Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tired of Team Shots for Covers: Ultimate Fantastic Four #50


Ultimate Fantastic Four #50
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
Wow. Ultimate Fantastic Four is going to hit issue 50 in January. That is absolutely amazing! Kudos to Marvel for that. I see they are celebrating with a team cover shot. Neat.

I have noticed that the trend on covers lately is to feature the team, either posing or getting ready to go into battle. While this is a cool approach, it has been overused to the point that I am thirsty for action driven covers like the Punisher War Journal #15 cover I referred to earlier. That being said, this cover by Marko Djurdjevic is off-putting to me.

I can't get over the fact that Sue looks quite manly. There, I said it. I also am very scared of Ben Grimm as he is baring his teeth like he is ready to eat the reader for breakfast. While I appreciate the cool color effects and quite like the fact that Reed is putting up his dukes, this cover underwhelms me.

On that note, I am curious to hear your opinions about what you think makes a great cover. Is it the action? Do you like the team pose? What appeals to you?

9 comments:

Eaglewing said...

Before I even read your post, I looked at the image and thought "What's up with Sue's face?" Something's just way off there.

As for covers, I appreciate the ones that pertain to something storywise inside without giving it all away. To me, a cover should be like a trailer is for a movie - a glimpse at something that makes you want to know more. Simplicity of the character and detail in the art counts too - for example, I loved the cover of Wolverine #55 - the character is going to kick ass and yet it's a simple but detailed face shot. (the story was a let down, but the cover was great). On the other hand, there's the upcoming Punisher ish (53 I Think?) with a cover of a claymore and the famous words found on one "Front Toward Enemy". To me, that's just great - no images of any of the characters, yet it says everything about Frank going straight at his opponent. (That's what I'm assuming - who knows till the issue comes out). Even though there's no character on the cover, I'd buy it just to read the story that would pertain to a cover like that.

Team poses don't do a whole lot for me. Covers that indicate a personal story to a particular character appeal more (like the X-Men 204 cover - a team book, but only two characters on the cover). Whether it's FF or X-Men or JLA or whatever, to me there's usually too much crammed on a team cover to give you much of an idea what's going on except the usual "team fight!". And too many times it seems the cover of a team pose is just to accomodate all the characters and then you're expecting a big brawl inside and it doesn't happen. That's always bad for any cover/ish - the cover that indicates something that doesn't happen or barely registers in the story. Hate that.

Granted for me, I don't buy based on the individual covers so much per issue as I mostly buy trades. Where it counts is when I manage to get myself to a comic shop and I'm browsing through the racks or boxes of back issues - then it's pretty much the cover that'll sell me on the issue. Like when I was first discovering Ennis' Punisher and happened to see the Punisher: Tyger issue in a store and bought it on sight because of the cover and it was a fantastic read. Wouldn't mind a poster size of that one either...

Carl said...

It looks like a Marvel collecting card of some kind that was put out with artists that were paying their dues until they got a regular gig. And Sue kind of looks like that "Leave Britney Alone!" kid, kind crossdresser-ish looking and a bit evil. Hmmmm, maybe it's the Ultimate Loki making 'his' debut? And when is Reed going to get rid of his glasses? I mean, is he doing the 'stretching eyeball' thingie or not? I always found it gross but very strategic. I find all these team or pose covers boring as hell, like when a band puts out a CD with just them on the cover for the 10th or more and nothing special, borrrrrrrrring! We know what they look like, the FF are over 40 years old, we got it already...

Mark Engblom said...

I don't mind a team pose cover, but I prefer that the action reflect something going on on the inside. Sticking a generic hero or team shot on the cover, with no connection to the story, really diminshes the chance and "impulse" buyer might pick it up. Back in the "olden days", a dramatic situation on the cover might very well make me want to buy it...but these generic "pin-up" covers don't do that at all.

I'm not suggesting we return to covers with multiple word balloons of exposition or characters breaking the fourth wall begging me to "Buy This Comic Book!"....but I think current comics have gone too far to the other extreme.

Foolio_Displasius said...

This just isn't the best group shot; all of the characters are mis-posed. Consider Johnny's "YMCA", Reed's "Chicken Tonight", Ben's "back alley dealz", and Sue's apparent anger over her facial anatomy malfunctioning...

Heidi Meeley said...

Eaglewing, thank you so much for those excellent examples! You really nailed it. I like that you compare the cover to a movie trailer. That is the way it should be. There should hopefully be a glimpse of what it to come.

In my mind, group shots were saved for when teams would have shake-ups or as in Justice League, when a new book would debut. Team shots have felt like filler covers compared to a cover that gives some indication of what is inside.

I really enjoyed your comment and the thoughts that went with it. Thank you so much!

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, when I saw that you thought Sue looks like the "leave Britney alone" dude, I couldn't stop laughing! That is so funny! LOL!!

You make my day.

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, that was well put. It does seem that these days the trend is towards "posed shots" rather then an action shot or a "trailer" as Eaglewing pointed out. When I think back, some of the covers I love most are by Curt Swan. When Lana and Lois are ready to have a cat fight, or Lois is caught by Superman snooping, that kind of cover really caught my attention. I also loved the covers where Superman and Batman would think Robin/Jimmy Olsen or Supergirl/Batgirl are dead or in trouble.

The point is that when there was a bit of a tease it meant more to me then a team shot. In my mind, those shots are saved for shake ups or a cool anniversary issue.

I do like it when they break the fourth wall though too... LOL!

Heidi Meeley said...

Foolio- too true! This shot just isn't doing it. There isn't a cohesiveness to it. I really do dislike Sue's facial expression too. I have to admit it.

StocDred said...

I bailed on this book back when every issue looked like the fall fashion pages of Cosmopolitan.