Friday, October 26, 2007

Is This Cover Lacking?: Fantastic Four #553


Fantastic Four #553
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
For quite awhile now I have been doing a featured called "is this gratuitous" in which I post a cover and ask for your opinions about whether you think it has crossed that line or not. I really enjoy reading the comments and appreciate the fact that we have a civilized discourse about whether a cover is or is not, in fact, gratuitous.

That being said, last night I was looking through Previews and saw the cover to Fantastic Four #553. I was horrified because at first glance, I thought Marvel had lost their minds and let Rob Liefeld do the cover. Looking closer, I realized that "superstar" Michael Turner had done the art. My response was to be very concerned.

When Witchblade debuted as a series, I thought Turner was a freaking genius. I loved how sexy he drew Ian and Jackie, giving the ladies equal time to check out the goods. His art struck me as bold and really set a new trend in comic books.

Now when I see his covers, I cringe. I respect Turner for his bravery and resolve in battling cancer. I met him once and he was very sweet. It makes me feel bad to have this reaction, but I just can't help it. What happened to the magic? Is Mike feeling okay?

As with the uproar over the Justice League "Power Girl booby" cover, I am seeing a pattern of "phoning it in" from Turner. I really swore this was a Liefeld image, especially when looking at Thing.

The problem is that I just don't feel like I can be objective here. I would love your input. Is it me or does the cover fall short of expectations?

17 comments:

Elayne said...

I thought the illustration was well composed and quite nice. I think it may be you this time, Heidi.

David said...

I agree, insofar as I think that art that distorts anatomy should do so for an expressinve purpose.

For some time, it has seemed to me that Turner has lost his sense of anatomy without adding that something extra needed to justify the distortions, communicatively or artistically.

Vaklam said...

I'm with you on this one, Heidi. This cover does, for me, the opposite of what covers should in that it doesn't grab my attention or make me want to see what's inside.

Heidi Meeley said...

Elayne, I appreciate your opinion on this. What shocks me is that Turner's art has changed so much since he started out. I understand and appreciate the evolution of an artist, but as with John Byrne's style, I just happen to prefer the older take on things.

Heidi Meeley said...

David, I just wonder if Turner is feeling okay. I have always felt he is very brave and I have regularly hoped for his good health. It just seems like he is phoning it in either because he is too busy or because he is ill again. Either way, I am concerned.

Heidi Meeley said...

Vaklam, earlier tonight I explored what makes me like a cover, and I think one thing that is apparent is that team shots or "close ups" are not what I prefer. This cover is an excellent example of that. Also, as I stated above, it concerns me for Michael Turner.

Mike Haseloff said...

There's probably something to be said about the composition of his newer work, but I'm going to put it down to the inks.

Turner's pencils are, as you suggested, about the sexy and sleek. The sketchy finish on his lines that his Marvel and DC work has sported undermine that.
He needs slick, confident inks and an equally smooth colourist to really bring his work out to the fullest.

Matt said...

Well, it couldn't have been Liefeld. There are hands showing.

David said...

I see your point; I too wish him health.

David said...

I see your point; I too wish him health.

Ford MF said...

"Lacking" what exactly? But it is boring, yeah.

James Meeley said...

Ford:

"Lacking" in what exactly a cover is supposed to make you feel. That being a "I want to know more, so let me grab this book and check it out" type of feeling. That's what she feels in lacking in this cover (and a lot of others today). And I certainly agree (not just because she's my wife and the wife is always right, either ;)).

Carl said...

Even if I wasn't boycotting Marvel, I'd think this cover was kind of wishy-washy and the characters looked funny. And I would then skip buying it...

Heidi Meeley said...

Mike, I think you may have something about the inker needing to be strong. I never appreciated D-Tron enough now that you mention it. Turner has had some great inkers over the years to be sure. Hmmm...

Heidi Meeley said...

Matt- LOL!!! Too true!

Heidi Meeley said...

David, I didn't mean to be a downer. :-) It is scary to me how different this cover looks then his older style.

Heidi Meeley said...

Ford: Lacking that punch a cover should have. What would make me want to buy this book? Certainly not this cover. I was trying to come up with a good way to ask the question, and unfortunately, lacking was the best way I could think to put it. :-)