Neal Adams. Jack Kirby. George Perez. Alex Ross. Dave Gibbons. Amanda Conner. Jim Lee. John Byrne.
The tip of the iceberg on a long list of distinguished and exceptional artists who have created iconic images through the years for DC Comics, aiding in the transition of the medium from being seen as ‘just for kids’ to a true art form, best represented by the covers used to present them.
I’ve often referred to as DK Canada’s books as beautiful art, but nowhere has this appellation been more deserving than this latest offering. Nick Jones has prowled the aisles of DC cover images, culling 350 of them. Images that represent the most iconic moments in art, character, and culture, uses of style, shading, lighting and composition.
Countless images contained within these pages will be familiar to collectors and fans alike, some will be revealed anew, and all of them have commentary detailing the artists involved, and what makes these covers so relevant at the time, and now.
Images grow over the decades as we travel through The Golden Age, The Silver Age, The Bronze Age, The Steel Age, and The Modern Age. There are offerings from all of them, and you can see the development not only of storytelling but sheer presentation.
From Neal Adams iconic and occasionally gothic images (which suits Batman to a T), to Alex Ross’ almost Rockwellian painting of the DC pantheon, the covers are emblematic of the times, the heroes, and the prevalent styles. Sometimes trailblazing like the social issues portrayed in the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series, to images that permeate the social consciousness like the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali cover, comic book covers have become collectable art, demanding to be showcased, treasured, and generate conversation.
As I turned, and absorbed page after page, cover after cover, I recognised images that immediately sent me back to the first time I saw them, proof of their impact, and I delighted in each new cover that was revealed to me, learning what made them exceptional.
To use that oft-quoted phrase I may not know art, but I know what I like. And the pop culture images that are comic covers, are things I like. I love the work of the mid-70s that hinted at the stories and twists within, and I love the covers being generated today by artists like Matt Wagner and Joshua Middleston – stunning images that have to convey the character, and draw the reader in while not spoiling what may lay between the pages.
Any of the covers shown in this beautifully curated book are worthy of framing, but lacking wall space, this may be the best option. And it has the added bonus of the author’s commentary on art and the work the covers entail.
This is a stunning collection, showing, with ease, how comic book covers are easily definable as art, and collectable art at that.
DK Books’ DC Comics Cover Art is available now!