Best Comic Book Covers of All Time: Joe Kubert’s LOSERS run

What makes a great comic book cover, in this age of virgin variants and gimmick covers, is the same thing that has always made a great cover. When all these flash in the pan virgin covers, are resigned to the 50 cent bin (where most of them belong), the really great covers, will still be… great covers.

They will still have stunning typography, married to great art, with great placement of the various parts, and together the whole, in one moment, both tells a story and sells a product. It is not just this lazy and brainless current fad of a pretty image, but with no context to the story or to the storytelling. Today’s cover artists and editors and art directors, and buyers, confuse a pinup with an effective and affecting cover, and the two are not the same.

Now that is not to say there are not exceptions, where the pinup is so good that you want it for eye candy’s sake alone. That does happen, and is fine, but in my experience it is rare, and is not conducive to books you are actually buying, serialized entertainment you are actually buying,… to read. In that case a pretty picture does not cut it, you need a storyteller as an artist and an art editor, to design a cover that tells a story.

And like i said it is a marriage of many things, some of which are not in the artist’s hands. But when all those disparate elements come together, you have have some of the greatest covers of all time.

There were a lot of people I could have started this new segment with, Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson, Jack Kirby, but for my money the best cover artist of all time very rarely worked in Superhero Comics, and that is the great Joe Kubert.

Kubert had many magnificent cover runs to choose from but the one that launches this segment is the work of his that made me a Conflict Comics collector. His run on OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR. Not the whole run, because while he did hundreds of covers not all of them have the elements that make an iconic cover. I mentioned a great cover having to do with things sometimes beyond the artists control such as typography and placement of disparate elements on a cover. But Here, for this run of issues, Kubert had complete control over the typography of his covers, and completely integrated that typography into his artwork, in a manner that would have made Eisner impressed. Creating a brilliant image AND telling a story and selling a product.

In the 181 issue run of OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR, all of which had good covers,  there are nineteen covers that stand out as masterpieces… only nineteeneighteen. They are not ‘key’ issues, they are seminal issues in the history of comic book cover design. The following scans were the best I could find on short notice, and do not do the books justice. But they give you a taste of the brilliance that make these 19 consecutive issues of OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR a milestone of cover design, and worth owning.

They are…

 

Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #123Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #124  Our Fighting Forces #125 Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #126Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #127Our Fighting Forces #128  Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #129File:Our Fighting Forces Vol 1 130.jpgFile:Our Fighting Forces Vol 1 135.jpg

 

Issue 142 would signal the end of the ground breaking covers, as well as heralding the end of Joe Kubert as editor on the series (his name would officially be removed as editor two issues later). Archie Goodwin would take over for a while as editor, followed by Jack Kirby(with all due respect to Jack Kirby, I am not a fan of his work on this book). And while Kubert would continue to do covers sporadically for the series up till the end, never again would the typography and mast-head be part of the story-telling. 141 would be the last of that wild imaginative experimentation with art and typography, the last of nineteen issues of the best and longest consecutive run of great covers by one creator in the history of comics. Pick them all up today, while they can still be had affordably.

 

Use the link below to get your issues today:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=180611&AffID=200301P01

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like it, please subscribe, leave a like and comment. And what are your favorite cover runs, or cover artists/artwork?

Till next time… be well!!

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.


Fodor’s U.S. & British Virgin Islands (Full-color Travel Guide) [Paperback]
Full-color guide
• Make your trip to U.S. & British Virgin Islands unforgettable with illustrated features, 22 maps, and 125 color photos.

Customize your trip with simple planning tools
• Top experiences & attractions
• Island comparison charts
• Easy-to-read color maps

Explore the St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola, and beyond
• Discerning Fodor’s Choice picks for hotels, restaurants, sights, and more
• “Word of Mouth” tips from fellow Fodor’s travelers
• Illustrated features on Diving and Chartering a Yacht
• Best beachcombing, day sails, and shopping opportunities

Opinions from destination experts
• Fodor’s Virgin Islands-based writers reveal their favorite local haunts
Fodor’s U.S. & British Virgin Islands (Full-color Travel Guide)


Lonely Planet Caribbean Islands (Multi Country Travel Guide) [Paperback]
Ryan Ver Berkmoes (Author), Kevin Raub (Author)
Publication Date: December 1, 2011 | Series: Multi Country Travel Guide
“With amazing culture, beaches, activities and weather – not to mention the rum – the Caribbean is a joyous riot of islands offering the ultimate escape.” – Ryan Ver Berkmoes, Lonely Planet WriterOur PromiseYou can trust our travel information because Lonely Planet authors visit the places we write about, each and every edition. We never accept freebies for positive coverage, and you can rely on us to tell it like we see it.Inside This Book…65 islands covered13 expert authors500 days (and nights) of research874 gorgeous beachesInspirational photosClear, easy-to-use mapsCruising featureIn-depth backgroundComprehensive planning toolsEasy-to-read layout
Lonely Planet Caribbean Islands (Multi Country Travel Guide)


How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (for Less) Abroad [Paperback]

Publication Date: March 29, 2011
The definitive guide for anyone dreaming of a move to paradise.

Whether motivated by a desire for adventure, or the need to make the most of a diminished nest egg, more and more Americans are considering an overseas retirement. Drawing on her more than three decades of experience helping people relocate happily and successfully, Kathleen Peddicord shows how living in an unconventional retirement destination can cost less than a traditional home in Florida or Arizona. Peddicord addresses all of the essential issues, including:

? Death
? Taxes
? Health Care
? Bank Accounts

Whether readers are interested in relatively unknown havens like Nicaragua, well-traveled areas in Italy, or need some help deciding, How to Retire Overseas is the ultimate guide to making retirement dreams come true.

How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (for Less) Abroad


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

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