Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pet Peeve of the Day! Comic Covers Versus Interiors

I may be in the minority on this, but I really hate it when I pick up a comic based on the cover and the interiors and the story look nothing like it. There were a couple of books today that I has special ordered from my retailer. When I sat down to look at them, they had very stylized covers. Then I opened the book and the interior was completely different. The art was more "sketchy" looking and had a ton of darker panels, while the cover was sunshine and light. It really threw me for a loop, and it made me not want to read the issue.

Once I get past this, I am usually alright. One of my small exceptions to the rule on this is Catwoman, which features Adam Hughes covers and David Lopez interiors. I think it is because I know what to expect, so it doesn't make me upset. I wouldn't mind though if Lopez did the covers, because I enjoy his work.

I sometimes also think that the interior artists should be allowed to get the cover dollars after doing a great job on the inside. It helps make a person a "star" and gets their work out there. My exception to the rule is on variant covers. I think that in this case, the interior artist should get one and a featured artist should get another. I am okay with that. Though I am not a big fan of variants, I at least would like to see the interior artist get a shot.

My other pet peeve is when the cover has nothing to do with the story. There are some silver age books that were especially bad, and though they make me laugh today, I remember buying comics on the newstand in a hurry because my mom was grocery shopping and then getting home and being disapointed. Those were the days. It doesn't happen as much now, since many covers are more "posed" then story driven, making it almost impossible to rely on the cover to tell the story.

Like I said, I am probably in the minority, but I really enjoy an issue that features the same art team from cover to cover. There are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, it is what I prefer.

What do you like? Do you have a preference?


Carl said...

Yeah, nothing irks me more then a fantastic cover and then art inside that can vary from crap to just doesn't fit the characters or story. I was reading either JLA or JSA and suddenly in the 2nd issue (I think in The Lightning Saga) the art changed like crazy. It was like the first artist saw the heroes as normal fit people in costumes, the 2nd gave them this funky look like he had never seen anyone wearing a costume or read many comics.
And of course, I can't stand to buy a book and the cover has nothing to do with the story. I got to the point of in Batman if the cover graphic said "The Day Batman... DIED!!!" or had Batman saying: "Oh my God... I've killed Robin!!!" I would let out a groan of anguish 'cause I knew that it was more of DC's bs to sell us a book and lie to our faces. At least before Jason Todd and of course, that turned out to be another lie, sheesh.
And I've also thought it was shameful for a company to get a great artist, spend all their money on the cover and then have something on the inside that looks like it was run off a fanzine press.
Welp, we are back, we were gone 10 days but it sure didn't feel like it...

Eaglewing said...

Totally agree. The disconnect between some covers and inside art is downright disconcerting sometimes. And I hate art/blurbs on the cover that have nothing to do with the story either. When I was starting getting into comics, there was this one hobby/comic shop I'd go into and go through the back issue boxes just looking for anything interesting. I'd buy stuff based on covers and then get home and read it and go "Wha?!". '90's manga style X-Men back issues were some of the worst.

And like Carl mentioned above, I get irked when there's a sudden shift in art during the same story arc. A replacement artist comes on and it's not even close. Takes you out of the story rather abruptly while you get a feel for the characters again.

And with some of the interior art being fantastic in some books, I don't understand either why the same artist can't do the cover. It would give the single issue a continuity that would work well, I think.

Elayne said...

My preference for obvious reasons is to let the interior artists do the cover, and that may cycle back again, but right now the Big Two seem to be in an "overspecialization" mode where there are artists who are either too slow to do 22 interior pages or don't have the storytelling skills or are in-demand but busy, and so they've become Cover Artists rather than actual comic book artists. I don't like this trend, I think it encourages aspiring artists to just go for cover art instead of learning proper storytelling and composition.

Siskoid said...

We're all on the same page, I think.

In a sense, it's all about truth in advertising. Putting your best foot forward is fine, but putting someone else's foot down seems wrong.

Many Vertigo books did have those painted/collage covers which looked nothing like the interior, but you don't expect it to. But superhero line art?

Vaklam said...

I agree. There's a long tradition of covers featuring scenes which don't even remotely happen in the interiors but, as you said, that's not happening so much these days.

If I know what I'm getting into beforehand I'm less annoyed. For example, Alex Ross's Astro City covers often do a good job of encapsulating the story despite the interiors being done by someone else.

I actually like the route that Bagley took on Ultimate Spider-Man where the cover was just an action shot of Spidey and/or the issue's guest star and didn't attempt to depict any actual scene from the book.

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl! I am so happy to see you are back! I liked your updated My Space pic!

I liked your comment, Sir. You said it!

Heidi Meeley said...

Eaglewing, again I am moved by your way with a phrase. I couldn't have said it better!

Heidi Meeley said...

Elayne, that cycle you mentioned seems to be very much in effect. I know that I am personally very tired of Michael Turner covers. If he never did another cover for the big two again it would be too soon for me. I would much rather see the creative team working on the book get the cover, as I think it shows a definite cohesiveness that permeates the entire book.

Hopefully the trend will reverse itself sooner then later.

Heidi Meeley said...

Siskoid, I like your line about truth in advertising. That is what it boils down to for me at least part of the time. There is nothing worse then ordering a book in Diamond based on the cover and seeing that the art inside is completely different. I really hate that. It is misleading, and it pretty automatically makes me not want to pick up the book again.

Excellent point.

Heidi Meeley said...

Vaklam, Astro City is a definite exception to the rule. I was fortunate enough to meet Ross, Busiek, and Anderson together at a Portland Comic Show and they talked about the fact that they really communicate in regards to the cover so that readers won't be misled. That really impressed me. I do think it is the exception.

I enjoy the fact that Bagley did the covers, as it should be. The fact that the covers are glossed up and are more action shots doesn't bother me because I know that the art on the inside is going to follow suit in regards to style and color.

Once again, great points!