One of the true all time greats as far as comic book artists go is most definitely Bill Sienkiewicz! His style is like none other and as far as comic book covers go, he is one the BEST! Anytime you’d get a cover from Bill you knew you were in for something several notches above what was normally brought to the table. Here are 5 covers he did for the Marvel 1983 adaptation of Return of the Jedi, a bit different from his normal output in being they’re much more simplistic than what he’s normally known for. However his final painting for the trade paperback (the last image) showcases his epic classic style, this all brings me back to a time when Star Wars had limitless potential. Oh what could have been…..
Over the years we all have enjoyed and sometimes hated the giant “epic” multi title crossovers and mini-series that are so damn popular these days. However some of my personal favorite comic book stories are short and sweet. They often times have nothing to do with the major story arc you’re currently reading in that title and especially back in the 70’s & 80’s these self contained stories that had a beginning and end to them all in one book were sometimes more heavy hitting than any crossover could ever be. So I’ll be showcasing some of my favorites and the first one that came to mind might be my favorite of them all.
Flash back to 1986 when X-Men #205 hit the shelves. This issue is easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time, and it’s all in just one issue. A brilliant epic crafted by Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor Smith remains one of the darkest and most brutal issues of X-men to date. Let me clarify that this was during a time when Wolverine was rarely seen in solo adventures and the character was still deeply mysterious.
The story was called “Wounded Wolf” and featured Lady Deathstrike’s first appearance as a super freaky ass cyborg as well as her three Reaver mercenary minions. It also featured Katie Powers from the mutant kid team ‘Power Pack’ who during a snow storm encounters Wolverine who’s beaten to a pulp, covered in blood and nearly naked. Soon the two of them are both on the run from Lady Deathstrike and her cyborgs who’re out for bloody revenge. It reminds of a Wolverine movie storyboard Ridley Scott might have anticipated directing in the 80’s. Continue reading
It’s October and it’s time to get creepy with the comic book covers of the week! Here are actually two awesome creepy covers from one of my favorite little Captain America stories of all time. Both covers are drawn by my all time favorite legend of the biz Mr. John Byrne! This creepy 2 part classic starts in Captain America #253 with a resurrection of one of his oldest foes, the vampire Nazi Baron Blood. It’s a cool little mystery and also reunites Steve Rogers with his old World War 2 Invaders ally Lords Falsworth the legendary Union Jack, who’s now like ninety years old.
Then Issue 254 turns up the heat as we see the showdown brilliantly drawn by Byrne and we see Union Jack somehow return to the action. The cover features the old as fuck Union Jack trying to get in on the action! Hunt this cool classic Cap story down it really doesn’t disappoint and is perfect for the Halloween season!!!
Byrne did a variant cover years later for the classic showdown in black and white.
I was such a big X-men fanatic back in the 1980’s! Lets face it they were the most unique super team ever way back then. The only problem was that the comic book was so hot at the time that all of the classic issues featuring the second team were expensive as hell! So as a kid I wasn’t able to afford all the cool Claremont / Byrne stuff. Well lucky for all of us they reprinted all those issues under the title of Classic X-Men! Yep not only did these issues feature incredible brand new back up stories of the our favorite characters in their more “normal” everyday lives but they included brand spankin’ new covers as well!! Here is one of my favorites Classic X-Men #45 drawn by Steve Lightie proving once again that often times keeping a cover simple is often the most effective way to paint an incredible picture!
This issue reprints issue #139, here’s what the original looked like also a great cover by John Byrne:
Man oh man how I love a good comic book cover! So much that I dedicate blog posts as often as possible focusing on my favorite comic book covers of all time. Well I’m not sure if you remember way back in the 1980’s but they had a string of issues where there was no cover artist. Instead they decided that they’d give us some live action superhero action! Now this sounds like a wonderful idea today, but back then it was a bit more difficult to really get the superhero look down on film. However these issues were ones as a kid I never forgot so let’s take another quick look at those legendary Marvel “photo” covers!
We’ve got some artists in the comic book industry who really were meant to draw certain characters and one who always needs mention when it comes to The Incredible Hulk is Dale Keown!! Yep it really doesn’t get much better than Keown’s version of the Hulk & from 1990 to ’92 when he took over the art on the title it was clear his version of the Hulk would go down in history as one of the best. He’s right up there with Sal Buscema and John Byrne in my book as all time best Hulksters. In fact back in 1990 his artwork on Hulk reminded me a lot of Byrne’s version of the character. Keown would go on to Image to introduce us all to his own “Hulk” type character, “Pitt”. Anyway Here’s a great Keown cover from 1990 that shows he’s one of the best Hulk artists of all time!!
Oh and if you still don’t think Keown was one of the best Hulk artists ever here’s a few more images to prove my point!
This awesome comic book cover from 1983 has gotta be one of my favorites ever! Thor #337 features my favorite character from the norse god’s mythos-Beta Ray Bill! This super weird character made his first appearance in this issue and as odd as this guy looked he was deemed worthy of Thor’s hammer! So Beta Ray to me is just as cool as Thor, even more so I’d dig it if rather than a woman Thor, we’d just get him to take place of the character completely for a while instead. Also Walt Simonson uses simplicity to make this one of the coolest covers ever for The Mighty Thor comic series. I also really love it when characters affect the comic book covers logo’s and such-I’ve gotta sit down and dig this one out of my collection and give it another read pronto!! They need to put this guy into the next Thor flick dammit!
I’ve always wondered if perhaps there is some secret connection to Wolverine and The Owl in Marvel comics? Is it just me or do these two legendary characters share some unexplained similarities! Have they ever met in the comics? From what I can tell they’ve never crossed paths. So what’s up here are they long lost brothers? The Same person?! Distant relatives or did perhaps Wolverine rip off Leland Owsley’s style? Let’s compare!
Well let’s see Wolverine again…even though we all know what he looks like!
I’m sure i’m not the first to notice this ahem…striking similarity! but just for the record The Owl first appeared in Daredevil #3 in 1964! Well good ol’ boy Wolverine didn’t appear until 1974 in Incredible Hulk #181! So looks like Wolverine just might have copied Leland’s look for his own! Damn! But still I’m fairly certain The Owl decided he realllllly like Logan’s claws so he had to make a pair for himself. I’m not sure just when The Owl’s claws made their first appearance…STILL though I think it’s totally possible that Logan just might be Leland! Most people make aliases with the same letters in the first name right??! The conspiracy deepens!!
This awesome cover from The Incredible Hulk #293 sure does pack a powerful & pissed off punch!! A great piece of work from Brett Blevin’s rad cover from 1983, you can almost feel how much pain the Thing must be feeling here and not to mention the sheer agony of Reed Richards as we notice he’s tied in knots! Interesting enough this epic battle takes place in Banner’s mind where a savage “nightmare” version of the Hulk has been plaguing his own dreams! Soon enough we all know just who’s controlling Banners nightmares and sending the Banner Hulk back into a savage mindless beast! This leads up to a storyline that is basically Planet Hulk but sending him into the Crossroads-a mutli-dimensional realm where anything can happen and The Hulk is no longer the strongest one there is! This is a great era for hardcore Hulk fans…
I love those weird ass moments in comic book history that catch you by surprise (especially as a kid) and kinda make you chuckle! Today I wanted to add an odd moment from The Incredible Hulk #294, this was back when the Banner could “control” the Hulk and he dressed like banner and even combed his hair the same way. The most nerdy version of the green goliath off all time for sure. I love it. Well this Banner Hulk didn’t last long soon he would lose total control again only to be banished to a different dimension by Doctor Strange. But I digress, well in this issue they are doing some gamma tests on an injured dog and at first the testing appears to have some nice results. After Banner decides to take a nice hot shower, only problem is he’s been having some intense nightmares lately. The over tired Banner starts having a waking nightmare and well, in mid shower transforms into a very naked but squeaky clean Hulk!! Good thing for well placed shower steam! Right after this happens he squares off against Boomerang, a truly classic story line well worth revisiting and of course wonderfully drawn by perhaps the best Hulk artist of all time Sal Buscema!!