walk by it in your comic shop, well, I don’t think we can be friends.
7. Wonder Woman #58 (Variant Cover by Jenny Frison)
Before dissecting this cover, Terry and Rachel Dodson did a great job with the main cover for Wonder Woman #58. It’s just not my style. Jenny Frison’s variant cover, on the other hand, is exactly my kind of art.
Simply put, no one’s on Wonder Woman’s level. She may treat others like they are, but you see her in action for two seconds and you just know. Her art should reflect that, and Frison did that exactly with the Wonder Woman #58 variant cover.
In addition to capturing Dian’s beauty, I also appreciate the glimmer from her gauntlets, as well as the sun peeking from behind. She’s too much for the mortal eye to fully appreciate and comprehend, and I think that small touch by Frison gets that point across subtly.
8. The Mighty Thor 705 (Cover by Russell Dauterman)
Whether or not you were a fan of Jane Foster as The Mighty Thor, the end of her run was a major Marvel story in 2018. Russell Dauterman sends Foster out in an unbelievable blaze with this captivating cover.
Personally, I’m not going to pick up an issue of Thor, no matter who’s dawning the mantle. However, if I was to invest some time in the character, I’d probably read The Death of Mighty Thor in large part because of this cover. How can you not be curious about her ending after seeing Dauterman’s work?
9. The Batman Who Laughs #1 (Cover by Jock)
He’s baaaaack! The scariest iteration of Batman made his return to close out 2018. We all thought Batman and Joker put an end to The Batman Who Laughs—until his ugly mug popped again in the first issue of his own mini-series.
No part about this character is visually appealing. The Batman Who Laughs is the exact monster you run into in your nightmares. If he’s ever brought to live-action film you can bet he’ll become one of the most visually horrifying characters of all time.
10. Red Hood #27 (Cover by Pete Woods)
While Dick Grayson fans lost their mind over a personality change, Jason Todd fans got the real Red Hood back when he shot Penguin right in the face in Red Hood #24. However, a good portion of Red Hood fans lost it when Jason dumped the helmet—which, in fairness, was sick—for a Mortal Kombat-like look when Pete Woods took over for Dexter Soy. Not to mention Red Hood is rolling with a crowbar and a katana instead of his guns—thought, he’s not opposed to using firearms.
Red Hood #27 is the perfect representative of how the wardrobe change is a nice change of pace. First, the increased amount red in his outfit really compliments the blood on his crowbar. Second, the crowbar’s symbolism for Jason’s re-re-transformation displays how violent he’s become again and who help push him in this direction in the first place. Lastly, this cover is just so damn angry. I’ve always found that to be one of the things I liked most about Red Hood: he has so much pent-up anger—even more than we already see.
There were a ton of great covers from this year that didn’t make the top-10 that easily could have. Brian Villar, who helped contribute to this list, mentioned Shazam #1, Supergirl #23, Scales & Scoundrels #12, Bully Wars #1, Super Girl #19 (B Cover), Saga #50, Venom #1, Amazing Spider-Man #796, She-Hulk #162, The Mighty Thor #706 and Gwenpool #25.
Others that I also considered were: Go Go Power Rangers #12, Tony Stark Iron Man #1 (variant cover), Rogue and Gambit #4, Nightwing #55 (variant cover), Moon Knight #191, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #6, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25, The Silencer #10, and Deathstroke #32.
There are always a few covers that are a bit, well, different. The art isn’t bad. All of these artists are very talented. The fact these “oddballs” emit an emotion in any capacity is great, whether it’s positive or negative.
The two strangest ones I came across this year were Deadpool #5 and Lex Luthor and Porky Pig Special #1.
The nicest way to put it: there are some on-air personalities that haven’t received any help from the evolution of high-definition television. That’s kind of the issue here with Porky Pig and Wade Wilson. Deadpool looks absolutely disgusting and Porky looks more haunting than The Batman Who Laughs.
All that being said, these are certainly two covers I won’t forget any time soon, so good job by Nic Klein (Deadpool #5) and Ben Oliver (Lex Luthor and Porky Pig Special #1)—in a weird sort of way.