jueves, 20 de diciembre de 2012

Comic Book Sales 101, Part 4: Covers


I know i said last week i was going to talk about variants but i realized that i couldnt move to that before getting this out of the way
There is this little saying that reads "you should not judge a book by its cover"
Well Comic book covers have actually the opposite effect, they are suppose to give you an idea of what is happening in the book and therefore influence in your decision to buy a comic or not.
thats the whole point of covers, a sole picture that can and should evoke the idea that you need to try this book, wither by just having a certain impact due its imagery or by revealing something that is happening in the actual issue.
Lets see some examples for covers:


Here is the iconic cover for the epic storyline Death in the Family, which of course is the Death of Jason Todd, published in 1988-89
I assume most people will recognize this cover immediately, but the interesting fact of this cover is that This is only the cover for the collection of the 4 issues, Batman 426-429, and none of the covers of those issues are this one, and the image in the cover immediately spoils the ending
but the sole image is so iconic that it defined the entire storyline and was the perfect picture to use for the cover
so iconic in fact that when Jason was choose to return, in the same batman annual #25 that marks the backstory of the return of Jason, the cover used was this
This is a good example of evoking a memorable image, an Homage cover, there are only red and black tones, everything involve in pure darkness, and it still carries the same emotion that the original DitF cover did, personally this is one of my favorite covers of all time.

Now lets see a BAD COVER

This is from the pen of the famous Robert Liefeld, I never had the chance to experience the comics in the 90s on full, so I never understood his appeal, and i have not read this particular comic, but it doesnt make me care at all about this particular group, what i know is that in 90s Liefeld was great, some even call him the Modern Jack Kirby, I see this cover, and I just wonder why
We have an action scene where the main protagonists which is the team of X-force is being attacked by Juggernaut and Spiderman is in his issue apparently
But there is no background, everything is white so we dont have a notion of where this is taking place, it wasnt necessary on the last image(or the next one) cause it is suppose to be symbolic, here being an action sequence doesnt justify the lack of them, then we have the Juggernaut covering 3/4s maybe even 4/5s of the cover including a bit of the title name(which is really odd) and he is in a very odd position where i can only assume that he is playing bowling and he just throw his ball, I joke of course i know he is throwing a punch but why is his left leg raised like that, anyone knows that having firm ground helps at the moment of fighting and even if he is running that doesnt justify the leg, speaking of legs you cant see anybodies feet on this cover and thats cause Liefeld always had trouble drawing them, and his physique is just over design, with way more muscles that he should have.
the rest of the team is just circle him around but there is no sense of proportion, from what i can guess Juggernaut is nearly a giant in comparison to the X-Force, and just look at Domino in this picture, she is barely on it.
This really doesnt make me grab the comic, the only thing that tells me is that the X-Force is fighting Juggernaut and Spiderman is on it.
But lets look to a much newer example Here is what i think is

The Best Cover of 2012

Hawkeye #2
It is minimalistic, there are no backgrounds but there is no necessity for it because the artist wants your focus on something else, it shows the movement of the hands, the detail of every single step to take to make a shot and its just glorious, there no situations from the actual comic and no but it says exactly what its suppose to say, it respects the story and the character.
What cal my attention of this cover is the them archery, over a year ago, DC and artist Brett Booth enter in a very controversial note
you can read the story here
but the story was pretty simple, DC ask Booth to make a cover for the relaunched Green Arrow and he made this
a fan of archery contacted Booth to tell him that the pose of Green Arrow to take the shot was not a proper one and that is a very common mistake, to which Booth replied by insulting the fan, the cover was never used.
I can understand Booth's point of view but ultimately what translates into this story to me, Respect, Booth doesnt care about showing respect for the character or about archery, much less to the fan he dismissed.
When I see Hawkeye's cover, I see Respect, respect for what its been trying to be accomplished. Respect from the writer, respect from the editor, respect from the artist, and is a respect for the character, from everything involving him to its very core and that difference between respect or not can make the whole difference between a sale or not
On a personal note when I heard of Hawkeye getting a comic, I couldnt care less, i was never interested in the character, and then i saw this cover and it just make me give it a chance and so far it has been paying off cause is one of the best books i read every month.


And that is the power and influences of a cover, It can make you interest or make you lost interest in a comic and the reason is simple, its the letter of presentation, cause when you walk on a comicbook shop or just see the lineup online, what you see is hundreds or thousands of covers of comics, and before you even read the description, you see the cover, and every single cover of those thousands of comics is competing against all the other thousands of comics to get your attention.
a good cover can make a book sale more just because its presenting something else, something bigger, something better, something iconic.
cause even if you have an epic storyline going on there will be people that see this
and they think:

"That looks great! I want that comic!"

Unfortunately the cover later became a huge problem, cause on one side, the cover is suppose to help sell the book, but instead, is selling itself
which is what we will talk about next week


Next Week, Variant Covers, for real this time XD

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